Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where Am I?

Looking at these pictures, one will be forgiven to assume that this is not Phuket or Thailand or for that matter, Asia.

patong beach, phuket - starbucks

patong beach, phuket - bar

In fact, one might even think it is Australia... see the flag below.

patong beach, phuket - sea

patong beach, phuket - sea

Walking along this most popular beach at Phuket island is like walking through a mini town of an Western country. The number of Caucasians seem to outnumber the Thais - from being tourists lazing on the beach - sunbathing or suntanning, eating & drinking in the restaurants & pubs to even owning businesses here (eg. the lodge & hotels).

Going into a restaurant, you will bump into one or another. And on the road, they are at everywhere you turn.

Not that there is anything wrong with that - just somewhat unexpected. Right here in Patong beach, Phuket, South East Asia - more whites than Thais?

A Bigger Surprise
Maybe the many whites are acceptable as afterall, Thailand is quite a beautiful place for many tourists. So, ok, that surprise can be understood.

But the surprise one is even greater. Along the long stretch of Patong beach are hundreds & hundreds of small shops selling clothings & other knick knacks.

patong beach, phuket - road
The main road

patong beach, phuket - lane
One of the lanes with a host of shops

patong beach, phuket - clothes, shopping
Amongst the many clothes they sell

So What Is The Surprise?
If you think once again, that these are owned by Thais or the Caucasians, then you'll be in for a rather big surprise. These small shops are apparently owned/manned by the Nepalese (I asked one of them where they were from). Yes, nearly all of the hundreds of them - or at least the ones along the long stretch of this popular Patong beach that I visited.

patong beach, phuket - lane

So, once again, this beach really doesn't look & feel at all Thai - if not for the made in Thailand goods and the few Thai massage & service staffs. Or the occasional fruit vendors who push their carts along the stretch.

patong beach, phuket - fruit seller

I'm not sure how the local Thais feel, but as a tourist, I'm a lil disappointed that I felt as if I was in a foreign land (and not Thailand). I was not able to experience the Thai culture like the one I've mentioned about - including the grace of the Thai smile, or just friendliness which now seem to come only when I make a purchase.

But, luckily, Phuket is not all about this Patong beach... and that is where the fun is! More to come! :)


  1. aiya jus enjoy yrself, need to bloglah :) , find some nice companmy n happy hour ;)

  2. next time don't bring the laptop along for holiday la, or stick to the internet too much! i allow only max 1 hour per day when going for holiday! :)

  3. Everything looks new - thanks to the tsunami?

    Your point about Patong beach being 'overtaken' by Nepalese brings to mind our very own Chinatown at Petaling Street. A good number of stalls there are also manned by foreigners. The
    "China" in Chinatown is slowly missing. Sad, really. Nice pictures.

  4. phuket!! one of my dream getaway vacation spot!! =)

  5. Hello. Thanks for dropping by.
    Yeah indeed everything looks new after the tsunami struck back in 2004. I heard my Thai friend said Phuket was 'cleansed'. Hmm....

    Nice blog btw...

  6. hi bengbeng & haan

    act, i only wrote 1 post while in phuket. haha. ive been back for a while now :)

    i didnt write much there because the place i was staying had rather expensive wi-fi, so, i thought ill enjoy the place instead lol.

    oh 1 hour max per holiday is good - i do roughly that as well, unless its a long trip :)

  7. hey happysurfer

    this is my first time in phuket, so didnt really know that the place changed quite a lot. ya, ive read some say its better now, but im not sure if the beach is better or worse though - the sands were not white and not superly fine (the ones at patong).

    oh, on chinatown, ya, its not the same at times, especially if they dont have our same cultures. now i know why singaporeans are sometimes complaining about the influx of foreigners.

  8. hi patrick,

    yes, do go to this beautiful island resort. though u may not like it on the first impression.... i didnt, but later when i discovered more of the island and beyond patong beach, yes, it is beautiful. :)

  9. hi wayne

    thanks for the compliments. well, in a way, its good to be cleansed i guess, though that was quite a disaster.

    im not sure how it was last time - were there more thais in those shops or was it the same. quite a pity.


Oh hey, thank you for commenting! :)