It is hard to say anything bad about Thailand but one thing to be aware of is that Phuket is an absolute tourist mecca. Patong Beach is entirely based on tourism with knock off shops everywhere you look and hundreds of tourists (Australians in particular) crammed into the streets, the bars and the beaches.
It is however easy to fly into and much closer to all the islands than Bangkok.
- The Khao San Road of Phuket
- A pedestrian only street filled with bars, lady boys and people trying to hand you flyers to the many Ping Pong shows
- Plenty of places to choose for a night out. We went to Monsoon Bar where some guy at the hostel convinced us to buy all you can drink buckets for 500BHT, a deal that isn’t advertised but goes until about 4am. The bar also had its own cover band playing with accented takes on some good classics.
The hundreds of “Down Under” bars
- There is an area of town filled with little shacks flying the Australian flag and trying to entice you in with offers of free drinks.
- Good for a laugh if you want to sit and chat to the locals and challenge them to some type of game you will convince yourself you can win when really the odds are about 10:1 that you will lose. Trust me, I thought I wasn’t too bad at connect 4 until I gave up after having to buy round after round.
- Patong Backpackers
- Right in the centre of the action and close to the beach
- Good common area where you can buy a beer and meet some new people
- Mama will host and take good care of you
- I wouldn’t stay longer than 2 nights max. 1 night is even enough. More of a stepping stone to other destinations.