Travel Blogger Prefers The Flip Flop Island To Walking Streets
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Travel Blogger
I would like a do-over on visiting Thailand.
Take a mulligan.
Red flag the first trip and start the thing all over again.
My first trip to this country was a series of missteps but also of a great step. I was there for 10 days and only truly enjoyed half of them.
The rest were spent in a kind of dour state of mind, wandering thru run-down towns past scores of hawkers pestering me to buy everything from sunglasses to clothes to taxi rides to massages (many of which no doubt included themselves).
Thailand has massage parlors the way Ireland has pubs and Seattle has coffee shops.
But then – whoa! – I stepped off a boat and onto an island and things changed as quickly as a woman’s mind. I was re-energized and ready to socialize!
It was at that moment that I learned what everyone should know about Thailand – it’s all about being where you want to be, then knowing where those places are and avoiding the others.
And what you want may be drastically different from what some friends who have been to Thailand many times seek and want.
For the friends I consulted, they seek the walking streets of Patong Beach, Pattaya and the Hana Plaza area of Bangkok, where certain desires can go satisfied with the exchange of a couple thousand baht.
And while there’s definitely fun to be had there – I was certainly curious about the whole scene and wanted to see it live – these places are located in congested towns that are dirty, dated and, to a large part, drab.
I was particularly disappointed in Patong, which to me was a miserable town in the middle of a potential paradise. I could not take three steps without being pestered to buy something, and the area is an endless line of ugly businesses stacked side-by-side on narrow, crowded and loud streets.
Not knowing any better ahead of time, I booked (and consequently wasted) four days and nights there, too.
Then, just as I was ready to call the whole trip off and return to California, I set foot on the adjacent island of Phi Phi.
Here, huge rock formations skied out of the ocean like I’ve seen in the beautiful Thailand pictures.
People were friendly and eager to talk with fellow travelers. In four days in Patong I met not a soul but within a hour on Phi Phi, I had met two dozen people.
With postcard (and social media) scenery, everyone in flip flops, $3 beers, bars right on the beach and an incredible favorable ratio of girls to guys – fellow travelers, too, not paid bar girls – this was the place for me.
If I could have found two to three more places like Phi Phi, I may have stayed and become an ex-Pat.
If there’s a next time in Thailand, I’ll leave those walking streets to the paid companion seekers and go directly to the flip flop places.
Although, I have to admit that one of my most fun nights in Thailand did happen in Bangkok.