Escaping The Hawkers And Greeted By A Cheap Mojoto Street Stand
If there was one thing I needed after two days in Patong Beach in Thailand, it was relief.
Relief from streets clogged with so many businesses, some stacked in front of others so that it was tough to find the entrances even if you wanted to go in any of them.
Relief from the grimy scene and the non-spectacular beach (something that came quite as a surprise to me considering I know Thailand has some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world).
But most importantly, relief from the endless line of hawkers who hound you from the second you set a toe on the street or beach. They chase you like flies, waving sunglasses at you as you attempt to walk on the beach, put placards in your face as you go down the line of bars on Bangla Walking Street but most annoying the endless solicitations from the endless line of massage parlors.
Walk past one – and they seem to be every 10 feet in any direction – and four to five girls call at you, jump up out of their chairs and even often grab you by the arm. Most of the girls, I must note, are not attractive, so that adds to the annoyance factor.
So imagine my pleasure when I jumped in Tuk-Tuk (kind of an open-air taxi) and went to Karon Beach, about 15 minutes to the south and on the other the side of the hill, for an afternoon.
Upon entering the small village, I let out a big “ahhhh.” It was not a good beach day by any means – I was there in late September, not the best weather month to be here on the island of Phuket, I discovered – so I set about to walk thru town.
And right off the bat, I noticed a little stand on the sidewalk that said “Mojitos 50 Baht.” That’s abbot a buck-and-a-quarter in the USA! I ordered one and immediately things began to improve. Frankly, Patong Beach could use a few of these things.
I walked the one main street inland from the beach. I was causally looking for a place to have a late lunch but was in no hurry. It was slow but that was okay; it was nice just to walk without having to fight off people (tho this place isn’t immune to it, either).
The road was longer than I initially expected but the freedom was so pleasant, I circled back to the mojito stand and got two more! As I walked, I passed many places to eat and drink were empty (as I said it was a cloudy afternoon in September) and eventually wound up at a gorgeous gold-plated Thailand temple, the kind you’ve seen on a thousand postcards and in travel photos.
What a surprise!
Inside, a royal-looking Thai couple was doing a photo shoot; now this seemed like the real Thailand, something you most certainly won’t ever get in Patong.
After a while, I found a comfortable restaurant/bar that had a few people around, had some lunch, a big beer and even took advantage of it’s 2-for-1 Mai Tai special (160 baht).
I was so relaxed, i didn’t want to leave. I was certainly in no hurry to go back to the frenzy of Patong.
Eventually, tho, I called over a driver. Instead of being a Tuk-Tuk, she put me in an American-style SUV and then, after trying to drop me several blocks from the central location of the walking street as I had requested, followed me out of the van and started yelling at me.
I found it ironic that the peaceful serenity I had experienced in Karon had vanished in a second in Patong.
Still, if you experience the same feelings as me while in Patong, just jump in a Tuk-Tuk (I negotiated a fare of 300 baht each way, about $9 USD) and head to another beach city. Some others are Kata, Kati Noi and Nai Ham, which are past Karon.
The closest beach to the north is Kamala Beach.
Unfortunately, unlike in the Greek Islands, there’s no bus from beach to beach, so you have to rely on the Tut Tuts and taxis.