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Patong scores few points from a letter-writing repeat tourist

Patong and What Needs to Improve

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Copy of a letter sent to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

PHUKET: I've been coming to Phuket for three years now. I don't think I will be coming back. As a profile, I am American, in my early fifties, and I usually spend about 75,000-100,000 baht during my stay.

I usually stay in three star hotels, and always take a side trip to another destination. Two years ago I went to Pattaya. Last year I went to Koh Samui, and this year I went to Bangkok.

Generally speaking, I find Thai people to be very kind and generous. On a personal level, I have found the respect you give is the respect you get and a smile always returns a smile. Thailand has a rich and vibrant cultural history, and as a sovereign nation, I don't expect to lay my values on it.

There has been much talk lately about the desire to encourage ''high-value'' tourists. I don't know if that would include me, or exactly what that means.

There are some challenges that Phuket faces. Until they are rectified, I think I will seek out other destinations for my travels.

Here are some things I don't like about Phuket. First of all, traffic and transportation. Taxis are exorbitant. I travelled the same distance from Don Muang to my hotel in Bangkok as I have from HKT to Patong and the price was less than half.

Taxis to the Phuket airport are even more expensive at night, which makes little sense to me as there is less traffic. Patong hill seems incredibly dangerous for the amount of volume passing over it each day.

I have an expat friend who lives in Chalong. I can easily get a taxi there, but it is impossible to get one back even though there are dozens idling on the streets of Patong, Kata and Karon.

Even crossing the street, be it Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi or Beach Road can be harrowing.

Secondly, pollution is a cause for concern. There is pollution everywhere. There is raw sewage going into the ocean. There is trash all over the streets.

Even after placing rubber mats on the sewers of Bangla Road at night one can still smell the putrid scent.

I am not particularly fond of touts, either. I have never been to a ''ping pong'' show and doubt I will ever go, but there are dozens of people promoting it. I tire of the massage parlor gauntlets, the time-share touts, the taxis and the tuk-tuks.

If I need one of these, I will get one. I don't like the crowded sidewalks filled with various fake brand sellers. Sidewalks become so narrow that in some places there is only enough room for one person.

It's the same with the beaches. At high tide on Patong Beach, you literally cannot walk on the beach, as the sun loungers are right up to the water, and the jet ski vendors or para-sailing launch pads are yelling at you.

It is remarkable that it is deemed a public beach at all.

Next year, I think I will go to Kop, Cambodia or Cancun, Mexico or Golfito, Costa Rica. Maybe I will be disappointed there as well.

And I will be watching Phuket, through Phuketwan and other outlets to see if things have improved. I earnestly and sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Sincerely,

Bill Savoie
Vancouver, WA
USA

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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ok. bye!

Posted by poppops on August 20, 2013 08:15

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Probably a fair assessment. The last time I went swimming at Patong it was filthy. I was in the water for only 5 minutes but still got an ear infection. Phuket has been ruined by over-development fuelled by greed and corruption.

It all gets back to corrupt officials being paid to turn a blind eye to these wrong doings -or actively colluding in them.

Posted by Tommy on August 20, 2013 09:04

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Read your comment, and i have to agree with you..

Hopefully in years to come this problems will be sorted out...

Posted by robert smith on August 20, 2013 09:25

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It's a decent take on Phuket. To expand on growing 'pollution':

When I first came here to Karon 18 years ago, I saw snakes virtually every day. I never saw any rats. Now I hardly see any snakes (1 in 6 months & that dead on the road) but rats running around openly every evening, rummaging in the growing mounds of rubbish & the smelly blocked drains. The ecological balance has been badly upset by over building & the resultant congestion.

There is continuous water shortages in some areas, even in the monsoon season, hence the constant stream of water tankers delivering needed supplies. This adds to road congestion & pollution. If water is not readily available, then why are resorts or buildings allowed to be constructed.

Then there is the grey water issue. the existing infrastructure simply cannot handle the volume of grey water from kitchens, bathrooms & raw sewage. Again, until this problem is resolved, no more building should be permitted.

It is little wonder the beaches are spoiled & the inshore waters badly polluted. They would fail most tests in other parts of the world.

I can remember when the beaches had powder white sand - a distant memory for sure. Look at them now. They are yellowy & grainy. That has been caused by systematic pollution over the past two decades.

Inshore coral is virtually a thing of the past or maybe a figment of my aging imagination? Where has it gone? Damaged by lack of care & finished off by pollution. It is all very sad!

Posted by Logic on August 20, 2013 09:39

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This is what most tourist see when they visit Patong. Why cant the government and police see this.

Posted by Anonymous on August 20, 2013 10:11

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The Patonga sea is 20 time over the maximum allowed pollution in the rest of the world, but nobody seems to care.. What written in this letter is the same of all the tourist thinking and never return in Patong.. Not believe? asking the tourist moved for example in Rawai..

Posted by dave on August 20, 2013 11:37

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"At high tide on Patong Beach, you literally cannot walk on the beach"

And it is impossible for an emergency vehicle to get through.

Posted by Sherlock on August 20, 2013 11:49

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Bali - Phuket, let me tell you the traffic in Denpasar is the most chaotic I have ever seen and makes any traffic in Phuket seem relaxed. It seems Mr Savoie views are based on Patong however there are many other places if it's a quiet time you are looking for with great views but little or no beach try the West Coast with the views over the islands. Cape Panwa is clean and has lovely beaches but little night life as it is a Muslim area etc etc.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on August 20, 2013 12:11

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"The Patonga sea is 20 time over the maximum allowed pollution in the rest of the world, but nobody seems to care.. What written in this letter is the same of all the tourist thinking and never return in Patong.."

Some return, some don't, same as everywhere.
Got any information to substantiate your claim of 20 times over maximum allowed pollution in the rest of the world?

Posted by stevenl on August 20, 2013 13:05

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I forgot to mention that in most of the Tourist areas of Bali the taxis will hoot from just behind you which scared me as it most places cars only do that if you are in danger. Terrible practise. Phuket is not so bad. no where is perfect.

Posted by Fiesty Faranf on August 20, 2013 13:09

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Who stays in Patong in a three star and spends that amount every trip must tip a lot. So Phang Nga or Krabi maybe out of the question for him. Still some nice sands to be found there.

Posted by Lena on August 20, 2013 15:48

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Agree. Except the part about Taxi's at night. In most parts of the world I have been, Taxi's always cost more at night.. Developed or Developing.

Posted by Kelz on August 20, 2013 16:23

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- stevenl

You really can't be bothered to do any research whatsoever but want everyone else to do your legwork.

You can start with this article right here on PW

http://phuketwan.com/tourism/patong-rawai-fail-phukets-clean-beach-tests-11583/

It shows levels at Patong beach up to 17x higher than the standards and this _despite_ the fact that the measurements are taken 1KM ! offshore.

A distance from the beach where very few if any swimmers will venture out.

There was a previous research done right in the swimming zone off Patong beach and those samples showed values of up to 100x the permissible e-coli bacteria count set by the EU.

Posted by ThaiMike on August 20, 2013 18:30


Friday August 23, 2019
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