Hey, finally a post the sexpats who spend their lives on the gay Thai message boards will enjoy! Or at least a post title they’ll like. The actual article, not so much.
What is with the all the hate for Phuket? From posts on the boards you’d think it was some crime infested sleazy little beachside town filled with the world’s lowest of lowlifes. But that’s Pattaya. And the boys who love boys love Pattaya. Bring up Phuket though and the rancor ratchets up to levels that surpass the Christian god’s opinion of Sodom and Gomorrah. On the message board, Phuket comes off sounding like Calcutta on steroids. You’d think Syria would be a safer spot to vacation listening to these folk.
I’m not sure why Phuket has become Thailand’s whipping boy. Maybe it was using those typhoon relief funds to build beach volleyball courts on Patong Beach. Whatever it was that Thailand’s best known southern beach resort area did, the gods were not amused. And they’ve taken it out on the rationality of gay Thailand forum posters. I haven’t seen such passion for hatred since LMTU and Beachball courted each other.
Posters over at SGT froth at the mouth the most whenever Phuket is mentioned, but Jabba The Butt’s band of merry men sharpen their claws just as quickly. On both forums they trash Phuket but mean Patong Beach. Not that pesky little facts should ever get in the way of a good hissy fit. Anything and everything about Pattaya and Pedo Plaza meanwhile gets excused and defended. Not that a little bias ever hurt a good hissy fit either.
Kjun12 – or Kunt12 as BrisbaneGuy has aptly nicknamed him – seems to be the leader of the pack when it comes to vilifying Phuket. Just try to find any on-line Thailand forum where he hasn’t posted about how dangerous Phuket is. And he backs his claims up with facts too. A German tourist was beaten by a tuk tuk driver when the tourist refused to pay 200 baht for his ride. And a local woman had her purse and cell phone stolen. Yup, that’s a crime wave that screams for someone to fire up the Bat Signal.
Fountainspew chimes in condemning local authorities for failing to post warnings on the beaches about jellyfish, citing Hawaii’s practice of closing beaches when jellyfish appear while ignoring the fact that you don’t see barefoot construction workers using bamboo scaffolding in the Aloha State either. In his warning Fountainspew does however move to the positive and recommends all visitors pack a vial of vinegar when visiting the beach to use on jellyfish stings. Not that Fountainspew would need to exercise that precaution because peeing on a sting is just as effective and with him there surely would be no shortage of volunteers for that job. Even Beachball – forgetting to check his notes that says Phuket is his favorite destination in Thailand – can’t help but jump on the bandwagon with the startling news that even Thais visiting Patong Beach can fall victim to scams. The horror!
Outside of the gay forum world there are plenty of Chicken Littles posting of Phuket’s dangers too. Virtualtourist.com alone has 180 entries. Which includes warnings about dastardly criminals preying on tourists such as: wild monkeys bite, rip tides are dangerous, the tropical sun can burn you, elephant camps mistreat their animals, and ladyboys are really men. In fact, the majority of warnings about the dangers of Phuket are about beach safety and road safety. And those threads that actually deal with crime, invariably started by Kunt12, all quickly dissolve into a general bitchfest about how dangerous the entire country has become. Because the rest of the world is such a safe place these days. Nevertheless, Phuket is the place that some just love to hate.
Phuket gets called the crime capital of Asia and the most dangerous place in Thailand. When its naysayers bother to provide specifics, they are always incidents that also happen throughout Thailand. And throughout the world. One site I visited that was exceptionally vehement with its warnings about Phuket, like most, relied on broad generalizations rather than specifics and – after throwing in the road and beach safety thingy for good measure – provided a handy list of suggestions to keep you safe when visiting Phuket.
The author first spoke of “crazy Thai men” who drive on the wrong side of the street, how life is cheap in Thailand and the death of a tourist doesn’t mean anything to Thais (adding how common it is to see a photograph in the newspaper of “Thai men pointing at the dead tourist with big smiles or smirks on their faces”) and about how Thais “have developed a hatred for foreigners in general,” just to show how unbiased he was. Then, he posted his #1 warning:
“If you are staying in a high rise building, then make sure that you don’t get drunk on the balconies, as the railings on these buildings are not very high and it is easy to fall off them. It is also a good idea to not stay in one of these buildings if you are mentally unstable, as there are far too many people who leap to their deaths whilst on holidays. There are numerous reports of guys who come to Thailand and fall in love with bar girls and then they run out of money on their holiday and the fantastic times come to an end so they jump to their death.
If you are mentally unwell and you are staying in a high rise building and plan on getting drunk, then this could be a recipe for disaster, as the extra depression of knowing that you are leaving Thailand and being drunk could make you do that crazy thing that too many tourists seem to do. There is also rumors of foreigners getting thrown off buildings and there is no way to check to see if this is true or not, as the police often don’t even bother showing up at the scene of the falls anymore in Pattaya.”
Yup, the biggest danger to tourists in Phuket are the flying farang of Pattaya. Those high-rise buildings should all be hauled off to the Bangkok Hilton. Which surely is located somewhere around Phuket.
Yes, when you arrange transpo into Patong Beach from the airport if you are foolish enough to take one of the mini-vans they will stop to ‘shuffle’ passenger loads at their office where you can buy overpriced day tour packages. Or in Bangkok you can hop into a taxi at the airport and pay a fixed fee for your ride into town in what is supposed to be a metered taxi.
Yes, there’s a good chance if you rent a jet ski in Phuket when you return it you’ll be forced to pay for ‘damages’ that magically appeared during your rental period. Or you can avoid that Phuket scam by instead returning it in Pattaya. Where you’ll be forced to pay for ‘damages’ that magically appeared during your rental period.
Yes, tuk tuk prices are fixed in Patong Beach and fares are grossly inflated. Or you can catch a taxi in Patpong at night, or at any one of Bangkok’s popular touri restaurants, or when it is raining, where the drivers have all fixed the fare to a standard grossly overinflated price.
Yes, the drunk Aussies on Walking Street are an unruly bunch that may scare timid queens. Oh wait, that’s Walking Street in Pattaya.
Yes, if you rent a scooter or bicycle in Phuket and keep your valuable in the basket mounted to the handlebars someone may rip you off. Or you can ride a songtaew in Pattaya where a gang of pickpockets will do that trick for you.
Yes, the tuk tuks are controlled by the mafia in Phuket. As they are in Bangkok. Along with the taxis.
Yes you can get mugged in Phuket wandering around dark streets late at night. And fans of Pattaya all know how safe it is to take a stroll along Beach Road late at night by yourself.
Yes, it is true the locals in Patong Beach are less friendly and you’ll seldom run across the famous smiles Thailand is known for when visiting there. But that is also true of Khaosan Road in Bangkok. Nor are the locals around Kuta as friendly as those outside of the heavily touristed areas of Bali. Whodathunk dealing with drunk, obnoxious, cheap-ass tourists all day would have an effect on the attitude of locals?
Yes, Paradise Complex is a shadow of its former self with bars closing so fast and furious it’d make your head spin. If your head was not already doing 360s from all the closures in Pattaya. And Phuket at least manages to scrape together an annual Gay Pride celebration.
Yes, it’s a shame Phuket does not have a Grand Palace to be closed, or touristy photo ops set up at Wat Arun to use to exhort money out of unsuspecting touri, or small gay-run restaurants where it seems every customer gets ill, or tall enough condos to provide a high enough mount for flying farang to leap from, or a beachfront avenue filled with ugly street walkers, or one-day tailors offering four suits for 1,000 baht, or large jewelry stores filled with overpriced shoddy merchandise, or upstairs bars where you’ll be charged 1,000 baht for a drink, or blocks full of Nigerian drug dealers battling for victims with Nigerian whores, or $60 visits to fake hilltribe villages where you can buy crafts made in Vietnam at five times the price they’re offered at back in town, or . . . Yup, Phuket is dangerous and filled with scams.
The one complaint Phuket haters can stand behind is the high cost of vacationing there. But then if you showed visitors pictures of the beaches around Phuket alongside those you’ll find in Pattaya and ask which would be a more expensive holiday destination, the answers would be unanimous.
Phuket is one of Southeast Asia’s premier vacation spots, with an average of over 3 million visitors each year. Most have an enjoyable, trouble-free vacation. Taking a bit of responsibility for your own personal safety is key. As it is when visiting anywhere on the planet. I hate to break it to you, but Phuket is a safe holiday destination. As long as you are aware of potential scams, don’t get into altercations with locals or drunk farang, know how to enjoy the beach safely, and be as aware of your surroundings as you would be in any other heavily touristed city in the world. Then your biggest danger would be finding that Kunt12 is holidaying in Phuket at the same time as you are.
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