My feet led me to Phuket’s famous Patong Beach. It wasn’t quite morning yet, the sun still sleeping below the gray horizon. It started drizzling. Hurriedly, I put my cameras back on my bag and trotted to the nearest coconut tree where I sheltered myself from the rain.
I paused for a while, waiting for the drizzle to abate. And I witnessed the old adage I kept hearing as a child, a rainbow appearing right after the rain. It was a spectacular show. Not one, but two full rainbows; one of top of the other. Something I have only seen in photographs.
A group of long-tail boats were anchored a few feet from the shore. I waded in; letting the soft warm waters of Patong Beach reach my thighs. Eventually, I let go of my cameras and succumbed to the temptations of the sea. I dove down and let Phuket’s waters immerse me completely.
A quick shower, a flurry of noodles and bacons for breakfast at the Duangjitt Resort and I’m back at Patong Beach. But this time, aboard a tuk tuk, Phuket’s main mode of transportation. Together with photographers from Philstar and Manila Bulletin, we headed to Camp Chang Kalim to say hi to a few elephants. Goodbye 200 baht.
The previous day’s plan to go elephant riding at Phang Nga didn’t push through due to inclement weather and one of us was really just rarin’ to ride one of these gentle giants. A 30-minute ride costs 900 baht, something I really don’t have anymore. I made other plans.
After snapping away with our cameras like crazy, my friend took off into the hills of Phuket aboard one of the elephants. Me, I headed back to the road. I wanted to explore the whole stretch of Patong Beach on foot. Camp Chang Kalim is located at the hilly end of Patong Beach, it’s the perfect place to start my beach walk.
The road towards Patong beach winds downward. It’s a pleasant morning, the sun in full regalia, filtering through the trees lining the highway. The temperature started to climb as I continued my descent, taking photographs of uniquely Thai houses and restaurants along the way.
After half an hour, the tail end of Patong Beach, with its fine white sand and rocky shore, came into view. A rushing tuk tuk slowed to a crawl along the road and out came my two companions. Elephant ride’s over, it’s time to walk!
The heat of the midday sun finally got to us. Deciding to rest a while, we chanced upon a street vendor hawking local street food. We were having a hard time communicating with her, what the stuff were and such, so we decided to simply buy some and find out for ourselves.
Turned out it’s lanka or jackfruit seeds, coated in a sweet crunchy batter of sorts. Tasty!
Posh resorts started to sprout like mushrooms as we neared the beach. Patong Beach runs across the city’s entire west side and stretches for about three and half kilometers. It is the same beach that was ravaged by the deadly 2004 tsunami. And at last, we were now able to step foot on its sandy shores.
On the rocky northern portion of the beach, one can see locals garbed in long-sleeved shirts, wearing face masks and pointed hats similar to our very own salakot. With fifteen to twenty-foot long, thin fishing poles, they stand along the fringes of the rocks protruding towards the Sea of Andaman, waiting for fishes to bite.
I wasn’t able to get as near to them as I would’ve wanted to, but I think most of them are women.
It took almost an hour and a half before the more familiar stretch of Patong Beach came into view. My pace was a bit brisk since we have to check out of the resort by noontime and fly back to Manila right after.
A leisurely stroll is out of the question.
It was exactly twelve noon when I decided to stop walking, take a breather and enjoy the view of the Andaman Sea. The sun was now bearing down hard on Patong Beach and umbrella rentals were in full swing. Tourists undeterred by the harsh sun still litter the azure waters of the beach, looking upwards once in a while as parasails fly through the cobalt blue sky.
Phuket’s Patong Beach reminds me so much of Boracay, albeit a much more littered one. Not by trash but of plastic lounging chairs and beach parasols. Makeshift tents offering Thai massage at 300 baht also abound, and not a few tourists can be seen lying face down, enjoying each and every hand stroke along their heavily suntanned backs.
Finally I arrived where I started from. I still remembered how Patong Beach woke up to the warm rays of the early morning sun just a few hours ago. Its rays filtering through the wet leaves of the trees and falling towards the creamy sand. The still deserted beach. Its warm waters. The unopened parasols. And yes, the rainbows.
Address: Patong Beach, Patong City, Phuket, Thailand
Entrance Fee: None
Beach Chairs with Parasol Rental: 160 baht
Sun Bed Rental: 200 baht
GPS Coordinates: +7° 53' 26.08", +98° 17' 34.27"
View Location on Google Maps