Patong Beach, Thailand

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Patong Beach Guide – Spend Less, Do More

Patong beach sunsetSo you've taken a cruise out to Phang Nga Bay and discovered, to your great horror and disappointment, that James Bond Island is in reality nowhere as big as the movie made it out to be (that Hollywood magic right?). You've met the elephant that does amazing things with its trunk on command, and taken that after-dark stroll through Bangla Road and it's GoGo Bars, wide-eyed at the exotic array of costumes and colour as vendors try to sell you tickets to Phuket Fantasea – 'the ultimate cultural theme park'. You then take a party tuk-tuk back to your hotel singing way too loudly to the music blaring out of the back into the night. But Thailand has such a unique culture and lifestyle – why not experience it as the locals do while you're in Patong Beach?

Why shell out for another stock-standard tour...

Patong shoppingWhen you can experience the real Thailand on your own terms? Patong and its surrounds have been so heavily commercialised to cater to tourists that it can be difficult as a visitor to avoid tourist traps. Hire a car and make your way to Phuket Town to soak in the cultural heritage – perhaps talk to some locals, meet the fisherman and observe the residents making their way around town in their daily lives.

Instead of joining the tourist hordes

Try a smaller eatery away from the main tourist areas. Some of the best food in Thailand requires a sense of adventure and picking a quaint little family-owned local spot or a street-side cart where you can get a lot of food for only a couple of dollars. Now hygiene is probably your number one concern, so these are a couple of rules of thumb to follow when choosing. Number one, take a squiz around at the number of customers a place has; the better the business is, the more likely the place has high quality food and hygiene standards. Number two, applying more specifically to street-side stalls, is to try and pick one where you can see the food being prepared in front of you. When you see them frying the food over an open fire, you have a better guarantee that it will not cause any problems. With that, remember that you only live once, so why not live a little! For something a little quirky, try a floating seafood restaurant or something nestled in the mangroves!

If you're going to take one of the hundreds of organised activities on offer, as one does in Thailand...

At least make it a Thai cooking class. Thai food is one of the world's most unique cuisines, with every dish full of flavour. This way, you can leave with a new-found skill and a better appreciation for Thai culture. Learn to make a mouth-watering curry or some of the famous local dishes such as Pad Thai, drunken noodles, Tom Yum soup or green papaya salad. It will come in handy every time you're craving a spot of Thai food with your Netflix!

Your bank account is pretty happy with your accommodation choices...

So why not reward yourself with an adventure? Go for a scuba dive in the surrounding tropical waters. The Andaman Sea ranks in the top 10 for best spots in the world to see marine life and coral. As coral bleaching is such a prevalent occurrence right now, due to ocean temperatures rising, see it now before it’s gone!

Got a couple days of leisure, and are craving somewhere pristine and isolated? Take a trip and stay at Phi Phi Island, with its jungles, caves and white sand beaches. Sounds like paradise! Take in the pristine blue water, explore the island, join the monkeys relaxing on the beach, go swimming with glowing plankton and finish off your day with a lovely BBQ dinner with fresh fish, for a day you’ll never forget.

Spend Less, Do More

Your Cheaperthanhotels Team

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