By day, Patong is a mad thronging of people, tuk-tuks and scooters all trying to get through the day, going about their business. This is mostly tourist-related. Not tourism. This business is aimed squarely at the tourist. And trying to get them to part with their cash, for good or services. These range from tacky trinkets, to taxis fares, to suits (made in 24hrs by a tailor no less), to tours in other parts of Phuket. There nothing sinister at all and if you’re not buying, the sale isn’t pushed and both parties go about their business. One can also seek refuge in the Jungceylon mall (supposedly HUGE, but it’s not really) for peace and quiet. But, mostly because it’s airconditioned and there’s a vendor downstairs that sells the most delightful coconut ice cream.
However (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?), after nightfall, Patong loses all inhibition (if it had any to start with) and becomes quite mad. Bangla Road is closed to traffic, though scooters zoom up and down at will, and foot traffic takes over. The bars, clubs and go-go bars become brighter and louder (how is that even possible?) and denizens of the night ply their trade. If the suit traders were numerous during the day, they are outnumbered at night by all manner of people trying to get one to buy watered down drinks at inflated prices, poor quality Euro food or worse, a seedy ping pong show. As crazy as it seems, one can extract themselves from the mayhem and be a spectator on the fringe.
I’d hasten to add that this place isn’t for everyone, especially at night.