We landed in Phuket pretty late at night. After hearing the taxi service would take 2 hours, we did what most everyone tells you not to do, and just booked private transportation to the hotel. Although most people will ask you immediately if you are going to Patong, most of them only know a few hotels. To their credit, the beach town is packed full of them, and who knows how many were recently rebuilt after the '04 tsunami. After some nerve wracking driving and a few wrong turns, we made it to the hotel after 1 am. It was amazingly balmy.
We spent a day walking the streets and beaches, trying to see lots and inadvertently smelling even more. Patong has a pretty gritty and fast paced feel to it. I turned down many tailored suits. We eventually realized the city was much more preferable from the pool on the roof, so we drank beers and watched the sunset while some Russian guys drank and listened to techno from a cell phone. Early the next morning, we boarded a ferry that would take us to Koh Lanta, where we would stay for one night. Life was much slower there.