Central Patong is an all evening Eldorado for revelers and partygoers.
Prostitution is all present in Patong.
Even if it shows itself in an unusual form to the western visitor.
The transitions are quite fluent.
The numerous bars of Patong are full of young women waiting for customers.
But the further course of the evening, however, is quite open.
Perhaps it remains at the nice conversation.
Or spent the night together.
Or find company for the rest of the vacation.
The designation prostitutes is something that the women therefore also quite reluctant to hear.
They see themselves more as entertainers.
Forced prostitution, apart from material constraints, is no question on Phuket.
Even if it is always sold liek that by foreign tabloids.
Therefore, one finds his holiday acquaintance not only in bars or nightclubs.
Also, some server in the restaurant, employees at the reception desk or shop assistant in the shopping center ....
.... is not reluctant towards a lucrative holiday flirt.
Fascinated - sometimes stunned - are some standing in front of those creatures,
who resemble in their dimensions rather European supermodels than Asian women.
Hard to believe that these beauties were formerly men.
Ladyboys - called in Thai Kathoeys - not easy to categorize.
Born as a man, they feel as women,
and are still far from it.
Not only because of their clear, sometimes still present, characteristics of their gender.
They are the stars of the night.
Often admired, sometimes revered or detested.
Hardly anyone goes without taking any notice past them.
We meet Jenni next day.
The 26-year-old arrived in northern Thailand as a boy to the world and lives in Phuket for 8 years.
If you live permanently on the island,
losing the bright lights of the nightlife of Patong fast appeal.
For the Germans living here, clocks were therefore a bit slower.
It meets regularly, maintains contacts and exchanges the latest information from.
Here no differences are made. Here sit retirees and former entrepreneurs at a table.
The circumstances could therefore be more different.
Norbert Sieburger rented this villa with pool in a year ago.
Here he lives with his Thai girlfriend on 500 square meters and reigns over 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms.
Inside the castle has the charm of a factory villa of the turn of the century.
Reproductions of old masters including.
The owner - a Thai - loves the pomp.
Far more modest but no less idyllic, he has Gerd Gonschorek who lives on Phuket for several years.
For just 200 euros monthly rent he lives in a small house - in park-like surroundings - in the south of the island.
When I came to Thailand for the first time 10 years ago, I really didn't know where I should go.
I had all my life a great yearning for the South Seas, to beaches, to palm trees, to turquoise sea.
When I first had the opportunity to a long-distance trip, the flights to Bangkok were cheapest.
Flights to Bora Bora or Tonga - also my big dream - were too expensive for me.
On Phuket I liked it then so well that I got the following years repeatedly and then moved to Phuket 5 years ago.
Here I learned soon know a nice woman.
You have to know here to deal naturally,
because despite the paradisiacal setting, it can be a quite boring here.
With my small pension I can live here well.
A visit to the restaurant - in Germany for me is a luxury - I can simply afford here.
I've built up here a nice friends. Return to Germany I couldn't imagine.
The company of Rene Lehmann.
He has taken the plunge to Phuket occupationally 6 months ago.
Now he runs a butcher, manufactures and sells mainly German specialties to eat and sleep.
Hygiene is paramount here.
Us so it was not easy Thai workers teach in.
Also, communication and dealing with authorities is difficult for foreigners.
And so he hired a Thai specialist, which keeps him in many things back.
In the meantime, everything is operating well together.
Even a new branch in Patong is already opened.
Was it worth the effort?
We asked Rene what balance it now - can draw - after 6 months.
You have to work harder here than in Germany in any case.
I have a 15 hour day.
5:00 a.m. get up and finish work late.
Because of misunderstandings with the workers one need take care many things yourself.
Authorities doesn't make it easy to foreigners to make money here.
We we've invested a lot of money here and i can't imagine to return to Germany.
We drive to Rawai, located at the southern part of Phuket.
Here, the charme of the former fisher island is still noticeable.
Rents here are still reasonably priced,
the beaches uncrowded.
Much, such as the daily markets, are less adapted to the liking of tourists.
But also here, the new is replacing the old.
This resort. Too primitive, too simple for it's location directly at the sea.
Luxurious apartments will be build here
Offered at European prices.
To life in the first row - for a rent of 150 Euro - was possible.
However, it will be a thing of the past soon.
A tropical paradise?
That doesn't apply to Phuket anymore.
But maybe, in 10 years, you will recall 2009 as the 'good old times',
when Phuket still was worth a visit.
Recorded June to August 2009
Voice over: Christian Balser
Text: Kurt Gerster
Camera: Sony DSC-HX1
Edited using Sony Vegas 9 Platinum