I was rather interested to hear that some chaps indeed beleive that ""Phuket is going down the toilet for family tourists"as we are just in the process of buying a villa on Phuket's West Coast. And we certainly plan to bring our youngsters down to stay.
We actually first visited Phuket well over 35 years ago, before there were any West Coast beach resorts, other than some hippy occupied shacks. The island has certainly changed, but all in all for us it remains a rather charming place with loads of things for kids to do: riding, diving, fishing, golf etc.
Of course, Patong Beach is also a great amenity. It may not be quiet enough for everyone's taste, but where else can one find such a supurb collection of night time venues on a tropical isle? Our younger grandchildren enjoy chatting up the ladies at the beer bars while the teen agers have a great work out in the discos. Often we start a Patong evening off around 9.00 p.m. with dinner at Restaurant Four (set up in the parking lot just north of Bangla Road) or at the Belgium owned Coconut Cafe right on the beach sand.
With its excellent direct air connections to Europe and Asia, I firmly beleive that real estate values in Phuket will not only hold their own, but continue to climb. Of course, we wouldn't be investing there if we beleived otherwise.
Also, we have generally found Phuket people to be very helpful and accommodating. Sure there is the odd tuk-tuk driver who trys to take advantage, but as soon as one addresses them with a smile in Thai, they quickly become more reasonable. Don't forget that the drivers also to make a living, what with the high daily rents the truck owners charge.
And by the way, as more than one of our members has pointed out, there are much cheaper places to stay and eat on Phuket than in the West Coast beach resorts. For example, we find the prices at the big Lotus store not much dearer than in Bangkok.
The main point that I want to make is that its probably a bit early to write off Phuket. Despite all the development, IMHO the place will continue to attract tourists and farang residents for a good many years to come.