When I first went to Phuket, the very first thing I did was find a quiet beach, down a long windy difficult road, and swam in the sea.
The beach was paradise beach, and it had private access, you paid 100 baht to enter, and very few people were there, it was clean, there were food and drinks and sun beds and it was great.
I decided to revisit this beach and see what's changed over the last four years and there has been a lot of changes!
For one thing, it's now free to enter the beach. You can't really own a beach in Thailand, but you can own the access to it, which is effectively the same. Here the access to the beach means you cannot take your own drinks or food onto the beach, and drones are a no-no.
Paradise beach guards provide lockers for your valuable snacks and Phantom 3's, but squeezing a drone into the locker was damn difficult.
Some changes are for the better, you no longer drive up and down over an insanely steep hill, a carpark at the top of the hill, and a free shuttle bus does that for you.
The food was once Thai traditional, now it's more farang popular. Very fancy burgers and pizzas are pricey compared to street food, but priced for foreigners. Their gourmet burgers are around $12-$15, but the quality matches the price. Beers are around $3-$4.
The drone rule, means I couldn't get my usual beach swoop-over, I could only get distance shots from out at sea. This is increasingly the rule in Thailand, I was blocked in Pattaya Park too. Which is why the only drone shot of the tower was from the sea nearby. Oh well.
As it's gotten popular, it's no longer quiet. But it's not overcrowded, just no longer the tranquil spot I enjoyed 4 years ago. They have regular parties here too, with the free shuttle bus taking you out to the beach at night from downtown Patong.