I will be gaining a whole new reader base with this topic heading although I think they might be quickly disappointed once they get into the post! Sorry guys move on. For those of you who find this sentence mystifying the heading is based on the terminology used between a farang and a Thai bar girl, go go dancer or katoey (ladyboy) etc as to whether the pleasures of her/his company will be enjoyed for a short time or long time, the latter usually being overnight.
My contribution to the many articles on Pattaya has nothing on the walking street, the big girlie area, as we never made it there. Seen it all before in Phuket’s Patong and Nana Plaza in Bangkok and am well over it. For the two people left reading the post at this stage carry on for a more balanced review of Pattaya and some associated topics.
We have just flown back to Isaan from a “flying” visit to Bangkok and Pattaya as foreshadowed in my post Building Isaan Week 17 HERE. The Bangkok bit was to get some documents witnessed at the Australian embassy and the short-time overnighter in Pattaya to look at some windows and doors we have ordered for our new house from a company called DeKu German Windows. If you want to read more you can follow the weekly building reports HERE.
We flew into Bangkok with Lion Air, one of the many local regional airlines operating out of Udon Thai International airport, our closest large city about 80 km from us. Their website is HERE. The return flight Udon to Bangkok was 2,800 THB or A$110.00 for two people, which didn’t break the bank. I would pay more in petrol to drive there and back.
The Australian embassy was remarkably efficient, as it was last time I was there, and we were out of there in 10 minutes. If only the politicians could run the country as smoothly!
The nicest part of the time there are Thai security people on the front gate. They are really friendly and helpful to the extent that one of them flagged down taxis on the main road for us until he found one that could drive us to Pattaya for the 1,500 THB I had seen as the going rate on the internet. I tried to slip him a few baht but he wouldn’t accept. You can also get a bus or even a train from Bangkok to Pattaya, a trip of about 120 km or two hours driving, but I just wanted easy and A$55.00 + tolls was no big deal.
We had booked into a hotel in central Pattaya called Adelphi, and you can read the Booking.com reviews HERE.
It was all very comfortable, which you’d expect when paying the big money, 1,600 THB or close to A$60.00 a night. I know…..outrageous! An extensive buffet breakfast for two included and a great swimming pool on the roof.
Finding hotels in Thailand is always a challenge and you should do your homework via Google Earth/maps, in the unlikely event they have your accommodation correctly located. Be positive and try.
Just as a funny diversion to illustrate how useless Google Earth can be, try typing “Australian Embassy Bangkok” into the search function. Not a totally obscure request. This is what you’ll get:
Even if you Google “Australian Embassy Bangkok” this is what the return page looks like.
There seems not to be hotel “areas” in Thailand from my limited experience. You will find them scattered anywhere. A five star might be hidden away down a local backwater street with washing drying on the roadside like ours:
Once we had unpacked we hit the streets to explore a little of the local area, as neither of us had been to Pattaya before. We also hadn’t eaten that day as we left home at 5.30 am to drive to Udon airport for our 8.00 am flight. A beer was looking pretty attractive by 3.00 pm too.
Now I have to declare my prejudices up front and let you know that places like Pattaya and Patong, the party town equivalent in Phuket, just aren’t my idea of a good time any more. I spent around eight weeks in Phuket over two visits and I am really over the whole bar and farang tourist experience.
I too thoroughly enjoyed my first holiday in Phuket where I also met Gaun, my wife to be at that stage. It was so different, alive and engaging compared with Canberra, my home base at the time, a very staid city that would rate as a total opposite experience to Patong or Pattaya!
I suppose I am now at the living in Thailand phase of my life rather than party mode and the major holiday destinations just aren’t locations where I want to live day to day mixing with lots of farang like me. Walking the streets of Pattaya with a camera is fun though if you haven’t experienced the mix of beer, sex and beach in a Thai context before.
What really gets me is where I see this ignorance extending into real Thai situations. My village has a couple of foreigners living in it who are drunk a lot/most of the time and often walk around the streets just in shorts. Now Thais are very conservative on the whole and it is unlikely you will see them other than covered up especially out in public. It just isn’t part of their way of life so why impose our standards on them and expect it to be OK? A suburban village in rural Isaan isn’t the new Pattaya so don’t treat it like that.
The locals are too polite to say anything but it is a poor reflection on the rest of us farang who want to fit in as much as possible as we are only the incredibly lucky guests in their country. I watched one of these guys, pissed out of his brain, bottle of beer in hand, acting a total fool at the local festival that I wrote about HERE in a crowd of fully dressed Thai villagers, the ladies performing a traditional dance routine.
He compounded the situation by patting a young Down Syndrome child on the head, which upset him. If you have done ANY reading on the country, touching anybody on the top of the head, especially a child, is a total no no.
There are many, many good quality expats living in Thailand who make the effort to fit in or at least not upset the locals. There are also many people who one suspects are rejects from their home countries and who should have never been given a visa. It’s a subject I feel very strongly about as you can tell – sorry to get off track and all serious. Back to Pattaya.
Our wandering post-beer took us down to the beach just to say we had done it. For those of you who have seen Manly beach in Sydney, this could almost be a replica except there’s no surf. It had that city beach feel, not surprisingly as it is a city beach, with a road at the back with bars, shops and other retail outlets behind that again.
I don’t know what it was like pre-coup but I know in Phuket the army has cleared the beach of chairs, massage services and makeshift bars and food places in an effort to clean up the image of Thailand. I suspect the same may have happened here because it was all very “un-Thai” looking.
Away from the beachside it is easy to spend as much time as you like until you drop exploring the area. There is so much to see.
Heaps of massage places of course. Close to the beach an oil massage will cost you 300 THB an hour, a couple of roads back it seems to fall to 200 THB and then further back again 250 THB for some reason. Gaun thinks the 200 THB is a “loss leader” in advertising terminology. It will cost you a further 1,000 THB inside, if you see what I mean!
The attraction of Pattaya is the huge choice of bars and eating places catering specifically to farang. For those people who want to go on holiday and eat as they would at home, watch the same sport and even get a Fosters beer in the right place, then Pattaya is for you. It’s like being at home but warmer. I am not knocking it. After a week of eating Thai I get real pangs for a steak and some chips. A bit harder to achieve in Si Bun Ruang.
It’s not all beer, eating and massage though. There are plenty of other ways to spend money.
Having written in a previous post just how thrifty Gaun was she got caught up in the excitement of Pattaya and bought two scarves for 200 THB, some place-mats for 220 THB and these sunglasses for 100 THB.
Or stay permanently:
I enjoyed my time in Pattaya and I can see why it is so popular with those people who like a particular type of holiday. I doubt I will visit it again but it is good to cross it off the to do in Thailand list.
Just for your information the taxi ride back to Bangkok, or Don Mueang airport in our case, is cheaper at 1,200 THB plus tolls. Your hotel will organise or there are plenty of taxi places on the street.
Thanks for reading.