Stripped naked, Pattaya has a tattoo running across her lower back, and motorbike scars etched on her knees. Her abdominal stretch marks are so bad they scream, and dressed up she doesn’t look too much better. Pattaya sports and snorts high heels, low-cut tops, and the kind of short skirts that would make your grandmother wheeze. But believe me, I’ve seen Pattaya’s wardrobe and she has some really nice clothes hanging there.
I guess for every person who visits Pattaya there are three or four who wouldn’t contemplate even going there. Pattaya has a reputation as a place that’s sleazy and full of bar girls selling cheap sex. To most souls, Pattaya is a genital herpes scab vividly burning on smirking lips, but to those in the know, when Pattaya dresses up she can wear a very warm smile.
Daytime in Pattaya is fairly timid unless you walk into one of its afternoon go go bars. But if you’re not that type of guy, or girl, then nothing too startling is going to happen. At worst, a walk to the beach via Pattaya’s many beer bar streets may get you a yell from a bar girl hoping to exchange money for honey. And the beach is as good a place as any to start dressing up Pattaya.
Pattaya and Jomtien Beaches
Pattaya is an ex fishing village that’s never going to win a Blue Flag beach award, but whatever your shade of sunglasses, the sand is still yellow and the sea a kind of blue. Pattaya’s beach (photo below) is popular at the height of the tourist season and comfortably quiet at other times of the year.
Jomtien beach (about 3 km from South Pattaya, photo below) is a far better stretch of sand and does get much busier. If you can put up with the constant hassle of food and trinket vendors that hawk along Jomtien beach then it’s worth going there. Jomtien has a good mix of quality hotels and restaurants, as well as a splattering of girlie bars, but be warned, the resort has a large proportion of gay activity too. Be ready to see a lot of young Thai men and older western males walking as couples.
Both beaches offer the usual range of water sports and activity. Jet skiing, parachuting and banana boats are all available but check out the pricing and quality of equipment first.
Pattaya by day has a lot to offer
Pattaya Four Regions Floating Market – If you’re looking to step back into time then Pattaya Floating Market is worth checking out. The olde world market is housed within a village built above a lake and has food, clothing and handicrafts from the north, north-east, central and south regions of Thailand. Entry is free and is a day trip I can highly recommend.
Nong Nooch Botanical and Tropical Gardens – Here you can see traditional Thai dancing, an elephant show and view acres of beautifully manicured gardens. There are also birds and reptiles on display, as well as the chance to take an elephant ride and have your photograph ‘snapped’ with a tiger or orang utan. Nong Nooch is an excellent day out.
Million Years Stone Park and Crocodile Farm – The park has beautiful gardens filled with exotic plants, flowers and giant rocks. The crocodile farm has the largest collection of salt water crocodiles in Thailand and there is also an excellent crocodile show which puts on eight performances a day. There’s a very funny monkey show at the park too. I’ve visited Million Years Stone Park and Crocodile Farm on three separate occasions and thoroughly enjoyed each one.
Mini Siam – If you want to see a miniature version of the world and a 1 to 25 scale of some of Thailand’s most well-known landmarks and historical sites, then Mini Siam (picture left) is the excursion you need to book. How often in your life will you get the chance to be photographed on the same day next to London’s Tower Bridge, the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris and New York’s Statue of Liberty. This is a definite one for your Facebook account and photo album. Mini Siam also has a separate go-kart race track on its grounds for those who feel the need to speed.
Soi Buakhao Market – If you want to visit an open air market which has plenty of bargains then Soi Buakhao market is the perfect place to visit. The market opens on Tuesdays and Fridays and sells literally everything as well as having a few pleasant beer bars dotted about. It’s Pattaya’s best day market by a country mile, but be warned, it gets red-hot inside and is always extremely busy.
Pattaya has many more sightseeing options and most hotels will have brochures advertising the types of places and pastimes available. Most tours and excursions will be bookable from your hotel reception and in general they are excellent value.
Pattaya’s wide range of hotels are also superb value when compared to similar accommodation in Thailand’s provincial cities and towns. Competition to fill rooms is fierce during the low season, which stretches to about nine months of the year. Discounted hotel rooms are widely available in the resort, and their service and facilities are usually of a high standard.
Pattaya is also a shopaholic’s dream with its cheap day markets and high-class shopping malls like the Royal Garden Plaza on Beach Road. Pattaya is a retail friendly city with enough goods to fill the chunkiest suitcase.
Pattaya at night is like a time bomb ticking away in a firework factory. You just need to know how to defuse it. Refuse it might be better words.
Pattaya has restaurants serving international cuisine from almost every country you can think of and their variety is only a short walk or baht bus ride away. Thai, British, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Korean, Middle Eastern and Japanese menus are sprinkled around the city.
I do honestly believe if you visit Pattaya as a pure tourist you should at least sample the atmosphere of its sex industry nightlife. Soi 7 & 8, Soi Pattayaland and Pattaya’s famous Walking Street are all great locations for soaking up Pattaya’s wild and crazy night entertainment. You will be approached by bar girls, and possibly ladyboys, but a firm but polite refusal will defuse any unwanted situation.
Pattaya may be a tart with a heart, but she’s also a beautiful show pony. The city has thrills and frills, and if you haven’t seen the sins of Pattaya then you sure ain’t lived.
Take it away Frank, I gotta lock up the joint. When are those goddamn Yank sailors gonna leave town, Pattaya’s got a handbag crammed full of dollars. I gotta hit the street and get her some more lip cream. Take it away Frank.
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, Pattaya, Pattaya.”
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