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1. Posted by Daglz (Budding Member, 32 posts) 20 May '08 02:53

Hi Guys

Its only a two weeks till me and a couple of mates head off to backpack through Asia and then to work in the UK, we are looking to spend around two months throughout South East Asia with two weeks of that voluntering at a orphanege in Chiang Rai. A couple of mates from here in Aus though were thinking of comng over to visit and have a bit of a holiday for themselves for a week or so, it will just be a full on drinking and party time while they here and they were thinking of meeting us in Phuket. two of us have been to Phuket before and well i dont really feel like going back again so I am thinking of taking them to Koi Samui or a full moon party depending on dates and also can any one tell me a bit about Pattaya? I have read and heard it has a bit of a reputation but honestly it just sounds like another Phuket. So if anyone has any first hand knowlege of Pattaya having been there please let me know your thoughts

2. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 20 May '08 03:24

The image most people have of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah is really a result of careless and sensationalist reporting by various media around the world. It is true that there are many middle-aged men who have found they can afford to retire here often with a wife or girlfriend half their age...who are we to judge? - ...but it is also a fun holiday resort and great value for money.
Visually, the beaches in Pattaya are not up to much compared to elsewhere in Thailand; it’s a very urban environment...rows of umbrellas and deck-chairs. Although people do swim, the sea is rather polluted…how much is unclear….they claim to have cleaned up the water a lot in the last few years and have marked of areas for swimmers. Neighbouring Jomtien beach about a 15 min “bus” ride away looks to be more swimmer-friendly but there is the occasional bout of untreated sewerage there from time to time. (This IS Thailand!). Cosy beach and Sugar beach between Pattaya and Jomtien offer less crowded or urban alternatives. Bear in mind that what is done to monitor pollution on any of the beaches throughout Thailand is not clear. Inevitably, wherever you are, ALL the main holiday beaches in Thailand are subject to pollution from time to time depending on season wind and tides.
All the same many people enjoy the beaches in and around Pattaya....At both Pattaya and Jomtien beaches you can hire all sorts of water sports stuff, and it’s all pretty cheap.
Off shore there are one or two islands with much nicer beaches, they are easily accessible for a day trip. If you go to Koh Laan, the main beach is really just a row of restaurants etc., but, it’s well worth hiring a moped and driving over to the other side of the island.....views from the top are great and there are some very quiet beaches there. Or simply walk along the coast for a bit to get away from the crowds.
Further down the coast towards Sattahip there are some quite reasonable beaches, Ban Sare or Ban Amphoe for example.
There are numerous good quality golf courses, horse riding and motor sports, both karting and a car racing circuit. There are some small airfields nearby for fans of light aircraft too.

The Sanctuary of Truth is a rather unexpected attraction given the nature and reputation of Pattaya as a holiday destination. Built by a wealthy business family to celebrate the religions of the world in is an enormous hand-carved wooden building built on a small promontory at Naklua the Northern end of Pattaya.
You’ll need a Sawngthaew or Motorcycle taxi to get there and it is rather dear to get in....current price unknown.
Work on the building seems to be continually in progress, and provides employment for many artisans and craftsmen from all over the country.
A walk around the site you’ll see carvers at work, inside the building are signs explaining each section of the building, and just marvel at the wonderful carving.
The building itself is amazing but there are also some peripheral attractions that don’t seem so wonderful. One can rent a horse to ride around the site. At the time your correspondent was there one of the animals had got out of control and was being chased around the site by clearly untrained staff.
Another “attraction is the dolphin show. Here a small species of Dolphins -are put through there paces in a muddy pond, balancing balls and splashing the audience....it’s all rather embarrassing really.
However, all in all despite the rather second rate other attractions the site is well worth a visit.

Pattaya offers some of the best shopping outside Bangkok, and it is actually more accessible being sited in a much smaller area. Along the beach stalls shops and arcades offer all the usual souvenir stuff and some things that might cause a few raised eyebrows.... (A Samurai Sword or replica gun?!?!). Lots of ersatz stuff and big brand copies, CDs and DVDs for 150 baht, computer programs.....
The malls (Check out “MIKE’S” & “ROYAL GARDEN PLAZA” - accessible from Beach Rd or Second Rd) offer more quality goods still at great prices. Royal garden has a good eatery on the top floor and Mikes has a public swimming pool on the roof!
Other Malls around town include “Big C” on 2nd road, Tesco’s on Pattaya North (Nua), and Carrefour on Pattaya Central (Klang), and the new the Avenue Complex on Pattaya Second Road, featuring the Villa supermarket for those craving a taste of home – at a price. All these have a range of other shops and restaurants all under one air-conditioned roof. Tesco and Big C also have stores on Sukumvit Rd - the main road from Bangkok.

Eating out in Pattaya & Jomtien is a treat! There’s everything form every country and it’s all cheap! Even the up=market stuff is half what you’d pay in Europe. You can eat US, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Full English Breakfast, Italian, Belgian, Dutch, German.......what am I doing? The list is endless.
BUT
There’s one I’ve missed out....THAI food! Thai food is wonderful.....everything from mild Chinese based noodles to hot and spicy Issan food....seafood, barbeque, Tom Yam soups...try it...you’ll love it.....if you want to spend a bit of Money try Ruen Thai on 2nd road or Sugar Hut on Thap Phraya Rd, the hill between Jomtien and Pattaya. Ruen Thai has great food from the all regions of Thailand and puts on an ethnic floor show music, dance or even demonstration Thai boxing! Sugar Hut is in fact a very beautiful resort, the restaurant is in a traditional Thai style wooden house. The atmosphere is amazing.... you remove your shoes on entering the dining area and the seating is either traditional low or for those of us who are less flexible there are “normal” height chairs and tables. Everything is teak and silk....just a pity the menu is so badly written and the food is a little on the bland side, but for a one off evening out it’s a must.
At the other end of the price range there are the small Thai restaurants and street stalls dotted all over town....many won’t have a menu in English so just walk in, sit down and look hungry.....let them bring you something and try and guess what it is you’re eating....for (a lot) less than $5 for 2 you can’t go wrong. A bowl of street noodles can be as little as 15 baht.
Just one phrase you might find useful....”Mai Pet” (one for the Geordies!) - this means “not hot”...it won’t mean no chillies but it might bring it down to a level where you can just about eat it! - “Mai Prik” is NO chillies at all.

The night life in Pattaya is legendary....although now the bars officially close at 1.00pm; this does not stop some places from turning music down and carrying on till the early hours of daylight.
There are discos, clubs bars of sorts including the girlie places....

As with almost everywhere in Thailand, the sex trade ripples through Pattaya like veins through a stilton, and in a similar way gives the place its distinctive character. Aimed at both Thais and tourists it is quite unlike the red-light areas of Europe and America, it isn’t nearly as sleazy; mainly it consists of small open bars where (middle-aged) men sit drinking beer and talking to the “bar-girls”. If a tryst is arranged it will probably take place in one of the hundreds of hotels that permit “guests”. There is very little open display of lewdness as this is not approved of in Thailand. The “Go-go Bars” are behind closed doors and have naked or semi naked girls pole dancing or rather holding a pole and swaying to music. You and your (young) family would not be admitted to a Go-go bar – (couples would). If you went to an open beer bar you would be treated as a perfectly ordinary customer and the girls would dote on your children. (They are mostly mothers themselves). ..............and as for the “seediness” how many men do you know go to Hamburg or Amsterdam and find a wife?

For something a little more “wholesome” - on 2nd road spend an hour or so at the Malibu Bar....it’s a girl and lady-man show....a low budget affair, they make their own elaborate costumes and mime to well-known western songs. Every night they tread the boards from 8 till about 12.00 midnight...sometimes poor and amateurish but always entertaining...DO NOT miss Tina Turner! This guy is actually quite professional and very good indeed. He does a couple of performances every night and the place fills just to watch his act. Unfortunately sometimes he has to take time off (twice a night, 7 days a week, year in year out - who wouldn’t?!?) and the act is performed by a less talented stand-in. All -in- all a great friendly atmosphere, lots of couples and even kids - and no smut!!!!....no admission charge, and they do food.

If you are finding the heat a bit too much there are plenty of enclosed air-conditioned bars with a western theme, be they Irish, English, Belgian or whatever. Here you can eat “comfort food” and watch replays of your favourite old TV shows and live football.

If you’re tired out by all this...get a massage. Make sure it’s actually a massage establishment and not a “gentleman’s relaxation” facility! There are plenty of small boutiques you can go in and get a 1or 2 hour leg rub for about 200 to 400 baht and some beautiful Spas that will pamper you for the best part of a day for a few grand. (Thai baht that is!)

Pattaya remains one of the few seaside towns where anyone can do what they’ve always dreamed of.... But at half the price!

3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru, 1295 posts) 20 May '08 04:29

Quoting Daglz

Hi Guys

Its only a two weeks till me and a couple of mates head off to backpack through Asia and then to work in the UK, we are looking to spend around two months throughout South East Asia with two weeks of that voluntering at a orphanege in Chiang Rai. A couple of mates from here in Aus though were thinking of comng over to visit and have a bit of a holiday for themselves for a week or so, it will just be a full on drinking and party time while they here and they were thinking of meeting us in Phuket. two of us have been to Phuket before and well i dont really feel like going back again so I am thinking of taking them to Koi Samui or a full moon party depending on dates and also can any one tell me a bit about Pattaya? I have read and heard it has a bit of a reputation but honestly it just sounds like another Phuket. So if anyone has any first hand knowlege of Pattaya having been there please let me know your thoughts

Well, if money is a concern then Pattaya will be your best bet! Right from the start if you only take the VIP bus from the Ekamai bus station (off a Skytrain stop on Sukhumvit Road) it will be around 117 baht for the 2 hour ride. Compare that to flying to Phuket!

Hotels and restaurants are cheaper in Pattaya. Transportation is only 10 baht for foreigners using baht buses. Hotels are cheaper too! Many hotels in Pattaya have "all you can eat" breakfast buffets for cheap prices!

Pattaya Beach is only good for walking, shopping, restaurants, bars and sunbathing - lousy for swimming. Nearby Jomtien or Naklua is better. Many hotels, even cheap hotels have pools you can use.

Lots of nightlife, lots of bars, movie theaters, malls, street vendors and travel agencies for tours. Get a hotel near Pattaya 2nd Road so you can walk to most places. Basic hotels with air and hot water start around 400 baht in the summer during low season.

Map of Pattaya:
http://www.guidetothailand.com/pattaya-thailand/map-pattaya-city.php
http://www.guidetothailand.com/pattaya-thailand/map-pattaya-northbeachroad.php
http://www.guidetothailand.com/pattaya-thailand/map-pattaya-southbeachroad.php

You can spend a lot more and be less satisfied than Pattaya! If you don't like Pattaya it is real cheap to head back to Bangkok!

Good luck.

4. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 20 May '08 16:56

Daglz,
You have gotten excellent advice from both Wil & Albert. As Wil has listed, there is plenty to do in Pattaya beside the bar scene. Plenty of couples and familes have a great holiday in Pattaya and never get near the bars. But to be fair, most guys do go to Pattaya to chase the ladies, or the boys, or even the ladyboys! I have photos from Walking Street to prove it! I compare Pattaya to Las Vegas, and I should know. Life in the fast lane, 24 hrs a day. You can go down to Beach Road at 6:00am and there will be someone who will say; "I go home with you". If you like to party, this is the place. If you want beautiful beaches and clear, warm water, this is the place. Day trip Koh Larn and you can have a great day at the beach and still have a cheap room and great choices for dinner plus many bars/discos for a drink afterwards.

Pattaya is not for everyone, but I think you will enjoy your time there.

5. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 20 May '08 17:43

BTW - if you arrive at the airport, there is no need to goto Bkk, just get a taxi (1300 baht) minibus (about 300 baht) or the BELL bus service (about 160 baht) direct to Pattaya.

6. Posted by Daglz (Budding Member, 32 posts) 20 May '08 18:53

thanks for all the advice I had heard that it did not have the nicest beaches (but then again either did the main beach of Phuket and still enjoyed it there) but i think it might be a place we check out if even for a couple of days and as you have all said just make a day trip to a nicer spot to swim.

7. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member, 454 posts) 20 May '08 19:24

Yep the beaches are basivcally just rows of deck-chairs and umbrellas.
THe sea is pretty polluted although some still enter. people think Jomtien (next bay is cleaner)there is no evidence to support this, in fact it was rated lower than Pattaya a couple of years ago.

Down the coast or on thwe islands is your best bet for a beach. Also Sugar Beach between Pattaya and Jomtien is less commercial and being on as headland the is less full of rubbish. Wong Amat beach to the North has a sewerage outlet.

8. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru, 3533 posts) 24 May '08 10:19

Daglz,
I will be posting a few photos soon of both Jomtien & Koh Larn. It is no contest, take the ferry over to Koh Karn and you can have a very nice day at the beach for small baht. There is a slow ferry for 40 baht round trip. Best price, but then you have to pile into a truck to get to the beaches, between 20-50 baht each way, depending on what beach. The faster ferry costs 150 baht and it drops you at Twaen Beach. Perfect beach, white sand, clear water, gentle waves, plenty of places to sit and eat/drink plus they have the water sports if you want that option. This is your best bet IMO. Faster boat and you don't have to transfer to a truck and be driven to a beach, price works out to the same as slow ferry + truck. You can hire a very fast boat but it costs around 2,000 baht. This only makes sense if there are over 10 in your party. Mostly the Chinese & Korean tour groups use this option.

Send me a PM if you have Pattaya questions.

9. Posted by Daglz (Budding Member, 32 posts) 26 May '08 02:56

thanks you have all been very helpful

10. Posted by Daveoo679 (Budding Member, 3 posts) 22 May '09 13:44

If you ask 10 different people about Pattaya you will get 10 different answers.
Pattaya is a place you MUST try in your list of Life expereiences, if you dont you will never know, if you do you will never forget, but be careful you may just find yourself mesmorised by the life here.