Pattaya city seen from an overlook.
Pattaya lurks provocatively just three hours by road from Bangkok and less to lovely Ko
Samet island via Ban Phe port and a 40 minute boat ride.
Attractions (for some): Pattaya's raison d'être is partners for hire, short or long
term, male, female or somewhere in between - the selection is huge, the attitude is relaxed
and prices are not expensive. But Pattaya also offers access to fair water sports,
fun shopping, golf, sights such as classic Thai temples and gardens and nearby theme parks - so amazingly families come here as well as those looking for Some Kind of Love.
The corniche is pretty and yields endless entertainment of the "Jeez,
did you see that?" variety, as does the 'Walking Street' and pink-lit, beer-bars after
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Pattaya corniche and narrow coarse sand beach.
Downsides: The main beach is small, the sand is coarse and the water is murky
and unattractive, though reasonably clean. A much bigger beach, Jomthien,
is farther south and will require a very long walk or a taxi/bike
ride to reach. It's a primo windsurfing spot but the sand is still
coarse, the water unattractive and high-rises line the shore. Gays
line the north end of Jomtien as well as parts of the town.
Pattaya town is an overdeveloped jumble of pink-lit girlie/boy bars,
half finished construction and monster hotels. This is not a serious
beach destination. Nearby Ko
Jomthien beach is huge but is totally lacking in charm.
is, however, a surprisingly inoffensive haven for the love-dispossessed
- wrinklies, plug uglies and handicapped mix it with arabs, military
personnel and stressed love refugees who have three things in common:
they have money to spend, they are hot for sleek Asians and
they have all the fashion sense of a third-degree burn.
Interestingly Thai men mostly don't seem bothered that many of their
prettiest girls/boys are running around with butt-ugly foreigners.
The hired hands too appear relaxed and tolerant and often spend a
couple of weeks traveling around Thailand - especially to proper
beach resorts - with men who treat them like princesses and pay them enough to support their families for a year.
Love and/or marriage are not uncommon results of these liaisons.
Million Years Stone Park, photo by TrapperFrank
Some of the Things to Do in/around Pattaya:
- Pattaya Beach Resort Water Park
- Pattaya Crocodile Farm
- Funny Land Amusement Park
- Underwater World Aquarium
- Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum
- Mini Siam model village
- Golf on one of 20 courses nearby
- Visiting various Thai temples
- Elephant village
- Sri Racha Tiger Zoo
- Visit an island such as Ko Samet
Nong Nooch Botanical Garden, near Pattaya
But nighttime is when Pattaya comes alive...the main street and girl zone.
An open air beer-bar with Thai boxers warming up in the background and hostesses nattering to dispossessed romantics.
The best season extends from December to March when rainfall is very low and temperatures pretty warm but not humid. Average highs in the period are 30C ( 86F) and lows are 23C (73F).
The worst months are hot and oppressively humid April, May.
OK months if you don't mind some rain/cloud/rough seas/mosquitoes are June to November. Temperatures change little year round with highs in the low 30sC and lows in the early 20sC. The key factor to observe is humidity.
Your Own Boyz, for a price, photo by GoScoutUK.
Girls for hire. Photo by Kay Chernush, US State Department
Two points of view of prostitution in Thailand:
- 'Like slaves on an auction block waiting to be selected, victims of human trafficking have to perform as they are told or risk being beaten. Sex buyers often claim they had no idea that most women and girls abused in prostitution are desperate to escape, or are there as a result of force, fraud, or coercion'. (US State Department).
- 'A girl arrives in Krung Thep (Bangkok) from Isaan feeling lonely, terrified, inadequate, poor. A middle-aged man arrives from the West feeling, lonely, terrified, inadequate, rich. They're like two halves of a coin. All my mother's bar does is facilitate their inevitable congress, supply the beer and the music, the short- term accommodation, and rake off a little profit.
The whole thing is driven by a good healthy primeval need for animal warmth and comfort. In all my years with the Game I've only come across half a dozen serious cases of abuse by one party by another, and I figure that's because the whole thing works perfectly as an expression of natural morality and grassroots capitalism'. (John Burdett's superb Bangkok Haunts crime thriller)
p.s. Pattaya's beginning as a serious sex resort was in 1961 when American servicemen on R 'n' R from the Vietnam War arrived looking for animal warmth and comfort.
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