The image of a man in his senior years holding a baby and a tin cup who cannot look you in the eye sat on the hard damp concrete hoping he will get enough donations this day to be able to buy baby milk embarrasses farang. He is saddled with the burden of looking after this baby because its mother, his daughter, has gone to America with a farang and hasn't sent any money this month was what I discovered when I asked whose baby it was. But it isn't the old man I feel sorry for. Why would I? Passing bar girls who have had a customer last night will give him 10 baht. I just gave him 20 baht and if he doesn't get enough money today he can go to the temple and the monks will feed them both. Neither is it the fatherless baby. No, it's the tourists I feel sorry for because their holiday is being spoilt. It's so unfair after spending all that money to have to put up with beggars. As one forum member on teakdoor.com said, "there was a small police presence operating a zero tolerance to them, that was obviously an effective deterrent. It certainly added to the image of an attractive destination."... How thoughtful!
Thailand has no benefit system and no NHS so keep a few coins in your pocket, and please, give to those in need.
Warning - Contains adult material:
When you get out of your sterile and cooled environment that is your transfer limo the first thing you smell is the fusion of cooking and beer and seawater and sewers that is Pattaya and whilst this aroma isn't pleasant, neither is it objectionable and strangely, you start to like it because it is the smell of party time. If you have been before have a look at the virtual guide at Pattaya Photoguide. Known as the city where everything is for sale, it is Blackpool on steroids, bordering on madness derived from an overindulgence of Disney fantasy. This is the real Roger Rabbit's Toon Town.
It will invite you to every party, be your best friend, and relieve you of every as yet unrealised sensual desire. Crammed to the rafters with bars, dance shows, available girls, restaurants, street sellers, Australians, Russians, Americans, Europeans and ex-pat Brits all of whom are your mates in waiting ready to take you on yet another beano.
Do not be fooled, this modern day Sodom and Gomorrah is not for Pentacostal Church goers or Muslim fundamentalists or anyone else who is easily offended. This is not a family holiday resort. Children live here, but they don't belong here. This is an adults paradise driven by circumstance and if you're thinking 'oh no, that's not for me', you are mistaken because Pattaya also boasts the best chefs in an amazing variety of restaurants, the finest hotels, real Thai markets, and some of the best shopping outside of Bangkok. Pattaya conflicts with itself like Jekyll and Hyde as by day it behaves like a good little boy and by night the altruistic hedonism that is Buddhism panders to your every whim. Pattaya is a legal high that should carry a public health warning.
If you have not been before and are sceptical about the adult entertainment, as I used to be, perhaps you should try an Over 18's Page.. I do not believe anyone has ever been there and thought it wrong or distasteful though there are plenty of experts just waiting to tell you otherwise but Pattaya also has the 'sex tourist' and whenever I tell people I like to go to Pattaya for its vacational value they always say "yeah yeah of course you do" wink wink and how sad that friends and colleagues think so low of me that they would pair me with the John Major look alikes who back home wear a dirty beige raincoat, talk through their nose, and smell of stale cigarette smoke. Yes they are here, along with the obese, the ugly, the disabled, and every other kind who cannot attract a mate. They want sex just the same as the cynical and the puritanical who preach sexual abstinence. I have lost count the number of times I have heard "I would never pay for sex", ok don't, but for petes sake stop telling everyone else. I don't tell you about my sexual preferences and I couldn't care a monkey's left bollock about yours.
If you are female and up in arms right now, you are Janet Street Porter. Go away Janet, no one gives a shit about your opinion. If you are Shami Chakrabarti the same still applies, f**k off. Contrary to JSP teaching that naked dancers and show girls and youthful party-timers set back feminism 30 years or SC's human rights arguments that always come back to racism that only white people can commit, the girls want the company of white men and want to be spoilt just a little bit by them. They like being girly and wiping your forehead with a cold cloth that they call a pahyen or pie yen parkanuu and making you dinner and looking after a man. Feminists want to enforce their misguided doctrine on women who don't want it. And Thai girls don't want it. This is 'girly land' and that includes the boys. One day walking along soi 11 a young man asked me "You want to see some showgirls?" I replied that girls were not my thing. Unperturbed he continued "I know what you mean, I don't like girls either, you want boyfriend?". In the same philosophical pidgeonhole I heard an American middle-age man blarting on about sex makes the bargirls empowered, they love what they do for a living because they earn more money than the men. It gives them respect from their families because they are the provider. Too many falang believe this. It is their excuse for their emotionless butterfly behaviour of - hand over the cash, f**k her hard and quick, throw her out because due to your own sexual inadequacy you have convinced yourself that is what women really want. The truth is, this girl desperately needs your money to feed her children, she will do whatever she has to do despite her family being gossiped about in the village, so what in the scullery of your pitifully unlit mind would make you think she appreciates your abhorrent behaviour and nonsensical philosophy?
Despite the reputation Pattaya has so rightly earned, and not without a great deal of effort, most of the people in Pattaya are not there looking for sex. Prostitution is illegal in Thailand but the incongruous laws do not make it illegal to solicit. Nor is it illegal to live off immoral earnings and as a result the bars employ girls, ladyboys, and young men and then charge a bar fine if you wish one of the staff to leave with you. Officially what subsequent arrangements the girl/katoey/boy make with you are a private matter and some play the game to the letter while others naively tell you how much money they want to have sex with you. The first is legal, the second is not but the Police rarely uphold this law. This makes it very easy for tourists to not break the law. You can ask for sex. You can ask how much? You can even ask to be covered in feathers and tickled with a toilet brush while her mate rogers your arsehole with a giant black vibrating dildo and you have not committed an offence. But anyone on the street asking if you would like to shag them for 500 baht has broken the law. Stick to clubs and bars and when you see someone you like ask her/him if they would like a drink, if you want to impress ask, khun yah do-um arai mai. She will immediately be a different person if you try to speak Thai. If you're in a private club, put your arm around her, and while you shouldn't do this in an open air bar, falang frequently do.
For light chit chat (and to turn the tables on her) ask:
'khun chew arai'- what's your name?
'khun aa yoo thao rai'- how old are you?
'khun maa jaak nai' - where are you from?
'khun bin seksee phuh ying' - you're a sexy girl
Add - 'chai jang suay maak' - yes, you are very beautiful (she will call you baakwaan but don't worry)
Hungry? 'khun yah bai jin khao gap phom mai' - have dinner with me
If she's ok with you ask her if she'd like to go with you tonight, bai (bye) duay mai. If she says no there is a good reason for it such as a friend of hers has her eye on you. Oh! you thought you would choose? You can ask but more likely one of them will come to you first. If you have some fantasy you want to live out just ask her, do not take it for granted she will do whatever you want, if she is unhappy she will leave and may expect to be paid. I know what you are thinking, 'bollocks to that' right? She can complain to the Police, you cannot. They speak Thai, you do not. And the Tourist Police are not interested in helping sex tourists. You'll pay her...
If you just want 'boom boom' you'll be ok. She knows what to do. If you want three in a bed ask her if she has a friend, khun mee pouuen bai duay gaaw. If you ask a question like this it will become clinical because she knows you want a good time and not her. But you will have that good time. If you want anal, khor khao bpra dtuu lang, or khor lehn dtuut (toot). Just want a BJ? khun tham baak ham duay. Choose when to ask this carefully because if it's the first thing you ask she may blow you there and then in the bar. If you want sex in the shower or on the balcony (I won't name the bloke who did that) or doggy you really don't need to ask her, just do it. But if you're really perverted, gaam wit thaan, you should get some help.
If you want her for a long time ask khun mee faan (fa-anne) , do you have a boyfriend. Do not be surprised if she says yes in which case this is for one night only. Then ask khun ow bai duay naan, you want to stay with me long time. You now need to ask a waitress for a bar fine or if you have a slate to pay, say check bin mun bar fine khrap. The bar fine varies from open bars at 200 baht to show girls from a private club at 1000 baht. Long time is usually around 3000 baht. This girl is now your girlfriend and wants to be treated as such. If you want to leave now, ask her to get dressed (she is probably in a bikini or even naked) - sai suert, go and get dressed. To say let's leave is simply bah. The payment for her services is not over and at the hotel you need to check her in and there is a service charge of 100 or 200 baht. If this lady was your wife you would still have to check her in and pay the admin fee. On top of that she will want money too. The cynical 'I have never paid for sex' task force will say, that makes her a prostitute. Well no it doesn't, if she is with you, she is not at work earning money and she can't afford that kind of luxury. A dancing girl might get as much as 200 baht a night, then there are lady drinks at 20 baht each and ping pong balls are another 20 baht each. A hard working girl can earn 15000 baht a month so when she asks you for 1000 baht she isn't being greedy. Show girls will ask for more and a mate of mine having paid a dancer 2500 baht said it was the best 45 quid he'd ever spent - including the shower and balcony.
None of this is crucial because every girl in Pattaya from the age of 3 to 103 can speak English and I once met a ten year old girl who spoke English, French, Italian, Russian, and German along with her own Thai and Cambodian. Whilst on the subject of ten year olds, if you are a paedophile or think you may satisfy some curiosity in Pattaya do not go there. Gary Glitter was lucky and only extradited from Vietnam because they did not know what to do with him. If you ask the wrong person in Thailand (which is almost everyone) they will report you to the Police. It is not unheard of for the Police to shoot first and if you survive to get to the monkey house you will be raped by prisoners and guards alike. Last time I checked there were 287 British prisoners in various locations across Thailand. Nearly half of these were suspected paedophiles several of whom have committed suicide because of the prison conditions.
Pattaya is pro-tourist so if you are stopped by the Police, apologise, because you have done something wrong. Do not get defensive and argue with them.
Do not tolerate children who can pester when you are in an open bar and spiteful when you do not give them money. I had one dig her nails into my arm and I gave her a smack round the ear. She didn't come back for seconds. Some kids have big brothers so be ready for trouble but usually they keep quiet because they don't want to talk to the Police.
I also had a grown man trying to sell something I really didn't want say to me "Eat pussy" in English, and for the most part, who cares? But this chap was Kampuchean and was passing me the biggest insult they can purvey. I have never known a Thai to be abusive to falang though jealousy does creep in sometimes. I responded verbally and he came immediately back at me with a knife in his hand. Fortunately for me he changed his mind.
Attacks on tourists are rare but as I managed to prove, you pick a fight, you will likely get one.
Do not go with freelancers. That is prostitutes, usually on the streets or beaches and who have often been blacklisted by the bars having been previously employed by them. They are cheap to use but they do not have medical checkups. Many of them are HIV+. Do not think that claim is to put you off, if you are doubtful Google Jomtien HIV and ask yourself why are there so many support groups? The anti-fun brigade consider this an indictment to sex tourist STDs being exported around the globe. They know nothing. This is indicative of Thai men who get a wife, have kids, then sleep around until the wife has had enough, goes to work as a bargirl because he has pissed off and doesn't give her any money, only to find he has given her a nasty virus. Often they are blacklisted because they were stealing or ripping off the bar owner. And while you are asleep in your hotel room she will rob you as well.
Go to the bars, open or private clubs, pay the bar fine. If she rips you off you can go back and see her Mamasan.
All the best girls are in the clubs.
These girls have ID cards and are over 18. If you go with a girl under 18 you are breaking the law. If a girl is under 18 you must get her parents permission and pay them compensation.
I know you heard it before and you are not a teenager but - Use A Condom. The experienced bar girls will not let you have boom boom without one so take plenty with you on your travels.
This is the Tropics, when you wake in the morning, shower. If you have a girl she will set the shower ready for you. She will also make you coffee while you shower and may even put the toothpaste on your toothbrush ready for you. She has been taught to do this from an early age, it is Thai culture, and no it is not against her will. She is not being submissive, nor is she your slave, and this is not a male dominated society.
Before you go out clubbing at night have another shower and shave. Thai girls do not like the smell of body odour nor rough chins.
Do not try to kiss a girl until you know her well. Kissing - joop - is not Thai culture and she may not like it.
When you get back to your hotel, take another shower, your girlfriend certainly will and will expect you to. She also won't mind if you join her in the shower and will wash you.
The melancholic emptiness you feel when you go home is perceived by all as holiday romance blues but after my third time in Pattaya and three months of listening to the same old crap, the reason why came to me in a slow revealing. At home you mostly possess acquaintances, and that includes your family, you have no friends except those who understand or those who have been to Thailand. Pattaya has half a million residents and tourists most of whom are your friends. Your acquaintances will say you have bought the friendship. Those who have been to Thailand know you did not. They will say that you bought your girlfriend, why can't you see that she only wants you for your money? They will never believe she never once asked you for money. Depressed? You bloody well ought to be and if you had a gun you would use it just to escape the moralising twat's though I can't say for sure whether you would shoot yourself or the twat.
Getting to Pattaya is easy. At Suvarnabhumi airport you can go down to the ground level and out the door where you will find the taxi meter rank. You have to queue up and get a ticket and wait your turn but it only takes a few minutes. The fare is usually around 1200 baht which is quite a lot but the journey is 70 odd miles and takes an hour an half. One advantage is the taxi driver will speak some English and his cab is air conditioned.
A cheaper option is to go by bus. Go down to the ground level and ask where you can get the 389 to Pattaya. It is only 200 baht and has aircon and toilet. I have never used this service but I do know it runs every two hours on the even hour and I believe there is a shuttle bus from the taxi rank level to the station which is inside the airport grounds. The 389 terminates at the Aircon Terminal at the wrong end of Pattaya North Road and you will need a taxi from there to your hotel which will cost you another 200 baht. The local buses running out of Ekkamai are not for the feint hearted. The 2nd Class 999 drops you in Jomtien after the best part of 4 hours with no air conditioning or toilet. I got on the wrong damn bus because I couldn't read the sign though the conductor was a really nice bloke who fetched fried chicken and a coke for me at a stop in Central Bang Na. If however you are feeling adventurous and have no time constraints I would recommend it as a means of touring Thailand.
If you go up to the departures level and out onto the driveway there is always two or three cabbies that have just dropped off from Pattaya and they will take you back with them for about 700 or 800 baht. If you want to drive yourself there you will need a map, two 50 baht notes for the tolls and a good understanding of Thai Highways or you are going to get lost. If you want to hire then in the arrivals lounge look for the tallest Thai man you have ever seen and ask him if he is Mr. Long. He will do you a good deal on a rental. Check out the Driving Page.
By far the easiest option is to pre-book a transfer through your booking agent. See the Travel Page. By far the best option if you're a single bloke or a bunch of lads is to book a limo from one of Pattaya's bars. Try Penthouse Taxi or Penthouse Hotel. Read between the lines regarding the description of hostess travel services in the luxury executive limo section. This service is not meant for happily married couples but male, female or swinger you'll love it.
Getting around Pattaya is painless. There is a persistent stream of songthao, an open back converted pickup that they call a taxi but is multi-functional. In the back is two benches, 'song thao', on which I have seen as many as 10 people in one time. They drive around set routes and if they see you walking along or standing on the edge of the footpath, which they call thaang deern or fooot baat, they beep beep the horn. If you nod they will stop and I believe they are also trained psychics because they instinctively know when you are seated. If you don't want it is polite to shake your head or if they stop say 'Mai ow khrap' but again' they just seem to know. When you want to get off you ring the bell like on a bus back home and give the driver 10 baht. Personally I always keep a wad of 20 baht notes in my pocket because you are going to get through a lot of them and I give the driver 20 whether I am with someone or alone. The central route runs round the one way system of down Beach Road and up Thanon Pattaya 2. If you're a first timer this is pretty much all you need. Click Here to take a virtual ride down Beach Road.
You can also ask a songthao to take you somewhere specific and it always seems to be 100 baht no matter how far it is. Whilst in this mode he will not stop for any other passengers. There are strict regulations covering these operators which makes them very safe to use. I wanted a rope for a new Buddha and asked a driver the best place to go. He asked for 100 baht and took me and a pal through narrow streets to the 'Darkside', so named because of the lack of street lighting, to a real Thai market that wreaked of wet fish and plastic copy handbags. I got my necklace and now we had no idea where we were we needed to get back to familiar territory. My genius mate suggested we stop a songthao and ask him to take us to Mikes Shopping Mall. The driver duly asked for 100 baht, drove 40 yards to the traffic lights and turned right for another 50 yards. I thought it worth the 100 baht for the level of mirth it provided me.
If you stumble inebriatedly out of a bar at 5am and there are no taxis you will find motorbike taxi. The riders always wear a high viz vest with the operators name on and they're ok but usually you weigh twice as much as a Thai and it doesn't feel great. More often you see them with a Thai girl sitting side saddle legs dangling on the back and every girl bears the scars of an accident but they get right back on and do it again. That's Buddhism for you, there's no point trying to avoid it because it happened for a reason. If you went to the temple it happened for a good reason, if you haven't been then it happened because you have ignored Buddha. Can you argue with philosophy like that?
There are Taxi Meters but in the city you don't need them, there are limo's, car and motorbike rents and the latter is the best means of personal transportation. You can also indulge your desires with street bikes, Harley's, jet ski's and boats. See the Driving Page.
Holiday makers hire the big bikes because they do not have a license to ride one back home. If you choose to do this it is vital you be careful. A Pattaya Daily News recent report of a fatal accident is a warning to foreign drivers. I have spoken to an inordinate number of falang drivers who do not know Thai highway regulations. The comments in the attached blog say it all with so called residents who do not know why the motorist was charged with reckless driving. If you are involved in an accident it is knock for knock with compensation payable both ways offset by who has lost the most. It does not matter to the motorcyclist that he was driving in the wrong direction because he is dead. It does matter to the motorist though because a motorcyclist has the right of way. Remember this when you are at a junction, you must let cyclists go first even if they cross your path.
Everyone who has been will tell you they know the best place to stay but it comes down to what sort of accommodation you want. I have tried but a few but they all left me with a strong opinion of them. Starting from the top of the town:
The Loma Resort and Spa in Soi Wong Amat opposite Soi Loma Hoel. If you are German you'll love it. Me, I didn't. The food is German, and not very good, the breakfast is included but it is inedible shite. The rooms are very basic and not worth the 1100 baht. The drinks are extortionately overpriced and I was charged 600 baht for a damaged bed sheet which is not listed in their terms and conditions. The final straw for me was a German on the same landing as us propositioned my girlfriend on her way to the pool. The staff are really nice but they are on a loser working in this hotel. After 4 days we decided to change hotels and they wouldn't give me a refund. Never again.
The Beach Garden Resort in Na Kleua 20 opposite Soi Wong Amat. This is chalet rental not a hotel but is clean, well kept, and the staff are excellent. Room rent is either 600 baht for terrace or 900 baht for a bungalow (this is after bartering). There is a small pool and spa and the bungalows have a verandha. There are no limits on guests or taking a girlfriend back to your room and it includes breakfast for you and anyone who stays with you. The food is very good and they have an excellent chef but there is no aircon in the open air restaurant. Evening meal is extra but stupidly cheap as are the drinks and you can have room service. It has its own access to Wongamat beach, waiter service, and in the bar/restaurant there is live entertainment with traditional musicians. If you hire a vehicle there is a manned car park in the compact complex. They always go that little bit extra for you and you can use it as a restaurant as well. Recommended.
Sunshine Garden Hotel in Pattaya Na Kleua opposite Loma Island. This is a big hotel complex and has all the amenities you expect. The rooms are excellent, the pool is huge, and the bar is ok. I thought the restaurant a bit overpriced for the quality of the food which again is primarily German but that didn't stop me eating there. Room hire does not include breakfast though the prices quoted on the internet are all inclusive. A luxury double room for the two of us was about £10 a night and it was well worth that. At the car park entrance is the politest guard in Thailand who every time he opens the barrier for you, salutes, and says the quickest "Khrap" in Pattaya. Not outstanding but I would stay here again.
A-One Pattaya Beach Resort on Beach Road between Soi3 and 4. When I was there they were building a second hotel a bit further along in the shape of a cruise liner which is now complete and supposedly even better. A-One is a very good group of four star hotels who really make your stay worthwhile but as such they are appropriately priced. The breakfast was good but the location is useless while the seaviews are stunning. Fact is you won't find a bad word said about either hotel but then you would expect quality when the cheapest out of season deal you will get is about £30 a night. If you turn up on spec and ask how much it would probably be considerably less because they are struggling to fill the rooms. Even with that problem they haven't let their standards drop. Both hotels are good for families (even though I have told you not to take your kids to Pattaya) and they cater well for invalids. If you are wheelchair bound you will love the Resort but if you have come to paint the town red choose somewhere else. If your hotel is on Beach Road, you come out of a bar with a girl in tow, and have either a quarter mile walk along the beach or have to take a taxi all the way round the one way system. I wouldn't stay here again but it is very good.
18 Coins on Soi Diana is OK. Food is OK. Room is pretty good for a budget hotel. This place is half the price of North or Beach Road. Not outstanding but I would stay here again.
On the streets from late morning onward there are always traders selling fresh fruit. Generally they do not speak English so you have to point or learn to ask. Numbers are easy with 1 neung, 2 song, 3 sam, 4 see the Language page.
Food is a little trickier with Pineapple Sap Bpa Roht, or Melon Tang Moh, see the Food section. In the afternoon will arrive more selling fried chicken ghai pot and barbeque pork moo yang served hot with a spicy sauce. I have on many occasion survived several days without eating a meal, Ray Mears, watch and learn. If you have obtained yourself a girlfriend she will order it for you and failing all else pick out what you want and put it on the coals yourself. The owner won't mind as Thais do this all the time. The same can't be said of the fruit, that would be very rude so point or tap on the glass. If you choose to learn a bit of Thai the way to ask is noun, quantity, please - sap bha roht song khrap - pineapple two portions please. The street sellers reappear throughout the evening too so you can have that needy snack when you're on bottle number 12.
Restaurants are plentiful and on a scale of one to five:
Beach Garden Resort in Na Kleua 20 is a bit out the way but stunningly prepared Thai dishes made with fresh ingredients.
King Seafood Restaurant on Beach Road not easy to find but it is just before Mikes Shopping Mall facing the sea, built of logs with a palm roof and the cooking is done in view. The best Pla Neung Manow.
Ruen Thai on Pattaya Road 2 is part of a restaurant chain, the best of which is in Saphanburi. It offers traditional Thai food with Issan music and dance shows. Very entertaining but I wasn't blown away by the food.
Thai House Restaurant which in the UK would be called Bahn Thai, on Pattaya Nua Road, almost taxi distance but the food is very good and also offers traditional Issan entertainment.
Larn Thong Restaurant in Pratamnak Road on Royal Cliff Bay. Again taxi distance but this is worth the visit. Trousers and tie are not required but it has that same feel of quality and expectation. Air conditioned and beautiful sea views from the terrace make it an excellent location. The entertainment is good and sometimes amusing and the food matches the created expectation. Recommended but this is an evening out.
On the corner of Beach Road and Soi7 is a bar behind which is pedestrianised and has a few little outdoor bars and cafés all of which are ok, if you are hungry or thirsty, in any case in Thailand everything tastes good.
Is never the first reason to visit Pattaya and yet it should be for many of its visitors. There is so much to look at and buy and it would be almost impossible to break the bank. Along with the beggars and the street sellers of fresh food are the street walkers trying to sell you a genuine copy watch or silk dress and countless other souvenirs that you couldn't buy anywhere except in Thailand. Middle-age mums from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand smile and wear the most colourful hats and ply their Buddha chains for the car mirror and narrow wraps for waistbands or bed decorations. Sheets of Thai silk, Buddha necklaces, momentoes of Thailand, clocks, torches, miniature statues, hats and genuine copy sunglasses. The children join in and walk around the bars with packets of chewing gum, lighters and laserbeams. You hardly buy any of it but you want to look and you can. Khor doo noyne khrap - can I have a look please? Their faces light up and they compliment you on your ability to speak Thai. It is great fun and every once in a while you see something you do want to buy. And not one of these unlicensed traders tries to rip you off and their sense of humour always sees the funny side.
A rather plump lady offered me a handful of trinkets none of which I was interested in. Unput-off she shook the trinkets in one hand, made a cirular motion on her tummy with the other, followed by a gesture to her lips that she needed food. "Khun bin pompui mak" I blurted out sarcastically that she was very fat, "you're trying to tell me you haven't eaten today, looks to me like you sell too much stuff." She was overjoyed with laughter and since then she is really pleased everytime she sees me and stops to talk and tell jokes half of which I don't understand but she doesn't know that and it makes her happy.
Half way down Beach Road is an indoor market where you can buy wooden games that the bar girls get you to play during the quiet afternoons in the open bars. Another stall sells flick knives and knuckle dusters and pepper spray guns and another sells beautifully made cotton shirts of every F1 race team with all the decals and badges and matching quilted jackets and even pit lane leathers. You move on to Tee shirts with blatant prints of Armani, D&G, Versace and all the other names you can think of.
A little further down is a furniture market which I love to look round and makes me want to buy but our house in Udon isn't built yet. I know people who have bought tables and dressers and shipped them back home but be aware it is expensive and takes a long time to arrive in Britain. When using shipping and the postal services take care what you send. Postcards are fine and generally so are letters but anything else has a minefield of checkpoints any one of which will put an end to its journey. I have sent money in a card from the UK to Thailand and it never arrived and my partner asked her sister to send skin whitening cream from Thailand to the UK that also never arrived.
Then you get to Mikes Shopping Mall which is a nice place to visit but I never shop there because it is a commercial enterprise, there is nothing traditionally Thai about it. But to the left of the mall is a narrow alleyway that we dubbed artists alley. There are painters who will turn a photo into an oil and sketch artists who will do your portrait, and I don't mean a caricature, I mean a portrait in oil or charcoal or pencil, watercolour, whatever you want. There are paintings for sale of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, of Mick Jagger and Che Guevara and scenics and monuments. I bought three 800x550 oils of passé village scenes but had a dilemma when he asked if I wanted them mounted or not. I decided that rolled up canvasses would be easier to carry on the plane and so the three tenderly created oil paintings cost me 18quid but getting them framed in the UK cost me £143.00
As you continue on down Beach Road there is Garden Plaza followed by streams of small bars and market stalls and cafés all of which merit a visit and 7/11s which must be Thai for 24/7 because I have never seen one closed. Several of them sell Thai silk shirts and dressing gowns and those panel patterned shirts you always see the staff of your local Thai restaurant wearing. Ladies won't miss out either with bags of silk dresses, blouses, and suits that would require a mortgage back home and cost only a few pounds here. There is also half a dozen tailors who will irritate the hell out of you by asking if you want a suit made to measure for 3000 baht. It sounds like a bargain but you can get that price down to half that. Walking down Soi 4 I was lagging behind my mate who said to a gang of three "No I don't but the bloke behind me does." I found myself being excitedly measured up by all three like preparatory funeral directors as one was asking what colour I would like. Ahh we all had a jolly good laugh at that one.
The window shopping, doo thao nan as Thais say, continues on into Walking Street and round into Second Road with a relentless chain of things to look at and if this fails to satisfy ask a songthao to take you to the nearest market place (ow tong gaan bai talat khrap/ka) such as the under cover market in Pattaya Tai. If you go to a Thai market take bottles of water with you or you will suffocate. Then along Thanon Pattaya 2 it all starts again but at the end in a market at the top before Loma Island on the right is a stall selling metal statues that you can find in the UK, but not as good as these. They make Terminator and Predator, one of which is full size and weighs about half a tonne. My mate is still trying to figure out how to get it on the plane.
While Pattaya is known for its hospitality to western middle-aged men, it is by no means limited to their entertainment requirement. It has stunning golf courses and parks and is central to many must see places such as Chonburi's Koh Si Chang or Sri Ratcha to the north and Chantaburi's breathtaking national parks to the south. It is the perfect location to stay if you want to travel around the Gulf. But as the evening wears on the nightlife changes dramatically as the streets are brimming with street traders and street entertainers from children doing tricks with a football to magicians to dance troops.
The open bars get lively with loud music such as Pattayah Pattayah or Hey Hey Sexyman and (Stop calling me) Korb Khun Khrap along with a synthesis of flashing lights and people shouting and behind the bar videos of Nang Nat. Lots of cold beer and laughter and people trying to sell you watches and souvenirs and 'take you photo wid you gurlfend?' And you're not sure you want yet another snaps or saki or whatever nationality is the person who just rang the bell. Every bar has a ships bell and if you ring it everyone in that bar has a drink on you. My young cousin asked a barmaid "can I have the bill please" with a Black Country accent that translated into can I have the bell please. It's safer to say check bin.
The bars are so many that you can't try them all. None of them in Walking Street or from Soi 8 down to 6 charge any kind of entrance fee or table charge but you have to stop for a drink to decide if you like it or not. This makes choosing a bar impossible without getting rat-arsed. I have found that certain bars at certain times are more entertaining. Amongst my favourites are:
Baby Dolls Agogo in Soi15 Walking Street - between 11pm and 2am. Indescribable, go and see it. On Fire.
Wildcats in Soho Square end of Walking Street anytime after 6pm is a great place to chill with a gameof pool with one of the girls or watch the footy with a beer. Recommended.
Club Boesche on the corner of Soi 16 is knock yourself out top draw. They have stunningly attractivegirls who smile and look happy and the waitresses can make you melt. An absolute must.
There are lots more such as The Dollhouse and the showroom of the Galaxy bar but if you want a beer bar try Soi 7. It has a great choice and lots of girls and the prices are much cheaper than the clubs.
Click Here for a virtual tour of Soi 7.
Boys Town in Pattayaland Soi 2 is a good night out if you are that way inclined and if you are inquisitive the ladyboys are a plenty in Soi 6. Best known are Pook Bar or Pook Swan House which is also a budget price hotel or more upmarket is Penthouse Hotel in Pattayaland Soi 2 where I confess to staying well clear of because the boys are far too pretty to be able to say "no thanks". I have a friend at Loma who is a ladyboy and on the one occassion she kissed me on the cheek I was rather dissappointed to find she was more in need of a shave than I was.
Pattaya is a bag full of fun with no time for sleep or sobriety. If sun, sex, and beer offend you then there is good reason for you not to visit Pattaya - They don't want you