Here is a copy of my Pattaya overview......if you need more specifics, contact me.
Here are a few thoughts on Pattaya for those who can’t make up their mind about what it’s like for couples, children etc,
Pattaya is a cheap and in general cheerful town, there are many middle-aged men who have found they can afford to retire here often with a wife half their age, the climate is great, the cost of living cheap.....
There is also a lot to do if you are a family on holiday.
The beaches in Pattaya are not up to much, the sea is rather polluted…how much is unclear….they claim to have cleaned up the water a lot in the last few years…. (Benedorm the old style comes to mind). 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!)
All the same many people enjoy the beaches...At both beaches you can hire all sorts of water sports stuff, and it’s all relatively cheap. All beaches have plenty of people selling drinks and snacks etc....have a fresh coconut and drink the liquid inside through a straw....very refreshing!
Sugar beach and Cosy Beach between Pattaya ans Jomtien are quite nice and small.
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. Or simply walk along the coast for a bit to get away from the crowds.
On the mainland, Pattaya offers a range of amusement parks, garden, and theme parks. Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens although recently scandalised by the Beeb for their treatment of Elephants is worth a visit, just don’t support the Elephant rides. Elephant village is similarly not to be supported. Water worlds amusement park offers all the usual water rides plus a revolving restaurant and some hair-rising ways of getting up there and back down. Mini Siam is a miniature tour of Thailand - full of bus-loads of tourists with a MacDonald’s’ at the entrance. Million year old stone park has beautiful gardens - feed the 5ft long catfish! And cringe at the abysmal treatment of tigers and crocodiles. Further a field is Sri Racha tiger Zoo...to be avoided at all costs, and Kao Keow Open Zoo, a refreshing change from the usual callous way animals are treated in Thailand.
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”) 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). 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.
There’s one I’ve missed out....THAI food! Thai food is wonderful.....everything from mild Chinese based oodles 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.
Just one phrase you might find useful....”Mai Phet” - 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.
And for the mindless, bootless and unhorsed, the culturally stagnant and the grossly obese, there is the usual plethora of fast food outlets....McD’s, KFC, and Burger King....how can people eat that stuff!?!?!? And WHY when you are in a land of gastronomic delights would you?
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 the early hours of daylight.
There are discos, clubs bars of sorts including the girlie places....
The sxe trade ripples through the town like veins through a stilton, and in a similar way gives the place its distinctive character. Unlike the red-light areas of Europe and America, they aren’t really 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 take place I one of the hundreds of hotels, 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 family would not be admitted to a Go-go bar. 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 what his act. Unfortunately sometimes he has to take time off (twice a night, 7 days a week, year in year out?!?) 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!!!!....