Introduction to Pattaya
If you have Travel agent selling you a package tour to Pattaya saying that it has a beautiful beach resort or one of the best beaches in Thailand. Don't be fool by this, instead Pattaya doesn't have that lovely beaches as it is too commercialised. Pattaya beach doesn't stand a chance to be counted as one of the best beaches in Thailand because it is way too polluted and dirty. You will find rubbish littered in the sea and along the shore.
Pattaya beach - taken from beach road.
Although the beach here is not that great but you will not get bored walking down the long beach here because it is full with shops and people. A lot of times you will get people approaching you trying to sell something while you're trying to relax on the beach.
These vendors come hassling you trying to sell everything ranging from clothing to ornaments or just about anything that you can name. This happen a lot in Jomtien beach. Jomtien beach in Pattaya is probably the most famous beach. It attracts a lot of locals as well as foreigners or "Farang" as the Thai would call anyone with a Caucasian race.
Don't be surpise to find the Thais sitting under a big umbrella at the beach all day afraid of the sun. This is because they do not like sun tan and people with dark skin get are look down in the society. Let me tell you a bit more about the Thai people so you understand them a bit more.
The Thai people are very shy, most of them are probably at the beach or swiming in the sea with T-shirt on. It is far more common for Thai to swim in T-shirts than they do in bikinis. This doesn't mean that as a "Farang" you are not allowed to wear bikinis or swimming trunk. Definitely you can, nobody minds.
Pattaya has a famous reputation as one of the sex capital in Thailand or even Asia. Almost every where you go you will find prostitutes or agogo bars. Especially in South Pattaya, down walking street. I almost forgot to mention, be really careful who you hook up with! A lot of the pretty girls here are actually lady boy, you really have to be careful.
There are a lot of lady boy around Pattaya and it seems as if it is common in Thailand for lady boy. By Lady boy I mean, guys that have had their operation to turn their bodies to look more like women. Some of them have done a really good job.
Alright, you're probably wondering how to get around Pattaya. Its not hard, just get on one of the "Songtaews". Just flag down the Songtaew you see, hop in. Just press one of the buzzer when you want to get down. The fare is usually 5 - 20 baht depending on the distance. Sometime you may be ask to pay more but as of now this is the current fare.
This is a fare for the regular route, I mean with other people in the Songtaew as well. Now the fare will be different if you hire a Songtaew to go from specific place to another, this is where you really have to negotiate the fare. Don't let them over charge you. To avoid all of this, just get in the (regular route)Songtaew and see where it goes and just get off where you like or (specific point)discuss the fare first before you go anywhere.
Taking a motorcycle taxi is another option, the fare for this vary greatly. This is obviously a more expensive option incomparison with Songtaew. Again make sure you discuss the fare before you hop on one of them.
Motor cycle taxi
Accomodation - make sure you book early because it can be really competitive during a festival such as New year, or Songkran ( the water throwing festival also known as Thai new year on April 13th). For a guest house the price range is about 300 - 500 Baht for a night. For hotels the price range is normally 600 baht up depending on the location and season.
Booking are usual seldom but be better during festival. One of the best thing about hotels in Pattaya is that buffet breakfast are usually good and are at a competitive price. Some even offer a 80 baht buffet breakfast with bacon, bread, milk, coffee all you can eat. So make sure you do ask for the buffet breakfast.
Restaurants - Thailand is famous for its food. Pattaya offers a varierty of restaurants ranging from Indian to the original Thai food. Prices are not high but again if you're paying more than a 100 baht per plate then you're being over charged. Do try out the vendors on the foot path that sells noodle or rice, they are pretty cheap and nice. I'm not quite sure if it is clean but who cares. :P
Shopping - This is a one of the things that you will definitely be doing in Thailand. Not so much in Pattaya when compare to Bangkok, but nevertheless here's the picture of what all you can shop for.
Some of the stuff you can get as a Sourvenir