has something of a bad reputation in the West, being regarded
by many as a place for S-tourism. Much of the bad press is unfair.
While some of course is true, It is quite frankly, quite amazing
how many Western journalists are hanging around Thailand's bars
looking for dirt. And if they can't find any, they will invent
it. Who will ever know the difference if he just makes up a story?
of the problem lies in Westerners not understanding the Thai mentality.
Things that are often considered by some Westerners as dirty and
disgusting, which should be hidden away in grimy backstreets are
not thought by Thais to be worth the trouble of hiding. Prostitution
is, believe it or not, illegal in Thailand. But then again, so
is gambling, so is driving on the wrong side of the road, but
who worries about it? When it comes to breaking the law in Thailand,
its a bit like a Benny Hill or Monty Python sketch. Most of the
time, its pretty funny. Prostitution and gambling are basically
of my three years in Thailand were spent in the Pattaya area,
and I can tell you for sure that Pattaya is incredibly good fun.
Pattaya is about two hours drive south of Bangkok, and it is huge.
There are literally thousands of bars and restaurants, and the
atmosphere is great. In the daytime its usually about 90f, and
in the evening it drops to about 75f.
the Pattaya beer bars are out in the open air with tin or grass
rooves held up by a few poles. Often they have singers, guitarists
and stuff, and often they'll play Thai music and all the bar girls
will start dancing that funny Thai style dance where they swirl
their arms around. The atmosphere is absolutely terrific.
it or not, Pattaya is a great holiday destination for couples
and families. Despite the true nature of the open-air beer bars,
couples, and families visit them and no one gives them a second
glance. Its quite normal.
isn't the case on the Strip, which is a long walking street in
south Pattaya. It runs parallel to the beach, and is the oldest
part of Pattaya. Its got lots of noise and neon and is pretty
rough and sleazy. In fact, the further south you walk down the
strip, the rougher it gets. Personally I'm not keen on that area
of Pattaya, but it certainly has lots of atmosphere if that's
what you're into.
far as going into places with dark red curtains on the doors,
generally speaking its pretty safe. There's generally no cover
charge, and though the prices are higher, they're not extortionate.
But you do need to be on your guard and don't get too drunk. Sometimes
they'll spike your drink and you'll wake up later in a back street
minus your wallet. Obviously, you have to be sensible.
remember that Thailand has one of the highest crime rates in the
world. Fortunately, most violent crime takes place among the Thais
themselves. In most bars in Pattaya you'll never see a Thai man,
and any bar brawls will be Westeners against Westerners.
you like big discos, a visit to Hollywood just off South Pattaya
Road is a must. The Marina disco on the strip is a very popular
beach at Pattaya is okay but the water is, unfortunately, polluted.
In the next bay to Pattaya is Jomtien. It's a long thin town that
necklaces around Jomtien Bay. The beach is good and the water
is clean and safe. There are lots of high rise up-market hotels,
but not really a lot of beer bars. Its generally a lot quieter
than Pattaya but it is worth a visit.