Archive for May, 2012
Slightly hungover but very much content, we took a van from Pattaya to Bangkok… what a crazy [good] city.
We were staying with a friend out in Lam Luk Ka, and the first night (01/01/12) we went into the city’s chaotic center… visiting the enormous Chatuchak Weekend Market (largest market in Thailand; 5000+ stalls; 200,000 daily visitors; covers 35 acres). Where we also ate dinner at some dodgy-looking street vendor-type restaurant (pictured with the tuk-tuk’s), which, naturally, was delicious. We then hopped on to the brand new Bangkok metro, more precisely the BTS Skytrain Sukhumvit Line from Mo Chit to Victory Monument (which is exactly where the van from Pattaya had dropped us off earlier in the day).
To be honest, I found Bangkok a little dirty… but being a true city kid, I could live there no problem. I like real cities… gritty cities… cities that have a soul and a feeling that you can just sense. BKK totally had this (Shanghai for example, doesn’t really have this). However, with all the litter and muck around, I could not, and would not, like to see what it was like during the flooding (only weeks before our visit). Let’s just say I’m happy they caught all the loose crocodiles.
Just a bit after 0:00…
(after those fireworks were lit 10m away from us, we couldn’t hear a thing anymore… hence the yelling)
Just a bit of an hour after 0:00…
A busy, but wonderful day… sand, sun, beach, temples, views, amazing culinary treats… all climaxing to the New Years Eve parties on the beaches of Pattaya, Thailand!
Drove the motorbike to Jomtien Beach, on the opposite side of Pratumnak Hill for the better part of the day. Then meandered back to Pattaya Bay via the top of the hill where the Big Buddha calls home at Kao Phra Yai Wat temple. Then a lookout point and back to the beach… only this time in the center of crazy Pattaya.
I didn’t know what I was in for with Pattaya… words describing it that I had heard from other travellers included: crazy, ridiculous, seedy, disgusting, not-to-missed, and fun.
And… well, holy shit, what a crazy place! Sorry for cursing, but it truly was all those words described, one of the party places on the planet. If you think Vegas or Amsterdam or Ibiza or whatever is crazy, well then you haven’t travelled far enough! Put Pattaya on your to-do list.
For me, there was no better place to welcome in the year 2012 the following night………………
Located 145km from Bangkok, the trip is easily taken by bus or van that leave hourly, we actually took one straight from the airport. Pattaya itself has some decent beaches, not as nice as the ones in Phuket, Phangan and Samui, but certainly a step up from home. The city itself is located mainly around Pattaya Bay, divided into two parts by Pratumnak Hill (where the Wat Khao Phra Bat temple is located; pics to follow), north of which is Pattaya proper and to the south Jomtien. Jomtien is where we spent our days, lounging on the more family-friendly beaches, away from the mayhem that is Pattaya proper. Our hotel was also located about a 10min motorbike ride from the center, which was definitely a smart move.
Pattaya. Allegedly the second most visited city in Thailand (after Bangkok), it is a hotspot for Bankokians seeking a weekend retreat from the big city. It is mostly known for being bananas. The Walking Street is, as the name should suggest, is a walking street literally littered with ALL KINDS of bars (some had mini boxing rings inside, where you can watch or join kickboxing fights), clubs, gogo bars, massage parlors and some restaurants. It is a complete sensory overload. No pictures can do it any justice, especially if ‘no photography’ signs adorn pretty much every establishment. And for good reason.
Another hectic day… taxi to ferry to bus to another bus to plane to bus to taxi…
(Ko Samui -> Surat Thani -> Bangkok -> Pattaya!)
Pattaya, oh holy hell, what a crazy place!