Pattaya is a well developed modern city whose streets are lined with an assortment of high-rise hotels and pavements where you have every chance of bumping into a hustler every other corner. This doesn’t seem to bother the over two million annual visitors. Sexual encounters are often less than an arm’s length away in Pattaya for there are so many men, women and transsexual hookers ready to entertain their clients as they wish. In fact, you will find the largest gay scene in the whole of Thailand in Pattaya, with exclusive gay hotels and gay sex bars.
Pattaya landed on the list of the sin cities back during the Vietnam War, because of the many American servicemen heading there for rest and recuperation, their pockets loaded with dough. Like a bushfire, many sex traders flooded in to hawk their services to the ready market. After the war, some ex-servicemen with fond memories came back to take up from where they had left and establish their own businesses.
Today, about half the bars and restaurants are owned by foreigners.With the influx of merrymakers, alcohol freely flowing and sex available in a snap, crime levels in Pattaya were correspondingly high. The good news is that in recent years the situation has been contained. Infrastructure and road network has been improved and some civility restored. The authorities have done a tremendous job in restoring sanity and now the city has started to entice families and older couples with more conventional entertainment opportunities such as theme parks, golf courses, shopping plazas and year-round diving.
The best beach around the city, Pattaya beach, might not be among the very best, but it is worth visiting. There has been a serious cleaning campaign in recent years and young Thai crowds are increasingly finding their way there. This has however not affected the after-hours entertainment that the city well known for.
Welcome to Pattaya, if you don’t see “evil and immorality” on every street corner !
Jomtien beach is one of the busiest locations in Chonburi, and a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts. The busiest and most active part is the northern end of the beach, where it meets the main road from Thap Phraya. Here, you will find many budget guesthouses, high end hotels, bars and restaurants, shops and shopping malls. On moving further south from here, the concentration of hotels and shops dwindle. Jomtien-Sattahip beach, which is located on the southern stretch is a bit more remote, but it has an up-market marina and several beachfront resorts.
Some of the most common activities at Jomtien beach include jetskiing, windsurfing and paragliding. With so many water sport lovers out to sea, the beach itself is rather quiet and relaxing! You cannot, however, escape the fact that it is Thailand’s number one windsurfing spot with a lot to offer to water sports lovers. The tropical water is rather warm and ideal for swimming as well.
Away from the water, you can also take on elephant riding or visit the many attractions nearby the beach. Jomtien is a place with everything for everyone. First time visitors to Jomtien beach will love the cultural and recreation sites nearby, such as the new Pattaya floating market with its over 110 stalls and shops plus numerous eateries. Close by is the lovely Three Kingdoms Theme Park, and the Wat Yansangwararam temple. Guests can also visit the Pattaya Park Tower, which features revolving restaurants, vista views, and the ostentatious Alangkarn cultural show, among other things.
Nightlife in Jomtien beach is a bit relaxed, mainly wholesome and family-oriented in nature. There are a few open-front beer bars for a normal evening’s recreation, but you can experience the crazy beach nightlife in the nearby Pattaya beach. If that is not an appealing option, then you will more likely be content with the bars and restaurants available locally, watching the Alankarn, or just chilling out around your hotel.
Tucked away from other major tourist destinations and only an hour and a half from Bangkok, Bangsaen (also called Ban Bang Saen) beach, is a little haven in its own right. Located in the Saensuk Municipality of Chonburi Province, the beach and its surrounding area has a population of barely 10,000. Despite the many international tourists who are attracted to the beach, just a few minutes away from Pattaya, it remains a number one attraction for the local population.
Bangsaen beach is busiest during the weekends, when locals flock for a relaxing afternoon. Although it used initially to attract the elites from Bangkok, most of the recent tourists are teenagers and low-budget visitors who want to get the best from the little they have put away in savings.
One of the most attractive features of Bangsaen beach is the array of restaurants and bars that line the beach’s frontline. There are many local vendors selling seafood, snacks, fruits, fish cakes and other snacks that visitors need. Along the shoreline, you can rent chairs, multicolored umbrellas and other beach equipment at reasonable rates. Srinakharinwirot University has a marine aquarium exhibiting aquatic species, mostly native to the waters of Thailand and the general marine environment.
Accommodation is easy to arrange and guestsare assured a range of reasonably priced bungalows, small resorts and guesthouses. Most of these cater for those who prefer to stay for more than a day, say a weekend. Nightlife here is characterized by Thai pop or local versions of western classics. Due to the proximity of the bars to each other, you can check out as many as possible in a night. Bangsaen beach is secure, but it is recommended that you hire a taxi at night especially when checking out the bars.
For a fun-filled weekend getaway on a limited budget, not so far from Bangkok, Bangsaen beach presents itself as the perfect solution !