In October (the 2oth through the 23rd to be exact) we took a quick trip to Pattaya, Thailand for the weekend! It’s only a 2 hour drive, so very easy to quickly head there for a few days from Bangkok. You can easily take a bus to Pattaya, THIS link has great info on how it works and it’s very cheap.
We had to leave quite late on Friday night, so we decided it was easiest to just grab a taxi. There are specific taxi’s that make the trip, but Grab (the transportation app) figured that out automatically and found us a taxi to Pattaya after a few tries. It costs around $40-$50 USD for a taxi, but that’s total so it’s really not bad, and very convenient to just hop in and go. Plus you get dropped off right at your hotel! Sometimes I will pay extra for convenience, and it is usually worth it.
Speaking of our hotel, we stayed at the Grand Palazzo Pattaya. I highly recommend it! The room was very comfortable, the location was convenient, and the price was reasonable. I’m glad we got such a comfortable room, because my poor husband got sick on our 2nd day there! He spent a lot of time in that room, so he can attest to how comfortable it was as well. :/
“Walking Street” is a main attraction in Pattaya. It’s a long street shut down to traffic, lined with neon signs, bars, and many questionable establishments we don’t need to talk about. We quickly walked down the street (okay more like shuffled, it was SO crowded) and got the heck outta there.
Pattaya is an…interesting… place. It has a reputation for being a party town, but we noticed more than that. It was specifically an older-man-alone-goes-to-Pattaya-to-find-company-of-a-young-thai-girl-town. It’s a bit disturbing and you see it constantly walking around town. If you know that going into it, the town can still be enjoyed and there’s lots to do, but be aware.
Having said that, we did have a fun weekend! I didn’t get any photos, but we went to the Alcazar Cabaret Show. It’s one of the longest running cabaret shows in Pattaya. We were told we should go see a cabaret show, so we went for it. MAN it was entertaining! The lip-syncing, dancing, costumes… what a trip. I wouldn’t say it’s something you HAVE to do in Pattaya, but if you have a free night it’s certainly an experience. Oh and it was only AFTER that we found out the show is entirely made up of trans people! The website says transvestites, but I think they mean transgender. My mind was blown, let me just say that. We had NO clue.
On the next day husband woke up SO sick with a cold, so I went out and found him some medicine at a local pharmacy. Be aware that medicine is not the same in Thailand as in the U.S. I was searching for some Nyquill or similar, but the pharmacist tried to give me something herbal so he could sleep, and cough drops. I was not amused, and eventually found a different pharmacy that had Robitussin. He made do with ibuprofen, Robitussin and cough drops, but I now wish I had brought a travel size Nyquill with us to Thailand just in case.
Since hubs was stuck in bed, I decided to go see the Sanctuary of Truth by myself! Don’t worry, he made me text him every 10 minutes to make sure I was okay. 🙂
You want to get to the Sanctuary at least by 4pm. You need at least an hour, maybe 2 to absorb it. The last tour leaves at 5, that’s why I say 4pm or earlier. I got there right at 5pm, so I skipped the tour and was driven down to the Sanctuary instead of walking down, to save time. (The ticket place is probably a 10-15 minute walk from the Sanctuary). I was told there are animals in questionable condition on the grounds – horses, elephants, etc. But I didn’t see any – I think they were put away by then? So I can’t comment on that, I do just know you shouldn’t ride elephants ever. More on that later…
The good part about going at 5 is that the Sanctuary wasn’t very busy at all! I could run around and take photos – but the tricky part was finding someone to take a photo of me since I was alone! I tried a Russian tourist and a Chinese tourist. The Chinese tourist won and took this photo. The Russian tourist basically got way too close and I now have a photo of my sweaty face with a teeny bit of sanctuary in the background! 🙂
It’s VERY hard to get the whole thing in a photo, bring your wide angle lens if you have one!
The DETAIL on the Sanctuary is incredible. I could have spent a few hours just looking through the inside and out and each carving. It was started in the 80’s and is dedicated to the Asian religions, so there are parts of the temple for each belief system. It’s made entirely of wood and is under constant construction. I think it’s scheduled to be completed in about 40 years, but there will always be constant maintenance since it is RIGHT on the ocean.
It was really hard to get photos inside the sanctuary because it’s quite dark, but it is just as beautiful and intricate as the outside, if not more. I also LOVED how it smelled like musty wood everywhere in the building, something about it is comforting.
I loved walking around and soaking up the sanctuary for a bit. From there I did another Grab Taxi and headed home to the hotel. If you’re going to Thailand, you NEED the Grab app!
Self timer for the win! There were some random tourists to the side watching me awkwardly run back and forth trying to get a good photo. It was quite embarrassing, but at least I have this shot!
P.S. It was HOT! That is not highlight on my cheek, I was sweating to high heaven, so if you visit, be sure to bring lots of water! And make sure you cover your knees and shoulders, I don’t think it’s a requirement at this temple, but it’s a sign of respect. Oh and you’ll have to wear a hard hat when touring the temple because it’s under construction, no elaborate up-do’s here!
A few other notes about Pattaya:
We were told the local beaches on Pattaya are very polluted and not good for swimming, and after walking by them, that is absolutely right. After some research I found out Koh Larn island is your best option. You can take a ferry there for $1, and spend the day on their beaches. We didn’t make it there, but if we had wanted to go to a beach, that would be it. Be aware that Jotmien beach is recommended, but is well known as a “gay beach” and the area of Jotmien also. Whether that’s your thing or not, it’s good to know about before you go.
Be wary of alley ways, they are usually lined with small bars and prostitutes. Prostitution isn’t illegal in Thailand – the girls won’t usually come up to you if you’re with a spouse (nobody really approached my husband and I) but if you are a single man, you will be approached. There are lots of alleys like this, so just be aware where you’re walking so you don’t get yourself into a tricky situation.
The local “baht busses” are blue trucks (not busses, I know that’s confusing) with covered backs and benches in them. These cruise all around the streets of Pattaya, and you can stick out your hand or they will honk at you if you look like you want to hop on. It costs 10 baht per person to ride, and you can ride as little or as much as you like. There’s a button in the truck that you hit when you want it to stop for you. This is the ONLY time so far in Thailand that someone has tried to scam us, by the way. We weren’t sure how much the trucks cost, so we asked one of the drivers. He asked where we wanted to go and then slowly said, 200 baht. I knew that wasn’t right and we walked away – so be aware that it can happen. Most people have been kind and very helpful though, so don’t be too nervous.
I hope this helps you plan if you take a trip to Pattaya in your Thailand travels!
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