Pattaya is probably the craziest city I have ever been.
For serious, it is a crazy party town on the ocean.
It has beaches, huge weekend night markets, scuba diving, kite boarding, tons of restaurants and bars, amazing (and cheap) massage places, and is one of the biggest areas for prostitution in Thailand.
After Cyn returned to Canada, I decided to go visit a couple of friends from back home who have been wintering (or at least spending the majority of the Canadian winter months) for the past 5 years in Pattaya. They are both into diving, and have been working and learning through one of the local dive shops.
I have to admit, I had a ridiculously fun time in Pattaya.
We did fun daytime activities: we went to the local beach, took the ferry to the nearby island of Koh Larn, which was a chill place to lay by the beach and swim in slightly cooler and clearer water than in Pattaya.
We did the huge night market and I got one of their Thai friends to help pick out the best Thai food. In her opinion, the mystery meat soups is where it's at. I have to agree ;)
Strangely enough, the highlight of my visit in Pattaya was the nightlife, which isn't usually the case when I'm travelling. Sure, a bit of partying is a fun addition to the daytime activities, but Pattaya partying is a whole other level of craziness.
We would usually start our night in Jomtien at the 'beer bars', which is an area with a bunch of little open-air bars with pool tables and chairs. We frequented one in particular with cheap drinks, free pool and the most amazing bar cat ever.
We would then rally the troops and head to walking street aka the craziest street of life.
It is all lit up and has bar after bar after club after go-go bar all the way down the strip.
In case you didn't know, a go-go bar is a fancy name for a strip club. Which gives you an idea about the amount of prostitution that happens in Pattaya.
It was the first time that Thailand's sex industry was really out in the open for me. I had seen my fair share of girls hanging out in the front of restaurants and bars, waiting to chat with foreigners. Pattaya is a bit more obvious. It's wild.
Yummy deep fried bugs at the market
Prostitution is technically illegal in Thailand, so one would have to assume that there is a lot of money that is being exchanged to allow the go-go bars to stay open.
Anywho, we would usually end our night with some pad thai in the wee hours of the morning and then recoup on the beach the next day. After about 5 days, I was exhausted but so glad to have the exclusive tour of Pattaya from my friends!
Extra bonus: they had bikes. Best way to get around and see a new place! This was the bike area at the movie theatre. Best part about the Thai movie experience is that they play 'the Kings Song' at the beginning and everyone has to stand up and honour him. If you haven't already guessed, he's kind I a big deal here ;)
If only I wasn't so terrified to get on one myself or trusted my sense of balance and general roads skills more than I do...as it stands, I'ma leave the bike riding to the professionals ;)
Overall, I would actually recommend checking Pattaya out for the crazy nightlife, the markets full of Russian tourists, and the laid back beaches. I in no way support prostitution in any form, but I have to say that Pattaya does have more to offer.
The best massage place in Pattaya: amazing ladies and only 100baht ($3)!! I would give a 100 baht tip, and it was so worth it! It's located near corner of Soi chaiyapoon and Soi x-zyte.
The best gambling game in the beer bars. Pattaya, I won't be forgetting you any time soon ;)