Pattaya is more than just nightlife and shopping
You're going to Pattaya for the holiday? Why?
That is just the beginning of a conversation with friends when I tell them I'm going to Pattaya for my next getaway.
While I understand their concern of Pattaya being an extremely touristic place with an over-abundance of nightlife, shopping and debauchery, there is actually a lot more to the city and its surrounding areas.
Beautiful Villas and Hotels
On my last birthday for example, I took my friends and rented an AirBnB villa just outside of the main town/beach area, away from the chaos. The villa had 3 bedrooms and another one separated from the main house. It also had a private pool, a massive living room and a kitchen.
The beach was also a 5-minute walk away with many restaurants nearby. For my birthday lunch, we decided to eat at the Glass House. It's such a nice restaurant with amazing Thai food, drinks and service. For cherry on top of the sundae, it has a beautiful sea view.
Staying at this villa in Pattaya was one of the best birthdays I've had. It was also my 30th!
P.S. The name of this villa is Tropicana Pool Villa and s located somewhere between Pattaya and Jomtien
On New Year Eve, we did a similar thing when my friends and I stayed at another AirBnB. This time it was an apartment with a an infinity pool on the rooftop and a sick view of Pattaya city.
Fun Day at a Theme Park
There are many exciting theme parks in and around Pattaya. The most recent one that I visited with with friends was Cartoon Network Amazone. I love it not only because the rides are fun, it is also all in Cartoon Network theme. I grew up on some of these cartoons so it was quite fascinating.
CN Amazone is absolutely thrilling. It's got a range of thrill factor levels with 1 being low and 5 being high. Obviously the 1's are for kiddies and the 5 for the daredevils. I think there is only ONE ride that is worthy of a 5 and it was the Goop Loop. Basically, you stand in a tube and a trap opens below, forcing you to go down a vertical drop slide at high speeds. The adrenaline really kicks in from the beginning to the end at this ride.
We also enjoyed our time in the wave pool where man-made waves would send us toppling over swimmers and people in tubes.
There are several other rides here worthy of mention such as the Alien Attack, Ominitrix and XLR8-TOR.
If you get tired, you can even chill, eat and drink at the cabanas. CN Amazone is a great place for families and friends to enjoy the day. I can imagine doing my future kids birthdays here.
Gateway to an Island Getaway
Many people like to take daily trips to Koh Larn, a nearby island for a more beautiful beach. It can get quite crowded, however, during the afternoon-evening but we decided to stay a night once.
There are six main beaches at Koh Larn and while Tawaen and Samae are most popular on the island, my favorite one is Nual because it smaller and more charming. It has a unique vibe and seems more sustained and not as developed as the rest.
The vibe of Koh Larn changes completely changes when the crowd has gone. It gets quiet, relaxing and a perfect time to soak in the beauty around. You also get all the beaches almost to yourself because very few people stay the night on the island.
During the day we would eat, swim, snorkel and enjoy the ocean breeze with a cocktail in hand. At night we sat at our resort rooftop, had deep conversations, indulged in yummy seafood and drank local liquor. It's really the best way to enjoy the Thai island life.
The best times are those that are not recorded or photographed. That's why we don't have a lot of photos from the trip here. We simply enjoyed the experience.
There are other, even more beautiful islands not too far from Pattaya, which we have visited as well. For example, Koh Kham in Sattahip district is a very quaint little island, which you can only visit on day trips. You can't stay there but that is the charm of it. It's what keeps it gorgeous, clean and worthwhile.
I think it's great that local government and tour operators work together to keep these places clean, maintained and not not over-run with tourists. It's important to keep them sustainable.
Food is what makes Pattaya beach so attractive. The water may not be the cleanest but the food is definitely delicious. It's a tradition of ours to have seafood on the beach, under the umbrellas every time we visit Pattaya.
Add in a couple of Chang or Singha beers and it's a party. Sometimes I actually prefer doing this than going to a bar or a club.
As for the beach itself, well, I don't swim there but I enjoy doing the water sports like Jet Ski or parasailing. A kayaking option would be nice too though. I'd definitely kayak to nearby islands as I had done in the South of Thailand.
Pattaya will always be that 2nd or 3rd home for us. It will always be that destination when we have a little time and need to visit a nearby beach, eat delicious seafood, go on an adventure or party. I find Pattaya to be a reasonable place to unwind as is surely the closest and easiest getaway from Bangkok.
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