Pattaya for the luxury traveller

I was inspired to write this article by a comment made by Nick P on another of my articles on ALTB.

Pattaya is much maligned, even by expats who live in Thailand. Those of us who live, or have lived, in Patters are the butt of many jokes. You’ll have heard the one about the Pattaya jumpers (desperate foreigners who’ve lost every penny and see no way out other than flinging themselves off a high balcony). No doubt you’ll have heard of the cash cows and the walking ATMs, and how some hapless idiots lose everything, often within days of arrival in Sin City. I don’t dispute it happens. It does. But Pattaya has a lot more to offer, so please let me set the record straight.

Pattaya is the second largest city in Thailand and, as a big city, has a lot to offer for all sorts of people. Yes, downtown Pattaya is a sleaze hole. No arguments from me there. But there are sleazy places in most cities. I don’t write off London, for example, as a cess pit just because of the pros at King’s Cross or the sex for sale in Soho.

If you look beyond the so-called “entertainment zone” of central Pattaya, there’s a great deal on offer which is worlds away from the sleaze and sex industry. By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to mention anti-slavery, which is a cause I care a great deal about.

To the north of Pattaya, you have the quiet suburb of Naklua with its excellent markets full of fresh local produce and established community of locals and long term expats. Some of Pattaya’s best hotels and restaurants are situated towards the north of the city. It’s hard to imagine a Sunday brunch anywhere in the world to match the one at the Amari’s Mantra restaurant.

On the subject of restaurants, visitors to Pattaya are spoiled for choice with gourmet treats. Just buy the local paper, the Pattaya Mail, and read their “Dining Out” section. There’s seafood restaurants, fine dining, international festivals, world class chefs, and many regular foodie events. Yum! It’s gourmet heaven.

To the south, you have Jomtien, a popular holiday resort. Pattaya is also rapidly expanding to the east, but I’ve very rarely ventured there so I can’t comment on that.

Beyond the city, there are numerous golf courses. Many people come to Pattaya for the fabulous golf courses at very reasonable prices. There are other tourist attractions too, as you’d expect from a place where tourism is such a major part of the economy. The vast majority of the people are honest and friendly – it’s a comfortable place to be.

If you want to sit in a seedy girlie bar (or indeed in BoyZone) and get ripped off by a good-looking stranger who amazingly falls in love with you immediately, then you can easily find that too. No problem! But Pattaya is about a lot more than that, so I just wanted to speak up in favour of the place I called home for several years.

Pattaya has numerous top class luxury hotels and resorts. I believe the King of Sweden holidays at the Dusit Thani, which is situated at the north end of Pattaya.

So you see, Pattaya has a lot more to offer than seedy sex. Perhaps you just need a little bit of insider information to see it.

Comments (3)

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  1. Nick P says:

    To compare the Kings Cross or Soho sex for sale scene with Pattaya is folly! Pattaya has grown to be what it is DUE to the sex for sale – it covers a huge percentage of the city in terms of area, and most definitely in revenue (and associated revenue). A couple of good local markets can be seen in any Thai city or town.

    I really do not see where the connection between luxury travel and Pattaya has been drawn in your article.

    Good Sunday brunch and a couple of 4 – 4.5 star hotels do not a luxury destination make.

    Pattaya on the whole is a dirty and seedy place that currently generally attracts the lowest class of tourist – and unless they make some very drastic changes (ie not re-issue the licenses for the strip bars and gogo clubs) it has little hope of changing anytime soon.

    Any discerning tour operator selling Thailand will not feature Pattaya until it cleans up its act properly and completely -(my own travel business included!)

  2. Chang Noi says:

    I think that 100’s .. eh 1000’s of Russian tourists staying at Long Beach do not even know what is happening at Walking Street.

    I assume you also would not send tourists to Amsterdam?
    Bus loads of Japanese tourists are walking over the Wallen of Amsterdam.

    With hotels like Dusit Thani, Amari, Woodlands, Zign, Marriot, Hilton, Rabbit Resort, Sugar Hut and much more Pattaya is not that super sleazy anymore. Changes do not come overnight.

  3. Kay McMahon says:

    I lived in Pattaya for seven years. I think I know the place – and all its faults. But other people have a glimpse and think they know it all.

    I was the same when I first visited. I didn’t like it. But you have to live in a place to really know it. And Pattaya ain’t as bad as it’s painted.

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