|All photos are clickable.|
Our trip program
- Arrival to Bangkok
- Transfer to Pattaya
- Checking into Pattaya Park Beach Resort Hotel
- Nightly sea
- Meeting with our guide
- First dinner in the first rain
- Evening snacks
- Panorama of Pattaya from a hill
- Some Buddhist Temple
- Snake farm
- Pattaya Underwater World Oceanarium
- Crocodile farm
- Ripley’s Entertainment Zone
- Tower Shot
- Foot massage
- Early awakening
- River market
- Elephant village
- Floating down River Kwai
- On-water hotel
- Thermal waters
- Some waterfall
- Kho Lan island beach
- Duty-free shopping in town
- Khao Kheow Zoo and rainy problem
- In room dinner
- Tiffany’s show
- Transfer to Bangkok
- Checking into Royal Benja Hotel
- Baiyoke Sky panorama
- Spicy dinner in the food market
- Dream World amusement park
- Ocean World oceanarium
- Sidewalk market
Our flight to Bangkok took 8 hours and it was not very convenient – we had armchairs with nonfolding back at the end of the business class cabin. Bangkok airport Subarnabhumi is really large – it took us about 10 minutes to get from our gate to passport control. After that we got into a bus and started moving to our first and main location – Pattaya.
It's a popular touristic resort full of Russians and Chinese. I must say, that here you'd better speak Russian than English if you want get along with locals. There were even 4 Russian channels on the TV in our hotel.
Pattaya Park Beach Resort
That is the name of our hotel. It is famous here because of two reasons – one of it's buildings is the highest in the city and it has it's own aqua-park. But we ignored those places of interest and didn't pay our visit there.
The hotel looks nice and fresh. We had a cosy superior room with two beds and a balcony at the top 15th floor. Actually it was 14th one because in Thailand they skip the 13th floor in all buildings.
South Chinese Sea
It is warm all day long and all the year. We went to the sea at the first day of our journey in the evening.
The next day we went here at noon – it was a mistake, we got sunburns right away.
They say that beaches in Pattaya are not really clean as well as the water. In fact I can say that it isn't worse than those in the Black Sea. The water is full of floating sand and so it looks dirty. If you want to get clean white sand beaches and sparkling transparent water you have to go to islands that are not far from the city. We visited Kho Lan island that is 20 minutes far from the city pier. It was really perfect. The pictures can't depict it's real beauty.
In total we hit the beaches three times and two of them we got sunburned. During our first visit I occasionally got undesired tattoo of a dragon on my right forearm. Some sticky Thai man made it while I was repelling. He wanted 3000B ($100) for his work and I gave him only 300B($10). The tattoo went away after 7 days leaving white strokes on my skin that were not exposed to the sun. They are still present.
All in all we had 8 excursions in 10 days. I think it was way to many. The main problem for me is the fact that all the excursions begin really early – around 8 am. You can see the plan of what we saw at the beginning. Three excursions were included in a tour and 5 were bought. We gave 12000B ($400) for two persons. Everything was quite OK – nice guides new buses and some interesting places.
Except these: 2 gem factories, latex pillow factory, African oak factory, souvenir shop, tea shop and medical herbs shop. I didn't like them.
Thai food is spicy. I didn't like it.
Thai snacks are also hot. I didn't like them either.
Three first packs went straight to the bin – way too spicy.
Snake and crocodile farms
Some of the most common must sees of Pattaya are crocodile and snake farms. Snake farm is not very big and the only interesting thing here is the show. It is really interesting and interactive - performers are trying to involve audience in the show, throwing snakes at them. A short video depicts the beginning of the show.
If you are very hungry you can have a full meal made of yet-alive snake. I should state that that was the only meal here - there is no cafe and besides snakes you can eat boiled corn if you like.
Crocodile farm is a bit more interesting.
There are plenty of hungry crocs need to be fed with chicken by you.
Besides crocodiles there is a real zoo with different animals and birds. We took some photos in advance because we missed the real zoo because of the rain. Crocs here look kind of bored - the lie without movement and are not really willing to eat your chicken for 80baht ($1.5). Besides the zoo there is also fine stone garden - worth seeing and taking photos - it reminded me the Peterhof garden in St.Petersburg. The show here is in Thai, take a view if you like.
We paid a visit to a Thai massage parlor. I had a wonderful foot massage for an hour just for 200B ($6,5). Because of tickling I was smiling and even laughing during all the session especially in the end when foot massage turned into neck and shoulders massage. I really wanted to test traditional Thai massage but because of the sunburns I had to miss that part. Better luck next time.
River Kwai adventures
That was the most interesting two day excursion started at 4:40 am. We visited on-river market, took a ride on the back of the elephant, took a bath in hot thermal waters and float down the River Kwai in a safe jacket.
And elephant ride:
One of the specialties here is the hotel situated right on the river. It was quite cosy though not 5 stars.
I spent evening hours lying in hammock and reading a book.
Climate here is tropical with just two seasons - dry and rainy. We were here during the humid rainy season. At first we were afraid that rain will be pouring all the time but we were wrong - rain was predominantly during nights and late evenings. There were even two or three days without any drop. And during the day it was damn hot and sunny here - you'd better not stay under the sun at noon - you would become wet with the sweat in a minute.
I can't not to mention that tropical rains are very strong - one morning we were visiting the opened zoo when the rain ruined our plans and we were totally wet, although we had an umbrella.
Our group decided to cancel the visit and return to the hotel with later refund of the half of the excursion price. The climate is also very humid - the first thing you mention exiting the airport is the humid and warm air. But you will get along with it in no time and it doesn't bother. Air conditioning here is essential - we can't stay in our room more than half an hour without it. Even the rain is very warm here and when you walk in the streets full of water below and above you won't get cold.
Pattaya is full of transsexuals. Our guide said they feel safe here. I saw one in the market – he wasn't very attractive. But I can't say that about ones we saw at Tiffany's show. They look fantastic.
And the show is really impressive, definitely must see thing in Pattaya. The show lasts a little more than an hour and depicts cultures of different countries of the world shown by katois (local name of transsexuals).
After 7 days in Pattaya we moved for 2 days to Bangkok.
It's a big modern city of skyscrapers full of people of different cultures: Thai, Chinese, Arab, African and Indian. Russians here are minority. We lived right in the center of the city among skyscrapers.
Sidewalks are never empty – they are crowded with sellers of different kind. Taxi here is also interesting - always bright and fresh colors: pink, blue, green.
Subway here is underground (metro) and overground (skytrain).
It's always overcrowded inside. Stations are announced in Thai and English. You can also find station name on the monitors inside which show commercials.
Royal Benja Hotel
That's the name of our hotel. I really don't know what Benja is, but it's definitely not English. This hotel was really cool. I guess it's about 4 stars, though it has 3 stars in the Internet description.
2 beds, LCD TV, separated bath tub and shower, cool carpet on the floor, wi-fi for $10 a day. I liked it more than our hotel in Pattaya. We lived on the 26th floor in a 31 stories high building. Though I didn't like 4 speedy elevators here – pressure drops hurt your ears.
Dream World amusement park
During our last day in Bangkok we visited Dream World Amusement Park. It's a huge territory of European style adventures. We were here for 4 hours though didn't visit every of 54 attractions.
The most stunning thing was a water ride when we were totally wet altogether with our camera and money. I must mention that the main thing that is missing here is a real roller coaster. Instead of it there is some 'coaster' though not 'roller'.
Things I liked
Thing i really liked there was everyday summer. 365 days a year here is summer. With +30 degrees Celsius, sea, white beaches and warm rains in the evening.
I liked fresh fruits and seafood. I liked to wear shorts, t-shirts with short sleeves and slippers day and night and not being afraid to get cold. I liked really cheap things there - food, clothes, souvenirs. I liked a bottle of fresh drinking water in a fridge renewed daily. I liked to lie in the armchair in the balcony in the evening shade, drink something, listen to Vivaldi and watch the glowing city.
Things I didn’t like
I didn't like to get up at 7am almost every day to get to our excursion at 8. I didn't like the absence of free Wi-Fi service even in Bangkok, even in McDonald's. I didn't like to be white there - every seller is trying to interest you in his goods or service in a very persistent way. I didn't like to be in the sun at noon - you start sweating in a second. I didn't like speedy lifts in the hotels - feel yourself like in a jet plain. I didn't like national Thai food - it is not for the Europeans because of amount of chili pepper in every dish.
Things I found interesting
Thai people don't eat bread, drink milk, hot drinks and tea. When we were in some Bangkok cafe and ordered tea, after some discussion with the water - we got can of Schweppes instead of tea.
They drive the left side of the road. I guess every third vehicle here is a motorbike. Thai people are not fond of sun bathing - they think that white skin is beautiful and brown skin is for plantation workers.
Now it is officially 2555 year in Thailand. That is so because 95% of the population are Buddhist and they count years from the day Buddha's birth, which was 2555 years ago. Find a year on a receipt.
Anyway more than half of the shops here issue receipts with European style date. I guess this can be a major problem when building computer systems operating with dates.
Thailand is a wonderful country of eternal summer. But i guess it's too hot for a European. I don't think I come here once more - the world is too big and full other wonderful countries. See you somewhere else.