Thailand for tourists

Thirty straight days of work. Four days (or maybe even five) of break. 

As the van to take me to my holiday destination runs only once a day in the morning, I end up spending a night (and an afternoon, there wasn’t much work after lunch) at a place that is on top of my “never go there”-list: Pattaya.

This city is famous for masses of tourists, prostitution, drugs, western men finding themselves Thai women, and for having everything a tourist’s heart desires.
Every other shop window offers massages (200 baht per hour, everywhere), the ones in between sell beer, smoothies, and souvenirs in the shape of very cheap beach wear.
And the people run around in these speedos and short beach dresses, not only on the beach, but in the city as well.

I see more white beer bellies than clack hair today. The locals that I do notice are either selling something, driving taxis or waiting for someone who wants a massage.
Pattaya is like a mixture of places like Lloret the Mar or Bibione in Italy and the Khao San Road in Bangkok or Thamel in Kathmandu, Nepal. When you’re lying on the narrow beach underneath neat rows of palm trees, slurping your Chang beer, you don’t even have to get up if you want something else – beach vendors come by with ice cream, souvenirs, sunglasses, massages and even their tattoo studio.

what she sees

what I see

Do I like it? No. Am I still glad I got to see it? Yes. This is the Thailand of tourists, not the backpackers. There is a difference. Backpackers, German high school graduates, French college dropouts – they go to Chiang Mai, Pai, and Koh Phangan. Tourists, who aren’t taking months to find culture, Hippie-clothes and themselves, but two weeks to relax on a pretty beach and have some fun, they go to Koh Samui, Koh Chang, and to Pattaya. And here, you get everything you need as a tourist. And it’s cheap! Although, I have to say, much more expensive than in the places with less or no tourists…
predominant foreign language is (next to English) Russian

So I do what I always do: I take a walk on the beach, picking up the trash that has been left here or brought in by the waves, and, through my favorite app, find a great vegan restaurant: “Yes vegan”.
On the way there, I pass small food stalls on the side of the road, they sell food, drinks, coconuts, bananas, mangoes… In front of them: street dogs and piles of trash.
Behind them: a few wooden planks, ribbed roofs, canvas covers. Aka: the owners’ houses.
Across the road: massive architectural mistakes, aka resorts.

And I wonder: two, three years ago – would I have seen Pattaya as I do now? Or wouldn’t I have been getting a tan on that beach, too, waiting to buy souvenirs, drinking a smoothie from a plastic cup?

By the way, no, HappCow is not sponsoring me or anything ;-) I just love to look up restaurants there. Give it a try!


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