Pattaya is a popular resort city about 100KM northeast of Thailand's capital, Bangkok. That is about two hours by coach or car. Then we were ferried to Coral Island (Koh Larn) beach - white sands, clear aqua-colored waters that looked ever so inviting.
So what does one do on the gorgeous beaches here, besides lying down for a sunkissed tan or frolicking in the lovely waters?
We heard that the underwater diving or snorkeling there offered great views of gorgeous marine creatures, but we were not that adventurous. A couple of the guys took to it, I think.
Priscilla* and I got onto the Glass-Bottomed Boats so we wouldnt get wet, but yet were still able to indulge in the eye feast, watching schools of colorful fish swimming by, beneath our feet. The experience was fun and a little scary though - half the time I feared the bottom of the glass boat might give way; I felt vulnerable. But the views were well worth it; they alleviated all fears and worries.
Next, we tried Para-sailing. A powerful motorboat would travel around the island, bringing with it the parascender attached by a special parachute called the parasail. It was rather exhilarating, being up in the air and enjoying the magnitude of blasts of seabreezes all around us; we were literally soaring. Strangely I felt no fear of falling or the harness being loosened etc at all. In fact, I think we did it twice.
Want a drink or a companion? There are plenty of bars and pubs in Pattaya, filled with expatriates on the hunt, and an equal number of petite, sensual ladies on the prowl as well. Head to the hot club scene, Walking Street (Bali Hai)- a well known red light district in Pattaya. Some of these bars are Gogo Bars, where scantily-clad girls performed sensual dance moves and even S&M.
Alternatively, one may choose to watch the famous Tiffany Show - one of the most famous transversite cabaret show featuring spectacular performance. I attended - the ladyboys were all svelte, long-legged, fair-skinned, with prominently sharped features. Think, porcelain-smooth skin, high cheekbones and fine brows. They sang and danced very well, decked out in really gorgeous dresses and gowns. It was delightful, though at some points when they actually came offstage to disturb the male audience - some of them got rather offended.
People are often curious about the Thai Girl Shows (not "Tiger Shows" as how they often sounded like) -we went to take a look as well, since it was always described to be wild and "happening". These shows are also commonly know as "Ping Pong Shows". Disappointingly, what unfolded onstage made us yawn in boredom - maybe the men would find it more fascinating?
Naked girls took to the stage, performing various stunts with their groins - such as opening a can of Coke, slipping a goldfish into their vaginas and then extracing it, dangling a ping-pong ball down there, etc. Finally, a nude male came onstage and he would engage one of the ladies in sexual intercourse - there was nothing sensual or arousing about their mating - they looked expressionless and bored themselves.
Cultural and Other Activities
I guess shopping would be more fun. There are a number of malls and outlet stores around - Central Center Pattaya, Fly Now Factory Outlet, Mike Shopping Mall, Royal Garden Plaza, P.S. Plaza etc.
There are also a number of traditional Thai massage parlours around for those who wish to relieve and soothe their tired, tensed bodies and treat themselves to a healthy indulgence. Personally I find Thai massages a little painful, especially the twisting, kneading and thumping (not to mention the masseurs stepping onto my body).
For those seeking cultural penetration, do visit the Nong Nooch Village - renowned for its beautiful tropical gardens featuring many varieties of plants and plants. There are also cultural shows such as Elephant Shows, Cock Fighting, Boxing Matches, Monks Ceremony and Marriage Rituals as well, for visual enjoyment and foster understanding of the traditional customs of how ancient Thais lived.
The above cultural activities were all included in our tour itinery but Priscilla* and I missed it - we were stuck at the Thai police station making police reports about money that was stolen from our seedy-looking Baiyoke Pattaya hotel room. Oh yes, don't bother staying there- it is nowhere near the league of its sister outlets such as Baiyoke Sky or Baiyoke Boutique Hotel. Dark corridors, tiny rooms and creepy looking chambermaids with wary eyes and knowing smiles. We'd just left our room for about 20 minutes to head downstairs to buy some fried scorpions as snacks when our monies were stolen.
Overall though, Pattaya is an interesting tourist spot filled with a variety of activities and experience to suit different tourists, other than just the gorgeous beaches.