After an amazing time in Chiang Mai it was time to head back south and visit Pattaya City.
You can read about our time in Chiang Mai in part 1 of my Thailand recap.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok we had just shy of a two hour car ride south to Pattaya City on the bay of Bangkok. We were in Pattaya for a few days while my sister worked in a neighboring town, the primary reason for our trip. We stayed at the modern Hilton Pattaya, a huge high rise building on top of a rather fancy mall. The hotel felt jarring in it’s opulence after our lovely and more humble guest house. Whilst travelling, I have tried lots of hotels, many hostels, a few guest houses, a B&B in england and villas in jamaica. Whilst hostels are cheap and convenient and villas are beautiful and private, I think personally I prefer a hotel. I like the security of knowing there are people around to help should you need it and you can get most things by calling reception. That’s certainly the case for here in Thailand, anyway. Guest Friendly Pattaya have created a guide on hotels in Pattaya from the budget to the brilliant! If you are looking for a place to stay in this beautiful area you should take a look.
Our room included a little balcony with a lovely view of the bay and some of the islands just off the coast. We loved that you could see the large Pattaya City sign cut into the hill side further south of the hotel. We spent the afternoon reading and lunching in the sun, swimming the infinity pool with sprawling bay views and lounge chairs in the water, and overall relaxing.
I wasn’t feeling well that evening and my sister had work to do so we spent the evening in the hotel room watching the discovery channel. The next morning we had an early breakfast at the hotel buffet, which featured a huge range of options, from more traditional Thai breakfast, to bacon and eggs, soba noodles, Chinese food, and even sushi. Of course, we especially loved the fruit options and I ate more rice soup…when in Thailand, right?
My sister had to head to work so it was my first of two days on my own. After such a busy time in Chiang Mai I decided to take it easy for the day and enjoy the relaxation offered at the waterfront resort. I did a workout in the hotel gym, it was easy to get myself to do it with a nice view. I think the view is the theme of Pattaya City. I spent the remainder of the late morning and early afternoon reading by the pool with brief breaks for a dip in the water.
When I’d had enough sun I decided to shower and head down stairs to check out the attached mall, one of the largest in Asia the sign said. I was surprised to see how similar the mall was to those in the US, with stores familiar to me, both casual and sit-down restaurants, and a movie theater. It should come as no surprise that my favorite part of the mall was the lovely international grocery store on the first floor. I sipped a jewel-colored dragon fruit juice while getting a pedicure. When my sister returned we enjoyed happy hour drinks at the rooftop restaurant while watching the sunset. Not exactly a rough day.
Day two of my time alone in Pattaya City, my sister left even earlier than breakfast began so I headed back to the buffet on my own. Fully nourished, I headed out about 10 am to catch the ferry boat to Koh Larn, or Coral Island for the afternoon. At the hotel I was told to grab a cheap tuk tuk and head to the walking street then on to the dock with the ferry boat. They gave me the time line of ferry rides, and I had just enough time to catch the next ferry. If I missed it, it would be another 1.5 hours until the next.
What I came to realized is that in Pattaya City, tuk tuks are not the covered 3 wheel vehicles I had come to know in Chiang Mai. They were motorcycles. And women sat side saddle holding on to the driver. That was not happening for me, the risk-averse person that I am so made the trek on foot. Power walking in my sandals with a beach bag over my shoulder. I had to go through the filthy walking street, filled with go-go bars and empty bottles, where they were cleaning up from the night before and made it to the boat about 2 minutes before it took off.
Then the fun really began, I was seated on the bottom of the two-story ferry boat, right next to the loud and open engine. It was rainy season in Thailand and so the waves were large and the wind was strong. I genuinely thought I might die in the Bay of Bangkok, thinking that at least I would die having an interesting experience. 45 minutes later we made it to the dock at Tien Beach and I had survived. I paid about $3 USD and grabbed a beach chair under an umbrella, not having thought to bring a towel.
Since I didn’t have anyone with me and didn’t want to leave my things on the beach I waded up to my hips in the water with my beach bag still on my shoulder. I was amazed at how clear the water was, I could see my toes on the sand, despite all the pollution from a large number of speed boats shuttling tourists from the main land. I grabbed a Chang beer and spent the next couple of hours sitting under the umbrella with a book. My trip back to the main land was much less exciting, a seat on the top of the ferry made the ride feel like smooth sailing. I had dinner alone at the hotel, where I dined on yellow curry with blue crab and of course, rice.
The next morning we took our time having breakfast and packing up our things then headed out for a two hour drive into Bangkok for our final two days in Thailand.