Lately I keep reminiscing about Thailand, one of my favourite places in the world, where I spent 2 months at the end of last year/start of this year. I love everything about Thailand; the people, the food, the culture… I could go on. I saw so many amazing places in Thailand but there’s one city that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth – Pattaya.
It’s not very often that I have a negative travel story to tell. I’m sure this was once a beautiful place, but sadly tourism, specifically sex tourism, has run it right into the ground. We went here without doing our research, and because our route passed through it, but we soon found it had nothing of the things we’d come to love about this beautiful country.
I always visit a new place with an open mind and I’d never make judgements of another culture, but the point is that there’s very little Thai culture to be found in Pattaya. I think you’d struggle to even find Thai food amongst all the Mcdonald’s, Starbucks and KFCs.
All lit up at night, Walking Street looks promising, as it’s packed full of bars and absolutely heaving with people. Look closer though, and you’ll see that the majority of these people are greasy, sunburnt old white men flashing the cash. Men who come to Thailand for sex tourism flock here, and it’s seriously not nice to be around. Of all the dozens of bars on the strip, I don’t think there’s one that isn’t full of these creeps. The further away from the beach you walk, the darker it gets too, girls are ‘advertised’ in windows whilst these men aggressively leer and take pictures of them, bleugh.
If you’re just thinking of coming here for a nice, relaxing beach break away from Bangkok, think again. This may be tempting as it’s only a 3 hour drive, but don’t bother. We pulled into Pattaya with our swimming costumes at the ready after seeing that the weather forecast was predicting 30+ degrees heat, but the closer we got to the beach, the more rubbish and less sand we saw. The beach here is overcrowded and so filthy, you’d be lucky to find a spot big enough for your towel amongst the empty crisp packets and beer cans. And the sea is so polluted too, I honestly think swimming here would be a health risk. We found a ‘nice’ spot over the seafront to have dinner one night, but floating in the sea all around us were bags and bags of overflowing rubbish as far as we could see. Thailand is such a beautiful country, and it made me so sad to see it treated this way.
So if you were thinking of going to Pattaya, seriously don’t bother. There’s just nothing to do or see, no real Thai culture to experience, and no backpacker’s scene whatsoever. If you do find yourself in this part of Thailand then I would absolutely recommend you keep going a few hours to Koh Chang. It’s beautiful and you can actually sunbathe without catching an infection – you can read all about it here.