It was the 9th of March 2018 when my parents and I decided to go for a well-deserved vacation. This would be the first vacation we’ve had in this decade which would cross 5 days! Yes, we did miss my younger brother Cleon who’s studying in Hobart. We chose to visit 2 cities in Thailand I.e. Bangkok and Pattaya. The vacation would be for 6 days.
Firstly, my parents are not those who like traveling. But they know I love the world and I know they love me. Hence, they chose to get out of their comfort zone and join me for new exploration. Bangkok and Pattaya was a revelation of sorts for us. A new country always brings in discoveries that we uncover with each moment. There were few such moments that I’d like to share with you guys today.
People in Thailand will work hard. They will do a task which might look easy or boring to you but they will do it with the utmost sincerity and wouldn’t care about what people think. I saw very very few beggars and every other person was doing something. They either sold daily household items, fruits, coconut water, fish items and some would buy stuff from a wholesale market and get a small area on the road nearby to sell those items. For me, that’s a lot of good intent to earn.
If you’ve been to Thailand and you’ve gone shopping (for sure you did!), then you also must have noticed that everyone, whether it’s the owner of the stall/shop or the people nearby; they are always eating! Yes, they always do. We were surprised to discover this. It’s possible that since the stall is open all day hence they don’t get to move around much.
Also, the people there are very open-minded. Few hotels there have the concept of a shared bathroom.
A shared bathroom is where for every room on a floor, there is one dedicated bathroom. At one time its possible for 4-5 people to use it. My parents did not react much but during their visit were more accepting of this. It was because of the people and their clear behavior.
Finally, please do not be surprised to find a woman entering and cleaning the men’s restroom. That was a culture shock for us and we took some time accepting it until being told that this was normal for them. Be it a hotel or a mall, mostly women are the ones who are assigned to cleaning the toilets for both men and women. My first experience of the shared bathroom was that when I was peeing, there was a woman who entered. We both shared a glance and post that she started with mopping the floor. Well for a moment there I was like a blank page. I laugh when I think of that moment.
This post has been written as part of a #BloggerContest via Lufthansa Airlines new initiative called #SayYesToTheWorld
For the last part of the series I have listed down an itinerary that can help you plan your stay in Bangkok/Pattaya. Since I went on spontaneously, some aspects fell in place but some places needed planning. I did lose out on time and hence would want others to get the most out of their trip. Here’s the itinerary that can help;
Day 1 – Tuesday (Arrival at Bangkok Airport)
My first suggestion to you is to go to Pattaya and then come back to Bangkok so you get more time to shop and also it would take you less time to get to the airport.
Considering that you arrive early morning, I would suggest you to take the Airport link metro. The 7th stop from that metro is called Ratchaprarop. You can get off from there and take a Tuk-Tuk/Metered Cab/Uber which should not cost you more than 100-150 THB. This would take you to Ekamai Bus station. There are buses plying to Pattaya every 30 minutes. The bus is semi sleeper fully air conditioned and very comfortable. The cost of a ticket would be 108 THB per person. The journey would take 2-2.5 hrs.
Probably you would be in Pattaya by say 3-4pm. At the bus station, there are sharing tuk-tuks that charge anything between 50-70 THB per person depending upon how far your hotel is. Reach your hotel and get some rest.
Around 6pm, one of you can go off to get tickets for the Alcazar/Tiffany’s cabaret shows. The shows last for 1.30 hrs and cost anything between 600-1500 THB per person. Go for one or both and have dinner anywhere on the beach road. There are lot of food stalls outside and also McDonald’s/Pizza Hut/Burger King and many Indian restaurants. Walk around the beach for a while and check for packages if possible. There are many shops that provide different packages for major attractions in Pattaya. Check if the costs are better than you going directly by yourself. You can decide your next 2 days and what all you can see.
Day 2 – Wednesday (Roam around Pattaya)
Try to begin early like 9 am.
Visit the Pattaya Floating market. As per the package you’ve taken you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the market. Roam around and witness a new style of a market.
Post that while the car will take you back, ask them to drop you off at the Underwater World where there’s an underwater aquarium. The tickets when bought directly are 500 THB onward. If you go via a package, you can get it for less and also that would include travel to your hotel. Basically, on your first day itself it would be wiser to choose all your packages so you can save money and time.
Next you can move towards the Art in Paradise. Tickets for that are 400 THB per person. You’ll surely be in here for 3 hours as there are over 100 3-D portraits and you can pose for all of them funnily and capture many memories.
Post all these 3 activities, take some time at the beach and catch the sunset view at the beach. Go for a swim or just laze around. Decide on your package for the Coral Island tour for the next day. This would take more than half your day (9am to 4pm). I have mentioned more about this on my previous post (CLICK HERE)
Day 3 – Thursday (Coral Island Tour)
The tour will take up more than half of your day. Once you’re back from it at 4pm, rest.
You can roam around the rest of the day and if you still want to check out some place, then try “Ripley’s Believe it or not” OR “Sanctuary of Truth”. Roam around the beach area and try exploring the place and the food.
Day 4 – Friday (Head to Bangkok)
There are buses that go from Pattaya bus station to Ekamai in Bangkok. If you leave early morning like 8am then you should be in Pratunam before 10am. Settle at your hotel and explore the MBK mall. You can also go to the Grand Palace where the royal family used to reside. The ticket price for that is 500 THB per person. But the place is worth it. There will be a lot of tourists but it’s manageable.
Rest in the afternoon. At 6pm, head over to Neon market which is on from 6pm-12am. There’s also a lot of stalls ahead of the Platinum mall which is a 2 minute walk away from Neon market. You can shop there too. If you want to check for more options then head towards Indra Square. These 3 places will have a lot of shopping options for you.
Day 5 – Saturday (Bangkok Shopping)
You can begin your weekend by heading to the Chatuchak market which is only at the weekend. There are 15000 stalls here and you are bound to find whatever you need. The place is really huge so take your own sweet time and roam around.
Once you’re done there, come back and rest for a while. In the evening you can again go to the usual shopping places and get a massage. At midnight, head to Chinatown (mostly for females) as there is a midnight market where there are handbags and earrings sold at really cheap prices.
Day 6 – Sunday (Last day in Bangkok)
You can begin your day by packing up and keeping your bags ready. At the most if there is any shopping pending, then heading over to MBK mall, Indra Square mall and even Chatuchak market is cool. Check out times usually is around 12-1pm. So shop and come back by that time. Head over to some good food stall to have the local thai food for one last time before you move to the airport. As usual, you can head over to Ratchaprarop metro station and reach the airport within 30 minutes for 40 THB per person. It is better to reach the airport 3 hours prior to your flight time as the immigration line is usually long. It takes a lot of time.
The itinerary here is a time to time based one. You don’t need to do these in order nor do you have to do all the activities mentioned. I’ve made this so you can benefit and plan as per this. Not wasting time will always be a plus point. Hope this helps.
For checking our my previous posts from this series;
After my stay in Bangkok, we bid adieu to Pratunam on the third day and left for Pattaya.
How did we do that?
Transit from Bangkok to Pattaya:
Firstly, you can catch a flight to Pattaya which should cost you a minimum of 4000 THB for a journey that could last anything between 4.5-10 hours as there is a stopover included.
Secondly you could go by road which should cost you anything between 1200-1700 THB for a 2-2.5 hour journey depending on the traffic you get. The earlier you start, the better. Cabs are always ready for this and I insist you bargain as much as possible for this as the driver will quote nothing less than 2500-3000 THB on the first attempt.
Lastly you can go via a semi luxury air conditioned bus. This shall cost you 108 THB per ticket and will take you a maximum of 2.5-3 hours to get to Pattaya bus station. From Pratunam it takes a 2 km cab ride to get to Ekamai bus station. From Ekamai there are buses that leave for Pattaya every 30 minutes. The only thing you need to note is that for every person 1 big bag is allotted. If you have more than 1 big trolley/suitcase you have to pay 20 THB per bag. We went via the bus and the ride was really good.
Stay in Pattaya:
We were up at the Seashore Pattaya resort. They are located exactly opposite the world famous Alcazar show. The resort and its rooms were very decent. They have a swimming pool enough to accommodate over 30 people at once with a kiddie pool at one end. There’s a banquet hall where the food is served all day for those who have paid for it. There’s also an in house massage parlour and a store for the men and women to buy clothes both formal and casual. The beach is a 5-7 minute walk away from here. Overall, we paid a total of 4200 THB for 3 nights with breakfast for 3 people.
P.S – Like Bangkok, here too you only get the room tariff and food is not included. That happens for most of the places. For breakfast, you need to include it as an add on while making the payment.
Things to do in Pattaya:
I shall be listing down the things that we did in Pattaya.
Alcazar Show/ Tiffany’s Ladyboy Cabaret Show. There are 2 shows which are very famous in Pattaya; Alcazar and Tiffany’s. Hundreds of talented performers will be found here. They will be dressed in some amazing costumes and will entertain you with dance and comedy. It’s truly worth spending a couple of hours for these shows. The shows begin post 4pm onward and there are not more than 5 shows a day. It’s best to book your tickets in advance as with different tours arriving each and every day, the theater is always packed. Tickets range from 600 THB to 1500 THB per person.
Art in Paradise:
Truly I say to you, this is the mother of all surprises on our trip. The art gallery has over 10 different themes including over a 100 3-D art works on display. You can pose with funny expressions and be part of the pictures. This does bring back childhood memories when we would be ourselves and not care a damn. That’s the attitude you should carry for this place. Bring out the child in you. I have over 500 pictures in total of me and my parents posing for almost every picture. The ticket costs 500 THB per person and I assure you that you will take more than 2.5 hours inside for sure.
The underwater world has a lot of variety of marine animals which would total over at least 2000 different animals. For those who have never been to any underwater aquarium, this would be a different experience. A ticket will cost you 500 THB if you book directly. My suggestion would be to check the different tour offices which are present in Pattaya on every street. We took the offer of 460 THB per person where we not only got the entry ticket but also got the pick and drop from our hotel.
Firstly, if any of the above don’t interest you, it’s not a problem. But please do go to the beach. Catch the morning sunrise and also be there from 4.30pm onward. The color of the sea along with the sunset is worth every penny.
Secondly, the coral island tour is also something that you must not miss. There are different package deals with the most basic one being the Koh – Larn and Koh Sak Island tour with lunch (9am to 4pm). Here, the vehicle picks you up from the hotel, gets you to the starting point of the speed boat. The speed boat takes you to both the islands mentioned where lunch is served on Koh-Larn and post that you get an hour at the other island Koh-Sak. The water is blue and clean and we had a joyous time swimming.
The packages start from anywhere between 600-800 THB for this. Any water-sports like Parasailing + Snorkeling + Banana boat ride + Sea walking and jetski are available. If you want all of them, the costs can go upto 2500 THB. For few adventure sports, the costs shall vary. If you are in a bigger group like 5 and above, bargaining goes well. If less than 3, then getting a good rate gets tough.
These are the attractions we visited. However we did also want to try out a few more options like; The Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya View Point, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Big Buddha and many more. Visit this link for checking more such activies – Top 12 things to do in Pattaya
Pattaya is more for relaxation. For us Mumbaikars in simple definition, Bangkok is Mumbai and Pattaya is Goa. There are beaches, sea food, adventure sports, old structures and many more attractions to witness. My only advice to you would be to do all your shopping in Bangkok and not in Pattaya as it is on the costlier side. Overall, my stay here was very relaxing and I liked every moment.
Here are the links to my previous posts in this series: