Following a long day in Bangkok, we decided to look for a more relaxing time; settling for getting a taxi to the nearby beach area of Pattaya. We went down to destination services to find out a little more about the area, just as a man, we had met the day before, was trying to cancel a trip into the town. It suited us both to negotiate a deal for these tickets and we rushed back to pack a few things, as the coach was soon to depart.
Although, we would only have about three hours in Pattaya, it would give us a chance to have a walk around and look for some presents, as our daughter likes a few small gifts when we return. This has become a little tradition in the family.
The town was a complete contrast to the busy capital. We were dropped off outside a state of the art shopping centre, with many well known stores selling clothes etc. at prices you would find at home. Wandering through this we emerged into the older part of the town. Here we ambled around a local market, where you could buy items at a much lower price. It was one of those places, where a little bit of bargaining earned you some worthwhile discounts!
The beach was a pleasant area with the normal sections of sunbeds you could hire. As you sat several vendors would approach selling a variety of goods or cooking food to sell, as well as offering foot massages. Although we saw a few of these, they didn't seem over intrusive. We sat here and had a snack before finding a Costa Coffee for our internet fix, and then it was time for our coach back.
One of the most interesting observations from the day, was our guide's relaxed attitude to the things on offer in the town. He told us about the Ladyboys who frequented the streets at night, as well as the ladies whose job it was to make you 'happy'. Massages were also readily available and the further you got from the centre, the more interesting these would become, with what he described was a 'Happy Ending'. He did mention the image of the town was now changing with upmarket hotels replacing the seedier establishments, attracting a different type of clientele, which he thought was better for the town's development.
We had already had a couple of eccentric guides, on previous trips, and on arriving back on the boat and talking about our trip to other guests, they were surprised or maybe disappointed that their guides had only talked about the temples etc. We certainly can choose them!
In the whole we were very impressed with Thailand and it certainly is an up and coming area where prices are still reasonable and there are a lot of interesting places and beaches to visit.