After spending the last 3 weeks in Pattaya I thought I should give you my personal impression as a form of feedback for your site.
I arrived the Monday after the most critical weekend in Bangkok and found the daily scenery here quite normal for the time of the year. It's busy, and the Russians, Indians and Arabs are still the main tourists that can be spotted. Like I wrote to you about a year ago, Pattaya is changing fast in my opinion. It's developing into a mainstream tourist destination with a lot more variety and class when it comes to entertainment and nightlife than ever before, when the name Sin City was more justified than it is now. (Although I won't see all the sins disappear, never ever).
So there's nothing new about that compared to the situation before the flooding. Yes, there were some more Thai people from Bangkok here than usual. Thai contacts of mine confirmed that, but the city wasn't really overrun with Thais. But then again, I came a few days after the critical weekend with the spring tide.
The main thing that I noticed, and which is caused by the flooding, is the shortage of certain items. From day one when I arrived for example it was almost impossible to get items like Lipton Iced Tea, Vitamilk, some beer brands etc. Also, the supply of drinking water is not what it used to be, with the shelves sometimes almost empty, but never completely empty. There's always some stock left, but usually just the smaller bottles.
The last few days saw the milk supply also almost getting to a complete stop, so the supply situation is not changing for the good, it's still a bit hit and miss. I think certain supply chains, probably based in the more serious affected areas, have problems while others don't. I've checked it out in several supermarkets and it's the same situation in different places.
A round through Walking Street confirmed that the street itself is packed, but I can't confirm the information that it's so quiet in the bars. I have to say that I did just one single Walking Street tour, and that was 2 days ago on Thursday. I've been to Alcatraz (not busy), Angelwitch (busy), Moon Club (all seats taken), Iron Club (somewhat busy) and Sexy Airline (all seats taken). I ended up in Secrets too, which was very quiet, but in all fairness I have to say that I came in late, at the end of the tour, at around 02.30 am.
And last but not least an update about my regular spot, Tim's Bar at Second Road. That iconic bar, running since 1980 under the same ownership (first at Beach Road and since 1997 at Second Road) has finally, for the first time since 1997, undergone serious renovations! I always joked to Tim that Tim's Museum would be a more appropriate name, but now no more. Tim's Entertainment Palace would be a better name now.
The outside beer bar is as good as finished now and looking nice. The gogo bar inside is not yet finished yet with mainly the wall panelling and ceiling that still have to be completed. They do that during the daytime and at night it's party time again, so it's still open daily and looking better by the day. The pool hall / sports bar at the back has been done too. There are fewer tables but there's more comfortable seating. Next to the pool hall are a coyote place and a private karaoke room. At the end of the pool hall there's a new and somewhat strange feature, an enormous Jacuzzi with place for about 15 people! There's a glass wall between the pool hall and the Jacuzzi and when I asked if that was a good idea regarding privacy issues I was told that a curtain would be installed on the Jacuzzi side of the wall only. I pointed out that maybe, while playing a decent game of snooker, I was not in the mood to have to look at some Pattaya whales with a bunch of overweight older bargirls who are way past their expiry date. That's not my idea of a nice night out! As my input is always appreciated by Wat, Tim's son and now the person who actually runs the Tim Empire, he assured me that he was going to seriously think about a curtain at BOTH sides of the glass wall, which really comforted my somewhat upset mood.
The new toilets are really something. Tim's Bar was always known for its nice and extremely clean toilets, but they are now almost turned into a work of art. Tim's Design Toilets would be the right name. This is a rather unique feature in Pattaya. I still don't understand how people can sometimes put serious money in a new gogo bar, and then have lousy toilets. The Moon Club is a nice example of this. Very nice looking bar, and a toilet that's a little bit more than a bucket in the corner. Now I really don't have problems with pissing against a tree outside if I have to and while visiting a dodgy bar, but I really don't understand that so many people in the bar business in Thailand don't understand that your toilets do have a representation function too. It can be a sort of a finishing touch, showing that you care about ALL details of your bar.
Next door there's still the Tim Boutique Hotel, which is really nice and expanded last year from about 50 rooms to close to 100 rooms. Underneath it there's a place that's going to be a night club / disco which will be opened some time next year, but Wat is not in a hurry with that one. The rooms above Tim's Bar itself are all renovated too and have the same style and standards as the rooms in the Tim Hotel now, but will be considerably cheaper due to being a little bit smaller (but still very decent sized), not reachable by elevator, no room service and no swimming pool on the roof. They all do have Jacuzzi’s though.
Good old Tim can still be found on her regular spot in a corner of the outside bar on a daily basis, looking at all the comings and goings at Second Road, and commenting on them. Like I said since a few years, after Tim's husband died, her son Wat is running the whole show now. I can honestly say that he's a very decent, well mannered, polite and intelligent person (and he really is 100% Thai!) and with him in charge, and the renovations soon to be finished completely, Tim's Bar is ready for the next 30 years!
Best regards from Pattaya, Peter.
Thanks a lot for the update. I have not stepped foot in Pattaya for a couple of months but intend to change that and have two trips planned before Christmas so hopefully I will have a few updates in the column of what is happening in Pattaya soon!