Nothing Changes but Nothing Stays The Same
I have read so many submissions from readers about how things are changing in Thailand, especially the nightlife industry. Higher drink prices, higher barfines, an influx of Russians, bars closing, ladies always looking at their mobiles, etc etc. While I agree that these examples are not for the better, I still say that Thailand, and especially Pattaya, is a wonderful place to visit.
People should think of what is happening now and try to enjoy it the best they can, rather than hark on about how it used to be. That I know is fairly difficult but it is the only way to enjoy the present and move on. You can't replicate the past. It is like having a great night in a bar and going back the next week and expecting the same – it doesn't often happen.
It reminds me of a time 30 years ago when I started a job in my early 20s. All the people I met who were 25 years+ older than me at the time kept telling me that the job was not as good as it used to be and the good times would never come back. However, I was living in the present and not in the past and thought that my job was wonderful. Why should I care about 25 years ago? This too applies to Thailand now.
On my last visit to Pattaya, I stayed in a guesthouse with residents of all ages. I got to know quite a few and one night I had the choice of going out with one group of people roughly my age or a couple of lads whose ages combined was less than mine. Listening and talking to the group of my own age, all talk was about not going here because a bottle of beer had gone up by 10 baht since last year or not going there because the girls were not as good as they used to be. Always comparing the past with the present. They did seem to know however the times of every happy hour the bars had in the local area, therefore to save a few baht. Now I know times can be hard but on holiday surely you should just live for the moment, spend money and try to enjoy yourself? Think of the now! They had spent money on a flight and a place to stay and now wanted to save a few bob and not make the most of their holiday. It's like buying a new car and not driving it much because you can't afford the petrol!
The 2 younger lads however were not stuck in the past and very much wanted to enjoy the present. Just go out, have a few beers and see how the night unfolds. Walk in to a bar and if it is good, stay a bit, if it is no good just move on to the next. No comparison to how it used to be. I chose to venture out with the younger lads and had a great night. Indeed, I am still in touch with them, and their crowd for their next visit has risen to 8. A new generation of visitors to Pattaya is born!
Pattaya is a place where you can really enjoy yourself but you have to let yourself enjoy it. Don't think, talk or listen about how it used to be, just enjoy the moment you are in. Every night may appear to be the same but different things happen all the time. You will come across a girl who looks the same as all the others, but is she? Will she lend you a 1,000 baht on the first night you meet her when you run short of funds (it has happened to me) or will she ransack your room while you sleep? (it has not happened to me). You will meet people who know nothing about Pattaya and lots of people who think they know everything about Pattaya. Which of these 2 groups has the most fun do you think? If you have never been to Pattaya before or have been going for many years, Pattaya is still a great place to visit.
Enjoy the Pattaya rollercoaster. Have an open mind, embrace what is around you and live in the present.
The point you make is fair; at the same time it is impossible not to compare with previous experiences. Go to a restaurant and consistently enjoy good meals and then have a bad meal and you will automatically compare with previous visits. Go to a concert where the performer doesn't light up the stage and it's natural you will compare with other performers or previous concerts by that performer. I think the relevant point is that the lower standards which most long-termers acknowledge are how things are today are acceptable to some, and not acceptable to others.
For some, simply being able to get sex relatively inexpensively and easily is enough. I increasingly feel that it's the hardcore customers who are driven by their loins who will be left in the bars as others are drifting away. For some, it's just sex they are after whereas others seek tenderness, sweetness and affection – and that is so much harder to find in Thailand's naughty bars today.