On 28 January this year we returned from Thailand to China. We have just spent our 5th consecutive family holiday in Pattaya. Many of you might rightfully ask why from all the places we choose Pattaya to spend our family holiday. After all, Pattaya is well-known for its bars and naughty nightlife and not many will look at it as a place to take your family on a vacation. There were a few good reasons why we chose Pattaya.
Before explaining those reasons, let me mention that I work in the Middle East and my family lives in China. We’ve lived for several years in the Middle East but as the time has come for our son to go to school, they went back to China in 2015.
Untypically for regular Chinese, my wife does not want to be in China during the Chinese New Year and I can’t blame her. We live in the eastern part of China and the weather is foggy, rainy, cold and because many people have left for their hometowns the city is very quiet. The good thing is the schools are out for one month. This gives us enough time to plan for our vacation.
Back in 2016 when we first start planning our holiday we were looking for a place in South-East Asia. The “requirements” for our ideal holiday destination were to be at the sea, not far from the airport, not too small so you get bored after 2 or 3 days and a family-friendly hotel. Pattaya ticked all boxes and the proximity of Bangkok was a big plus. Frankly, the reputation of Pattaya being regarded as a sin city bothered us a little bit but not so much as not to try and see how it would be. When I was telling my office colleagues I was going for a holiday in Pattaya, first they all had conspiracy smiles but when I add I was going with my family they all thought I was joking.
One of the bigger reasons to go was the hotel. This hotel was opened in 2011 and having in mind its size the construction might have taken 1 – 2 years. Whoever from the hotel group management had the courage to build a family hotel in Pattaya, when Pattaya’s reputation as a sin city was booming, must be given due credit. Aside from the excellent facilities and services, the main attraction of the hotel is their water park. It is rated as one of the best hotels with water parks in Asia.
For the first two years we mixed spending the day at the hotel pool and visiting places in Pattaya but for the last three years we have just indulged poolside. We made it to Walking Street just the first year, considering it as a tourist attraction. There is a big variety of restaurants in the city so that you can have a different dining experience every night. The opening of Terminal 21 shopping mall added more dining & shopping options. The omnipresence of the sex industry around us did not diminish our mood at all. My wife would never miss a chance to remind me of my previous plan to retire as a single guy in Thailand whether by pointing out at older expats holding hands with a much younger girl or to a less lucky older, single guy. We have gradually reduced our holiday time in Pattaya as the boredom slowly sets in and this will probably be the last year.
Many years ago, in one of his annual predictions, Stick predicted that Pattaya would be shifting from sexpat to mainstream tourism and he was not wrong. Previously, I read submissions from readers complaining about busloads of tourists. I am more bothered by seeing rats on the street, the smell from the metal grills on the side of the streets (this year luckily they covered them by some kind of carpets) or by reconstructing the Beach Road in the middle of the high season – but that is the Pattaya reality. There is no reason why regular and sex tourist cannot coexist together and Pattaya needs them both.