When you are fed up with the same monotonous life and of the same faces at you workplace; what do you do ? You take 2-3 days off and go to Pattaya, sit on the stunning Pattaya beach and look at loads of lovely Thai girls around while guzzling the chilled local beer ‘Singha’ or ‘Chang’. But beware, you unexpectedly might get a blow on your head because you forgot that you came with your wife.
Well here I will be telling you my experience of a 5 day holidays to Pattaya and Bangkok. I will share all the key points and stats which I am sure will help you the next time you visit these places. Please don’t judge this post as a money saver guide, no no no, it’s not. But be patient because it’s a veryyyy looooonnnnngggg post.
Our trip started from Bangalore, India. We booked a packaged trip which incorporated air tickets, Hotel bookings, 3 meals a day and all commute. We hired ‘Spaceline Holidays India Pvt Ltd’. Now if the tour operator was intelligent enough then he wouldn’t have let us know the prices he was paying everywhere. But unprofessionalism of our tour guide led me to open up few surprises for you. Before that please make sure you don’t pick for ‘Spaceline Holidays India Pvt Ltd’, completely crappy services.
1. The Currency – The Currency in Thailand in is Thai Baht which was equivalent to 1.72 INR. Our travel agent told us not to carry more than 5000 TBH because that will be more than enough. But we had ideas to do more then what he had planned for us. Hence we carried about 20,000 TBH out of which we could not spend 203 THB by end of 5th day
2. Packing – Thailand is a tropical kingdom hence you do not need any warm clothes but always take a look at the climate before visiting any city. Pack more than 1 t-shirt per day because you would perspire enormously and you might need fresh clothes within the same day. Carry only shorts, even Bermuda shorts aren’t necessary, a pair of slippers and a deodorizer (Very Important). Do not carry to much baggage because you are going on holidays and if you are a shopaholic then you will carry back loads of stuff.
3. Flight Tickets – You can book your own flight tickets till Bangkok. Book your flights till Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok. Try following few options to find the cheapest tickets,
Also, don’t forget to check the airlines website too because sometimes they offer cheaper tickets then all to encourage direct reservations. And you know the thumb rule that the earlier you book the lesser you would pay. Check the baggage limit which is usually 20+7 per person. If you are planning to buy a television (which almost every Indian does, we did not but we are Indians ) then be careful about this weight limit. Ask the television dealer himself the tips and tricks to ship Television.
4. At Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok – If you have got your visa done already then you might have spent extra because you can get visa on arrival at Bangkok airport. So as soon as you get down you need to rush to the visa booth. Now there are 2 queues, one is for regular visa and the other one is for express. The price variance is not much; 1000 THB for a regular one and 1200 THB for the express. Hence, for regular booth you will find 100s of people with no sense of any queue, whereas the express counter would be deserted. Either you can rush to the regular queue the moment you get into the airport OR if you have about 2 hours to kill; you can save 200 THB. But the real question is how much is 200 THB ? When I gave it a thought then I realized that Thailand is not that kind of country where I need to think twice to spend if I start converting. 200 THB is mere 300 INR which isn’t at all a big deal. Hence I gracefully went to the Express counter and got everything done within 5 minutes. People in the standard queue saw this and it occurred to them that an Indian just now spent extra cash to save time; we are also Indian then why can’t we ? And rest was history.
5. Mobile Phone – As soon as you collect your baggage; you will get out of the main airport and you will enter the shopping area (Still very much inside the airport). There you can find stalls selling free sim card but it will have no currency; you will have to get some currency for it, you can either get it from them or you can get it refilled in 7-Eleven stores anywhere. The phone will be required to book cabs and its always handy. Calling locally is around 1.5 THB per minute and calling India is around 6 THB but read the directions before dialling an International call.
6. Taxi to Pattaya – Our taxi was booked by the tour operator. We had to reach Pattaya nonstop from Bangkok and that’s around 151 kms and 2 hrs. Our Taxi took 1000 THB which was a decent amount comparing India. You can make use of following websites to book your taxi in advance or at least take down their numbers to call them directly from airport (It could workout economical that way),
I am not sure how far from airport you might have to go to find a taxi on the road because that will be even cut-rate. But the cheapest way is to get into a bus to Pattaya,
And according to pictures posted on web; buses don’t look bad at all.
While in pattaya you will find loads of people sitting on road booking taxis. Be smart and you may crack a good deal. Never pay all the money upfront until you see what you are getting because in Thailand that can happen very easily, the guy might book Toyota Camry but you might end up going in a crappy old van !!
7. Hotels – I was reading an editorial and found that in 2005-06 there was a tourism roar and Thailand saw a skewed rise in hotels. Hence, now there are lots and lots of hotels and not many tourists; due to which prices have gone down radically. In Pattaya we stayed in hotel Markland, in a deluxe sea view room for 2000 THB per day, http://www.marklandhotelpattaya.com/rooms.html. You can hunt down a best hotel and its always good to have hotel next to the beach. For Hotel prices use
Or you can stay with locals for free !!
8. In Pattaya – There is nothing much to do but relax in Pattaya unless you wanna try out the water sports. Check water sport package prices with hotel, go out and talk to a road side tour operators and at the end take a stroll on the beach where you will be offered packages by different locals. Remember one thing in Thailand, look around and gather info from 2-3 different vendors because prices fluctuate a lot. While taking a stroll next to the beach you might bump into a member from the “Panian Group” offering Coral beach/Water sport/Lunch package wearing blue dress looking for potential customers on the road. Talk to them and bargain as much as conceivable. The few things to do,
a. Coral Island beach, nothing distinct and overcrowded
b. En route to Coral Island you can do Para sailing (Around 500 THB for one round which would last about 5-10 minutes). Undersea walk for 30 min would cost you around 1200 THB and an additional 600 THB if you want video and pics. There are all kinds of water sports but bargain is the only way to enjoy everything.
c. Walking street – This is just for fun sake, take a stroll in the night on the most happening red light area of Asia. But be careful because some of the most stunning looking women in fact would be hard core Guys.
d. Noong Nooch Village (500 THB) – A Tropical Garden which shows two 30 minute shows, one portraying Thai Culture and 30 minute for Elephant show. Skip this one because first show isn’t that great and the elephant show is the same in Safari world in Bangkok.
e. Thai Massage (From 200 THB) – Don’t come back if you don’t get this done. For 200 THB you can get a full body massage for an hour, which would leave you heavenly. The best 200 THB I spent on my trip. And Pattaya is a better place for Thai Massage but beware of massage parlours like Sabai Dee where lot more happen along with massage.
f. Tiffany’s Show (From 500 THB) - A breathless hour-long riot of sound, color and light, from a Bollywood-style musical to Korean fan dance, slapstick burlesque to Broadway spectacular but in the end nothing extraordinary.
g. Gems Factory (Free Entry) – Probably the largest jewellery store you would have ever seen. The introductory trip and narration of gemstones through life-size simulations while you are seated in a toy train is terrific. Price tags here were luxurious according to my wife but don’t miss out to explore.
9. Eat – Eating is not a problem except you are an Indian because you cannot have any authentic Thai cuisine, how much ever you love the “Chinese food”. But not to worry there are plenty of Indian restaurants around. But don’t miss out on fruits, they are just wonderful.
10. Hotel in Bangkok – In Bangkok we stayed in hotel Baiyoke Suite, an amazing hotel. Being a 5-star hotel the prices are quite low. And just outside the hotel you will find women’s dream shopping street full of clothing at a very reduced price.
11. In Bangkok – There are few things you can do in Bangkok,
a. Visit Wat Pho (50 THB)- is a Buddhist temple. Very beautiful and sacred.
b. Grand Palace (750 THB) – No Idea, looked amazingly great from outside. According to different tourists, 400 THB for outer Campus and an another 350 THB for inner Campus.
c. Safari World (750 THB for adults) - Safari World is a zoo that consists of two parks named Safari Park and Marine Park. Safari Park is about 8 km and 45 min long and is the ultimate safari experience features hundreds of animals from all over the world. The Marine Park houses a vast spectrum of animal of land, sea and air. They also host 7 exciting shows daily.
d. Shopping – No idea about other places but shopping street next to Baiyoke Suit was more than enough. The amount of clothing they had was just mind-blowing. The quality may not be picture-perfect but the price they offer, no one can resist. There is a building called Indra Square which is air conditioned market next to Baiyoke Suite offering little better quality then outside and also slight expensive then outside. Some tips while shopping,
i. Bargain as much as possible but don’t reduce the price by half because then they might get offended and abuse you
ii. Take a look at the shopping street, Indra Square and even in malls (Millennium mall behind the Baiyoke suite) and then decide because you might get better deal even inside a shopping mall
iii. Look what others are paying, observe a lot before you start your shopping.
iv. If you are buying 1 item then you might pay more but if you buy many (3-4) then they will give it away for a wholesale price which would turn out to be quite economical.
Thailand is a great place with an interesting culture and people. Worth sending your time and money here.