Sin City

25 Apr

As we got further into the city of Pattaya, if anything, the storm intensified! It was some of the most extreme weather I’d ever seen, and certainly made driving hazardous. Sure enough we saw the result of several accidents within a few minutes. A couple of cars had collided, a lorry had somehow been bent in half, and a car was on its roof in a ditch. Our driver decided to continue driving at full speed, despite the fact he couldn’t see.

We got towards the centre of the city, near to where we would be staying and found many of the streets a foot or more underwater. Some of the many roads had been completely transformed into rivers. At one point our driver stopped and said he couldn’t go any further, and a couple of Chinese girls were forced to go on foot. Surprisingly, the best vehicles for getting through the floods seemed to be motorbikes! People were riding through places where the water came over their feet. We were pretty lucky in the end and got dropped off next to our hostel. We checked in, had a shower, and waited for the water to subside.

Within a few hours there was little sign of the extreme weather and we were able to head out for some dinner and drinks. Pattaya is often dubbed ‘sin city’, and is synonymous with Thailand’s sex industry. I had heard a lot of stories about what goes on there, and how lawless and crazy it is. On the flip side, I had heard that it has beautiful beaches, big amusement parks, and is a popular tourist destination for families. As with anything, I needed to see it for myself and make my own conclusions.

It turns out the centre of town is every bit as seedy, sleazy and sordid as people had described it. We wouldn’t walk more than a few metres before being catcalled by masseuses and bar girls, trying to coach you into their bars and clubs. Some would go even further and try and drag you in, with surprising strength (lady boy’s maybe?). The other notable thing was how many old, western guys there were. It wasn’t at all surprising; clearly many were here to find a Thai bride, or escape one they already had. Despite Pattaya’s abhorrent nature I was glad (as with anywhere in the world) to experience it. We had some drinks, hit the clubs and found ourselves partying in a venue which jutted out into sea, overlooking a harbour and the beach. Overall it was a good night, but we were happy enough to be leaving in the morning.

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