How to get the most of Pattaya in 48 hoursby Dave Stamboulis
Pattaya gets plenty of headlines as a naughty nightlife capital. But this characterization overlooks all of the amazing attractions and excellent drinking and dining along with fantastic resorts that now grace the star of Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard. Bangkokians head down to Pattaya for the weekend, and like them, with some careful planning, you can really pack in a lot in 48 hours. Here’s a sample itinerary with just some of the best highlights in the resort:
Friday 5 p.m.:
Head out of Bangkok. If you don’t have your own wheels, the minivans from Victory Monument or the express buses from Ekkamai are the next best thing, and will have you in town before dinner. Head immediately over to The Glass House (Tel. 038 255 922; www.glasshouse-pattaya.com), a beach house restaurant over in Jomtien that has cushions out on the beach facing the sunset to go with its namesake clear glass-house interior. It’s hopelessly romantic, the Thai seafood is fabulous, and it’s a great way to start off the weekend.
After dinner, head over to the Hilton Pattaya (Tel. 038 253 000, www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/thailand/hilton-pattaya-BKKHPHI/index.html), with its fabulous rooftop bar, Horizon. The 34th floor bar and restaurant has striking views of the entire Pattaya Bay, and is a good spot to rest up and overlook the surroundings. If you’ve still got some energy left, head into South Pattaya, to the infamous Walking Street, which is home to bars, go-gos, discos, and plenty of people watching. Or else, go shake a groove at Mixx (Tel. 038 252 790, http://mixx-discotheque.com/pattaya/), voted best disco in Pattaya for the last three years, with a wild R&B zone as well as a more chilled-out progressive zone to dance and relax in.
After breakfast, head out to the Thai Polo and Equestrian Club (Tel. 081 835 2419, www.thai-polo-club.com), the largest polo and equestrian facility in Asia. Set on 250 hectares, it has three international size polo fields, two practice fields, stabling for 250 horses, as well as a polo coaching and training school. Polo cups and equestrian events are held here almost monthly, and famed polo coach Rege Ludwig teaches aspiring players.
From the Thai Polo Club, it’s a short jaunt up to Silverlake Vineyard (Tel. 02 261 6565, www.silverlakevineyard.com), a beautifully cultivated vineyard and winery that boasts the latest wine-making and juicing technology from Italy. Overlooking Pattaya Bay and the green countryside, it’s a great spot to relax in. The site is home to the famed “Silverlake Music Festival,” which takes place annually, not to mention other smaller jazz concerts and programs with international artists. There is also a restaurant and pleasant terrace from where to enjoy the lovely surroundings.
For something a bit more adrenalin-flowing, head over to the Bira Circuit (Tel. 085 110 1000, www.bira.co), a full-service racetrack that features an FIA certified tracks, as well as an off-road test track and a full-service karting track. Everything from Formula series to international motorcycle competitions takes place here, and you can rent go-karts to join the fun. If all this activity is making you hot, head over to the Splashdown Water Park (Tel. 092 234 9679, www.splashdownwaterparkpattaya.com), which has the tallest inflatable waterslide in the world, along with climbing walls, zorbs, water balls, and even a kids’ zone so the whole family can play. Alternatively, find something a bit more natural with an escape out to Koh Larn (http://kohlarn.com), which is a short boat ride from Pattaya. Koh Larn has amazingly turquoise water, and there are nice beaches, with the biggest ones offering jet-skiing and parasailing to satisfy the adventure junkie in everyone.
After this full day of exercise it’s time to unwind, and there’s no place better than Rimpa Lapin (Tel. 038 235 515, www.rimpa-lapin.com), situated on a cliff with spectacular circular views of the Eastern Seaboard. This celebrity-run restaurant specializes in fresh seafood, with dishes such as stir-fried rock lobster and deep-fried sea bass leading the entrees. Many of the dishes feature fusion creations as well, with cream sauces and fine cheeses topping the fresh catches. Treat yourself to a well-deserved rest after this by calling in to the Ocean Marina Yacht Club (Tel. 038 237 311, www.oceanmarinayachtclub.com), which boasts a boutique hotel with a nautical touch, set out on a beautiful marina, and with full facilities for a luxury holiday. The hotel has 51 rooms and suites, a restaurant looking out on the yacht parade, and a 25m-indoor swimming pool, among other features.
Start off your morning with a visit to the Siam Country Club (Tel. 038 909 700, www.siamcountryclub.com). The Old Course here is Thailand’s first privately owned golf club and the home of LPGA in Thailand for the past eight years. There is also a 27-hole Plantation course and another 18-hole Waterside course as part of the best golfing facilities in the kingdom.
If teeing off is not your forte, perhaps head off for some more lighthearted entertainment. One option is to go check out Ripley’s Believe it or Not! (Tel. 038 710 294, www.ripleysthailand.com), where there are various shocking and eye-popping exhibitions ranging from primitive torture devices or a model of the Titanic made from over one million matchsticks. If this is too corny, head out of town a bit further north to Sri Racha, which is where you will find the large Sriracha Tiger Zoo (Tel. 038 296 556-8, www.tigerzoo.com), which is home to 400 Bengal tigers and also features crocodile-, elephant-, and even pig shows, along with a petting zoo for kids. There are shows throughout the day. The zoo even does shuttle service pickups from Pattaya hotels.
If you need some lunch, head over to Per Bacco (Tel. 038 422 221), one of Pattaya’s best Italian restaurants. The menu and wine list are extensive, there is wood-fired oven pizza, the pasta is freshly made, and there is imported Italian coffee to finish up with.
It’s been a busy weekend here, so again it’s time to take a load off and head for some relaxation. Pattaya has some great spas, such as Oasis Spa (Tel. 038 364 070, www.oasisspa.net/destination/pattaya/), located in a tropical garden on the Chateau Dale Estate, with several cold pools, seven private treatment rooms, plus steam and sauna facilities, or Devarana Spa (Tel. 038 371 044, www.devaranaspa.com), the well known worldwide wellness center that has a relaxing garden branch with a cascading waterfall at the Dusit Thani Pattaya.
Before heading home, make sure to stop in for some homemade beer and German pork knuckle at Hopf Brew House (Tel. 038 710 650). It’s a large family-friendly place with a live house band playing popular tunes, and you can sample excellent beers, ranging from wheat to dark to lager, served alongside German sausages and wood-fired pizza.
Heading home, you’ll have plenty of time to reflect on what it means to be a real weekend warrior, and you might even need a vacation after so much touring!
NEW ATTRACTIONS IN PATTAYA
Cartoon Network Amazone
The world’s favorite kids’ channel brings the ultimate in family entertainment! Cartoon Network Amazone (Address: 888 Moo8, NaJomtien, Sattahip), the world’s first such themed waterpark, in Pattaya. Set amid 14 acres of lush coastal plains with ocean views and incredible evening sunsets, the waterpark is located in the burgeoning resort hotspot of Bang Saray, just 90 minutes southeast of Bangkok International Airport. With 10 entertainment zones to discover, guests can spend an entire day exploring the irrepressible world of Cartoon Network.
Underwater World Pattaya
Underwater World Pattaya (Address: Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri) is a leisure attraction showcasing the rich variety of marine life found around the region. It complements the many other educational and recreational activities available at this beautiful seaside resort. Besides opening visitors eyes to the brilliance and diversity of undersea life, Underwater World Pattaya also plays an important role in education and marine conservation.
Ramayana Water Park
Ramayana Water Park just soft opened in April. Once completed, With 184.000 sqm, or the size of more than 700 tennis courts, Ramayana is being labeled as one of Thailand’s new major leisure attractions. The park is located at the Silver Lake area, one of Pattaya’s most beautiful neighborhoods with hills and natural lakes within and around the park. Ramayana Water Park will be able to use the drinking quality water from the silver lake wells for the attractions. The quality of water is one of the major concerns of water park visitors. Ramayana also offers a unique slide that can not be found in other waterparks around the world.