Pattaya: 27-30 August 2011

6
Welcome to the land of fake love!

Fake love


Men of all shapes and colours come here to buy fake love. I found it disgusting to see terrible-looking men holding hands with the Thai girls, putting their arms around them. The Thai girls are of course more than willing to act lovey-dovey with the men.

Yes, Singaporeans are judgemental - I don't pretend not to be about the sex industry. I'm not discussing whether prostitution should be legal or if it must exist; all I'm saying is I feel disgusted about those men.


Day 1 - 27 August

I travelled to Pattaya by coach from Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok. A ticket costs THB200 from Bell Travel Service. Tickets can be purchased at the "Pattaya" counter on level 1, door 8 in the airport. The departure was as scheduled [view schedule here] I reached Pattaya bus station in about 1.5 hours, after which the passangers on the bus were directed to minivans to take us to our respective hotels.

Pattaya counter at airport


Coach to Pattaya


I stayed at ibis Pattaya Hotel for THB 1,300 per night - inclusive of 17.7% tax and service charge, unlimited wifi and buffet breakfast. There is hawker food, restaurants, massage spas, a bowling alley, bars, convenience stores, Tiffany's Show and Tiffany's shooting range just beside the hotel and across the road. The hotel is along "Second Road", parallel to "Pattaya Beach Road". A slow walk to the beach takes about 8 minutes.

ibis Pattaya Hotel














Second Road


Drinking street along Second Road near ibis Pattaya hotel


Hawker area across the road from ibis Pattaya Hotel


Back to the topic of fake love, there are bars all over Pattaya where fake love is available. Soi 6 appeared to be the most sleazy area, lined with bars, not with suggestive but brazen names such as "Horny Bar". Elsewhere, there's "Pink Lady", "Cockney Pride" and "Magic Finger Massage".

Bars along Soi 6


Bars along Soi 6


Bars along Soi 6


Bar along Central Pattaya Road


Signboard outside a massage palour


If you miss foam parties, you can join in the one at Hard Rock. I've never been to a foam party and have no desire to attend one. I find it dirty - in both hygiene and the sexual sense.



It was polling day for the Singapore Presidential Election. I didn't stay up for the results. But I didn't sleep well. Other than having nightmares about the result, someone had the TV turned on too loudly at 2am. I asked the hotel staff to see to the matter. It must have been another half hour before the TV got turned off.


Day 2 - 28 August

My first two days in Pattaya weren't very much fun. I spent most of my time in the room doing work, stepping out only to eat. Breakfast in the hotel was just okay. In the evening, went to a random shop to tailor 3 shirts. Some shops will quote rather high prices. The first shop I went to along Central Pattaya Road quoted THB 2400 for 3 shirts. I didn't see any nice material and the guy was unwilling to lower the price to THB 2000 so I went to the next shop, Vogue Fashion (1/3-4 Central Pattaya Road, Pattaya City, Chonburi. Tel: +66 (0) 38429322. www.absolutesuit.com), where I was quoted THB 700 for 1 shirt or THB 2000 (SGD82) for 3 long-sleeved shirts. The 3 shirts were to be ready for me to try on the next day at 5pm.

I shopped a little after that. I bought a nice bag made of plastic for work. I wouldn't have to worry about my iPad getting wet if it rains! I love the bags in Thailand! Thais are very creative when it comes to bags. I cannot leave Thailand without buying a bag, a purse or more bags and purses!

Plastic bag


Plastic bag with iPad. iPad is protected from scratches from keys and sharp items in my bag and from the rain


Toiletries are cheap in Thailand. I bought 6 300ml bottles of shampoo. The brand Boots was having its anniversary 1-for-1 sale. THB95 for 2 bottles - that's SGD2 per bottle. Cheap cheap!

I didn't watch the Tiffany's Show but I happened to be there during a phototaking session.





I have no idea why guys can't tell the Tiffany girls apart from normal girls. It's very obvious to me that these people are not born as girls. In pictures, I might not be able to tell the difference because I am not able to see them in relation to born-women. In person, these people are just HUGE. Not only their bodies, but the size of their faces and heads. When you put all of them together, they all look ok but if you photograph a man with them, you'll see that men have faces of similar size. If you photograph them with a born-woman, you'll see that the transsexuals have significantly larger faces.

So, those people who can't tell a transsexual from a real woman must have visual problems with comparing sizes.

Tiffany's Show






Talking about creativity, I think this must be the only scooter in the world with such a design!

Scooter in Pattaya




The hotel was quiet this time and I slept well. I suppose most guests have checked out already, it being Sunday night.


Day 3 - 29 August

"I've never heard of anyone going to Pattaya to dive," said my colleague.

I had read about the ship wrecks in Pattaya and was interested in see them. I've not heard of Singaporeans going there to dive but sometimes the non-popular places are actually good because not many people go there to pollute the place, e.g. Miri, Malaysia, although some places are simply lousy, e.g. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

I had booked a dive trip by email with Seafari Dive Center. THB3200 for 2 dives, including equipment. I had not placed any deposit. I selected this dive center because they allowed me to pay in the day itself without a need for a deposit. Another dive centre that I visited, Aquanauts, told me that I would have to pay in full the day before and if the trip had to be cancelled due to bad weather, they would only refund me half of what I paid.

Pick up was at 8.30am at my hotel lobby. The pickup was late. Another 2 Indian guys scheduled to go on the trip were later. They apologised for being late and explained that they had problems with the motorcycle rental. They were going to make their first dive as part of the open water course. They were to dive after another guy and I dive, and then depending on how they do during their first dive, they may join my group for the second dive.

The trip by boat took about 1.5 hours. We were going to the Khram wreck at the "far islands". Although the travelling can be a bore, going to a dive site further from land usually means having a better diving experience.

The Khram wreck is rather deep down: up to 29m. This means that divers who don't have the advanced open water certification will not be allowed to dive it. The other diver in my group (there were 2 of us plus the divemaster) did not have his Enriched Air/Nitrox certification so we all dived using normal air - which gave us only 20+mins of safe exploration at that depth. We were not allowed to go penetrate or go inside the ship - that would require a Wreck diver certification.

Many people think it's dangerous to dive around a shipwreck. But it's interesting to note that this ship was intentionally sank and put there to attract marine life and divers. [Information and a video about the Khram wreck] Another wreck near the "near islands", Khod wreck, was also placed where it is. The Hardeep wreck, much further away from Pattaya, was sank during the battle.

The Khram wreck was teeming with fish. There was a large turtle feeding off the corals growing on the ship. I couldn't help but touch its hard shell. It couldn't feel me touching it and it was busy eating anyway. The divemaster spotted a rock fish. I think I need a Robocop / Terminator helmet that would detect and name fish for me.

It was a pity we couldn't have more time to explore the wreck. The next time I go, I'd better get some guarantee from the dive center that the group will use Nitrox for diving.

It was the trainees' turn to dive. Unfortunately, one of them was sea sick and couldn't dive at all.

Back on the boat, I thought it would be time to eat. I saw a plate full of fried chicken. I asked the cook who was still cooking whether I could have one. She said No :( so I went to snorkle at the "far island" were the boat had anchored.

There were many hard corals of different colours: purple, blue, yellow, red, green. I find it amazing that they can be of such bright colours, side-by-side! It looked like someone had painted the corals and put them in the sea! The corals and fish here were alive and well. There was a tiny yellow fish with black stripes following me around. It swam in front my mask. Cute!

When I went back up to the boat, it still wasn't lunch time. I was trying to kill my hunger with bananas and rambutans when the captain of the boat offered me a fried chicken drumstick. I was very thankful for that because I had to wait for all the groups to return from their dive when who knows when!

After waiting for another 40 minutes and making conversation with fellow hungry divers, it was finally lunchtime!!! While eating, the boat brought us to the "near islands" - the next dive site.

That dive site was a disappointment from the first minute. The corals were mostly dead and the area was littered with rubbish - plastic bags and even a rat poison bottle. I spotted a poor fish swimming in a small plastic bag, trying to get out. It would probably starve to death if it was unable to get out. I tried to catch it. It tried to swim away. But because it was in a plastic bag, it couldn't manauvre fast enough. I managed to catch it and release it from the plastic bag. Other than starfish and a turtle sleeping under some hard corals, the dive was way boring. We had to swim against a current to get back to the boat. It was rather streneous for me. The 5kg of weights on me wasn't enough for me when I was taking deep breaths. When the divermaster decided to stop halfway, I had to get an additional weight in my pocket to keep me down. Imagine a feather getting blown away in the wind! Somehow the lousiest dives are always the longest dives in minutes. Maybe divemasters always try to compensate by letting you dive longer. But quantity is not quality. A 60-minute or 100-minute dive at a bad site is miserable. Is there a hand signal for "can we go back now?" I was grateful when the dive ended in 60 minutes.

I paid for the dive by credit card at the dive shop. There was no additional charge for using a credit card. There was free transfer back to the hotel. I did not use it because I had something important to do: change my Bangkok to Singapore Tigerairways flight time. I had brought a Thai toll-free number to call. I asked the dive shop owner where I could make a toll free call. Since it was toll-free, she allowed me to use the phone in her shop. I'm not sure whether she regretted it because I was on the line for 30 minutes. She had to use her handphone to call a few customers. She suggested that I try hanging up and calling again but I said that I would have to get back in the calling queue again if I did that. I did try to call the airline in Singapore while waiting to board the plane but I was on hold for more than 10 minutes so I figured it I would want to hold until I get to speak with a customer service officer. Besides, the online booking / flight change service was not working so calling in was the only way to change my flight.

I took a local bus (THB20) to the tailor for my fitting. I reached there at 5pm but was told that the shirts were not ready yet. I had to return at 7.30pm. I went back to the hotel to shower and rest. At 7.30pm, I was still kept waiting at the tailor's. When the shirts arrive, they were too tight at the chest. The guy said he would have the shirts adjusted (there was some additional length sewn in at the sides of the shirt) and sent to my hotel by the next morning. I requested for re-measurement so that he would get it right this time. There was no reason why the shirts were so tight when I was wearing the same bra. Or does diving make my breasts better??

Going up and down to the tailor's wasn't a good use of my time. It was time to eat and sleep soon after.


Day 4 -
Unfortunately, I had to work again in the morning. The hotel allowed me to check out at 2pm instead of 12pm. I had breakfast at the hotel and bought lunch from a street hawker just outside the hotel.

Street hawker outside the hotel


My lunch


The fried minced pork was delicious but there was too little meat. I bought it because I saw a man with a plate of rice and a heap of meat on it. I thought I would have gotten the same deal. But I did ask for less rice and mayb she thought I wanted less meat too.

After I'd finished my work and checked out of the hotel, I wanted to try shooting at the Tiffany's shooting range (located on the first floor of the Tiffany's show building). However, I was not allowed to because I needed a witness for the agreement that I would have to sign. There are many things I can't do alone and this happened to be one of those.

Since I wasn't allowed to shoot bullets, I figured I'd just shoot some pictures.

Tiffany's show ticketing booth




Tiffany's shooting range








I had not decided what time to head to Bangkok. But I had time to spare so I went to a spa just beside ibis Pattaya hotel. It looked like a proper non-sleazy spa but who knows... A one-hour Thai massage costs THB300 (SGD12). At other joints, Thai massage cost about THB200 per hour or even THB150. I was asked to pay before the massage. I was also shown a sheet of paper stating in English "If you like our massage, please tip the masseuse" and I guess what must have been the same message in Japanese.

Spa beside ibis Pattaya hotel


Spa beside ibis Pattaya hotel






The masseuse massaged my legs most of the time. My back got massaged for about 5 minutes only. I extended the massage by 30 minutes and asked the receptionist to tell the masseuse to massage my back only and I also pointed at the upper part of my back/shoulders to tell her that's where I needed more focus but she was still only apply palm pressure up and down my spine which failed to satisfy me. Anyway, I just tipped her after that and didn't extend the session any further. Massage may be cheap in Thailand but much of it can be a waste of time. In Singapore, the Chinese style of massage costs about SGD1 per minute but at least they give me what I want and don't waste my time.

Central Center Pattaya, 3 minute's walk from ibis Pattaya hotel, offers shopping in aircon for people who want to escape the heat. Things are expensive, as expected. There are restaurants on the first level and a cinema at the top level. I wanted to watch Final Destination in 3D. Thankfully, the person at the ticketing booth told me that the show for that screening it was in Thai. That's one reason why foreigners shouldn't try to speak Thai when buying tickets! (Not that I know how to!)









Shop outside the mall


Bridal shop across the road from the mall


Massage place beside the mall


I had lunch at a Thai-Japanese restaurant in the mall and also bought some gyoza takeaway to the beach.



Tomyum ramen


I planned on taking the last bus (7pm) from Pattaya to the airport. I had time left so I walked to the beach.

The vendors provide the beach chairs, small bolster tied to the chair to rest your head on, a short table and a small plastic-bag lined bin beside the table. THB30 is payable once you select your spot.

I was nice having my Gyoza at the beach but I realised that I didn't have to bring my own food at all. Vendors walk by selling steamed corn, fried food, steamed prawns, temporary tattoos, drinks, palm reading service, etc. You can also get a foot massage. You don't have to lift anything but your fingers to pay money and eat your food though it is possible to pay someone to feed you.



Pattaya beach


Vendor selling food


Steamed prawns with roe for THB10 per prawn


Fried battered prawn


It was relaxing to lie there and do nothing (but eat).



I walked back to the hotel to retrieve my bags. I took a motorbike taxi at 6.30pm to the bus station to catch the 7pm coach. The bus ticket to the airport costs THB200. There's an aircon seating area with free wifi in the Bell Travel Service hut and a single toilet.

Bell Travel Service at Pattaya bus station


As I was waiting, an African-American guy was all lovey-dovey with a Thai girl. The coach was half filled with people. As I got on the bus, the guy was bidding farewell to the girl. The bus left 5 minutes early. As the bus pulled out of the station, I heard the guy on the phone saying, "I miss you already."

The journey to the airport was 1 hour 20 minutes. I stayed at a transit hotel near the airport for the night before continuing to Bangkok city for work the next day.

I liked Pattaya more than Phuket.

Phuket:
Patong beach is full of tourists, there were too many ships and the water looked filthy.
Minivan from the airport to Patong beach: 1 hour
Drive from hotel to/from the ferry terminal for diving: 1 hour
Journey by boat to dive site: 1 hr 30 mins

Pattaya:
Pattaya beach is not crowded.
Coach from airport to Pattaya: 1 hour 30 minutes
Drive from hotel to/from ferry terminal for diving: 10 minutes
Journey by boat to dive site: 1 hr 30 mins

Pattaya deserves another visit from me. There are other things I have not done there such as shooting, go-karting (http://www.easykart.net), sky diving (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Thai-Sky-Adventures-Skydiving/110005049021197), bungy jumping (http://www.thaibungy.com/) and jungle zipline (http://www.treetopasia.com/thailand-holiday/pattaya/).

Expenses (THB24.3 = SGD1)

Day 1
bus ticket to pattaya 200
dinner 50
coffee 35
bus 20
shopping (bag 199, belt 199)

Day 2
lunch 110
drink 14
shampoo 95 for 2 x 300ml bottles
tailor 3 shirts 1000 deposit
cake 30
sushi 125
bus 20
food 50

Day 3
diving 3200
bus 20
drink 14
toiletries (shampoo 190 for 4x300ml bottles, mascara 249, soap 65)
shirt balance payment 1000
drink 35
bus 20
dinner 220
tips 20
goggles 159

Day 4
food 30
drink 14
food 50 + 79
watch 450
food 35
food 40
taxi 50
coach 200

Hotel: 3 nights x 1300

Total: THB12,187 = SGD500

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

SG beats Thailand hands down in the sex trade.

We have ASEAN's largest brothel at Orchard Road, the tranny she-he sex centres at Desker Road, and whole suburb dedicated to sex at Gaylang!

So you don't have to go voerseas to get "fake love".

Anonymous said...

wah good stuffs, must go pattaya to try out the fake love.

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Thailand is famous world wide for sex tourism. The sad truth is many of the girls are from very poor famlies and they are making more money than they could ever imagine back in their home village.

Thailand has been implicated in human trafficking at times, but more recently has worked with other nations to curb that disgusting mistreatment of mostly young girls.

No dive photos!

Your dive adventure had great descriptions. Sadly no photos.

Good read that you are home safely.

More business travel must not be far away.

David

Anonymous said...

Don't have to go to Thailand for kinky sex.

Singapore's Oxley Road and Desker Road can satisfy you.

Anonymous said...

Yu-Kym travelling alone again? I read her daily activities and i gasped to myself...Gosh!...what a brave lass! Your Almighty...pls protect her. keke

silli cat

Yu-Kym said...

In Singapore, prostitutes of different nationalities and ethnic groups can be hired. But it's more of paid sex rather than fake love. What I mean by fake love is both man and woman pretending it's love when they know it's just paid sex.

I don't have dive photos because I don't think it's worth the effort to buy and bring a camera along. There are many fantastic underwater pictures available online already.

I'm used to travelling alone. It's not travelling alone that I need to get accustomed to :D