What do Thai people think of Pattaya?

Pattaya. Or my escape by taxi

Pattaya is a city notorious for its past. From around 1960 it was a kind of sex and pleasure paradise for American soldiers, who could forget that they had to kill people in Vietnam and that they had a wife and children at home. The city was booming, brothels and bars lined the shores of the beach, and more and more poor young girls were drawn to Thailand's Sin Babylon in search of quick money.

I knew this before I went to Pattaya. What I didn't know was that despite promises to the contrary, the city hadn't changed in the nearly 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War and the withdrawal of American troops from their Thai base. I heard that Pattaya had transformed into a beach and seaside resort, an entertainment center for the whole family. I could have known better. But I didn't know any better and so, 18 hours after my arrival in the city of horror, I was sitting in a taxi that was supposed to get me away as soon as possible.

But from the beginning. In my defense, I have to say that it wasn't my idea to go to Pattaya. The city was on our way between Koh Chang and Bangkok, the weather forecast promised a lot of sunshine and S. was looking forward to action - jet skiing, parasailing and the like. Pattaya is also known for these things, things that we've both always wanted to try, but which have always been too expensive for us outside of Southeast Asia. We knew that we had to expect a high red light rate, but on the beach, we thought, with fresh coconuts in our hands, that wouldn't bother us too much.

We arrived in Pattaya in the afternoon, had enough time to look at everything in peace and to make plans for the next day. At first glance, the city looked no different from other major Southeast Asian cities. It was hot and stuffy.

In our small hotel, a bad-tempered Russian was sitting on a leather sofa in an undershirt and eating noodle soup. A cigarette was smoking in the ashtray next to him, the fan humming above him. Dimitri eyed us sullenly. Then he called a member of staff who showed us to our room. Let's call him Ivan. Ivan was tall with dark hair and a big nose - he could have been Thai or Russian. Ivan looked at us too. We'd turned down his offer to borrow the remote control for the air conditioning for an extra ten dollars a night. We didn't seem to have made friends with it.

After all, Ivan and Dimitri explained the way to the beach for us later. They asked us what we were up to, we said go see the city. They looked at each other and made no reply. The only other tourists we saw walking towards the sea spoke Russian. Beer-bellied men, well drunk, slim blondes at their side, heavily covered in make-up, children with the names of luxury brands emblazoned in capital letters on their clothes.

A couple of middle-aged white men, also beer-bellied and often topless, populated the beach promenade - probably in the tradition of the GIs looking for willing Thai women. There were just as many of them as there were sun loungers on the nearby beach. Women and men, along with girls and maybe also boys, barely older than 15, sky-high shoes, belt-short skirts. So, I thought, it must look like this in the notorious Herbertstraße in Hamburg's red-light district St. Pauli, I thought to myself. With the difference that the hookers in Pattaya used to be men - at least some of them.

A break on the beach was out of the question. Lounger after lounger stood tightly packed there, almost nothing of the sand was to be seen. Parasols replaced the light and the unobstructed view of the sea, everywhere stench, dirt, strippers and prostitutes. We sat on a wall to eat the Thai kebab that we bought from a small stall. I was halfway through mine when a man stood below me next to the wall and unabashedly began to pee in my direction. I lost my appetite in the blink of an eye. I threw my food on the beach trash heap. It was 4 p.m. I bought a beer from a small stall and poured it down in one gulp. After that I felt a little better. In a bar we wondered what to do next.

We made a decision: Get out of Pattaya, and as soon as possible.

Because we had already paid for our hotel for two nights, we wanted to stay for at least one night. After all, our room didn't make a bad impression. Back at the hotel we let Ivan advise us on how to get to Bangkok the next morning. He ordered us a taxi for $ 40. The bus would have cost us a fraction. We didn't care. We also didn't care that our taxi driver was probably not a taxi driver, but a friend, brother or uncle of Ivan. We wanted to get out of here as soon as possible.

Later that evening we heard Ivan pounding on the door of the opposite room and asking someone to leave. I had seen him that afternoon as he lounged in one of the lower hallways in front of a room and knocked on a door. I just hadn't thought anything of it.

I was just about to make myself comfortable in bed when I heard the throbbing again, a voice that replied something and shortly afterwards two female voices that came out of the room giggling and kissed someone goodbye in broken English. Prostitute.

It was obvious: the Russian was two-pronged when it came to renting rooms. Our neighbor had probably only rented his room for a few hours. I wish I had limited my stay in Pattaya to an hour or two too. Instead of lying under the covers, I took my tropical sleeping bag out of my backpack and wrapped myself in it instead. It was 11:06 p.m. when I last checked my cell phone. In a little less than nine hours, we'd be in the back of a car that finally got us out of this city.

Have you been to pattaya?

Have you had similar experiences - or completely different ones? I am pleased about your comment! I also appreciate comments from Pattaya lovers, beer-bellied old men, and people who just generally have a different opinion.

But I would like to ask you to be objective. Comments that are irrelevant or contain insults or insinuations will not be activated. So if after reading this article you are foaming with rage because your Google search for "Hookers Pattaya" did not land you on a porn site but on this one, then it is better not to waste your time commenting. Thank you for your attention.
 

about the author

Anna | Anemina Travels
Anna loves the sound of rain on a tent roof, conversation around the campfire, and North America. She would prefer a spontaneous road trip to a day at the pool and most of all she prefers to be outside - for hiking, surfing or snowboarding.