Yup, I’m as surprised as anyone!!! If you google images of Pattaya, you would initially be greeted by the obligatory sun, sand & sea. Then comes the “girls”…yes Pattaya biggest claim to fame is the abundance of transexuals and it’s apparently also has the biggest gay scene in Asia!!!
However this time Pattaya is a family destination for us! In facts this holiday was such a different experience for me!!! Normally if I was going somewhere then I would do copious amount research, make sure where I’m going and how I’m getting there. I would have a few restaurants choices for each area I was going to and have plan B and C on standby. This time I just sit there and let others take control. Tell me where to go and what to eat! It was truly a relaxing holiday despite the bickering of my 2 youngest nephews!!!
Firstly we were picked up from Bangkok airport by a pimped up air conditioned people carrier ( actually more a mini van as it seats 10 not including the driver) towards Pattaya. On route we got the 1st taste of streetfood when we stopped at a Thai style “service station”. It’s basically a street off the Highway where there are eateries galore. You can choose from Starbucks, 7 Eleven, KFC and traditional food stalls. We of course went for the traditional and had amazing bowls of rice noodles “Kuai-tiao nam” with fish balls, fish cake and pork balls!!!
After our little stop we went onwards to our hotel Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort. This is truly a family orientated and it’s great for people who don’t like to venture too far from their hotel. There are 8 different restaurants/bars within the resort catering to all your food needs. The pool area offer water slides, adventure area, water squirters, adult area, poolside bar. Direct access to the beach, where they are jet skiing, banana boat, water gliding and other water sport. Basically everything you want right? Well I’m not saying it’s not nice, it is. I mean every room has a sea facing balcony!!! However as always I just have a few complains.
A) it’s not a cheap hotel yet I was very disappointed with the water pressure. After a long day in the beach and poolside you really want a good shower! Also the toilet was round the corner from the basin and shower…
B) the location, despite the beautiful sea view, the hotel is a little bit further away from the city centre, approx 15mins by taxi/tuk tuk. For us it wasn’t a problem as we have a car. However there’s some side streets with food stalls if you fancy venturing out at night.
C) I found the service to not be as friendly as I had expected…
D) the breakfast buffet was definitely plentiful, there are fresh fruit, freshly made pancakes (by machine), omnipresent eggs, sausages and a bit of local specialty but I just felt the quaint wasn’t there…
After running around the pools with the kids and tanning ourselves we set off looking for food. we ended up in a little place that my bro in law knew and is ran by Macanese people so we had to give it a go. Unfortunately I didn’t note down the name but if you would like to know then message me and I can find out from my family.
Today we’re taking a break from the water and heading to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo. I had quite high expectations from this place and I was hoping the whole place would be full of tigers but actually only saw around 10.
I’m also not sure how I feel about this place as on one hand it looks like the animal are being looked after but then the other side not. Especially as when the kids were feeding the rabbits and goats, they were all so desperate for food that they climb over each other to get to you…
After the zoo it was the mall life for us!!!! We literally spent like the next 5 hours in Central Festival Pattaya Beach, a massive beach front shopping mall!!! In fact you can spend your whole life in here…lol seriously there’s everything in here. We started off with a lunch in the food court where I had a great Hainese Chicken rice for 50baht which is approx £1!!!! Then we were able to drop the kids off in the Kid zone where there were indoors theme parks and an indoors bouncy castle. My nephews spent 4hrs in there and it cost approx £3 per kid for the day!!!! We adults went shopping, once again I cannot stress how there’s everything here!!! You can even get your teeth whitened!!!
We decided that since there were so many places to eat in the mall we might as well take advantage of this. This also meant that we can just go outside for the night markets after!!! We opted for a hot pot restaurant – MK restaurants on the 5th floor that was famous for their fresh prawns and ducks. Once again another amazing meal, another must order from the menu is fish dumplings. The wrapper of the dumpling is actually made by minced fish which gives the dumpling a springy texture!!! The bill came to approx £80 for 7 people!!!
After the meal, my sis and mum took the kids home while trying to keep them awake. Sleep kids equal heavy kids!!! They did actually stayed up until after the rest of us came back even though they played for hours today. Ah the power of an afternoon nap (in the car).
Anyway the rest of us decided to walk around the central area a bit before going back to the hotel. This is when we actually got to experience a bit of authentic Pattaya. Street carts selling a tempting array of bbq and grill food, unfortunately we were too full from our dinner!!! “Ladies” standing on the edge of the beach waiting for patrons…. bars/clubs that caters for everyone…Bargaining with stall holders for tshirts and souvenirs. We ended the night by flagging a tuk tuk van (not sure if that’s the right name) back to the hotel. One of the best experience with wind in our hair, the cool thing was we had the van to ourself as opposed to having around 30 people in one as we saw earlier in the day!!!
Come back and check out what else we did in Pattaya in my next post.