Swirling like an energetic rainbow, Pattaya is indiscriminate in its multifaceted presentation. Against the backdrop of the Gulf of Thailand, the city pulses with a different beat from night to day. Secular offerings like street bars and art museums accompany sacred sites with giant Buddha effigies in eclectic harmony – over here you don’t just do good, you do better. The commonality lies only in the stunning ocean views and unbridled Thai smiles. From trendy beachfront resorts to family-friendly beaches, Pattaya’s accessibility and diversity is a constant draw, especially now as the jewel of the Eastern Economic Corridor.
Harkening back to its roots as a fishing village, a trip to the Four Regions Floating Market will allow guests to browse through merchandise from the four major areas of Thailand. Rent a boat and weave through the colourful throng, picking out good buys or exotic bites ranging from scorpions to crocodile meat!
While Wat Phra Khao Yai (Big Buddha Hill) and Khao Chi Chan (Buddha Mountain) are impressive sites, the Sanctuary of Truth stands out as a meditative space. Carved out entirely from teak and featuring traditional woodworking techniques, the intricate structure has to be constantly worked upon and replaced due to the nature of its material, and so is truly alive..
From the skies to the sea, Pattaya has plentiful activities for the adrenaline-junkie. No matter gliding down from a parachute or flying past a forest canopy, your thrill is coupled with stunning views. But if you’re seeking to find some sandy solace, Jomtien beach is six kilometres of beach removed from the main crowd. For an even more exclusive retreat, the island of Koh Samet offers up balmy tranquility. Family-friendly options include the Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens with 500 acres of topiaries, orchids, pagodas, and dinosaurs. The gardens even include a newly-built convention destination able to occupy 10,000 participants. FROST Magical Ice of Siam, meanwhile, drops the mercury and offers icy sculptures of magical Thai beasts.
The well-touristed city means there’s no cuisine not covered by its chefs. But who knew Thailand could be home to a vineyard? Developing new latitude wines, the brilliant owners of Silver Lake Vineyard have pioneered distinct varieties from the non-traditional climate. The strong coastal sun, rich soil and long growing season has given birth so far to bottles of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc. Visit the expansive grounds and take a tour of the facilities, but most of all, stop for a tasting of the unique wines here.