We head south today to the closest beach to Bangkok, Pattaya. A van ride will set you back 300THB per person and take 2 hours approx. I say approx as you can guarantee the bus won't be on time, although you need to be :-) vans can be booked from any local agent. Pattaya, when you do a search for things to do, will show you a really big range of activities, from underwater world, big Buddha statues, bungy jumping, jungle exhibition and rafting, kiteboarding, parasailing, diving, horse riding and any number of lady boy cabaret shows.
We chose the Floating markets today. We hired a taxi to take us there, wait a few hours and then bring us back, there are also tours that will do the same. Entry is 200THB if you want to take a boat ride around it's extra... we chose to to go it on foot! Now I've been to my fair share of markets but today I did something so bizarre... for 25THB you can feed carp from a baby bottle, it was so weird I had to try it... the carp were crazy for it. Only in Thailand!!
The market was a purpose built tourist attraction, not like the trips that are done from Bangkok, but worth a look... and if for no other reason go and check out the banana pancakes! We basically ate our way around the market today, pancakes, deep fried crab, home made ice cream and BBQ squid. Yum, yum, yum. Tonight we hit the town, we checked out the beach road and did a pass through the "walking street". Plenty going on, bars full, soccer fever pitch and no curfew...
Pattaya was one of the first cities to lift the curfew. Now I mentioned beaches, you can swim at Pattaya beach however the beaches around to the right are much nicer; Palm beach and Cresent moon beach are only a short ride away. The best way to get around here is by pick-up trucks (songthaws), open air transport where you pay between 10 - 30THB per passenger depending on the distance. This is also the spot where you can catch a ferry out to one of the closest islands, there are four to chose from Koh Larn is the biggest and if you don't have time to get further south it's a great trip.
Pattaya is not for everyone, although if you don't have much time and want to get out to an island it's easy to get to from Bangkok. The accommodation is cheap, there is loads to do and it is affordable to get to from Bangkok. Oh and the big plus being by the coast is that we got a really nice breeze... and with the heat and humidity this gave Pattaya a big thumbs up for us.
If you're heading to Thailand check out the Global Bed Hopper Network for cheap / discounted accommodation deals!