My website is fast approaching its 3rd birthday and I thought it might be time to consider a few things about Pattaya that have changed over that time – it’s a common topic of discussion in various online quarters and one that deserves some attention. The general consensus seems to be that sin city is not the place that it once was, but I’m going to have to take issue with this consensus, I don’t agree with it and here’s why:
You frequently read that the city is ‘overrun’ with Russians these days and yes, there certainly are a lot more Russian visitors than there once was. It is particularly noticeable because the number of traditional visitors has declined due to the ongoing economic problems in Western economies. The Thai authorities have been promoting Pattaya to emerging markets as traditional markets have weakened, but I suspect that those traditional markets will soon start sending more visitors as economic circumstances improve. In any case, Pattaya isn’t overrun with Russians and I can honestly state that I’ve never had any trouble with them whatsoever.
There are a lot more condominium developments that have shot up and there are some commentators that feel that they have brought a larger expat community which has snapped up all the best looking bar girls. They argue that the girls that remain in the bars today are not as attractive as they once were. There may be some truth in this and I’ve mentioned in previous reports that the economic growth in Pattaya and Thailand is presenting alternative job opportunities for girls that didn’t exist at one time, meaning fewer girls are entering the bar scene. However, this has not really made that big of an impact yet, there are still thousands of attractive ladies in Pattaya that will be very eager to meet up with you. The positive news is that there is a fast growing body of online ladies that are hoping to meet foreign men; websites like ThaiFriendly.com offer a real opportunity for meeting eager, good-looking ladies.
Some argue that prices have shot up. I’m going to have to agree that some prices have gone up but not unreasonably. The most notable increase is the price that the bar-girls ask for their affection. It has increased from a going rate of 1,000 baht per day to 1,500 baht. Other prices e.g. food, drinks, flights, hotels, taxis and so on do not appear to have changed at all. You have to expect some inflation over time so I’d say that overall things have not become too expensive. Exchange rates are an important factor and you’ll have to look at your own country’s rate to determine how things have changed, but some countries have improved over the last few years (albeit not to the pre 2007 level).
Another frequent criticism is that the bars are deserted of customers. Again, I can’t agree overall, but it is certainly true that some bars have lost a lot of trade. Most returning visitors will head off to the areas that they remember as being busy on their previous visit, which might mean Soi 8 for example. Soi 8 is nowhere near as good as it once was. Back in 2009 it was home to more bars than it is now and there was a real bustling fun atmosphere there. These days there are more hotels than before and the remaining bars are quiet. However, if you had visited areas like Soi LK Metro on your previous trip, you will find on your return that this whole area is now much better and busier than before. Changes are not restricted to Soi 8 and LK Metro, the whole bar scene is shifting over time but overall it is just as good as before.
Here is one factor that doesn’t often get mentioned… you are older! As you age you are likely not quite the fit slim attractive fine figure of a man that you once were. That means that you will be perceived a little differently and treated a little differently. Your preferences may also have matured in ways that you haven’t considered and you might just have unrealistic expectations. Pattaya is the same heaven on earth that it always was, but even I recall my fondest memories from my first trip. It wasn’t that that Pattaya was better then, it was just new to me and a complete life changing experience. You can’t expect that kind of thing to last, it changes you and you can easily fail to appreciate the little things that once captivated you.
For all these reasons and more, I’m firmly on the cheerful side of the fence and I’m happy with Pattaya as it stands today. I’m interested in your thoughts on this topic though, so feel free to add your thoughts via the ‘comments’ link below.
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