When one envisions a night out with their dad and boyfriend, rarely does it involve a night on the infamous Walking Street of Pattaya. Yet, that is exactly what happened and I won’t lie, it was fun (thanks, Jagerbomb shots) but full of super awkward moments.
History Of Pattaya
Pattaya was until the 1960’s a fishing village and then the Vietnam War happened. American serviceman would visit Pattaya to let loose and have fun. As such a big part of Pattaya’s reputation is one that goes hand-in-hand with the sex industry. The city has a vast amount of host bars, go-go bars, massage parlors, and hourly hotels serving not just tourists but locals as well.
Efforts in recent years have been done to clean up the city’s image and I think in many ways it has for the most part.
But Dad, I Wanna Go To The Beach
When I was younger, my dad and I came here and stayed at the what was known then as the Marriott. We didn’t have time to go to one of the islands so we came to Pattaya instead. The Marriott had one of the nicest pools I have ever had the pleasure of being able to swim in. I am not exaggerating when I say, I only left the hotel once in the three days we were there. For a majority of my life, I was until recently a pool girl. The one afternoon my dad did try to get me to the beach I have this vivid memory. I remember walking outside to the beach and turning right back around as it was a bit too much.
A decade later, I can see that a few things have changed in recent years for Pattaya. That they are trying hard to be more of a family-friendly destination. Despite that, Walking Street is very much what it has always been.
Walking Street With Your Dad and Boyfriend
Walking the Walking Street is what the dystopian future feels like from the movies. Think Blade Runner or some other space movie. You know the type of places, I’m talking about. The ones where there is an excess of everything. Women dancing above you through glass walls. People selling you everything from lap dances to fruit smoothies and even Turkish Kebabs. Promoting drink specials and dances. Walking Street isn’t dark, that’s just in the inside of the establishments. On Walking Street there are lights are all around you, above you and sometimes even under you.
A mixture of families, tourists and those who are there for a night out. Scantily clad women ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Playboy bunnies or the cliches of nurses or maids. Wigs, brights lips, and music blaring from every place. Some with funny puns and others that make it straight to the point.
Whatever directions you’re walking expect multiple men to show you a laminated paper with a list of showings muttering good price. This isn’t a normal environment to be in with your family, especially as a dad and daughter plus boyfriend combo. Yet, that is exactly what was happening. We went from a lovely lowkey seafood dinner to excess.
Guy after guy kept trying to get us to stop and hear their pitch on these showings. I was familiar with what these men were offering but bless Sean, he had no idea. His face, when he realized what it was, is one I will never forget. I asked him how he felt later about it and he said “I thought that was something that was talked about but not really real. Then to realize it is real with your girlfriend’s father next to you, was surreal” Poor guy, but he made it through though!
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about…. When I say shows, I mean when a woman using her vagina to do things. From ping pong balls to darts and well a few more items. It is something that was once well known in Bangkok but not as much as the industry has died. Yet, Pattaya has a plethora of them.
I have mix feelings about sex tourism and a lack of knowledge on it. I think it should be regulated and of women of consenting ages always. I’m not in a position to speak a lot about it and would feel uncomfortable making a judgment on it. Nor do I feel educated enough to make a clear point for it or against it. It is something that I am currently educating myself on more. Especially in an area where it still seems to be very much a thing. All I will say is, I just wish there were ways for them to survive without having to do this. If this is what they want, then so be it but I doubt many of these women want to be doing this.
Family Friendly Walking Street
For those that aren’t wanting to partake in what made Walking Street famous, there is plenty of other things to do instead. We ended up doing a mini-bar crawl and going to places with live music. It was a pretty great night out all things considering. We quickly became the favorites of the band (mainly due to my dad tipping them well and frequently) but also I was pretending I could sing. As such in my drunken haze, I was singing like it was my own personal show. I haven’t been drinking very much anymore and as such, when I do drink I need very little to feel like Adele.
There are also great places to eat and no matter how you feel, it is something that everyone should walk down the street of at least once. If anything, to just understand that this does still happen. There is still this culture and it’s caught in-between trying to survive but also to adapt to what the new Pattaya is becoming.
Why We Ended Up Here
Pattaya has a bad reputation and if I’m honest it does deserve that but a little bad rap never hurt anybody. If you are wanting a quick getaway from Bangkok that won’t break the budget or involve an airplane then Pattaya might just be what you need.
In my youth, give me a Smirnoff Ice with the top of the charts playing and I was set. Nowadays I am much more of a homebody. Though, I can occasionally be persuaded for a big night out. So for me writing this as this type of person, know Pattaya can be situated for whatever traveler. It just takes a bit of planning and picking the right place to go. If you aren’t a party person, then I recommend East Pattaya or hotels like the Royal Cliff, Cozy Beach as it’s much more chill. Better yet, you have access to a quieter beach but is just a 10-minute drive from the infamous Walking Street.
Prices are still affordable and actually much cheaper than other islands and let’s just say, the vendors know exactly what tourists want. So easiness of fresh, cold coconuts at 80 cents and fresh fruit will appear in front of you every half hour while you sit on your beach chair that only cost you $1.20 for the day.
Fair warning, if you do stay in this area know three things. You will see signs in Thai, English, and Russian. It seems to be a popular place for Russians to own holiday homes. It’s slightly surreal seeing three languages in a foreign country but hey, who am I to judge.
The main reason we ended up here though was in fact free rent. My dad and stepmom have a place here in East Pattaya. They’re letting us stay here until our apartment in Bangkok is ready. It has a nice view of greenery and the main beach strip. It’ s surrounded by some great places to eat, a beautiful beach in less than 5 minutes walking distance and did I mention free.
I think places have a reputation for a reason but that shouldn’t stop you from going. If and when the opportunity presents itself, you should go. If you hate it, guess what! You have now earned a guilt-free time to veg out and watch Netflix until you go. If you end up seeing another side of a place, then who knows, you might just help them change.