Davao ✈ Manila ✈ Bangkok. It was an awesome flight summing up to five long hours from my home in Davao City, Philippines to Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok. The night before we left the Philippines, I was apprehensive about the whole trip. I had a terrible toothache two days before the flight and I had no more time to fix it. I was thinking it would ruin my trip. But despite the excruciating pain, I went on to see Thailand. Hence, I was traveling bearing that agonizing pain the whole time we were flying. But as we got to Suvarnabhumi Airport, I was surprise to feel that the pain was gone at an instant. “Maybe Buddha granted my plea, or maybe, Thailand has healing powers”, I thought. That was a good sign. It was a good start.
I was so impressed with the imposing architectural design of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. It was modern but Thai influences abound inside. As soon as we get there, we hurried to Gate 3 to meet our lovely hosts slash tour guides, the pretty Lennyl and her adorable Thai husband Kaii who both are based in Thailand. With big smiles, the couple welcomed us assuring us of the best central Thailand tour we will have with them. And right there from the airport, my Amazing Thailand Experience with travel buddies Jay and Shane commenced.
Our first destination is the City of Pattaya, about 165 kilometer southeast of Bangkok, facing the East Coast Gulf of Thailand. It is one of Thailand’s premier beach destinations popular among tourists and expatriates. Aboard our hosts’ car, we were traveling from Bangkok to Pattaya for two hours passing Thailand’s very impressive highway system.
I don’t have any idea at all about Pattaya. As a result, I was so excited while going there. As soon as we got to the city, we proceeded immediately to the Royal Thai Navy Hotel located at Pattaya Hill, a small hill to the south of Pattaya Beach, accessible by an asphalt road leading up to the hilltop. I was surprised to realize that the place is actually a tourist spot in itself. Tourist abound the place when we got there.
The Pattaya Hill is the site of the Naval Radio Station where the monument of Krom Luang Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the Father of Royal Thai Navy, is situated. Locals come to this place to offer prayers and respect to the prince. Above all, the viewpoint from the hilltop offers a stunning panoramic view of Pattaya City and Pattaya Bay.
From the hotel, we hurried back to the car to go to our next stop – the Engraved Buddha Image in Khao Cheechan. Also known as the Buddha Mountain, Khao Chee Chan is about 15 minutes outside of Pattaya where the largest engraved Buddha image in the world can be found.
The sitting Buddha is engraved in a limestone mountain cliff and line-etched in gold. It stands 130 meters tall and 71 meters wide. The image can literally be seen from miles away. Fronting the image is a beautiful garden and a neatly manicured park where visitors can sit and relax. Seeing this kind of effigy and its environs for the first time was truly amazing.
It was sundown when we left Khao Chee Chan. Before heading back to downtown Pattaya, Kaii showed us the Silverlake in the nearby Buddha Mountain. Built as a grape farm, Silverlake Winery has recently become one of popular attractions in nearby Pattaya. Even not in time for season, the vineyard is visited frequently because of its spectacular view, colorful flowers and western ambiance. I’m glad that even at a short time; we were able to get a taste Silverlake Winery.
It was past six when we got back to Pattaya. This time, Lennyl and Kaii brought us the Preecha Seafood Restaurant for our delightful seafood dinner. The restaurant is situated along Pattaya Beach and the humid coastal air was just perfect to feel the tropical atmosphere of the night. The food was served. It came along with the different sauces. I learned that Thai food come in different delectable sauces. Thai food is just so palate-friendly. I just don’t love it. I crave for it.
After our scrumptious dinner, we hurried back the car and went straight to another destination so admired in the whole Pattaya – the Alcazar Cabaret Show. Tagged as the Most Spectacular Cabaret Show in Asia, Alcazar Cabaret Show is truly Pattaya’s must see attraction. The show features different performances depicting the culture of Thailand and the neighboring countries. All performances are led by gay transsexuals locally called ladyboys. These performers along with their performances are all top of the line. I loved every minute I spent watching the cabaret show at Alcazar. The stage was packed by a bevy of professional entertainers showcasing artistic performances through songs and dances highlighted in a fantastic sound and light show. This one should not be missed when in Pattaya. Truly a very spectacular show!
AMAZING SCENES INSIDE ALCAZAR CABARET SHOW
From the Alcazar Cabaret Show, we went back to the Royal Thai Navy Hotel to freshen up. An hour later, we went back to the downtown area to take a glimpse of the Pattaya’s famous Night Life. On the way back, we passed by the main road by the beach. The lights are fully glistened the whole street was sparkling. Everyone seemed so busy. I noticed most of the tourists are Caucasians. Kaii dropped us off at the nearby seawall just along the main road of downtown Pattaya Beach. There were plenty of people there – tourists, expatriates, locals and other nationals. The view is truly fascinating. Big hotels, shopping centers, restaurant, pubs, bars and coffee shop abound the strip. It was already 11 in the evening yet all seemed awake and alive.
At the seawall, locals are selling the famous exotic Thai street food – fried crickets, grasshopper, scorpions, cockroaches and frogs. I am not new into exotic food but these Thai ones are just not for me. But for the sake of tasting and experience, I had my share – fried grasshopper and crickets! Ewwwww! After tasting I had to rush to the nearby store to buy a soda to drink. My lips were itching! Hahahaha!
From there, we went ahead to Pattaya’s famous red light district – the Walking Street. Honestly, it was my first time walking and seeing such a mind-blowing scene. I have been to some in the Philippines but Pattaya red light district is just so different. I was like transported to a different world. Hahahaha. It was really new to me. I had so much fun watching every scene there. It’s like opening my eyes to see a new scene, this time not natural wonders but “works of men”. People were busy – tourists or not are enjoying every moment they are there.
NIGHT SCENE AT THE WALKING STREET
From that mind-boggling Walking Street tour, we headed back to hotel. It was already 2 in the morning and we were still in high spirits. It was a long day but every bit of it was worth it. Jay and Shane were sure tired but just like me they enjoyed our first day in Thailand. It was a very good start. Tired, and so off to bed, Lennyl and Kaii promised us for another amazing Pattaya Tour on the next day.
- Sawasdee Pattaya