Friday, June 5, 2015

Pattaya, Thailand

            I have heard that Thailand was a fun place to visit so I decided to go for a week.  I wanted a place on the water so I set my sights on visiting Pattaya, Thailand.  Pattaya, situated on the east side of the Gulf of Thailand, known for its beaches, water sports and naughty nightlife, is also a fast growing community for expat retirees because of the climate and low cost of living.
The flight from Riyadh Saudi Arabia to Bangkok is about seven and a half hours. Once my flight arrived into Bangkok, I was met by my friend Ken. We grabbed a cab and headed to Pattaya’s Cape Dara Resort which is an hour drive (all highway) from the airport.
The Cape Dora Resort (256 Dara Beach, Soi 20, Pattaya-Naklua Road, Pattaya, 20150 Thailand,  Tel.+66 38 933 888, or tucked away from the bustle of Pattaya is situated on the sea and resembles a ship’s main sail.  In the lobby, while checking in, you can feel the breezy air coming from the sea. Within the vicinity of the hotel lobby there is a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the sea.  Breathtaking! The ambience was very harmonious accompanied with a Thai element which absolutely oozes peacefulness and harmony. The anticipation of seeing my room was too much! 

            The room was comfortable and spacious with a lovely balcony to sit, relax and take in the beautiful view of the sea, of course, while indulged in a glass of bubbly. Simply, spectacular!  The bathroom contained a large shower and bathtub complimented by a panoramic view of the water.

I wanted to start my weekend retreat with some spa services. So co-located in the hotel is Luminous Spa on the 4th floor. It was fairly easy to get an appointment for just about any spa services being that Cape Dara is tucked away off the beaten path. Services can be rendered indoors or on the open-air gazebo so you can relax with a sea breeze and sounds of the sea! I opted for a 30 minute scrub and 90 minute aromatherapy massage. Yes, a bit of heaven at best!

After a relaxing day at the spa, before turning in for the night, I stopped by the concierge to inquire about the day activities in Pattaya.  There were a few choices that actually sparked my interest. But the one activity that stood out was the Sriracha Tiger Zoo. A chance at petting a baby tiger was not only a “bucket list” item but also one of those once in a lifetime things to do. So after breakfast in the morning, my first stop would be the Tiger Zoo.

Sriracha Tiger Zoo (341 Moo 3 Nongkham, Sriracha Chonburi 20110 Thailand Tel. +66 (0) 3829 6556-8) was only 40 minutes from the hotel.  We passed through a small portion of the city of Pattaya before enter the highway and then making our way through a remote part of Chonburi.  Once we entered the park, there were so many tigers located in their playground.  But, not only were there plenty of tigers, there were crocodiles, elephants and pigs as well.

There were also a few shows. The tiger venue show-cased the tigers are jumping through fire or climbing ladders and such.  At the elephant demonstration, they were either walking a tightrope or throwing real knives at an audience volunteer strapped to a spinning wheel.  The crocodile show is where there is a man who is sticking his limbs or his head inside the crocodile’s mouth. But the venue which was truly amazing was where you get to hold a tiger cub on your lap while feeding him or her milk from a bottle!  The crowd was snapping pictures left and right. Someone even said that though they didn’t know me personally, I was appeared extremely happy being at one with the tiger cub. The Sriracha Tiger Zoo was well worth the visit.

Another nice tourist attraction is the Nong Nooch Botanical Garden (34/1 Moo 7 Na Jomitien, Sattahip, Chonburi 20250, Thailand Tel+66 38 709358-60) which is known for its landscaped tropical gardens and Thai cultural shows.  The garden has a collection of orchids and palms as well as Asian, American and African species of cycads. Elephant shows are also held in the garden. It is unbelievable that they are trained to play football and basketball!

The last place I visited was one of Thailand’s most popular spot called the Walking Street! This popular tourist attraction draws many and truly offers something for all. The Street is filled with restaurants, open bars, live music, street entertainment, souvenir shops, massage parlors, night clubs, cabaret shows; all which makes for one gigantic party! The Street (under a mile long) is open to traffic during the day but after 6pm. It is closed to vehicular traffic and the party begins!

  Pattaya is a great weekend getaway for water sports, relaxing seaside massages, delicious seafood and electrifying night life!   On a final note, the three hour rule to arrive at the airport on international me, with all of the folks that travel to and from Bangkok, you will need that time to catch your flight on time!

All the best,