by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
Pattaya by night!
There is a lot to see and do around Pattaya, especially on the coastal road south toward Sattahip and among the numerous offshore islands.
Getting around independently is very easy as jeeps, motorcycles, and bicycles are readily available for hire. Most activities are aimed squarely at vacationers on package tours and families, with novelties and attractions – such as elephant rides and hill-tribe villages – imported from across Thailand. There are also plenty of sporting opportunities ranging from watersports to golfing.
5 miles (8 km) W of Pattaya.
A tiny island about 2 miles (3 km) long and 1 mile (2 km) wide, Ko Larn is ringed by six picturesque little coves and fantastic offshore coral reefs. For its size, the island offers an amazing variety of activities; from tours in a semi-submerged glass-bottomed boat from which passengers can view coral and fish, to jet-skiing, parasailing, banana boat rides, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and target shooting.
Visitors can get around Ko Larn on pickup truck taxis, motorcycle taxis, or rented motorcycles. Each beach has guesthouses, restaurants, shops, and tourist facilities. If traveling in a small group, visitors can also hire a speedboat for a few hundred baht from Pattaya.
Nong Nooch Village
9 miles (15 km) S of Pattaya.
Tel 0-3870-9358-61. # 8am–6pm daily.
Essentially a theme park, Nong Nooch Village (pronounced “Nong Noot” in
Thai), offers examples of Thai agriculture, Thai-style houses, a small zoo, a butterfly farm, and a beautiful botanical garden with a variety of orchids. A great place for an educational trip, there are also several options for entertainment such as Thai boxing bouts, an elephant show, and a Thai cultural show featuring traditional dance and music.
Visitors can also make use of the swimming pool and picnic area. Pickups, directly from visitors’ hotels in Pattaya, are available.
21 miles (33 km) S of Pattaya.
Once a Thai naval base which housed US servicemen during the Vietnam War, Sattahip today is best known for a small sea turtle conservation center located here. Visitors usually pass through Sattahip en route to Ko Samet, Rayong, or Ko Chang from Pattaya. A stopover at the sprawling floating market on Highway 3 is worthwhile. With around 80 boats selling various kinds of goods, it is a great place to pick up souvenirs.
108 miles (174 km) SE of Pattaya.
Popular for weekend trips from Bangkok, Rayong is wellknown for its cool breezes and great seafood. The beaches along the coast – Ban Phe, Suan Son, and Suan Wang Kaew – have plenty of hotels overlooking the sea. There are good camping and diving facilities at Ko Talu, located across from Suan Wang Kaew.
Located 29 miles (47 km) east of Rayong, Khao Chamao- Khao Wong National Park is a scenic spot with waterfalls, caves, cliffs, and ponds.