Is it just me or has Pattaya moved on from its pure adolescent teenage years of getting blind drunk and flirting with the ladies and matured into a caring parent? Maybe my analogy isn’t that clear, so let me explain.
For all you long term expats reading you may relate better to this articles message, let’s start this story in the year 2006…
Six years ago you wouldn’t have found the glamour and networking style of a Lighthouse club that now attracts over 200 attendees every month and is held at wonderful venues such as the Hilton and the Hard Rock Café (the Hilton didn’t even exist in Pattaya back then). Only a few years ago when the Lighthouse networking event formally arrived in Pattaya it was nothing more than a handful of real estate agents whom met in a bar and got wildly drunk.
The landscape of Pattaya did not include many top end hotels, such as the Hilton and Holiday Inn which are recent additions to Beach Road, tourists in the main still opted for guestrooms. If you wanted to go shopping then you had plenty of street markets and Royal Garden Plaza. The huge Central Festival shopping centre was not even a pipe dream.
Chances are if you were going for a beer it would be in an open beer bar, with Soi seven and eight hugely popular. You would be surrounded with women, get the chance to have a photo with a huge snake or some other exotic animal and wake up with very little memory of what went on the night before (and no doubt find yourself having to pay out an additional 1,000 baht to conclude matters).
A mere six years on and the bar scene has developed with many fully air conditioned venues that attract more couples and families, there is a water park being built and the floating market is now embedded as a key attraction in this city.
The motivation behind this article was when reviewing what events were coming up in Pattaya for Inspire eMagazine, and two stood out as game changers. The Jesters Childrens Fair is now a key event on the Pattaya social calendar; it boasts over 90 stalls and attracts huge numbers. We are talking about a kids day in Pattaya being a huge draw! Next up is the new Family fun day and 20/20 cricket that will be on the 20th October at Horseshoe Point in East Pattaya.
‘Family’, ‘Kids’ these were not words synonymous with Pattaya, and certainly not major events, in years gone by. I will be crude, but the words some ten years ago that fit the bill was ‘tits’ and ‘fanny’. I use these words to really polarize the changes and drum home how we have moved on.
So, is Pattaya now really a caring parent that caters more for families and couples? In simple terms we have to arrive at the answer of yes. Of course, the nightlife here is vibrant and a quick look down Soi LK will show you that it is even arguably developing; but the face of Pattaya is starting, and very quickly, to move towards a family destination and that includes for expats too. The last three event posts made on inspire, at time of writing, really sum up where this city is for attractions. ‘Family Fun Day’, ‘Gurkha Curry Night’ and ‘Miss Sexy Moves 2012’. The town currently caters for us all, and that all sounds very parent like to me.