Friday, July 15, 2011

Pattaya and Bangkok

Located around 165kms southeast of Bangkok, the city of Pattaya is another popular tourist place in Thailand for beach resorts. Our trip is for a company off-site (from July 11-14) and we were picked up from Suvarnabhumi Airport by a van for an almost 2-hour drive to the city after flying in via Philippine Airlines.
 
For this trip, we stayed in Hilton Pattaya Hotel, a hotel that just opened a few months back and I could say is spanking brand new. It is connected directly to CentralFestival Pattaya Beach, a huge mall in Pattaya, making it a perfect location for business and leisure travelers alike. 
 
 
The drop-off point in itself is very serene and welcoming. Fountains and water surrounding the pathway where guests are dropped off makes the place very relaxing even on first look.
 
As soon as we got into our room, the first thing I checked out was the view from the hotel room. Rooms in the hotel usually have views overlooking the gulf of Thailand.
 
I shared a Twin Hilton Deluxe Room with an office colleague. The 46sqm room is very spacious for the both of us and had a private balcony where we can relax to kill time. The theme of the room is aligned to the water activities available outside.
 
The lobby of hotel is likewise very inviting. The ceiling features a "wavy-like" design that looking at it makes you feel soothe and relaxed, ready to hit the bed or perhaps the pool nearby.
 
Let's be realistic here. Pattaya is not only known for its beach resorts. In fact, it may be known more of its night life or "sex industry". The red light district is mostly concentrated on the Walking Street with go-go bars all over, although you can find some as well off this street and even near our hotel. It is called a Walking Street because it is closed for vehicles from 6:00PM to 2:00AM nightly. I would be honest to say that I did not just walk on this street and of course walked into one of the establishments just for entertainment (show). Not a lot of hanky panky though as I am happily married. :)
 
Tuesday morning, we were greeted by the inviting view outside our room. Unfortunately we have full-day sessions that day so I can only mesmerize and look at it from our balcony.
 
Buffet breakfast was included in the room and was served in Edge, located at 14th floor. The restaurant offered indoor and outdoor dining while having a view of the beach strip outside.
 
al fresco dining
 
Thailand is well-known for its quality (tropical) fruits. Of course I enjoyed hefty amounts of it during breakfast times this week.
 
Even the ballrooms were very nice from the inside. As this is a corporate event, I cannot share what happened, just how the setup looks like inside. :)
 
The view from the deck near the conference rooms and ballrooms were also nice. A relaxing way to relieve your stress if your event is stressful.
 
 
That afternoon we were treated to a show in Thai Alangkarn Theater called "The Thai Extravaganza Show".  The show was a mix of colorful history and culture of Thailand formed into a stage play for easier understanding and appreciation.
 
our ticket
 
inside the grounds leading to the theater
 
 
 
Wednesday morning. Had the usual fare of breakfast at the Edge, overlooking Pattaya and the beach area.
 
my breakfast
 
still eating al fresco at the outdoor area
 
my fruits for the day
 
After breakfast, some of us whisked through the beachfront area just across the hotel to check the beach. For the record, it is very unfortunate that we never touched the water throughout this trip.
 
Water activities like parasailing, banana boats, cruises, etc. were abundant in the area. I felt like I was back home in the Philippines on a vacation.
 
The beach area is so-so for me, as I've seen better beach resorts back home. But still, it is still nice and inviting and that if we don't have activities that day I would have splurge in the water.
 
me
 
Our group then proceeded to our first activity in the morning - Go Kart racing in EasyKart.net
 
With a group of competitive people around me, needless to say I didn't win, but at least I was in the middle (or other people were behind me). I didn't expect to win anyway.
 
Our next activity was lunch. We had good time munching on the food served to us, specially the fish and the rock lobsters. Too bad I didn't get the name of the place.
 
Our last activity of the day is Paintball. We were grouped into teams and had a healthy competition. This time I was part of the winning team.
 
Thursday morning (yesterday morning) was uneventful. It was reserved for us to take our flights back home. But my colleagues decided to stay for a day to explore Bangkok city. So instead, we were taken to Bangkok late in the morning. We stayed for a night in Conrad Bangkok, thanks to another office colleague who relocated in the city for offering his points.
 
lobby of Conrad Bangkok
 
Conrad Bangkok signage at the drop-off area
 
As soon as we had our stuff settled in the room, we went to MBK Center (via BTS) and the first thing we did was to head to the food court to eat something.
 
For my lunch I had fried rice topped with seafood (squid and shrimp) and tom yum goong (shrimp sour-based soup).
 
And for drink, my favorite coconut! I love coconuts in Thailand as I find them sweeter than the ones back home.
 
After having our late lunch, we decided to split and meet up at a specific time in one location so we can have our own time shopping. Because I did not come here for shopping, I just strolled around the area to take some photos.
 
MBK Centre, once the largest shopping mall in Asia
 
vehicular traffic on the streets
 
Siam Paragon
 
I chanced upon Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, located across MBK Center. It is not very obvious at first but when I look closely, it looks interesting so I went inside.
 
The Centre is actually a contemporary arts museum, intended for cultural exchange specially for touring arts. 
 
inside the museum
 
inside the museum
 
displays on the ceiling
 
inside the museum
 
The structure and building on itself is an art on its own. The details carried over for executing the final finishing of the building is very nice. 
 
I got to our meeting point earlier and decided to have pearl milk tea while waiting.
 
Last night, we also went to Patpong, an entertainment district in Bangkok, to watch the infamous show. In the end, we felt we were ripped-off and liked the one in Pattaya better so we left early and headed back at the hotel to rest.
 
No exploration or any special agenda for today after we woke up. We left the hotel mid-morning to catch our flight after lunch in Suvarnabhumi Airport fearing it would be traffic. Turned out we were way ahead of schedule so we spent our time browsing on the shops in the airport and had our brunch there before finally taking off for Manila.
 
It is my second time to be in Bangkok with the last visit almost four years back with my mom and Julie. I had a different view of Bangkok and Thailand in general this time and seems to me a lot has changed. Will definitely be back for more, may it be for business or personal. As for Pattaya, I'm not sure as it doesn't seem to be a family friendly place due to the go-go bars left and right.

1 comment:

Fred Castillo said...

Looks like you saw most of the good sites to see around Pattaya and Bangkok, but it's a shame you didn't make it to Jomtien beach (at least in this post). It's one of the nicest beaches I've been to! The sand there is some of the best beach sand I've ever stepped foot on.

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