The Land Of Smiles: Thailand (Part 2 – Pattaya)

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Pattaya is 147 km southeast of Bangkok and faces the Thai Gulf.   It is one of Asia’s premier beach resorts and caters with broad appeal to families and couples.  Leisure activities include Botanical gardens, Water sports, Amusement parks, Tiger shows and the Elephant Village. A meter taxi that costs 1,500 Baht (1Baht is roughly 1 Indian Rupee) can take you from Bangkok to Pattaya in two hours.


Pattaya is known for its beautiful beaches and water related sports like Jet Skiing and Scuba Diving.  Apart from Jomtien Beach and Pattaya Beach there are other isolated beaches which can be accessed by ferries or speed boats.


Transport within the city limits is cheap and is restricted to rental motorbikes and the Song-Taew (Pick-up trucks that serve as taxis) ? very enterprising on the road but a bit rough on the spine. 

Sriracha Tiger Zoo

Born Free!

The tiger show here has fully grown tigers performing in front of an inquisitive audience.  Tightrope walking, leaping through fire, or rolling over, the tigers do it all, albeit unwillingly.  The zoo also has a crocodile show and an elephant show.  In the courtyard, tourists are urged to take photographs with the animals for a fee. 

There better be a reward at the other end!

Not a place for animal lovers as the tigers are chained, drugged and stripped of all their natural magnificence. (As most zoo authorities proclaim, the income generated from the tourists in this way, is used for the upkeep of the animals and the protection of the endangered species, a point justifiably questioned by animal activists around the world who argue that all ?protected’ animals should be housed in a naturally conducive environment.) 

Mini Siam

Model of Thai House

Mini Siam has two sections. One houses the mini models of all important buildings and monuments in Thailand like, Bridge over the River Kwai, The Grand Palace, Ayuthaya etc. 

Model of the Cologne Cathedral

The other section has mini models of monuments around the world, mainly Europe.  The Cathedral of Cologne, Germany, The Eiffel Tower, Paris, The Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore, USA, The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Trevi Fountain, Italy etc. are all exquisitely remodelled in miniature.


Transvestite actors of the Tiffany show

If there’s something that is more world famous than Thai food, then it’s definitely the night life in Thailand.  Well to ?see’ what it’s all about, there’s no better place than Pattaya.  Nightclubs, Discotheques, Pubs, Theatre shows form the hub of the city.  There’s even a Walking-Street and a Drinking-Street that caters to the pub-culture crowd.  When evening sets in, the city comes alive and is completely transformed, a la Las Vegas.  Shows like ?Tiffanys’ and ?Alangkarn’ (fashioned on the lines of the Broadway shows) are performed by stunning and extremely talented actors, a majority of them male to female transvestites. 

Despite its flamboyance, there’s no lack of security in Pattaya especially for visiting tourists who make up a large part of its population.  

End Note

Since sightseeing within Bangkok can be completed within a span of three days, most tourists include a province outside of Bangkok within their travel itinerary (we chose Pattaya).  There are many other provinces and islands which are noted for their beautiful beaches, mountains, wildlife sanctuaries and adventure prospects.  We also found that despite the heavy influx of tourists into the country, majority of the locals (shopkeepers, taxi drivers, hotel and even some airport staff) are not very proficient in understanding English.  But they make up for it with their friendliness and hospitality.  After all, Thailand is not called the Land of Smiles for nothing.

A war scene recreated!

Ghostly Fact from the Internet

Many Thai houses or buildings have spirit houses, which are places for the spirits of the site to live in. Without this vital structure you’re likely to have the spirits living in the house with you, which can cause all sorts of trouble. An average spirit house looks rather like a birdhouse-sized Thai temple mounted on a pedestal. A big hotel may have a shrine covering 100 sq m (1076 sq ft) or more. How do you ensure that the spirits take up residence in your spirit house rather than in the main house with you? Mainly by making the spirit house a more auspicious place to live in than the main building, through daily offerings of food, flowers, candles and incense. The spirit house should also have a prominent location and should not be shaded by the main house. Thus its position has to be planned from the very beginning and the house installed with due ceremony. If your own house is improved or enlarged, the spirit house should be as well.

To bite or not to bite…that is the question!

Time to sit down and take a break! (L); Tricks of the trade! (R)

Putting up a show for the tourists!

An Elephant trained to play basketball (L); and football! (R)

Elephant Thai massage

Scorpion Lady

Nice to meet you all folks! (L); This is no bear hug! (R)

Art in Stone!

Flowers are used as a welcome sign in Thailand!

Author: Shaly Pereira- Oman

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