Let's be honest - Pattaya gets a bad rap. The overwhelming assumption is that Pattaya is a playground for sex tourism as Las Vegas is for gambling... which is pretty true. If you meander down Walking Street, the beach road that is Pattaya's blindingly neon, free-for-all red-light district, sex workers will literally scream demands for their services or simply attach themselves to your arm. Even elsewhere in the city, sex solicitation is commonplace, which many happily-settled Pattaya expats regard as simply the undisguised reality of things done hush-hush in every other city in the world. But if gettin bizzay isn't as much a priority as getting busy with work (or if they're of equal importance), Pattaya has a lot to offer the nomad of today.
Lying on the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya is a cheaper, beachier, more manageable version of Bangkok. Authentic, delectable Thai food is in street stalls everywhere, with a $3 plate of pad thai and bowl of spicy tom yum soup leaving you enough to have an actual massage at a luxurious spa later that day, even on a tight budget. A nice apartment even in the "pricey" Jomtien Beach area can run as low as $450 and accommodation elsewhere in the city as cheap as $150.
Pattaya boasts a great infrastructure with easy and cheap transportation, including metered taxis, songthaews, and air-conditioned buses. If great shopping and ziplining down from the 56th floor of the Pattaya Tower isn't your thing, the Sanctuary of Truth temple complex overlooking the city is a massive, elaborately carved wooden structure that will undoubtedly awe. The exquisite Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens to the south also provides a respite from the city.
Whatever you decide to do with your time in Pattaya, don't neglect the golden rule of all business transactions: hustle or be hustled.
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