This is the story of the first in-country trip while living in Thailand.
And what lucky place gets to receive us first?
So the day of the “Brenna has to stay in Thailand a whole year” fiasco I got the confirmation text from Kim that we were a go for a trip to Pattaya.
Kim (pictured in the middle) lives in Phrae with me and so our friendship has bloomed partially bred of necessity (being 2 of few foreigners in this city) but mostly bred of the fact that Kim is so fucking cool, down to earth, and like very, very intimidatingly smart.
She had heard about Pattaya from her friend and it is essentially the closest beach to us. And it’s still 10 hours away. And all we wanted was a chill beach vacay before classes start on Tuesday.
And Kim said that Emma was on her way into the city to take the trip with us. Emma (pictured on the right) is from Australia, but she is like an extremely seasoned traveler. She’s hilarious and chill and having her around means that if we run out of things to talk about we can just make fun of how Australians say thing. (Stubby holder=beer cozy)
Alright focus, Brenna.
So I hope on my scooter with my backpack and go to Kim’s. Emma’s already there and before we get going to the bus we stop at this restaurant we had heard about called Wee Wee.
And I got buffalo wings.
Why does food make me so happy?
I would like to add that in the photo it looks like there is ranch, and in fact I thought it was ranch when the buffalo wings were placed in front of me. But unfortunately it’s like lemon-pepper mayo or something like that.
Curse you cruel world!
So as were waiting at Kim’s for a second because our bus isn’t leaving until 8pm I decide to open up her guidebook and read a bit about Pattaya. And I swear to god this is what the first sentence says:
“If you are looking for white sand beaches and hammocks swaying in the wind…take a sharp u-turn before you get to Pattaya”
I believe that sentence was followed by “its reputation as the sex capital of Thailand is well deserved”
I am laughing so hard I’m crying as I’m reading this out loud to the girls. But the tickets were purchased and we’re all chill girls here so we kind of just decided “fuck it. Let’s go anyway!”
The strangeness begins almost immediately because Kim’s google map to the bus station takes us through a random field. We cut through a neighborhood and wake up literally every dog on the block. It’s just three farangs loaded up with backpack, and all these dogs are barking, their owners are staring. And I’m doing that thing in my head where I just apologize for existing. Like “sorry I’m here”.
Apparently google maps out dirt paths now because the walking path took us through this pitch black, muddy, middle of nowhere. Somehow we were not murdered by the children of the corn and actually ended up at the Phrae bus station. Who would’ve guessed.
And the adventure continues as we get on this overnight bus. Kim and Emma were in seats way far at the back and I was right in front of theme next to this Thai man who seemed to think I was hilarious for just existing. Classic.
But Emma got screwed because her seat was right up against the back and so she couldn’t recline. Me on the otherhand. I had to recline because the man in front of me was practically in my lap. Joy.
Anyway. We spend the whole night on the bus. I got some sleep but we got off at the Bangkok bus station at about 5am. And we’re groggy and my contacts are so dry I’m practically blind. And the bus station is chaos despite the hour and when you get off bus stations in this country (especially when you are a white foreigner) you are just assaulted by people trying to get you to take a cab. And I just wanted to yell “let me get my bag damnit!”
So we took a second to 1. Eat some noodles 2. Put in contacts 3. Go pee. (Always)
Finally we feel ready to get on another bus to Pattaya. We’re wandering around hopeless for a few minutes but finally we find a lady selling tickets and we’re like “Pattaya?” And she straight up yells “PATTAYA!!” And flags down some people and puts us on essentially a van, already stuffed with Thai people.
We’re smashed in this van for about two hours. And then dropped on the side of the freeway. As the bus drives away, again we are assaulted by people wanting to drive us. So we had booked a hostel. Eventually we found some Thai man who looks at the address says “okay” and points to his scooter like “yep. This is the ride” and we’re like “uhh?? How much?” He says 140 each. And we’re kind of confused like…”is that a good price”
And while we’re pondering this very tan white guy eating what looks like a bologna sandwich strolls up like “where you guys going?” And we tell him. And ask “is 140 a good price?” And he just takes a bite of his sandwich nonchalantly like “…yeah sounds good to me”. And then just strolls away. So at that point were like…scooter taxi it is.
Yeah that’s Kim and I sharing a scooter. Yeah I recognize its not that safe. When in Thailand, amirght?
Just to make you feel better, we were mostly on side streets to the hostel so we weren’t going fast and not around any big trucks or scary shit like that. Kim, bless her, was like holding onto my legs, so the chances of me falling off the back were relatively low.
We found our hostel which was called Five-O. Definitely nice. But we realized by the end that it wasn’t super close to the main area of Pattaya.
It was still early. And we were so tired from the bus that we just chose to get into the pool right away.
We got breakfast and then my first Thai massage. I’m not sure why I waited so long…but Thai massages are insane. They basically beat you up. They like stand on your back and throw you around. But it feels so good. And it was exactly what we needed after those long bus rides.
We went to lay out on the lawn chairs on the roof of our hostel, which would’ve been a beautiful relaxing time…if it didn’t start raining. And then as the afternoon dragged on it starting pouring. Like monsoon level. Flash flood level.
It wasn’t a huge deal cause we wanted a nap anyway. But I mean…beach vacation right?
We wake up and decide to hit the town. The place to be (as told by Google) was the “walking street”. So that’s where we decide to go. We jumped in one of those Thailand classic “back of a pick-up truck” taxi vans…
The funny thing was that we ended up getting to the street at like 7pm and really nothing is going on there until at least 11. But we had enough time to get food and some very yummy, albeit a tad overpriced, cocktails.
So then by this point I think we were sort of beginning to realize the demographic of Pattaya. Or at least…the typical Pattaya “walking street” tourist. And that would be old white man already with young Thai girl, old white man looking to pick up young Thai girl, and Eastern European bachelor party.
But seriously. It’s weird being in a place where there really are women out and trying to sell themselves to the men that walk by. I mean, fuck yeah, you do you girl. It’s just like hilarious being a woman here because I couldn’t help but feel like “oh this place isn’t for me”. Cause it’s not!! It’s not like in Vegas where if you are a hot young girl you get all this shot given to you for free because they want you in their clubs. They don’t want young girls in their bars. But I mean…we still were determined to have fun.
The low part of the night was going into one club that looked fun and then being told to leave when we didn’t want to immediately drop money on drinks. And the high point was finding this place that was playing great music (though they didn’t have a dance floor, but the tables provided a little wiggle room). And there was a moment where I swear 2 dozen Chinese tourists all broke out into some organized dance! Clearly there’s some trendy dance that hasn’t made its way to America yet.
And then the real low point came at the end of the night we stopped at 7-11 and I got myself a ham and cheese toastie. 7-11 is cool here because they will like make up food for you. Okay maybe that’s everywhere. But I’ve only ever done it here.
So anyway. They warm up my toastie and I’m happily walking away down the street when the toastie slips through the bottom of the packaging and falls on the ground!!
I just stood there in distress for a second. Just mourning my toastie.
Sad, sad day.
But everything worked out cause then we got McDonald’s.
Round 182 of “Brenna eats American food in a foreign country”
The next day we found a beach!
So the second day was much more successful on the “beach vacation” front. We caught a taxi to the dock and then a ferry to Ko Lan island.
But first I want to tell a quick story.
It’s morning and we’re all laying in our bunks. And Emma goes out to the bathroom and Kim and I are lying the when we screaming. And then there’s like commotion and laughing and more screaming. And we’re looked at each other like “wtf?”
And then Emma comes into the room soaking wet.
Because apparently she went to use the butt hose (aka hoses to spray your butt in the bathroom) when the top came off and the hose just started spraying water everywhere! And she’s just sitting on the toilet while the hose just flies around. And finally she had to go get the lady and be like “help!”
I think I peed myself laughing.
Okay. Back to the ferry.
Ko Lan was absolutely gorgeous. We took a quick ride to the other side of the island to Tien beach (the recommendation from this girl in our hostel). And (for the low price of 50 baht) you can lay out on lawn chairs right on the water. And we swam, played the ukulele, and sun tanned…well partially cloudy tanned.
Aren’t we the cutest?!
So this day was exactly what we needed. It wasn’t super hot or anything but that was actually a nice feeling after the previous really sweaty days in Chaing Mai and Phrae.
And we got the best Indian food when we got back to the hostel.
But Brenna aren’t you in Thailand?
Yeah whatever. India is close. And the sweetest Indian man and his wife were making the food.
God Brenna is a happy camper.
We turned in early cause we had to catch a cab the next day at 7am for a full day of traveling.
More news about Phrae and everything there is coming! I just had to post about this lovely Pattaya adventure while I was on the bus home.