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Is Pattaya Really That Sleazy?

Posted By in Thailand | 60 comments

Is Pattaya Really That Sleazy?

I’m still not entirely sure what made us decide to visit Pattaya.  I think it had something to do with the unspoken dare present when people claim that something is “the biggest” or “the most” of anything. Since coming to Thailand, we’ve been repeatedly told that Pattaya is the unofficial sex tourism capital of the world. Yes, the world. I was driven by a twisted sense of curiosity to find out what kind of a town this made Pattaya, if there really were that many prostitutes, and if Pattaya really was that sleazy.

With loud club music filling streets lined with grimy bars and guesthouses, the areas around Pattaya Beach reminded me a little of Khao San Road in Bangkok.  But instead of the wide-eyed and intoxicated backpackers of Khao San, Pattaya was overflowing with men over 50 skulking around the streets wearing Hawaiian shirts, and eyeing up every girl that passed.

Soi LK Metro, Pattaya

I like to think that I can usually find my orientation relatively quickly in a new city, but Pattaya was a literal maze in which I couldn’t tell one massage parlor or go-go bar from the next.  It all blurred together and we found ourselves getting lost in the shuffle.  Instead of Thai food, the street stalls sold Cornish pasties and sour cabbage. Other stall owners rushed around selling skintight dresses and bedazzled shoes, as though an emergency requiring these items could occur at any moment.

The culture of prostitution in Pattaya is the source of many jokes in Thailand, and I could understand why from the moment we arrived.  It was easy to see the dark humor in the excessiveness of it all: The blatant, neon signage for sex services, the giggling girls wearing revealing outfits, and the crowds of stereotypically gruff and lecherous-looking patrons.

Part of me didn’t want to spoil the party by reflecting on the moral implications of this oversexed city, but they were difficult to ignore.  I would never presume that I understand the lives of sex workers in Pattaya, but from the little I do know, most come from poor, rural areas of Thailand, hoping to support themselves and their families. I can’t imagine it’s an ideal life.

Soi LK Metro, Pattaya, Thailand

Similarly, I can’t really know the motivations of the thousands of foreigners who regularly flock to Pattaya, but I couldn’t help but feel a strange sympathy for them too. During our 2 days in Pattaya, Brent and I were ludicrously overcharged for drinks, transport, and even for a spot on the beach. It’s safe to say that sex businesses in Pattaya are making a substantial profit from naïve, lonely old men.

Pattaya has recently been trying to clean up its reputation, yet the whole city seemed almost devoid of real Thai culture. The Westerners come for the warm weather and easy access to sex, but afterwards they seem to expect to be able to retire to an air-conditioned room, watch the Australia Network and eat a Shepard’s Pie.  And Pattaya provides.

Jomtien Beach, Pattaya

To be honest, there’s really nothing all that pretty about Pattaya. It does have two beaches: Pattaya and Jomtien. We spent the day at Jomtien, which was supposed to be the nicer of the two. It wasn’t unpleasant (because really how bad can a sunny day at the beach be?), but Jomtien Beach reminded me more of the  “beaches” we have back home in Ontario. The scenery was boring, and the sand was course and dull. It didn’t come even close to measuring up to the average Thai beach.

Jomtien Beach, Pattaya

The sex workers hanging around the entrances to massage parlors and bars called out to the other men who passed by, but they didn’t try to lure Brent in because they recognized that we were together.  Then, at one point, Brent and I were walking down the middle of a road, and saw a car approaching from behind us. We crossed to opposite sides of the street to let the car pass, and for less than 10 seconds, Brent was alone and out of my sight. When the car cleared the road, I looked across the street and saw in the instant that we had been separated, 2 massage parlor girls had latched their arms onto Brent and were cooing in his ear.  So, if you’re still trying to get a sense of how many sex workers there are in Pattaya, that story pretty much sums it up. Yes, it really is that sleazy.


Have you ever visited Pattaya or another place where sex tourism is prominent? What did you think?


Edit: I strive to promote an open dialogue on this blog, and I encourage constructive criticism and well-argued counterpoints, but any comments perceived as intentionally derogatory or malicious  have been and will continue to be deleted. It’s fine if you disagree with me, but let’s keep it clean.


    • waysofwanderers January 25, 2013

      Yeah, describing a place as Ontario-beach-like is pretty much the ultimate insult, isn't it? It really was the most disappointing beach I've been to in Thailand, though.

    • larry June 28, 2013

      Thanks for the info….I'm 73 and I just loved Pattaya….my girl friends THATS GIRLFRIENDS…are in their 20's and 30's!!!! I'll be back!

  1. @WanderTooth January 24, 2013

    Ick! I've been to Thailand a few times, and have always avoided Pattaya for this reason – it's reputation precedes it. We were in Amsterdam over the holidays, which obviously has a pretty substantial red light district as well. I think you summed it up nicely: it can't be an ideal life.

  2. Vanessa January 25, 2013

    My school here in Korea sponsored a tour-guided trip (half-paid) to Pattaya for all the teachers last spring… Now I'm definitely glad I didn't go! Nothing like being dragged on a tour of the red-light district (and shows) with all your co-workers… and husband. Awkward!! haha. Thanks for making me feel better for not going! 😀
    My recent post Happy 2013 in Mokpo: or How We Crawled Up An Icy Mountain

    • waysofwanderers January 25, 2013

      Haha – oh man, Pattaya would be the last place I would want to spend time with coworkers. I can't imagine a more uncomfortable situation. I wonder why your school chose Pattaya? It's not the first city that comes to mind when most people think of Thailand. You're right though, you definitely didn't miss out by not going!

  3. waysofwanderers January 25, 2013

    Yeah, the red light district in Amsterdam was kind of a shocker for me too. I couldn't believe that all the women were lined up in those weird glass cubicle-looking rooms. Somehow I had always imagined it would be more subtle – how wrong I was!

  4. John January 27, 2013

    I would imagine rural Thailand would be quite conservative, so its interesting that a lot of these "workers" are from there.

    • waysofwanderers January 27, 2013

      I find Thailand can be kind of contradictory when it comes to sex . Thai people are extremely conservative in many ways, yet "ladyboys", for example, are relatively accepted by society. Although in the case of sex workers, I think it's more about making money by any means necessary than it is an occupation that fits with their values.

  5. Julika January 28, 2013

    Great post, Jess! I totally understand your curiosity and why you would want see a city with a reputation like that, but after reading this I really don't feel like I need to see it for myself. Your description made me super uncomfortable already!

    • waysofwanderers January 29, 2013

      Haha, I don't blame you. Curiosity definitely didn't pay off in this case. I usually don't like to write places off based on what other people say about them, but Pattaya certainly lives up to its reputation.

  6. Agness January 30, 2013

    I thought Bangkok is a sex city. It's all about party and ping-pong shows :). I've heard of Pattaya as well, but I guess it's up to you where you wanna go and what you wanna see. As long as you avoid touristy spots and enjoy the beaches or temples you will be fine. Lovely post 🙂

    • waysofwanderers January 31, 2013

      Haha yeah, I guess I kind of knew up front what I was getting myself into.

  7. Angela January 30, 2013

    Eew, I was sort of considering going to Pattaya, just so see for myself. But maybe I'll just skip it.
    I was in Phnom Penh not too long ago and seeing all the old men with the young Cambodian girls and all the sex bars really got to me.
    My recent post How To Avoid Sunburn On a Motorbike Tour in Vietnam

    • waysofwanderers January 30, 2013

      Yeah, I'd recommend giving it a pass. Creepy men aside, it was just a very old crowd in general. I didn't see any other backpackers, so that also reduced the fun.

  8. Hannah@GettingStampe February 4, 2013

    Glad I read this! We were in Bangkok in March and also Phuket and stayed in Patong. We loved Bangkok, but will not return to Patong ever again. We are going to Thailand on our RTW trip and will be there in December 2013 for Christmas, and my parents are joining us for 3 weeks. We are starting off in BKK for 3 nights and then heading off to some islands, they love the beaches, and aren't 100% sure which Thai beaches to bring them to. Crossing off Pattaya, thanks for the heads up! Any suggestions? We have a week was thinking for Phi Phi for 3-4 nights and then we have another 3-4 nights open before we head to Cambodia with them. Thanks for any tips!
    My recent post Taking Sparting Risks

    • waysofwanderers February 4, 2013

      Yeah – I would stay well away from Pattaya- having your parents there would make the whole experience twice as uncomfortable. Definitely go to Phi Phi – it's the most beautiful island by far. I really loved Koh Chang – it's close to the border with Cambodia, so it could be a convenient stop for your last 3-4 nights in Thailand. The beaches are gorgeous, and there's plenty to see and do, but the party scene isn't quite as intense as some of the islands in the south, so it's a good place to bring the rents. Or I haven't been to Koh Lanta personally, but I've heard from a lot of other travelers that it's comfortable for tourists, yet not too overdeveloped.

  9. bill March 12, 2013

    Sorry to read all these negative comments guys.I took a post divorce holiday in pattaya six months ago and have stayed since. Many of the men here arrived under similar circumstances and like me most meet and settle with one girl. Sleasy maybe but always vibrant and truly exciting, great eating places, suitable for every taste and culture. As for the girls who do work the bars, this is very much a survival strategy.
    There is no financial parachute for them, if they dont earn they starve and so do their kids back in the village, most of their earnings pays for food and schooling for their kids and siblings

  10. BlogDaz March 13, 2013

    Hi Jessica, Bill already mentioned that there is more to Pattaya than the sex industry, there is a very large ex-pat community living in Pattaya. Mostly living a normal life, married with children, for the majority of ex-pats it wouldn't make a difference if there was no sex scene in Pattaya. Apart from the sex scene, the lures for westerners are, good shopping, good choice of food, many of the Thais working in Pattaya have a good grasp of English.
    I can understand your reaction, but Pattaya is not an exception, just about every tourist destination in Thailand caters for sex tourists, in fact it's not only tourist destinations, karaoke bars and massage parlous, even in the most remote villages of Thailand offer sex services.
    Bar Girls are often misunderstood, it's easy to assume they forgot their morals, they all have their own reasons for working in the sex trade, for some it's strictly business, a pension plan, or husband hunting. http://www.pattayaunlimited.com/2009/06/bar-girls
    My recent post Bored in Buriram

    • waysofwanderers March 13, 2013

      We traveled relatively extensively around Thailand, and I agree, sex services are available pretty much everywhere – it's not unique to Pattaya. That said, the focus on sex services in Pattaya was incredibly extreme compared to what we saw in other places in Thailand. I only spent a few days in Pattaya, so I recognize that there's a limit to the scope of my observations, yet, it seemed like the expats and tourists in Pattaya were expecting the city to adapt to their tastes. But really, shouldn't the expats be the ones to adapt to Thai foods and traditions instead of the other way around? And I don't think I've expressed any kind of judgement against the sex workers in Pattaya – my intention was to examine the culture of sex in this city, and the moral implications that it raises.

  11. Americanthai March 15, 2013

    I’d say 99% places in the world guys hit on girls. the reason I like Pattaya and I keep coming back it’s nice being treated like “brad Pitt” with “lebron James” status because I’m a foreigner with some cash.. I like 5-10 dollar massages thai, oil, foot. It’s nice being able to really enjoy myself drink, have sex, and eat Thai food. Im younger but old guys seem much happier here. Leave your other half alone in Pattaya (not recommended) then I want his opinion.

    • waysofwanderers March 16, 2013

      There's no doubt that men are having a good time in Pattaya. But are the locals? Particularly the women?

      • Anonymous August 3, 2014

        Yes, they become economically active and can provide a better life for their family 🙂

  12. Americanthai March 16, 2013

    Local Women…Yes Foreign Woman…No
    It is quite sad to see the "honeymoon" couple or "clueless couples" who did not know what they were in for when visiting Pattaya. I feel sometimes it doesn't always happen by accident and the men plan it that way and the women have to suffer. Either way the Thai news will have you believe Pattaya is a family friendly destination. Jomtien…ok sure I buy that! Pattaya/Walking street being dubbed family friendly that is a…..s t r e t c h

    • waysofwanderers April 8, 2013

      Yeah – "sigh" kind of sums it up.

  13. Four Trotters April 29, 2013

    I like the put-down 'Lonely Old Men' as if being shy or alone is a crime. If you are young and gotgrous it seems you are morally above those sleeze bags.

    • waysofwanderers April 29, 2013

      I'm sorry that you read it that way. I was actually trying to express sympathy because it seemed like, in many cases, being old and lonely made these men easier targets for inflated pricing and scams. My point is that both the sex workers and their clients are victims in this whole set-up.

    • passingthrough May 11, 2013

      you're lonely, old and a man. its not a put down, its the truth

  14. PattayaBrent June 3, 2013

    I bet Brent will be back and it will be without you.

    • waysofwanderers June 3, 2013

      Yes, because most men would rather pay for sex than have sex was someone who is actually attracted to them.

  15. richardf June 3, 2013

    Hello Jessica, Thank you for the article but no one coming to Pattaya is "naive". They've read the forums and the books such as Private Dancer by Stephen Leather. Pattaya is just a game: Falang V Bargirl. Both sides are shrewd and know how to play.

    • waysofwanderers June 3, 2013

      I don't see how the game can be played on an even field when the farangs have all the money and power.

      • ChuckWow June 3, 2013

        Are you sure you know what the playing field is? The girls settle on a price for their services and the men pay it. No one is making the girls do anything against their will. I agree they probably prefer not to be selling their bodies but what are you going to do about it? Are you going to pay for their homes, food, childrens' schooling, parents medical care? Same as in the USA or most anywhere else in the world. Just admit it, you just don't like the fact that all these men are having a good time. You'd rather see them rotting away in the USA wouldn't you? Oh, and BTW, I'll bet you Brent would love to have a night away from you in Pattaya. Look deep into his eyes when you ask him and you'll know.

        • waysofwanderers June 3, 2013

          I do know that "playing the field" refers to dating, which whether you agree with prostitution or not, you can't pretend that paying for sex is anything like dating.

          You're really just not addressing anything I actually wrote in this post. Everything you're defending is based on your own projections and prejudices.

  16. hancnx June 3, 2013

    Good article. By the looks of it you stayed in the LK Metro area (Kilkenny or Pasadena Lodge perhaps), kind of a ground zero for old sexpats. So yes, it's going to look sleazy then.

    Pattaya is a sizeable city these days though, and I'm very comfortable taking my wife and young children there for a holiday. It just depends on who you want to be; if that's sleazy then indeed there is no trouble finding it. But you can also have a perfectly fine family holiday with some boat trips, beaches and attractions that are fun for kids like dolphin shows, elephants, etc.

    As a beach destination in Thailand, you can clearly do better, that's also beyond doubt. But Pattaya is quick and easy to get to from Bangkok, and it's affordable.

    • waysofwanderers June 5, 2013

      Thanks! Personally I prefer Hua Hin as a beach destination that's close to Bangkok. It's still cheap and convenient, but the beaches are a little bit nicer.

      • hancnx June 5, 2013

        Yeah, Hua Hin is okay too.. Beaches though I think are fairly similar if you include nearby beaches in Bang Saray and Ko Larn island. And it may be a little more expensive, but I agree Hua Hin is fairly comparable, with significantly less sleeze. (Though of course it's there for those who want it; it's still Thailand. 😉 )

        Neither areas of course come close to the really scenic beaches along the Andaman coast, and islands off the coast, further South.

        • waysofwanderers June 6, 2013

          Agreed. None of the Bangkok area beaches compare to those in the South.

  17. ChuckWow June 3, 2013

    What is wrong with older men wanting to have sex with young and attractive women? Should they have to settle with fat, ugly, old and bad attitude women of the west?
    For the record I'm only 33 and I love Pattaya because sex is easy and everywhere. I don't have to be a GQ model with a six rack of abs to get laid. I don't have to be a millionaire showing off in Vegas to get laid. Of course western women like yourself think guys should only get laid with girls that are their age and similar in looks right? You don't like seeing a normal, old or ugly dude walking down the beach with a hot Thai chick because he's broken the societal rules of engagement for getting laid.

    • waysofwanderers June 3, 2013

      Again, I think you're making a lot of assumptions here that are completely unrelated to what I wrote in this post. What did I actually write? 1) The prostitution industry is taking advantage of sex tourists by overcharging them for drinks, accommodation etc. 2) Most of the women in Pattaya's sex industry come from poorer areas of Thailand and perhaps don't have a lot of other alternative ways to support themselves and their families. 3) Pattaya has been stripped of real Thai culture to cater to the desires of the sex tourists. That's all. No judgments, just observations.

      • ChuckWow June 4, 2013

        1.) Who says the sex tourists are being taken advantage of? A bar or gogo obviously needs to charge more than 7Eleven for drinks and cocktails because they too have to pay the girls' salary, which is quite substantial compared to most jobs in Thailand. Some girls make upwards of 30,000 baht per month in salary alone, and plus drink commissions and tips over 100K baht easy. Add in what guys give them for the night and 'sponsors' who send them money when they go home and some girls make more than an engineer in a western country. Everyone gets what they want and are happy so why do you care who's being taken advantage of even if you do claim you're just making an observation? C'mon, you're not just making an observation are you?
        2.) Of course you're right the women in the sex industry come from poorer areas, and don't have much alternative to make life changing money. But would you rather them starve or resort to serious crime to get money? Do you blame it on the sex tourists? Specifically the men? Did you know women from around the world visit places like Africa and Jamaica for their sex fix too? Why did you not write about the poor men that must service those female sex tourists? Besides, you already know about why Thai women are in the sex business, all over the country. Everyone knows. Why state it besides trying to cast a negative light on the customers of the business?
        3.) No, Pattaya has not lost its Thai culture because of anyone but Thai people's own greed. Thais are the ones who own the buildings and the land upon which the bars are built on. They are the landlords behind the scenes. You sounds very judgmental on Pattaya's culture in relation to sex tourism, clearly taking a hit the men who patronize. Do you deny that?

        • waysofwanderers June 4, 2013

          1. I was comparing food and drink prices to other places in Thailand. They’re definitely significantly higher in Pattaya. It’s my subjective perception that these high prices exploit sex tourists. It’s just an opinion. Maybe to you, these prices seem fair.

          And regardless of how much money these women make, neither you nor I can know if they’re happy. To me, a lot of the girls looked sad. To you, they seem happy. Again, it’s subjective.

          2. I wrote about Pattaya because I visited Pattaya. I write about the places that I travel to. My observations about any destination are, of course, coloured with my own opinions. Do I have a solution to some of the issues I had with Pattaya? No. That doesn't change how I felt about it. I just presented this city as I saw it, and I think readers are intelligent enough to weigh my opinions against their own, and decide whether this place appeals to them personally or not.

          3. I would say that the sex tourists drove Pattaya’s businesses to Westernize. To me, anywhere in the world, it’s unfortunate to see authentic culture lost to any type of tourism.

          This blog is based on my opinions, my experiences, and my observations. Maybe we can just agree to disagree here? You don’t want your opinion on this issue to change, and neither do I. You’re free to continue to leave comments if you wish, but if you hate what I write, maybe it’s just better for both of us if you move along.

  18. philkrenshaw June 8, 2013

    Aside from jet ski rental, I saw no rip offs in Pattaya. $5 for a steak dinner. about 30 cents for a ride on the Baht Buses, $6 for an hour long bus trip from the airport followed by a minibus to your hotel door. Large air conditioned room with bath, WiFi and flat screen cable TV for under $20. Breakfast–eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, tomatoes, coffee and OJ for less than $3, $20 for a BJ, $5 for a Thai Silk shirt, a couple dollars for the ferry out to Koh Larn where the best beaches are, $3 for a haircut, $20 for teeth polished, cleaned and checkup, $3 to have your feet nibbled on by fish for an hour, etc. etc. Yes, lots of cheap sex around the clock, but plenty of other things to do also. Great place to relax and unwind.

    • waysofwanderers June 8, 2013

      It's Thailand, so it's still cheap if you convert it to dollars, but personally, I found Pattaya expensive for what it was when compared to other parts of Thailand. I just didn't think Pattaya had a lot to offer. There are so many beautiful, interesting places in Thailand, and for me, Pattaya was not one of them. But to each his own.

  19. bob June 8, 2013

    I found most girls in beer bars/gogo bars etc loved their jobs. You will find lot of these girls get sponsored, move back to their village, get bored and come back to the bright lights of Pattaya, where every night is a big party for them.

    When it comes to morals, I think a Buddhist culture is very different than our own Abrahamic culture in the west. I think you have to see the positives more than the negatives. The prostitute is getting big money, and the customer is getting love and care for the price he agreed on. Both parties are happy. Obviously Pattaya is not for everyone (especially a female with a partner)

    I remember I went into a bar, and I seen a bar girl, with this 40 year old man. He was fat, ugly and looked like to me, he wouldn't have a hope, if he went into a western nightclub looking for beautiful ladies. The man had a big smile on his face, and the girl actually showed she cared for him (maybe she did, maybe she didn't does it matter?)

    You say Pattaya is more expensive than other areas? I disagree, I've been to Puket, Bangkok, Koh Samet, Rayong, Koh samui and Koh chaing… among those Pattaya seems the cheaper option for drinks/food and accommodation

    • waysofwanderers June 8, 2013

      I guess there are many ways to interpret Buddhism, but the average Thai woman is very conservative, so I don't think prostitution is any more or less culturally acceptable in Thailand than it is in the west.

      I didn't condemn prostitution itself anywhere in this post. It's the world's oldest profession, it's a moral grey area – I get that. I'm sure some of the women do enjoy the money and don't mind the job. But not all of them looked like they were having fun. I think prostitution can be a very complex issue, particularly in developing countries. How can any of us be sure who is choosing the job and who is being forced into it because she doesn't have any other options?

      My main problem with Pattaya was not the prostitution itself, but with what the culture of prostitution has done to the city. To me, it seemed like a white man's playground. There was a vague feeling of colonialism that made me uncomfortable; a sense of rich foreigners coming in and forcing their culture, their language, their food on everyone, and then taking whatever they want.

  20. pacifictheme July 11, 2013

    Well written piece Jess. I went to Phuket a few years ago and found it so sleazy – don't think I could stomach anywhere sleazier than that!
    My recent post Brits (Australians?) Behaving Badly

  21. Suresh May 31, 2014

    Wow you really said it all and is very true but it is so sad they government stinks just like male tourists who thinks of them self 🙁 there is so many girls have babies from the so call fun for male tourists go there 🙁 So many single young mothers ..I can understand them wanting better life but please if u can’t help them just don’t use them and leave them with more problems and is the fact Thailand man should start showing some respect for their women ..so so sad

  22. OZ26 July 7, 2014

    Wow Jessica, you have just put western women back to the category they get stereotyped in, with this narrow minded blog.

    Before you go mouthing off that this is just another "lonely old male" post, I am a 35yr old Australian women, married with a 2 yr old son, worked my whole life and have been afforded the opportunity to travel to many places of the globe for which I am grateful for.

    I also, have visited Pattaya many times and in fact am moving my family there at the end of the year for some R and R.

    You are clearly a lollipop back packer and not an actual Traveller.
    I will agree that the beaches are not to be compared with some of Thailand, and that it is indeed heavy into sex tourism. For a inexperienced, immature backpacker, it would be very easy to get yourself lost and overcome in that scene.

    Pattaya has many relaxing spots to enjoy as a family or couple, the shopping is great, food is second to none, excellent Muai Thai Schools, international schools and language schools, massage and not to mention the mix of Thai locals and expats which makes Pattaya the multicultural melting pot of greatness that it is.

    I'm afraid it is you my dear, who seems Naive.

    You only need to witness a bar girl arriving at the bar and offering orange slices, fanta, an incense clouded Wai and prayer to Buddah to realise "Real Thai Culture" is far from devoid in Pattaya, or present your offerings at dawn to a monk adorned in his saffron robes, infact it's places like these that one can see real Buddhism at work, but I can understand how a full moon party, Khao San road, a rigged Muai Thai match or a fake Louis Vuitton can be someone's Real Cultural Expeiance.

    I am also curious to know what is actually wrong with being a "lonely old man"?
    These giggling girls whom you admit to not knowing much about, are normally no more educated than the 6th grade, are supporting entire families, selling flesh to live day to day and deserve more than your attempt at pity. Many of the Bar Girls, ( prostitute is not a word readily used in Thailand ) I have met would happily sit and tell you about their lives, share their food, teach you Thai and listen to your stories. They are not the leeches clinging to your Brent, ready to destroy his morality as you would have us visualise
    However I dare say Brent would have quite happily unloaded a few hundred bhat had you not been present. We are talking about Men and Sex sweetie, it's the way of the world.
    So in conclusion, I am glad you didn't like the lengthy two whole days you spent in pattaya, and are spreading the word to the uneducated masses, it just means you won't be back.

    Keep up the great work!

  23. waysofwanderers July 7, 2014

    I wish you could have shared this perspective without so much unnecessary condescension, because you make some good points. Can't a discussion be fun? Isn't it possible to have different ideas without hating each other? "I disagree" goes so much further than "You're a stupid person!"

    If genuine culture does exist in Pattaya, it's sad that it's so buried beneath the bar culture that a typical short-term tourist, like me, will never be able to see it. That's not naive, it's about flat out not enjoying a city where I have to dig through several blocks of go-go bars in order to find a temple.

    Pity is harsh word, and not the one I would use to sum up this post or my feelings. I felt uncomfortable seeing "lonely old men" being taken advantage of by bar girls (perhaps not my best choice of words, but I meant this expression in sympathy, not in accusation); and likewise, I felt uncomfortable seeing men treat Thailand like their personal playground. I've met Thai women who literally can't go to Pattaya because the foreign men there assume every Thai woman they see is for sale. I'm sure Pattaya has its good side, but there's something seriously wrong with stories like these. This isn't about the morality of prostitution, it's about how painful it is to see Westerners steamrolling over Thailand's people and culture.

    • OZ26 July 8, 2014

      I am yet to meet a Thai who would let a Farang steamroll their culture, family or anything else and
      I agree that there are some who really get it wrong when it comes to treating and respecting the locals, however I find it unfair to brand an entire city sleezy, because of the actions of a few? Lets remember that we are talking sex and men, it's never going to be romance, candles and hand holding behind closed doors!

      As for you feeling uncomfortable and sympathetic, these are your insecurities, not a reflection of the city.

      I have always found one of the most exciting purposes of travel was to explore a new city, peel back it's layers and find the real culture, people and adventures for myself, not have them lay down in front of me as soon as I arrive,,where is the fun in that? Yet on the other hand, some of the most fascinating people I have met in Pattaya have come from sitting in one of the many go go and beer bars.

      I agree that discussions are great, however critisism, sarcasm, whatever you want to call it can be a part of that and unfortunately for a point to be made sometimes it helps to emphasise the necessary. It's how I like to write.

      It is clear that pity was not your ultimate goal for this story, however I found it jumping of the page at me, along with a taste of perhaps a little pretentiousness, as well as that, it appeared to me, as I read, that perhaps you had already made your mind up about Pattaya before you had arrived.

      Just my opinion, I'm only one person.

      For the record I never called you a stupid person, you did that all on your own, and I would never use a word like hate, it summons up feelings that I would not care to reserve for someone I have never met and merely commenting on her blog.

      If you are ever in Pattaya again, there are many temples, in fact there is one that shouldnt be missed, it's on the biggest hill, visible from just about every point from the city, with a giant 300ft Buddah on top. You really can't miss it.

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  26. beckysmiltneek June 8, 2016

    You do realize that probably the majority of those girls/women are being trafficked and are being forced to have sex with foreigners while their traffickers keep the money. Educate yourself on modern day sex slavery. This is NOT just sleazy; it's criminal.

  27. Eric March 4, 2017

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  28. Mike A March 23, 2017

    Good article to read, though i have to say you are wrong on the prices in Pattaya. I too have travelled all over Thailand, and the prices in Pattaya are mostly on par with Chiang Mai, which is another relativly cheap city in Thailand.

    Yes of course you can pay 200 Dollars a night in the Hilton and burn through 8000 Baht a night if you are into the nightlife. However the opposite is quite possible too , with a cold beer on a terrace for 55 Baht, evening Dinner in the huge Thai place next to the Hilton with fantastic service for 150 Baht and so on.

    You can even get the 50 Baht evening meal at the Market in Jomtien if you really want to sit on a tiny plastic chair without aircon. The people in Thailand are slowly getting more western, its like that all over the place once a “middle” class starts to rise, they too want cars, aircon, and sadly fast food.

    As for the sex part, thats all over Thailand but i agree on it being very much in your face in Pattaya. I prefer Koh Chang myself but its fun to dive into the madness for a few days on the way back.

    Oh and for Beckysmiltneek : No they are not trafficed and forced, do go yourself and have a look before you crimalize 30,000 women.

    • Jane B January 9, 2018

      You can’t say with certainty they aren’t trafficked, and many foreigners own the sex establishments. Domestic trafficking is also a widespread problem. Many of those women are doing as they’re told and not collecting the money. It’s Mike A who has to get real about the world.

      I see a lot of white men rationalizing what Pattaya is in these comments. It reminds me of Western men who say that women in Muslim countries “love” being covered from head to toe and “want to be” covered. You’re not a woman. You don’t understand. Sex and reputation are very different things for us than they are for you. That’s not Thai-specific — it’s just a fact, as you stated yourself in that condescending comment about “men and women and sex”

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