When I first arrived in Pattaya I was a backpacker setting out on my journey of a lifetime. When I left Pattaya I was a failed backpacker, I was broke, in love, optimistic and hopeful, with a grand plan which would see my return to Pattaya “my promised land”, and that was the second and last time I would use my backpack.
A heck of a lot
of shit went down happened between arriving and departing on that first trip to Pattaya, but for this post I just want to talk about the titillation, beauty, vulgarity, gentleness, callousness, sincerity and insincerity which combine to immerse you into a unique kind of culture shock, “a Pattaya culture shock”.
Ice, Fire and Hell in Pattaya.
Actually, I’m not sure if “immerse” is an appropriate description, sounds ever so gentle, don’t you agree, we immerse ourselves in a bath or a swimming pool, you would hardly call that shocking. I reckon I got all the ingredients, titillation, beauty, blah blah blah, but these ingredients are not going to immerse you, no no no. This Pattaya culture shock thing is going to grab you by the scruff of the neck, tear off your clothes, slam dunk you into a vat of ice water, then shower you with petrol before setting you on fire and hurtling you onto a roller-coaster ride through the depths of hell.
Okay Okay, I’m exaggerating, you’re not going to be picked up by the scruff of the neck or any of that other stuff (unless you specifically ask for it, at extra cost), but I’m trying to make a point, and I’m trying to express my own
experiences feelings during my first visit to Pattaya. It was a long time ago, but you know I never forget, because every day I’m doing it reminded, every day Pattaya shows me something, or something happens which by comparison in the UK would be thought of as a circus act, sheer stupidity, brilliance, unconventional, something which would be totally unimaginable, could even result in a in prison sentence or a paragraph in the looney bin.
Pattaya is Like Nowhere Else.
Pattaya is strikingly different to where you come from, Pattaya is also strikingly different to most other places in Thailand, aside from certain tourist hotspots in Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and 1 or 2 other venues. Pattaya is a city of neon lights, shocking sights, erotic delights, strange culinary bites, and men wearing skirts by day and night.
Pattaya Bar Girl Shock.
One of the first sights to shock me in Pattaya was the sheer number of girls working in the beer bars, shock number 2 was discovering the vast majority of the girls working in Pattaya bars are ladies of the night (sex workers), aka Bar Girls. Shock number 3, most girls in Pattaya called me “sexy man”, admittedly this tended to happen
everywhere as I walked past beer bars, but nonetheless those few first times I was so disbelieving that I spent some time looking around to see the sexy man they were trying to gain the attention of.
Pattaya Lady-boy Shock.
Possibly the most shocking revelation most people have thrust upon them in Pattaya (strictly speaking for men) is that they just unwittingly gave a man the once over, even caught his eye, maybe even gave him a wink. Unfortunately for some (myself not included) the deception of the Pattaya lady-boys goes much further than a wink and a nod, how to spot a lady-boy is a lesson learned just a little too intimately, and a little too late for many first time visitors to Pattaya. I dare say for many it’s a shocking little secret they will take to the grave with them. I must admit, a ladyboy did once make me turn my head in disbelief, I mean come on, how many times do you see a man riding a motorbike ?, every day. How many times do see a man dressed as a woman riding a motorbike, rarely, How many times do you see a man riding a motorbike dressed in women’s clothes, with his large silicone breast implants exposed, just the once, so far !!, and sadly I never had my camera with me, what a photo that would have made.
I’ve already been to a go-go bar, I’m starting to believe I really am a sexy man, but I’m also aware that in Pattaya, sexy women might very well be men, it’s sinking in fast, nothing in Pattaya can shock me any more. This go go bar is a little different to the first one I visited, they have a show. She leaped into the air and scissored her legs apart and met the stage on her pubis, ouch that really must hurt, but it never, she kneels and deposits a hard boiled egg, if you’re having trouble imagining where she deposited the egg from, let me just re-phrase it “she laid a hard boiled egg”. The shell was cracked, she removed the shell and fed it to a shell shocked patron. After this I realized “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”, and it’s always a good idea to shell your own eggs in Pattaya.
Pattaya Live Sex Show Shock.
Live sex, no big deal, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but what about going down to your local pub, and there in broad publight there is a lesbian sex show under way. Totally unthinkable and totally shocking and uncultured, but we can live without culture and it’s a shockingly nice thought. Sometimes I lose my way, and miss the bloody show.
Shocking Week in Pattaya.
It’s the sort of place you stay a week before remembering to phone home, and of course the inevitable questions are asked, how is Pattaya ?, what have you been doing ?, have you been having fun ?,
where’s my gimp mask. It all comes racing back to you, you break into a sweat, feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and pleasure overcome you as you recall your shocking week in Pattaya. Images of yourself and your ladyboy friend being invited to indulge in the live sex show, of you eating the freshly laid egg, taking your clothes off and swinging on the chrome pole. Waking up on the beach at dawn, still naked and surrounded by a crowd of curious passersby who are no longer passing by.
“How is Pattaya ?”, you snap out of your dream and reply………..”shocking…just shocking”
If you were to ask me if anything like the above has happened to me during my time in Pattaya, I would forthrightly and completely deny it. Yes I’ve seen the shows, woken in a bar minus my money, been hassled by ladyboys, nearly been mugged, eaten a few bugs, been insulted by foreign thugs. For myself, as I already wrote in ‘Failed Backpacker’ trying to grasp the situation and the enormity left me dazzled “like a rabbit in a car headlights”.
Expect to be shocked when you visit Pattaya.
Even if you are on a family vacation in Pattaya, deliberately avoiding the nightlife and places you believe only Pattaya’s sex tourists roam , prepare yourself for the “Pattaya culture shock”. You may have to explain to your youngsters why 2 men are kissing on the beach, you could be brazenly propositioned by lady-boys whilst taking an early morning stroll down Pattaya Beach Road. Flaunt your gold or carry your handbag you could make yourself a target for a snatch and ride, read about it on this Dos and don’ts in Pattaya article.
So be prepared when you visit Pattaya, be prepared to be shocked, then just maybe it won’t be a shock.