The Nation, Published on Mar 14, 2003


When you only have a few precious days of vacation and don’t want to waste your time on a long and exhausting journey, what’s the best choice for a getaway? In many ways Pattaya still can’t be beat for sheer fun. With a growing number of attractions, it may be time to rediscover the lifestyle of this coastal resort.


FINAL CUT

Sanctuary of Truth Castle

Ornate and breathtaking best describes of the Sanctuary of Truth Castle, which seeks to communicate philosophy and religion through beautiful works of art.

With its elaborate wooden carvings of gods and goddesses, no matter what nationality or religion you are the works of art at the castle will give you pause to reflect upon the spirit of Eastern cultures and their long-standing profundity.

Established in 1981 the castle is still not finished due to the complexity of its sculptures, although it is now 80 per cent completed and already a wonder to behold. Luckily, this architectural marvel is now open to visitors. The Santuary of Truth Castle is Located on Pattaya-Naklua Road, Soi 12, the castle is open daily from 8am to 5pm and admission is Bt500.


Go, Man, Go

Pattaya Kart Speedway

Those with a passionate for racing can live out their fantasies at the Pattaya Kart Speedway. The speedway has three tracks: a beginner’s, a professional and an off-road circuit. Novices can hit the curves of the 400 metre beginner’s course and test their driving skills while being assured of a high level of safety. The professional track is 800 metres long and has tighter corners which will help elevate your skills to competition level. If you decide to try the off-road track, get ready for a rough and tumble (not to mention dusty) ride.

Admission is Bt200 to Bt400, depending on the kind of car you race in: a standard go-kart, or a super, racing tuned go-kart. The speedway provides protective clothing and recommends bringing sneakers as your foot gear. The circuit is located on Thepprasit road, Soi 9 and open daily from 9.30am to 6pm. For details, call (038) 422 044.


Before The Fall

Pattaya Park Tower

The best view of Pattaya is from the observation decks of the Pattaya Park Tower, where you can stand and take in a panoramic view of Jomtien bay and the city of Pattaya. There are three ways to reach its summit, via a sky shuttle or speed shuttle.

But if going up is fun, coming down can make for the thrill of your life. While you can descend via the sky shuttle to the beach below, brave travellers with a touch of the X-treme in their souls have the option of strapping themselves into a harness and sliding down the full lenght of the 170 metres tall tower down by cable.

Each option is free when you buy an observation ticket.

The Pattaya Park Tower’s restaurant is also a great choice to end your day. Not only are you treated to the amazing view from its revolving restaurant, it serves sumptuous seafood and Thai and international buffets to a backdrop of live music.

The park is open daily from 10am to 10pm. Admission fees are Bt50 (children) and Bt100 (adult).


Ripping Good time

Ripley’s World of Entertainment

Located on the 3rd floor of Pattaya’s Royal Grand Plaza, Ripley’s World of Entertainment features many attractions that will most definitely lift your holiday out of the ordinary.

Its “3D and Simulation Theatre” combines motion and action in a high-tech theatre experience that will leave you breathless. When you don a pair of polarised 3D glasses, you’re immersed in a seven-minute film that lets you feel every bump, dip and turn via its eight-direction movable seats.

The centrepiece of Ripley’s World of Entertainment is naturally the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. The museum offers a unique collection of oddities that strike a balance between the strange, the shocking and the beautiful. Ten theme galleries house more than 250 fascinating exhibits from around the world. Open daily from 10am to midnight, admission to the museum is Bt270 (adults), Bt230 (children). Admission to the 3D theatre is Bt150.For details, call (038) 710294/8.


GET WET

Hitting the Beach

You’ll certainly miss out if you don’t sample the water sports Pattaya is famed for. Offering swimming, windsurfing, jet-skiing and banana boat rides, these sports can be found along north, middle and southern beaches in Pattaya and Jomtien beach. The latest sport to hit the beaches is kite surfing, although the wind and water condition are frequently less than ideal. Although the beaches get quite crowed, they still offer a relaxing retreat.

For those who don’t want to face the crowds, Jomtien beach is your best bet.


They only come out at night

Pattaya After Dark

As millions around the world know, Pattaya comes alive when night falls. Those who want to experience Pattaya at night but avoid the bar scene should try a ride along Pattaya beach. That way, the colourful lights and sound of the clubs and bars can still provide a colourful backdrop to your evening, while the peaceful ambience of the sea relaxes your soul. For a livelier experience without hitting the clubs, try the “Pattaya Walking Street”, a night market selling souvenirs, CDs, clothing and just about anything you can imagine on the corner of Liabchaihad Road.

But if it’s colour you want, you can’t leave Pattaya without viewing one of its transvestite cabarets. Alcazar and Tiffany are the best known cabarets. With 27 years of experience, the Tiffany troupe was the first transvestite cabaret in Southeast Asia. While its productions are famous for their lavish props and costumes, Alcazar’s performers are know for their ability to connect with audience. Tickets prices: Tiffany’s Bt300 and Alcazar Bt250.

For visitors on a budget, there’s hardly a more frugal and romantic way to bid good-bye to an evening that with a modest picnic on the beach with a papaya salad and chicken satay from any of the city’s hundreds of street vendors.

Tanita Saenkhum