Mar 7, 2015

Visiting Pattaya, Thailand

Frequent flyer miles are not as easy to use as they used to be but we have had great luck with them in Asia.  We used United miles to fly from Shanghai to Bangkok and it only cost us $29.40 for two tickets on Thai Air.  We arrived late in the afternoon so we stayed for the night at the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, which is lovely. The airy atrium and rooftop pool are great for alleviating jet leg. John and I were looking for somewhere different to spend a week so we picked
Pattaya, which is a couple of hours from Bangkok.  We had made arrangements with Sawadee Travel Company to transport us from the Novotel to Pattaya. After an excellent hotel breakfast which met the culinary tastes of all ethnic groups we made the two-hour trip to Pattaya. It is located on the East Coast of the Gulf of Thailand and we often stay in Cha’am on the West Coast so thought it would be interesting to check out the other side. 

In Pattaya we stayed at the Holiday Inn (gathering more points for
future stays). The hotel was bright with a contemporary flair. We are IHG members so we were upgraded to a higher floor which offered a better view of the area and we had a balcony which we always enjoy.  The hotel is set back a bit from the beach but they have a shuttle that we made use
of.  The walk along the beach was disappointing. I read the write-ups and knew that Pattaya did not have the best beach.  It was long and had many people on it but the area had a time-worn look.  It seems that they are suffering a slump in tourism.  We in the US may be enjoying the lower gas prices but it has cause an economic recession in Russia. The Russians are the new big tourist group and the area is hurting because they are not traveling this year.

The infinity pool at the Holiday Inn was wonderful.  It was located outside the restaurant on the sixth floor and where I spent my days in leisure.  One day we had a cooking experience where we learned to make Spicy Mussel Salad.  John made his with less spice. 
 The staff was wonderful and fun to cook with. I was impressed with the expansive presentation of the ingredients needed to make the recipe. I think chefs like to be recognized and show off their talents. Too often guests take them for granted.  We have found chefs very willing to share recipes and show off their skills. 

There are many things to do in the area including elephant rides and
shopping but we opted to visit The Sanctuary of Truth which we could see off in the distance from our balcony.  Had we known we would have planned to spend several hours there because there was a lot to do. The elaborately carved wooden structure was built in 1981 but has the look of an ancient temple.  The temple carvings showed the relationship between humans and the universe. Located on the waterfront, it was “The Magnificence of Heaven Recreated on Earth.” Besides touring the temple there were buggy and elephant rides.  I would have liked to take the boat ride to see the temple from the water which I think must be magnificent.