Just hearing the name conjures up images for most people but until you have been there you will never get it. I could write ten thousand pages and I still wouldn’t be able to describe it in a way that you could understand it.
If you value freedom and independence you would likely love it, if you can’t accept responsibility for your own actions you will hate it.
It has the reputation for being the largest sex market in the world and with the Phillipines currently completely trashed that might well be true.
Are there a lot of prostitutes? No, there are way way more than just a lot. If you can imagine 12,000 of them in a 1.5 mile x .25 mile strip you MIGHT kinda have the idea.
Are they disease infested? As a general rule, no. Certainly way less so than any hooker stroll in the states here, including craigslist.
Are there Trannys? Yes, they call them ladyboys or Katooey and there are a lot of them
Can you tell the difference? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, the rule of thumb is if she looks TOO good…its probably a katooey
Is it safe? Yes violent crimes are rare and are almost always tourist on tourist
Is it expensive? No, you can go into a high end strip club and choose the dancer of your choice and if she chooses to go with you (and she almost always will unless you are black or middle eastern…more on this later) she will spend the night till noon or longer the next day for about 60 bucks.
Now as you read this you are probably appalled or maybe aroused, but either way this is where you have to step back and open your eyes. The Thais are about 95% Buddhist, less than 1% are jews or Christians so toss out your judeo-christian ideas of morality, they don’t have the guilt that you do about sex, trying to understand it without understanding that just doesn’t compute. You cannot project a morality onto a culture that doesn’t share your ideas about it. To them its not much different than any other service industry job.
Seeing how many people can fit in a vehicle seems to be a national sport….
Fact is Thais are fun loving people, the Thais have a word for it. Sanuk it means fun and it is a necessary underpinning for anything worth doing. Thai people incorporate sanuk into everything they do. They love to laugh and smile and talk. This includes sex workers.
Now let’s dispell some myths, the first being that it is a mecca for pedophiles. While that once may have been true those days are long gone, you will not likely encounter or be exposed to it and if you inquire about it expect a stretch in a Thai jail or a pretty serious beat down.
Most of the sex workers are attached to a bar or a strip club (called an ago go) They get regular STD testing and must carry government issued ID as a condition of employment. There are free lancers but they tend to be the low end and are often cleared out by the Thai Police, the independents tend to walk the street along the beach where as the much more prevalent bar girls sit outside the bar on the street in front of the bar and the ago go girls work inside the strip clubs. Additionally your hotel will always ask for the ID of any guest you bring in, this is to protect YOU. They make sure the girl is of age (forget 2009 its 2552 over there) and they make sure that if you get robbed or anything they know who did it. pretty cool huh?
Along with the beach and the girls and the ladyboys are ultra modern 8 floor shopping malls, high end restaurants, specialty shops, street vendors, tailors, hotels, people in cars and mostly on scooters, street dogs and tourists.
They have all of lifes modern conveniences, note its open 24 hrs and it delivers, you might also not they have some items on the menu you won’t see here.
Sunset from the A&W Restaraunt (yes the root beer people)
After dark the big attraction is a section of beach road that gets closed off to all but pedestrian traffic. It is called “Walking Street” and it is packed with street performers, bars (with bar girls) gogos, hookers, katooey, nightclubs, eateries, stores selling anything from jewelery to cooked insects, 7-11s and everything else you can imagine.
Picture Times Square in it’s heyday of hookers and strip clubs and what not and in comparison it will look like an easter sunday picnic at the local baptist church….
I think this is a weird example of Sanuk…LOL
The view from my lunch table…I paid for it though, a full lunch with salad and all was almost four dollars, including tip.
I liked Pattaya, it’s wide open yet safe, you are left alone but people are very friendly. On both sides of an excellent Mexican Restaurant are beer bars with dozens of girls sitting out front in skimpy dress trying to hail customers and it doesn’t bother anyone.