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|Travel & Resources: PATTAYA
PATTAYA -- area code (66-38)
Pattaya: love it or hate it, Thailand's largest developed tourist resort has fans that flock here year-after-year. Over the past two decades the town has cleaned up its act on a number of fronts -- restoring the water quality, landscaping the beaches and adding bike and pedestrian pathways, licensing the roaming vendors, and sponsoring world-class festivities that attract locals and tourists alike. Pattaya is also a favored place for retirees given the vast choice of condominiums and excellent and inexpensive healthcare available. Pattaya offers a wide variety of international dining in addition to as much fresh seafood as you can eat. The speedy superhighway from Bangkok has cut down travel time to just under a 2-hour drive. The boom is set to continue with the opening of Bangkok's new international airport, situated only an hour away.
Pattaya's gay scene is still mostly commercial, but there are also relaxed gay businesses where visitors can make friends. Everyone heads to Jomtien Beach in the afternoon to lie under umbrellas and people-watch. The most popular gay nightlife is centered around Boyz Town, just a block from beach in South Pattaya. There are also many venues in Jomtien, just a block from the beach in a shophouse complex similar to Phuket's Paradise Complex.
Pattaya's population is over 250,000 and growing (that's about 10,000 Utopians, not counting the tourists). Pattaya is also a glimmering attraction for gays from neighboring Cambodia.
- Pattaya Gay Scene Updates message board
- Men in Pattaya message board
- Travel in Pattaya message board
- Image Golf
406/20 Jomtien Plaza Condotel, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi, 038-756-658, FAX 038-251-521, email. Image Golf offers inclusive packages with transfers, hotel and golf on Thailand's East Coast at 20+ beautiful courses.
Utopia Member Discount
- Image Limousine
406/20 Jomtien Plaza Condotel, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi, 038-756-658, FAX 038-251-521, email. Image Limousine offers transfers to/from Bangkok Airport to hotels in Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin in luxury limos with CD player and English-speaking drivers.
Utopia Member Discount
- Castra Gym
61/17 M. 10, Soi Khao Talo, Nongpure, Banglamung, Chonburi, 038-433-239, email. With a relaxed atmosphere, serious trainers and beginners alike will find an extremely beneficial environment to get the very best results from each and every training session. Welcoming residents and visitors to Pattaya, the Castra staff will ensure that you will achieve the best workout for your needs. Train along to music ranging from hard rock to the latest dance music. Low prices and great facilities. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Utopia Member Discount
- Jomtien Beach
A dozen gay-patronized sections of beach umbrellas. From the Police box and the point where the main road from Pattaya town hits the beach, make a right and follow the brand new brick bike path or walkway about 200 meters in -- especially the area in front of Tui's Place. Lot's of tourists and Thai gays. The section farther down in front of Rabbit Resort is more spread out and attracts local expats and couples. Strolling vendors sell everything and anything under the sun. If you're lucky, you might meet the artist, Tiwa, who sells cards of his erotic watercolors.
- Royal Garden Plaza
Especially Au Bon Pain coffee shop on the ground floor, looking onto the indoor fountain (not only do they have delicious baked goods and sandwiches, but it is a great place to sit and cruise the crowd). Lots of gays wandering about.
The Balcony Restaurant (European)
Soi Anantagul, North Pattaya Rd (opposite Pattaya City Hall). Gay-owned restaurant with tempting sweets. Nearby two popular gay massage places.
Bruno's (European fine dining)
306/63 Thapaya Rd, 038-364-600, email. Brand new location on Thapaya Rd (on the left as you drive towards Jomtien Beach, just before Jomtiem Complex). Refined European cuisine in an elegant setting. Excellent wine list and service. For many expats this is the consistently best restaurant in town. Bruno was the recipient of a 2002 Utopia Award for his quiet philanthropic work.
Enchanted Hut Restaurant-Dinner Theatre
143/50 Jomtien Complex, Jomtien, 086-008-9469, email. A classic Thai-style restaurant set in a teakwood framed patio surrounded by one million baht's worth of wood sculptures, wall hangings and exotic floral arrangements. Waiters dress in traditional boran (ancient) costume. The healthy, home-style cooking from around the world, including Thailand, is served in large portions. They feature California wines, which is where the owner is from. An exotic traditional Thai dance show happens every hour or so, performed by very handsome staff! Four minutes from the Rabbit Resort and Dongtan Beach. Reservations are encouraged. Utopia Member Discount
159/113 Mu 5, North Pattaya Rd, 038-429-748, 038-423-748. This large and unpretentious restaurant offers excellent seafood dishes at a reasonable price. The owner hustles you to your table and shouts out your order to his barefoot staff that is in constant motion. Drinks arrive instantly and food is on your table within minutes. Don't miss a plate of steamed crab claws, shelled and ready to pop into succulent sauces; garlic and pepper fried shrimp, crunchy and edible from head to tail, and truly jumbo-sized; or their superb version of "khai jeow hawy" with perfectly cooked, plump and tender oysters nested in drizzled fried egg. Even their steamed chicken, served over flame with rich, brown broth, is well above and beyond ordinary. No wonder they won Thailand's coveted "Shell Chuen Chim" culinary award.
New Orleans Café (Cajun)
Pattayaland 2 (Boyz Town) on the connecting soi to Pattayaland Soi 3. Spicy Cajun cookin', excellent service and live music.
On the highway heading south from Pattaya towards Rayong, opposite Krisda Golden Condotel Cliff & Park. This tiny, open air restaurant on the side of the road is just a blur in most rearview mirrors, but hit the brakes! Oh my god, they have some of the tastiest Thai food to be found ANYWHERE. Khun Wichit's place is a humble wonder, even with the collection of food reviews hung on the wall raving about this national treasure of the tongue. Worth the trouble it may take to find.
Thai Yeeum Restaurant and Bar (Thai and European)
325/115 Pattayaland Soi 1 (corner of Pattaya 2nd Rd), mobile phone: 038-428-302, 081-862-5713. New venue with gay ownership and management. Guest rooms available upstairs.
Tui's Place (Thai and international)
318/77-78 M. 12 T. Nongprue, Jomtien Beach, 038-251-432, 038-231-045, email. Gay owned and managed bar and restaurant right on the gay stretch of Jomtien beach. Popular late afternoon and early evening hang-out. Khun Tui is a friendly and helpful resource.
Comments from Utopians:
"Jomtien has become a place worth visiting for the food alone. Nathan's is up there with the best, as someone has already pointed out. For lovers of Italian food, forget Pan-Pan, which is living on its reputation, and head for La Bocca, near the Hakuman Monument and a stone's throw from David's Cafe. Food, decor and service were outstanding -- at a price, but hey, you get what you pay for. Oscar's Bistro, formerly the tired old coffee shop at Poseidon, has taken on a new lease of life under new management with a striking red-and-black decor that carries through into the dashing young waiters' uniforms. Excellent mittel-European and other Western food, at reasonable prices. Friendly, prompt and attentive service (somebody has been putting in the training here). There are Thai dishes available, though I haven't sampled them. Finally, my favourite, with no compromise Thai dishes or short-cuts: L'Arc. Brilliant bistro cuisine at its best, run by a sparkling husband-and-wife team who together light up the room. However, if your idea of heaven is a plate of phad khao with a chunk of cucumber, you won't want to go there. For all these places, BOOK! More and more people are making the trek, and it's a long way to go only to find there isn't a table until the middle of next week." -- Oluanpi, Jan 28, 2012
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Golden girl at the 2012 Phuket Gay Festival.