Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pattaya Redlight

An introduction to the main redlight adult oriented zones in Pattaya

Pattaya is a very popular city in Thailand and is well known for its entertainment venues. Since Google does not permit explicit details this will be a quick and general rundown.  As a tourist you should always do further research into these areas and anything more specific.  In this fast industry the rules will change over time.  There are some excellent websites out there which can provide more specific information. In this section I'll provide a small briefing on the four main adult entertainment venues in the city.  There are several other venues located in the city but they are not as established as the locations here.  These areas are also very distinct in their types of entertainment they provide.

So let's look at the map to the right and get to know this place.  I know the blogger only shows a small map there with a few landmarks and street illustrated.  If you click on the map with your mouse you will be able to display a much larger map which I would highly recommend printing out.  As most tourists will likely stay along Beach Street or Second street you can get to every venue by taking the baht buses for 10baht each way.  It is possible to walk between each of the main areas I've pointed out but it can take 15-30 minutes to get there.

Between all of these venues are a plethora of massage parlors, restaurants, malls, plazas, clubs, bars, gogos, and more scattered about. Just walking between all of these locations during the day and yield a ton of new entertainment during the day, and sometimes even the night.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beach Street

What to find on Beach Street in Pattaya

Pattaya is a very popular city in Thailand and is well knows for its entertainment venues. In this section I'll go over Beach Street which is a main road going along the beach in Pattaya where many venues are located. This is likely to be the first street you will get to know and spend a lot of time on to get around the town.

I've included a map on the right which shows where Beach Street is located.  To the left of the street is the beach and water.  At the top is the main road many vehicles will use to get to your destination if you are coming from Bangkok.  At the bottom of the map is Walking Street which is one of the most famous entertainment venues in the world.  The main street to the right is Pattaya Saisong, or more commonly known by it's English translation as 2nd street.  Most of the people who come to Pattaya will stay between these landmarks, especially first timers.  Feel free to click on the map to get a closer look at the main roads as this is the primary route for most transportation while you are staying in Pattaya.  One other important note, Beach Street is a one-way street which goes from the Teddy Bear museum at the top to Walking Street at the bottom.  Vehicles then head one-way to 2nd street from Walking Street.  Once at 2nd Street you are on another one-way street with heads back up.  This is a common route which people take all the time.

Baht Bus -  A baht bus is a covered truck which goes around in circles along certain routes.  One of the most common routes is from the top of Beach Street down to Walking Street, where everyone gets off, and then from the bottom of 2nd Street back up to the top of Beach Street.  If you stand by the road the bus will come by and wait for you to get into the back.  When you approach your destination there will be a button you can press which will make a ringing or buzzing sound.  This let's the driver know that you need to get off.  The bus will pull over to the side to let you out.  Before you leave you will need to pay 10 baht to the driver for the trip.  This is a great way to explore the city for 20 baht, 10 baht one-way and then 10-baht going back the other way.  If you watch the video at the bottom you can see a few baht buses being passed.

Side Sois - Between Beach Street and 2nd Street are several side streets (alleys), or sois as they are commonly called.  Many of these sois are popular entertainment venues with hundreds of clubs, bars, hotels,  and restaurants down them.  They start with Soi 1 at the top and continue all the way down Beach Street and through Walking Street until you reach Soi 16.  Soi 6 is one of the more popular sois in Pattaya due to the heavy congestion of bars along the road.  A person would be hard pressed to take a drink in each bar going from one side of Soi 6 to the other.

I've provided a video below which I shot from a baht bus.  This was taken during the day going to Walking Street.  The video starts at the top of the road where we are going past the Mantra restaurant until we get all the way down to Baywalk Residence which is just before Walking Street.  As you can see the bus will bounce around and it can get pretty noisy at times.  Most of the people travel around on mopeds which are clearly visible parked next to the road and down many of the side streets.  The further down the bus goes the more congested the city gets.  There are a lot of different restaurants, hotels, bars, clubs, shops, hotels, ATMs, money exchange booths, banks, malls, shopping stalls, and a ton of tourists relaxing and having a good time.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bangkok Redlight

An introduction to the main redlight adult oriented zones in Bangkok

This is a small briefer on the main red light areas of Bangkok which are adult oriented.  Since Google does not permit explicit details this will be a quick and general rundown.  As a tourist you should always do further research into these areas and anything more specific.  In this fast industry the rules will change over time.  There are some excellent websites out there which can provide more specific information.  But for now, we're going to concentrate on the big four entertainment zones in Bangkok.  There are a lot more places to visit but none are as compact and recognized as these are.

So let's look at the map.  I know the blogger only shows a small map down there with a few landmarks, streets, and the SkyTrain illustrated.  If you click on the map with your mouse you will be able to display a much larger map which I would highly recommend printing out.  As most tourists will likely stay on the Sukhumvit street you will notice you are within walking distance of two prime locations, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy.  The other locations are long walks over 15-minutes away or a small taxi ride under 200 baht.  I'd take the taxi unless you really like walking down empty streets by yourself late at night.

PATPONG -  On the bottom-left section of the map you'll notice a small green shaded area called Patpong.  This area is named for the two streets which cut across the block: Patpong 1 and Patpong 2.  These two streets are full of adult venues along the multi-story buildings which line the street.  Parallel to these streets is Silom 4 where a large number of Japanese bars and karaoke clubs can be found.  If you can speak Japanese then you can get by pretty well on Silom 4.  If you go down Patpong and look across the Silom street to Soi 2 you will see a small area of nestled neon clubs which represents the major gay club scene in the city.
This is a great area to wander, check out the clubs, and chill.  Beware of places that try to get you to see a ping-pong show or don't tell you the drink prices before you order as there are some notorious places which will charge you over 1,000 baht for a drink.  If you're into the bondage scene there is a well known club called BarBar which can cater to your tastes or provide some shows.  BarBar is also an excellent place to take a bachelor to or for some couples fun.

To get to Patpong you can either take a taxi for under 200 baht from Sukhumvit, or take the SkyTrain. To take the SkyTrain (BTS) to Patpong from Sukhumvit get a ticket to the Sala Daeng platform.  From your departure platform on Sukhumvit you'll take the Skytrain which goes to the Mo Chit platform.  When your train gets to the Siam platform you will need to get off.  Next, you will need to go downstairs to the next level and take the Skytrain going to the Bang Wa platform.  At the second stop your train will arrive at the Sala Daeng platform where you will need to depart the station at exit 1.

To return to Sukhumvit go back to the Sala Daeng station and go to the National Stadium Platform to go back to Siam.  When you get to the Siam platform go upstairs and take the To Bearing line which will take you to the Nana, Asoke, etc stations on Sukhumvit.

NANA PLAZA - If you look towards the top-center area of the map you'll find a green shaded area called Nana Plaza.  This is a fairly new establishment set up inside a three story plaza with an open inner courtyard.  Once you enter the plaza from the small alley entrance you'll be greeted by an array of neon signs for all the various clubs inside.  On the outside of the plaza at Soi 4 are a variety of beer bars where customers can socialize or play some pool for the evening.

While the plaza is a friendly establishment one will need to keep their radar on at all times.  Some of the clubs cater to ladyboy customers and a few others have been reputed to mix ladyboys in with the normal staff.  If you are ever uncertain about the person you are with then there is no harm in just asking them.  Remember, if you are friendly then people are likely to be friendly back to you.  Around 10pm each night a number of the clubs inside will have shows and acts to entertain the crowds so don't miss out.

The plaza is easy to get to if you are on Sukhumvit by walking to Soi 4 and going less than a block down the street.  If you need to take the SkyTrain you will need to get off at the Nana platform and then walk about 5-minutes to Soi 4 on Sukhumvit.

SOI COWBOY - Looking back at the map you only need to go a bit to the right and you'll see the green shaded area called Soi Cowboy.  This is an old and historic area of Bangkok and known all over the world more than any of the other locations in Bangkok.  This is a single lane street with multi-story buildings on either side.  The sheer intensity of the neon lights brightens the place up a lot.  On the side streets leading up to Soi Cowboy are a variety of beer bars where travelers can relax and chill.

While Cowboy is quite famous it has recently added its first ladyboy bar.  There are also a multitude of girls outside the clubs who are very persuasive to get you into them.  Just like at Nana Plaza, several of the clubs and bars on Soi Cowboy will usually have some sort of a show or event which starts around 10pm.  This is an iconic street in the city which any first-time traveler must visit.

If you are staying on Sukhumvit it's very easy to just walk over to Soi Cowboy.  After you walk past the Terminal 21 building the neon sign of Soi Cowboy can be seen from the intersection of Sukhumvit and Asoke roads.  This is a major road crossing so be careful crossing the street.  If you are taking the SkyTrain then get off at the Asoke platform and you will be 1-minute away from the venue.

ARTISTS ALLEY - On the far right side of the map towards the middle  is the green shaded area called Artists Alley which gets its nickname from a large number of the bars named after famous artists.  This area is not well known or as popular as the other venues but it does have a small concentration of clubs and massage parlors in the area.  Along the street there are also a variety of other stops and restaurants along the way.  If you're looking to get off the beaten path for a bit then this area will work for you.

This area is a stark difference from all of the other venues.  There are no large neon lights or people out on the streets trying to get you into their establishments.  The prices, on the other hand, are quite cheaper in comparison.  For those who are curious about the BDSM scene there is the Demonia club further down the street.

While you can walk down Sukhumvit to Soi 33 where Artist's Alley is located it is not advised.  This is a long walk to get too.  A better option would be to take the SkyTrain to the Phrom Phong platform and then walk about 10-minutes back up Sukhumvit to Soi 33.  Taking a taxi may be even more convenient if this is your first time to the area.

Thx to MrFreeze from PA for the direction updates to Patpong.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Siam Shopping

Siam shopping in Bangkok

This travel report is about shopping.  Everyone who comes to Thailand should do some gift shopping.  If your friends and family are lucky then you may remember to pick them up an item or two as well.  Many people will say that there is shopping everywhere in Thailand but I want to concentrate on just the shopping venues located in Bangkok at the Siam SkyTrain terminal which has some of the most fascinating options all grouped in a single area for convenience.  During this review please refer to the map at the bottom of the page for directions and orientation.  I've also added links to the main shopping centers in their underlined titles so you can take your time to get the latest information on what shopping options are available.

This area is very convenient to get to by many transportation modes.  One of the easiest ways to get in is by the SkyTrain platform.  This is one of the busiest platforms out there as it is also where many commuters will transfer between two different SkyTrain routes.  As most tourists will be coming from the Sukhumvit area of the city you could get off at the Siam station, or continue on to the end of the run at the National Stadium to avoid the crowds.  For the rest of this article I'll provide a shopping route which assumes you have taken the Skytrain to the National Stadium platform and we'll go around to all the venues which you can enjoy.  

Once you get off the SkyTrain at the National Stadium platform you want to walk across the bridge to the MBK shopping center.  The SkyTrain platform has a walkway above the street which extends all the way down the road.  At each mall the walkway will connect you to the stores right above street level.

MBK Shopping Center
The MBK shopping center is one of the highlights of any trip I take into Thailand.  I always make it one of my first stops on my first day into the country as I travel with just about no clothes.  This is a great place to pick up some good tshirts and other sundries to wear over the next few days.  I also enjoy the fact that there is a shop selling a wide variety of tshirts for only 99baht with no hassling or negotiating.  This mall is also well known for clothing, electronics, food outlets, touristy trinkets, and there's also a cinema on the top seventh floor.  If you're into phones and other portables then the 4th floor is a must-stop location.  On the 3rd floor on the far side is the 99baht tshirt stands.  Recently I've also discovered the 5th and 6th floors, which are much smaller, are also doing the touristy trinkets and 99baht tshirts.  This usually gets me everything I need in shirts while in country. 

Siam Discovery
To get into the Siam Discovery center you'll need to exit the MBK shopping mall on the overpass walkway and make your way to the other side of the street.  There will be a set of stairs going down to the street level where there is an entrance into the building.  The Siam Discovery store is mostly about clothing and beauty products.  The items featured here are fresher than at MBK and priced higher in comparison.

Exiting Siam Discovery it's just a short walk down the street to the Siam Center, which is another clothing and fashion trend store.  Most of the clothing here are name brands with frequent fashion events being promoted.  The first three floors are dedicated to clothing styles.  There are a few food outlets on the fourth floor but not many options.

Siam Paragon
At the Siam Discovery exit you can walk along the street level into Siam Paragon or take the overpass walkway.  Siam Paragon is noted as being one of the very high-end shopping excursions in the city, if not the whole country.  With 9 different floors there is a lot to entertain everyone.  In the basement you can spend a few hours at Ocean World where there Asia's largest aquarium can be found.  The ground flood has a huge selection of restaurants from the simple grills to high-end eateries and several food markets as well.  Among the many floors of fashion, accessories and trending clothing there are also several electronic shops to visit.  Best of all, there is also an automobile section on the second floor where you can check out the latest from Lamborghini or Bentley (I told you this was high-end).  On the top fifth floor there is a cinema with an imax theater, and a bowling alley.  

Across the street from Siam Paragon is the Siam Square One center and surrounding boutiques or shopping booths.  You will need to leave Siam Paragon at the SkyTrain platform and go across the overpass walkway to cross the street.  The shopping center is a mix of clothing booths and small eateries located across it's seven floors.  In the back of the center is the famous Hello Kitty store.  The fourth and fifth floors are dedicated to established restaurants for a bite to eat.  The sixth floor is the professional floor with a medical clinic, dentistry, and other healthcare services.

Around the Siam Square One center is a plethora of shops and booths.  Everything is down here from the Shark Fin Soup restaurant, 7-11 stores, Hard Rock Cafe, a theater, and more.  A lot of bargains can be found and negotiated at the smaller shops along the alleys.

After hitting all the shops around the Siam station  you can talk a stroll down the SkyTrain  walkway (SkyWalk) to Central World.  There is a Wat between Siam Paragon and Central World on your way to the entrance.  Once you get into the mall you will find a mix of name brand stores and food shops scattered across the mall.  At the far end there is a cinema complex, a supermarket, and even an outlet for the Jim Thompson silk store.  Be sure to take advantage of their tourist discount card.

This mall is located behind Central World.  I heard there was now an overpass walkway from Central World which can be taken to get into the Mall.  The Platinum Mall is actually two buildings from 6 to 7 stories each.  Building A has 6 floors with hundreds of booths selling clothing and other items among them.  Scattered throughout the building are small eateries.  The main dining floor on the top sixth floor can seat up to 1,500 customers.  If you brought your car then there is a basement in building B for parking.  Building B is the same as building A where there are booths and stores of various types everywhere.  This is a store where tons of deals can be made an unique items found from clothing to tourist gifts and even a winter jacket.

If you are still looking for more shopping then right down the street is the Pratu Nam Market.  There should be an overpass to cross the road to the market location.  This is a mix of booths throughout the store offering deals to customers that come by.  Prices here will be some of the lowest possible in our shopping circle.  Better bargains can be obtained by purchasing multiple items as this is considered a wholesale market.  There is a scattering of shopping items all over the store to peruse and wander through 24 hours a day.  While they do not have an official website I was able to get a tourist link for the location. 

After all of your shopping has been finished you may find yourself carrying too many shopping bags.  If that is the case then please be considerate of others on the SkyTrain.  If you are carrying two arms worth of shopping or more then get a taxi for your benefit and those of the SkyTrain commuters.  It will also help to ensure that you do not lose any of your bags as you head back to your hotel.