When family and friends found out we were visiting Pattaya we were warned about the sleazy nature of the city as it is considered one of the main sex tourism areas in Thailand. Since we did not intend to be out hitting the go-go bars and the infamous ‘walking street’ area we didn’t think it would be too much of a concern.
Our stay in Pattaya included two important milestones for our travelling family, first Lincoln would be turning nine and then we would be experiencing our first Christmas since leaving New Zealand. We also had family visiting from New Zealand, including two of the boy’s cousins which they were very looking forward to seeing. We had three days in Pattaya before our extended family arrived, so we booked a small one bedroom apartment at the Atlantis Condo Resort before we would move into a much larger, five bedroom villa for all of us to stay together in.
If you follow our Facebook page you would know that we love water parks, so we thought this would be a great way to spend Lincoln’s birthday. Pattaya has two water parks on offer and after some research as a family, Lincoln decided on the Cartoon Network Amazone. Since our extended family had arrived in time for Lincoln’s birthday, we decided on making an online group booking for our day at the water park; this included two private cabanas for the day and some pizzas and drinks for the kids. The park itself has a fantastic array of activities from a surfing zone, lazy river, wave pool, kids pool and multiple hydro slides named things like ‘Humangaslide’ and ‘XLR8-TOR’. The hydro slides also included a number of slides that you ride a tube down, including the largest one, where up to four people can ride together. Paula, Lincoln, our niece Alex and myself managed to test the majority of the slides out, with Paula even managing the fear of the ‘Goop Loop’, where you stand on a trap door and it releases without warning before you free-fall 12 metres.Since our stay in Pattaya was more about catching up with family than visiting attractions, we kept ourselves pretty quiet during our stay, but did have a family day out at Jomtien Beach. This beach seemed a lot more family friendly than Pattaya Beach and was removed from some of the seedy characteristics that are evident in central Pattaya. At both Pattaya and Jomtiem, people are able to lease sections of the beach for years at a time; here they set up beach chairs, tables and chilly bins filled of cold drinks for tourists who pay around 40 THB ($1.70 NZD) per chair for a day’s rental. We found a great little spot in front of a roped off swimming area and though I unfortunately can’t remember our host’s name, she was set up in lot 154-155 and provided us fantastic service all day. Bringing us anything we needed, which was predominantly cold ‘Chang’ beers. Locals also walk up and down the beach selling almost everything; from food, such as soft-shelled crabs, prawns, spring rolls and fruit, to watches and perfume and a selection of clothing items. You can also get a massage or pedicure, which our niece Jo and the mother-in-law took up offers of.Normally Christmas for us follows some set family traditions, from what and when we eat, to how presents are opened (the youngest child gives them out, one at a time, from the oldest to the youngest). Paula and I both love Christmas and tend to go overboard in the present department with shopping normally starting in October and finished well before early December. We are generally super prepared with everything, including wrapping complete a week or two before Christmas; however this year on Christmas Eve we found ourselves wrapping presents and having to do a late night run to the local 7-Eleven to find more wrapping paper.As per normal the children woke up early on Christmas Day and come 6am all four kids were ripping into their Santa sacks, with lots of chocolates, treats, toys and even the odd educational item (good one, Santa!) thrown in there. Shortly after, the Champagne started flowing to accompany our breakfast, followed by more wine and the start of cocktails before our Christmas lunch, and finally what else, but more alcohol. It’s never quite Christmas until you have been eating and drinking for a good eight hours straight!!All in all, although Christmas was different to what we are normally used to, it was great to have family with us, otherwise I know we would have all felt a little homesick. Plus, it is probably the last sunny Christmas Day we will have for a couple of years with New York already pencilled in for 2018.
Average Daily Spend – $163.10 NZD ($9.40 under budget per day)