After a hectic work week I was excited for the weekend. I had made plans to travel to Pattaya, a small beach town about an hour and a half south of Bangkok. It was just close enough to get away for a short weekend trip. Not sure what I was getting into, I headed down right after work and checked in to my hotel. I dropped off my bag and headed into town.
It was very busy on a Friday night so I decided to just take a look around and see what activities were available and of interest for the next day. I decided to investigate the beach front and main tourist area. It turned out to be just like Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, only with way more Thai and Russians.
This place was definitely a tourist trap and party town with a small unkempt beach. At that point in the evening I saw huge rain clouds coming in and felt some rain drops so decided to call it a night and see what kind of culture I could find the next day. I woke up early and did some digging around the internet. There I found The Sanctuary of Truth and a Big Buddha on top of a very large hill with a great view of the city. My first stop would be The Sanctuary of Truth, an all-wood building filled with sculptures based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. When walking up I was reminded of the Basílica de la Sagrada Família that I once visited in Barcelona. It had the same feelings of natural beauty and art, plus it was under construction like the Sagrada Família had been when I was in Spain.
Hand wood carving was taking place as visitors strolled around the inside looking at all of the beautiful sculptures. They also had some sacred relics of Buddha himself in the center of the temple. After snapping a few pictures and taking it all in, I headed to the viewpoint with the Big Buddha statue. It was very impressive but I was told they have even larger ones around Thailand. After that I decided to relax at the pool and then get ready for the evening.
The city came alive at night and one of the main spots to go was a beach front street called The Walking Street. It was lit up like a Christmas tree with neon signs, bars and restaurants, tattoo shops and more bars. It was a blend of Las Vegas, Bourbon Street, and Daytona Beach. I did some bar hopping and partook of the local night life. I now understand why The Hangover 2 centered around partying in Thailand. I definitely found one of the more crazy spots in this wonderful country. After a very late and interesting night I called it quits and headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest.