Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Dusit D2 Baraquda

Dusit D2 is the more hip and trendy cousin of the Dusit International group of hotels and resorts which include Dusit Thani, Dusit Princess, Dusit Residences and Dusit Devarana Resorts. There are 2 D2s so far - one in Chiang Mai and the other in Pattaya. It is located on Sai 2, the main street in Pattaya.

From the outside you can already see that this is a very different type of hotel. The emphasis is on trendy architecture, design and furnishing. There is also a hip and cool attitude that you can immediately feel the minute you enter the lobby. Maybe it is the music they play ?

The very chic lobby.

The accommodation block overlooks a large swimming pool.

D2 Baraquda a very modern and chic resort. It will be on the top of my list during the next visit to Pattaya.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Lunch at Sheraton Pattaya

There are 3 main dining options at the Sheraton Pattaya - Latitude Lounge - a beach side bar lounge serving a gourmet tapas menu, Infiniti - a casual cafe serving mainly Mediterranean cuisine, and Elements - the main restaurant serving Western, Asian and Thai cuisine. I settled on Elements which has a beautiful interior decor and views of the sea from its elevated vantage point in the resort.

I was a bit early for lunch, but still quite surprised there were so few people in the restaurant for such a large resort. Maybe everyone was still in their beds after partying at Walking Street.

I ordered a Pad Thai. It was very good, and came with 3 large river prawns.

The Chicken Tom Yam was quite mild but very delicious. You can taste the freshness of all the herbs and spices.

Prices at Elements are as you would expect - International. Definitely not cheap by Thai standards. But you do get very fresh ingredients and very good food. And the ambiance is the major part of the deal.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Sheraton Pattaya

Sheraton Pattaya is one of the iconic resorts in Pattaya that has remained on top of their game since it opened in 2005. It is still considered one of the best stays in Pattaya and consistently winning awards in travel magazines. The design is a fusion of Oriental and Classical styles - which the designers have blended seamlessly into a pleasing pallete of unique details and architectural expressions.

The resort sits in a large lushly landscaped compound. The rooms are mostly in 2 or 3-storey blocks with open balconies looking onto the Gulf of Siam. Like most Asian resorts, landscape is a large part of the experience and here the gardens are meticulously kept.

The beautiful lagoon pool.

The private white sand beach.

Rates are the Sheraton Pattaya are quite high, however if you travel during the low season you may be able to get some bargains.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Culture on the Beach

As part of the Beach Festival, there was a cultural bazaar at the beachfront. Lots of stalls were set up to display local arts & crafts. There were also cultural displays and live cooking demonstrations. As far as festival bazaars go - this wasn't one of the best I've visited. It was a bit haphazard, and you don't really know what you are looking at as there was little information or signage. Still it didn't seem to dampen the spirit of the crowd one bit, as they were out for a great time.

At several locations, stages were set up for live performances and just as places for the crowd to party. And they did !

A young Madonna in the making.

What is a festival without food ! There were lots of stalls selling all kinds of local delicacies.As I just had a big dinner earlier - I was too full to try anything unfortunately.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Beach Festival

While I was walking down the Pattaya Beach Road - I suddenly heard the sound of marching band music from a distance. What luck ! It was a beach festival, and the parade had just started and heading my way !

Though called a festival, it was more of a cultural parade featuring the various ethnic groups in Thailand. The colourful costumes were really amazing, and the sheer joy and pride of the participants was very infectious. This was easily the highlight of my trip.

Even the hairdressers had their day !

If you are heading down to Pattaya - be sure to check their events calendar. Try to coincide your trip with one of their festivals and you are guaranteed lots of fun.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Walking Street

Walking Street is so famous that it gets a mention in most write-ups about Pattaya. It is located at the Southern end of Pattaya Beach. There is a large archway right at the entrance to the street, and though it is right beside the sea once you enter the street you are completely surrounding by shops on both sides and you could be anywhere in Thailand.

The main reason for visiting Walking Street is for the nightlife. If you come during the day, it is quite dead and you might be wondering what the fuss is all about. Besides all the pubs and entertainment outlets, there are also quite a number of seafood restaurants along the street. Some are quite are quite good, and you can dine on the deck right next to the sea. As these places are targeted mainly at tourists, be prepared to pay tourist pricing.

The view from the seafood restaurants.

For me Walking Street is overhyped and unless you are going there for the nighlife you can give it a miss.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pattaya 2011 - Dinner at Ruen Thai Restaurant

There are plenty of restaurants in Pattaya, but surprisingly for such an established resort destination - very few that can be considered destination restaurants. A search on the internet will return mostly seafood places and some nondescript Western eateries.

Having given up on searching for a memorable food experience in Pattaya, I decided to just go with the flow. While walking down Sai 2, I came across this charming looking Thai restaurant. It is housed in several Thai-style teak buildings, and there is a central courtyard where traditional performances are presented nightly. Quite happy with the find, I settled down to enjoy the food.

Since they had a Northern Thai Appetizer Platter - I had to oder it. It came with 3 types of Chiang Mai sausages and some deep fried pork strips. Very good!

The Thai seafood salad was a bit disappointing. More like fish ball salad.

Some stirfried veggies to round out the meal.

The food at Ruen Thai is nothing to shout about, but the ambiance and live cultural performance was quite nice. I would go back.