Scoot Airlines had good offer for airfares to Bangkok for just under $115 for a pair of return tickets so we decided to take a short weekend break to Pattaya and Bangkok for March 2016. We booked these air tickets five months in advance. The flight schedules were as follows:
Singapore to Bangkok – 6.55 am to 8.25 am
Bangkok to Singapore – 8.15 pm to 11.40 pm
With such flight timings, we could enjoy three full days by staying only two nights in Thailand.
Scoot Airlines would fly into Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok so public transport options to Pattaya became a little tricky. Though public transports are available which will cost less, travel time will be longer and effort involved will be greater, not to mention we needed to wake up very early to catch the early morning flight which may take a toll on our enjoyment of Pattaya when we eventually arrive.
So we contacted Mr. T Taxi Service to arrange for transfers directly from Don Mueang Airport to our hotel in Pattaya and also from Pattaya to Lotus Sukhumvit Hotel in Bangkok for the next day. The cost for the transfers was quite reasonable at 1300 Baht and 1100 Baht respectively. Correspondence with him via emails were promptly received. His contact email is firstname.lastname@example.org. With direct transfer from point to point, this would cut short travelling and waiting time and we would arrive in better shape to enjoy our short break in Pattaya and Bangkok.
Day 1 – Singapore to Bangkok onward to Pattaya
Five months came quickly and we arrived at Changi Airport near 5 am. We got through Scoot check in procedure rather quickly and collected our boarding passes. We were given the impression we had to arrive at the departure gate early as the aircraft was parked quite far away. So we got through immigration and had a very quick and rushed breakfast at the McDonalds and then went to the departure gate to wait for boarding.
Actually, the departure wasn’t open earlier then scheduled and so boarding procedure was also as per normal and not as rushed as we were initially told. We waited for a while in the holding room and eventually called to board the plane. However, we didn’t use the aerobridge and had to wait for the airport buses to send us to the aircraft. Indeed it was quite a distance from the boarding gate to reach the aircraft.
Eventually, we boarded the plane and we were actually still quite early. We had to wait in the plane until batches of passengers were brought to the plane for boarding. Finally, the plane received green light to taxi to the runway and shortly after got clearance for takeoff and soon we were airborne. We sat back to relax and we enjoyed our flight to Bangkok.
We touched down Don Mueang Airport according to schedule and went through immigration without any problem. We then exited the arrival hall and walked towards door number 6 to look for our driver but we couldn’t find him. We decided to walk back to the other end and we found our driver with our names of a placard. Apparently, either Mr. T had given us the wrong location to look for the driver or the driver had waited at the wrong place for us. Anyway, it was just a small issue.
The driver led us down to the carpark and we boarded his grey colour salon car, a Honda City which was pretty new. We were more than pleased. So we sat back and enjoyed the ride to Pattaya.
The driver was very careful with his driving so we relaxed and caught up with more sleep in between and in about two and a half hour, we arrived at Baraquda Pattaya Hotel. The ride was very pleasant and we were thankful for this smooth transfer from Bangkok to Pattaya. The two over hours journey seemed rather short. The driver was polite and pleasant. Moreover, the car was in tip top condition. We paid him 1300 Baht and then entered the hotel.
It was still early and the hotel staff sat us down and offered us a cool refreshing welcome drink while our check in documentation was being sorted out. The hotel staff may look casual in their uniform but their service standards were definitely not subpar. Soon we were given our room keys and were allowed to check in though it was before noon. We were of course grateful.
When we entered our room, we were surprised with the modern trendy design of the room and its layout. The bed was clean and comfortable and was positioned to face the balcony with the curtains drawn. A sizeable daybed was in front facing the wall mounted TV.
Behind the bed was a nice writing desk with a comfortable chair. Further back was the open concept wash basin, very modern and trendy in design and next to this was the separate toilet and shower, no bathtub though. Full toiletries were provided.
The other side of the wall was the wardrobe and an in-room safe. This modern room design was rather unique but we liked it anyway. TV came with many channels and some international channels as well. Wifi worked very well. Balcony door couldn’t be open but we were not bothered. Everything was in order and we were pleased.
Next was to head to the restaurant for lunch. The restaurant next to the pool was bright, modern and trendy. It was empty when we arrived and staff were busy cleaning up when breakfast was over not too long ago. We took our seats and ordered from the ala carte menu for the Thai curry dishes as we were here for authentic Thai food. It didn’t take very long for our food to arrive and we enjoyed a good meal, especially with Accor Plus member’s discounts.
After that we explored the surrounding pool area for a short while and then returned to our room. We packed and got ready and went back to the lobby for information about the city and decided to visit the Premium Outlet Store at Pattaya Avenue on the right of the hotel first.
It was a very hot day as we turned right and walked along the road towards our first destination. It was just a few minutes walk and we were at the entrance of the complex. Fast food restaurants like McDonalds and pizza cafes are there near the road. Starbucks Coffee is next to McDonalds.
The entrance along the main road was a hive of activities. Tourists were there taking pictures and selfies and it seemed everyone was trying to capture the big letters of Pattaya Avenue with them in the pictures. I supposed at least they could show friends and family they had been to Pattaya with such pictures.
There were stores set up outside the complex and a nice little fountain provided a little cooling effect to this place on such a hot day. Trees provided shades from an otherwise unbearable outdoor shopping experience.
We then entered the outlet store to shop under the air-conditioned environment. There were some shoppers looking at clothes with steep discounts given but other than that, the outlet store wasn’t very crowded with shoppers. We made our rounds and looked at some sports shoes and didn’t find any suitable or appealing.
We left the store and looked around the complex instead. There are other smaller shops in the complex other than the outlet store. There is a cinema as well as a bowling and entertainment outlet there too. To be honest, we didn’t find this place having much to offer and we were a little disappointed. It may just be one of the tourist landmarks to have their pictures taken at the entrance with some nice and modern landscaping but the interior didn’t match the exterior appeal for crowds. We spent around an hour here and then left.
There is another bigger mall across the road on the left of Baraquda Hotel. So we retraced our steps and walked past our hotel. Soon we arrived at Royal Garden Plaza in under 10 minutes. Next door is Marriott Hotel which is connected to the mall. The mall has this unmistakable façade with an airplane crashed into the front of the mall. This is part of the advertisement for the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.
We wasted no time to enter the mall to enjoy the air-conditioning. It was scotching hot outside, not a very good idea to hang out in the open for long. Once inside the mall, it was such a relief from the heat even though we had spent under ten minutes to walk here. My dear wife sprang into action with clothes on sale on the ground level starting from 100 Baht. I found myself a comfortable seat to rest and watched some children having fun at the water fountain nearby.
When my wife was done with this first shopping stop, we walked around the mall. There were more sales for clothes, shoes and sportswear further in at the open area of ground level. So we spent a little more time here which had a much bigger area. This kept us busy for a while.
Next we went into some other shops for more shopping. This mall was so much better than Pattaya Avenue Mall as far as shopping was concerned. Having done with shopping, we checked out some restaurants and the very trendy food court. We were still not ready for a meal or a snack so we didn’t spend time at any one of these establishments.
Some guys were having fun with the computer games with big TV panels sitting on hydraulic seats synchronized with the games they were playing. It was pretty vigorous with some awkward movements where some might feel uncomfortable especially after a heavy meal. A game would set you back 300 Baht but for serious gamers, this cost would be perfectly justifiable with motion seat and realistic computer simulation.
We skip the Ripley’s museum and the cinema as well. Having spent sufficient time at the mall, we went out of the food court to have a look at the waterfront. It was very hot outdoor and very glaring as well. Nevertheless, the view of the seaside was very nice against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. Needless to say, there weren’t many people outdoor along the road and most would be taking shelter indoor or under shades across the road along the waterfront.
We exited the mall and walked along Beach Road with the sun beating down on us quite mercilessly. We quickened our pace and then turned right into a side street and were thankful for the buildings that blocked the angry sun. Having walked all the way to the end of the street, Baraquda Hotel was just right in front across the road. So Royal Garden Plaza was pretty near our hotel.
We returned to our room, rested a little while. It was time to head to the pool for a relaxing swim. The pool was quite empty other than a few guests resting near the pool and some doing some light reading. The water was warm which was very good and ideal for a long soak. It was so peaceful here and floating on the water was such a great enjoyment on such a day like this. There were many balls floating on the water and with the wind blowing, these balls were floating around coming and going which was rather interesting. The time spent here was really great.
After the swim, we returned to our room to shower to rest a little more before heading out again for dinner. The TV was a good companion during this time. Chatting with the children was good too. Near to 6 pm, we prepared to go for dinner. As we left our room, we saw the sun in rich glowing red ready to set for the day. We rushed to the rooftop bar to get a better glimpse of this splendid moment. The sun was getting lower and soon disappeared behind the buildings further away from Marriott Hotel.
We took the opportunity to have a good look of the surrounding from the rooftop level. It was a refreshing sight from up here where we could look ahead into the Gulf of Thailand. On our left was Royal Garden Plaza we visited this afternoon next to Marriott Hotel. On our right was Pattaya Avenue almost right next door. It would be too hot to come up earlier in the afternoon to look around. It was rather windy up here as well. Behind Baraquda Hotel was Mercure Hotel just across the road.
We stayed up on the roof for quite a while to admire the scenery during the sunset hour. While contemplating where to have dinner, we took a look at the ala carte menu from the rooftop bar and found the menu quite restrictive. There weren’t many choices of food items. Since Mercure Hotel was just right behind Baraquda Hotel, we decided to head there for a look. We went back to ground level and walked to the back and exited from the back gate. After crossing the road, we walked into Mercure Hotel.
Mercure Hotel may not look very new but was rather pleasing too. We went to the restaurant and found they were having a barbeque buffet dinner on Friday night. So settled settled down to enjoy a nice dinner here, especially with substantial discount as Accor Plus members.
We took our seats outdoor near the swimming pool which by then was nicely lit up as darkness set in after sunset. We collected our food with various barbeque meat items and then started our sumptuous meal. The food was really good. We went back again for more. Then we went back again. After that we went into the indoor section of the restaurant for fruits and desserts.
There were quite a number of items at the buffet spread here where we didn’t come in for a look earlier. We took some items which by then we were quite full. We went back to our table outdoor and started to enjoy our fruits and desserts. Then we began to regret having had too much of the main course from the barbeque section. The desserts were really good and we would love to go for more rounds but our capacity had been breached. How we wished we could indulge a little bit more but we were really too full now. If only we could pack some of these items back to our hotel for supper later in the evening would be nice. Of course we didn’t bring back any food items.
After this wonderful dinner, we chatted with some of the hotel staff and found them very friendly, helpful and pleasant. Before we left, we asked if we could take a ride from their hotel’s Baht Taxi equivalent and they obliged. We were more than happy to hop on board as we didn’t use the Baht taxi earlier while we were out shopping. The friendly driver gave us a ride to the main road and we continued to explore Pattaya on our own this evening.
It wasn’t hot during the evening but it was still very humid so it could still be uncomfortable. Nevertheless it was a little windy so it was still bearable to walk around at night. We walked past Royal Garden Plaza and then Marriott Hotel. The night scenery was a stark contrast from the day. It was so much lovelier with the streets and shops all lit up.
The streets were busier now with people now out on the streets for some activities. Massage parlors were now getting active and busier with the ladies soliciting for business and a number of patrons could be seen in the shops enjoying their foot massage. Walking further, we soon reached Baraquda hotel. Instead of returning to our room, we walked on to take a look at Pattaya Avenue.
In few minutes, we arrived at the totally transformed Pattaya Avenue. It was so different from the day though this place was already attracting tourists outside. The night scene here was even more attractive. The complex was brightly lit up with vendors set up stalls outside along the road. This mini night market was doing roaring business. Crowds were here which was understandable after sunset where the whole area became more hospitable as far as the climate was concerned.
We soaked in the atmosphere for a while but we didn’t enter the complex to look at more stuff at the outlet store again. We didn’t have anything in particular we wished to buy and the food stalls though enticing, we were too full after the buffet dinner to consider more snacks now. We were trying to walk off a little of the load we consumed earlier in the evening. Having walked till the end of the night market, we turned back to return to our hotel.
Back to our hotel, we went back up to the rooftop bar for our Accor Plus members welcome drinks. On the rooftop, it was very windy and quite cooling as well. We took another look around again this time enjoying the night view of this part of the city. Though it wasn’t as glittering as the Bangkok City night scene, Pattaya had a charm of its own as a resort town.
Next we settled down to enjoy our welcome drinks. A few other guests were chilling up here enjoying the night as well. While we were chatting over our drinks, the hotel staff came over with a huge birthday cake for my dear wife whose birthday was actually the next day. They sent good wishes and sang birthday song for us. It was a pleasant surprise indeed. Of course pictures were taken and we had a splendid time.
The good reviews from hotel guests were genuine and this showed their professionalism and their desire to do their best to make an impact on their guests with their fine tradition of Thai hospitality. Their service we had enjoyed so far were impeccable. The cake was too big for two of us so we shared some with two guests next to our table and the rest we shared with the hotel staff. It was a night to remember and we were truly overwhelmed on this first day of our short weekend break.
After spending this wonderful time up on the rooftop lounge, it was time to return to our room to settle down for the night. Since we were staying only one night in Pattaya, we believed we had made quite good use of our time here this first day. We would be returning to Bangkok the next day so we had to do some packing after having done a little shopping this afternoon. The rest of the time we watched a little more TV and chatted with the children again and finally had to call it a night. It had been a long day having gotten up around 4 am this morning and we had to take our rest. It was a great day indeed and we looked forward to a greater day the next day back in Bangkok.
Continue to Day 2 …