Pattaya - March 2009
Everyone met up in St. Kilda first thing in the morning to get in our 2 town cars to head to Tullamarine Airport for yet another fun-filled adventure. This time we headed to Pattaya, Thailand. Our check in at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport went fast and smooth, especially for having 3 guys in chairs all flying together. We made a quick hop on Qantas Airlines to Sydney, which is only about an hour and a half. Then we changed planes there, with plenty of time and get on a British Airways 747 for Bangkok. The flight took about 9 hours for this leg of the journey.
Once we landed, we made our way through customs and then through baggage claim where we met our 2 drivers to take us on the 2 hour ride to the Marriott Hotel in Pattaya. The drivers were great and after hearing the horror stories from my friends about their last trip here, I am glad that I was able to experience the better ride. Once we made it to the hotel, we checked in and made our way to the Presidential Suite that made most people’s homes look tiny. This room had an enormous lounge and dining area, a separate kitchenette, with 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. This is living like a rock star!
Accessibility-wise this hotel took some effort. There were a few ramps and lifts to get you to pretty much everything you might need to see, but from time to time there were large humps in the sidewalk, or, in our case, the suite had a rather tricky step to get up to get in the room. After a polite request, we were able to get a ramp up said step setup for us. You really have to come to the city with an open understanding that this is still Thailand and not 100% into the modern age. Don’t let the commercial billboards and wide freeways fool you.
The next morning, we all woke up rested and ready to attack the day, so we decided to take a bit of time to wander around the attached Royal Garden Plaza looking for a few items. The shopping center was very wide open with 3 floors. There were elevators, but tucked away in corners so we all just used the escalators –easy to do if you know how, but otherwise don’t chance it.
Once we got what we were looking for we had a great lunch by the killer pool at the hotel. Of course, I could not let the righteous-looking water slide just sit there and not take it for a spin. So after climbing up the stairs I scratched the itch on the way down with a rather nice splash at the end.
After the sun finally went down, we all made the adventure down to Walking Street. It is actually named Walking Street, named due to the fact there is no car traffic allowed. I found this exceedingly ironic for a group including 3 guys who don’t walk. We chose to pop into one of the many Go Go clubs there and see what it was all about and after a few drinks, one of my friends and I decided to wander on to another bar and have a few drinks there whilst listening to a good band play before calling it a night early. Well, if you consider midnight early..
Today, we all were up fairly early and opted for breakfast by the pool, ok brunch. Then we crossed the street to the beach and with some help from the locals made our way to the water to hop on a group of jet skis that we rented for next to nothing and take a killer ride along the shore and out to a tiny little island and back. Some dropped off after about a half an hour but Matty and I stayed out for the full hour. All of us were pretty spent after the workout on the jet skis so we rang room service and ate in with a good movie on the quite disappointing entertainment center in our room. I guess the catch of the room is its size and not that you will be spending a whole lot of time watching movies.
Friday the 13th.. Today, we split up and the rest of the guys went on a SCUBA trip for half of the day while I chose to stay in and get a bit of work done and some sleep as well. Once I had conquered a few hours of work I switched gears and did a little work in the huge comfy bed in my room. I was only able to nap for a couple hours before everyone got back in and started making noise again. Oh, well. At least I got a little rest before we headed out on the town again. Oh, the joyous nightlife of Pattaya!
Today’s adventure took us from the comfort of our hotel and down to the yacht club to board a 20 meter (60 feet) Catamaran to a nice little spot for some snorkeling and then on to the famed Monkey Island. Once we got to the island, though, we jumped (figuratively speaking) into the dingy and motored to the shore to feed the masses of monkeys a load of fruit and veggies that we had brought along. This is a great experience, I would recommend it highly.
Once the food was all gone we made our way back to boat and then back to the docks over the calm water and straight back to the hotel to clean up.
The night held more of the wild nightlife of Pattaya and yet another of the Go Go clubs. I bowed out early, but the party followed the rest of the guys back to the Hotel until all hours of the night. I gave in and got back out of bed to join in the festivities.
Now that all of us were sleep deprived and most were hung over, we all thought it was a great idea to just stay in the room with the curtains closed and just relax with room service. I have to say this hotel had the best selection of any hotel I have been in yet. You can choose from a simple burger and fries to the more adventurous Thai dishes.
I have to say, so far Pattaya is pretty tricky to get around. I mean, for me it takes some thought and looking ahead of me on the sidewalks. There is no ADA or anything like it here, so you are going to have to push on the streets or even hop curbs or steps from time to time. The one good thing is that the people there are more than willing to try and help in whatever way they can. This is one of the more populated cities in Thailand and I can only imagine what the more rural areas might bring.Make sure if you decide to take the trip to Thailand that you understand what you are getting into and bring a spare tube and repair kit as well in your carry on. You will thank me for it.
As all trips go, this one must come to an end. We pack up are things and call for the bell hope as we head down and check out. It is time to say fair well to the Presidential Suite and go back to real life. The ride back to the airport goes smoothly and after some rearranging of some of our tickets we get on the plane and make our way back to Melbourne. We land, but our trip isn’t over yet, as our chairs are making their way slowly to us. We all waited at least a half an hour before our chairs went to baggage claim instead of coming to the gate like we had requested. So, the assistance people (who knows if they have a real title) had to off load all of us and push us in the isle chairs all the way to baggage claim to pick up our suit cases AND our chairs. Now, thoroughly exhausted we make our way to the curb where, once again, waiting for us is a pair of cars to take us all home. Once home the rant continues, “Something has got to change!” “Qantas and the Australian airport system have got to work this out HEAPS better.” Oh well, maybe someday traveling in a wheelchair will be as easy as it can be all over. Until then, I will keep writing and ranting, helping out all I can.