It is 10 pm and Pattaya’s Walking Street is as alive as it was at six in the evening. Located in the Kingdom of Thailand, or erstwhile Siam, the country lies in the heart of Southeast Asia.
Pattaya’s Walking Street is a kilometre-long stretch at the end of the beach road. In fact, the Walking Street is a few minutes from the beach. No wonder many people finish a quiet visit at the beach before walking into Pattaya’s Walking Street.
Almost every single building on the kilometre is either a beer bar, a restaurant, go-go bar, or a night club. Spanning from Soi 14 to Soi 16 are more of the same. What is interesting is the fact that each corner leads into further inner streets, which have more shops, bars, and nightclubs.
After a scrumptious dinner at Siam Bayshore Resort and Spa, Pattaya, I had decided to take a walk along the shore and see life around Pattaya’s Walking Street. Bordered by Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea, Thailand seems like a melting pot of different traditions.
“Are you sure you want to visit the Walking Street? We locals don’t visit at all,” said a Thai colleague. And interestingly that is true. While Pattaya’s Walking Street was filled with people, nobody - apart from the shop owners and street vendors - was a Thai.
While street shops and vendors aren’t scarce in India, what stands out in Pattaya’s Walking Street is the fact that one strip is starkly different from every other street and place.
In many senses, Thailand seems like a land of extremities. While on one end there are traditional Buddhist monasteries and bohemian centers, on the other there are cocktails being sold on carts in the street.
There is a little of something for everyone in Thailand. The walking street is an assault of color on the senses. As you walk deeper into Pattaya’s Walking Street, the first thing that hits you is the vast number of neon lights flashing on the street.
Live cobras are draped around tourists necks and laughing gas is pumped on people’s faces - Pattaya’s Walking Street requires one to not only have an open mind but also be open to different experiences.
It is no surprise that Thailand is called a shopper’s paradise. The first things you spot on the street are the traditional and trendy Bohemian wraparound skirts, traditional batik printed T-shirts, and the different kind of footwear.
Boxing matches, dance bars, hookers, and cocktail carts – the packed Walking Street in Pattaya is fascinating. A must-visit if you are in the country.