In many cities there’s “Little India” or “Chinatown”, so if somewhere, “Little Finland” should definitely be in Pattaya. No time to be homesick, since Finland and Finns are all over.
One of the main reasons why we came to Pattaya, was to see J’s uncle. He and his wife have been spending time with us here on several days and showed us (mostly Finnish) places. There are probably about 50 Finnish bars in Pattaya, or Pattijoki as some Finns tend to call it. Most of them are situated in Soi Yume, in a part of the town which is also known as “Jakomaeki” among Finns. Usually I tend to avoid Finnish stuff abroad, but having been away two months, I must admit it’s kind of fun for a change. Today is probably our last night here in Pattijoki before heading to Cambodia and we are planning to spent it in Maikan Majatalo. There’s a quiz and a buffet full of Finnish food: Karelian stew, macaroni casserole and other Finnish delicacies. So I think we get a great deal of coziness before getting the Asian-culture-overdoze in Cambodia and Laos.
Pattaya is much more besides its Finnish inhabitants though. It’s also known for ladyboys and women, and that’s why many western men have found their way here… Otherwise this town is tolerable, some love it, some hate it. I think it’s somewhere in the middle, ok. The beach is crowded and there’s way too much pollution that one would want to go into the water. One day we went to visit Koh Larn, island near Pattaya, hoping to get some snorkeling done. For some reason that day there wasn’t any boats to Thonglang beach (we’ve heard that’s the best one for snorkeling), so we found ourselves from Tien beach surrounded by hundreds of Russian tourists (and I’m not exaggerating).
That’s the most cramped beach I have seen! We took the first boat back to Pattaya since our hotel pool is so much better and peaceful. Too bad, that even the boat ride was far from pleasant…
I don’t want to sound too negative though, ’cause there are a lot of good things in Pattaya too. For example, on Tuesdays and Fridays there’s a nice big market near Tuk Com -building. Oh, those shopping possibilities, like the towns all stalls had come together: I’m trying to figure out if my backpack can be enlarged. 😀 Luckily Asian clothes are so small that most of them don’t fit me, and that kept me from buying many items.
There’s also this certain comfy feeling that Pattaya has. Our hotel is bit off from the center of the city, so we usually take the hotels tuk tuk or a motorbike taxi to get to downtown. And in a city that’s always alive, but most certainly wakes up after sunset, it’s just a special feeling to cruise down the streets filled with colorful lights, people and different kind of stalls.
J’s uncle is sure we want to come back to Pattijoki someday. I’m not so convinced about that yet, but I certainly feel a bit sad for having to leave tomorrow. I just don’t feel like packing… We also hear there’s many scams and lot of touts on the border of Thailand and Cambodia, so I’m a bit concerned about the boarder-crossing. Well, the worst thing that can happen is that we pay loads of extra money or the trip takes many hours (if they want us to be tired, so we go to the hotel the imposters want us to go). I hope we stay in our budget and get across without any bigger problems…