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Pattaya Part 3 :: Article 15

    

Pattaya Travel Guide - Local Tips

Diving/Snorkelling Do

  • Practise how to use all forms of diving gear.
  • Make sure you are fit, sleep well and take no alcohol.
  • Prepare your diving gear such as diving mask, flippers, snorkel, life vest, scuba, etc.
  • Prepare your wet suit and skin lotion.
  • Wear your life jacket before snorkelling.
  • Tie the boat with the provided buoy.
  • See the corals on the spot designated by your guide only.
  • Be careful not to touch/break the corals.
  • Collect underwater garbage to be discarded on the shore.

Fishing

  • Do fishing in the appropriate season.
  • Prepare all necessary equipment such as torch, leader, baits, etc.
  • Find yourself a guide (if the fishing spot is unknown to you).
  • Be accompanied when going fishing in case of emergency.

Swimming in the sea Do

  • Prepare your medicines, sunglasses, skin lotion, and life saver.
  • Wear light but well-fitting, non-absorbent clothing.
  • Swim near the shore or in the shallows.
  • Be accompanied while swimming in case of emergency.
  • Swim in the morning or late afternoon when it is not too hot.
  • Avoid the jellyfish area.

Visiting a temple/museum/ancient monument Do

  • Study information about the place to be visited.
  • Dress politely and be composed.
  • Take off your shoes before entering a religious building or area.
  • Not walk off the permitted path.
  • Contact a local speaker such as a monk or officer who can give you information.
  • Avoid touching an artefact or ancient monument.
  • Prepare your tape recorder, notebook or drawing book.
  • Seek permission before taking photos.

Walking around the city/ community/ market Do

  • Study the route as well as information about the places to be visited.
  • Walk in the morning or late afternoon when it is not too hot.
  • Prepare your equipment, map, notebook, camera, hat, and drinking water.
  • Wear well-fitting and proper clothing.
  • Talk and make enquiries with the villagers along the way.
  • Walk on the footpath for safety and be aware of vehicles.

Bicycling/ Motorcycling Do

  • Study the route as well as information about the places to be visited.
  • Get yourself prepared physically before the activity.
  • Prepare or rent a bicycle/motorcycle.
  • For a mountain bike, get yourself acquainted with it through practice.
  • Have your motorcycle checked before doing any activity.
  • Prepare a pump, spare inner tube, brake and gear cables, as well as key in case of emergency.
  • Prepare drinking water, hat, medicines and sneakers.
  • Wear well-fitting and proper clothing with helmet, spectacles and gloves.
  • Cycle at an appropriate speed and not in an isolated place.

Best Time to Visit - Visits can be made throughout the year

Stay safe

Emergency contacts

  • Fire: dial 199
  • Bangkok Pattaya Hospital Trauma Centre [186] (Sukhumvit Road, immediately north-west of the North Pattaya Road traffic lights) 24-hour ambulance/emergency service: dial 038259911
  • Pattaya International Hospital (Soi 4, between Beach Road and Second Road, North Pattaya) 24-hour ambulance/emergency service - dial 038428374 or 038428375
  • Police: dial 191
  • Tourist Police: dial 1155 (this supersedes the old "1699" number)
  • Highway Police: dial 193 (or 038392001 / 038425440)
  • Marine Police: dial 038423666 or 038321422
  • Pattaya Sea Rescue Centre: dial 038488134
  • Marine Department [187] (Ministry of Transport): dial 1199
  • Provincial Public Relation Tel. 0 3827 9448
  • Chon Buri Provincial Office Tel. 0 3827 5034, 0 3827 9434
  • Chon Buri Municipal Tel. 0 3827 9407 ext. 112
  • Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital Tel. 0 3825 9999
  • Ekchon Hospital Tel. 0 3827 3840, 0 3879 1790-9
  • Bang Lamung Hospital Tel. 0 3842 9244
  • Tourist Police Station (Pattaya) Tel. 1155, 0 3842 5937, 0 3842 8371
  • Police Station (Pattaya) Tel. 0 3842 0802-5
  • Police Station (Bang Lamung) Tel. 0 3822 1800, 0 3822 1331
  • Police Station (Chom Thian) Tel. 0 3823 2330-1
  • Highway Police Tel. 1193

Accidents

For most people, the most hazardous aspect of visiting Pattaya is the traffic. The top three accident black spots are:

  • Dolphin Roundabout (intersection of Beach Road, Second Road, North Pattaya Road and Naklua Road)
  • junction of Beach Road and Central Pattaya Road
  • junction of Beach Road / Walking Street and South Pattaya Road

Most accidents in Pattaya involve motorbikes, and are especially common late at night and in the early hours of the morning, when drink-driving is a significant problem. Be careful on the roads, even if you're just crossing one on foot (and be equally careful both on and off pedestrian crossings, as Thai drivers generally ignore them, and many foreigners seem to approach them with the hope of scoring double points); be careful on the pavements too - obstacles apparently purpose-engineered to trip up as many people as possible are commonplace, and motorcyclists use footpaths as short cuts with impunity. When riding in the back of an otherwise empty songthaew, it's probably safest to sit directly behind the cab.

In the event of an accident, the injured are usually bundled into the back of the next available songthaew or pickup truck or even onto the back of a motorbike (now you know why Pattaya has so many songthaews, why Thailand is the world's biggest pickup truck market, and why so many Thais ride motorbikes).

A completely different genre of traffic-related accident was highlighted by a fatality in January 2006 when a surfacing diver was hit by a speedboat propeller near Ko Laan. Unfortunately, the popularity of Pattaya's beaches combined with a relatively relaxed attitude to safety concerns in general means that swimmers and divers (and even sunbathers on the beach!) being struck by speedboats and jetskis is not such a rare occurrence.

Police

The main police station is on Beach Road (at the corner of Soi 9); dial 191, or 038420802 /5. For Banglamung Police Station dial 038221331 or 038221800.

The Tourist Police [188] relocated from Second Road to new purpose-built offices on Pratamnak Road in June 2006 - they are now located next door to the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) Information Office, exactly 1 km south of the junction of Second Road and South Pattaya Road - proceed along Pratamnak Road, continue straight up the hill, and where the road bears sharp right part way up, turn sharp left into the small side-soi. Alternatively, their mobile minivan office which sets up every evening at the junction of Walking Street / South Pattaya Road / Beach Road is much easier to reach. Their e-mail address is tourist@police.gov.th - or simply dial 1155

Pattaya Tourist Police advise that in theory foreigners should carry their passports with them at all times, however they also suggest that in practice a good photocopy (personal details page, visa and entry stamp pages, and TM card) is acceptable.

Crime

Like most of Thailand, Pattaya is generally safe for tourists and violent crime such as mugging or robbery is unusual, with the exception of jewellery and bag snatching (usually with the thieves on motorcycles, and often with the victims on motorcycles too) which is endemic.

Swindles and pickpocketing are more commonly encountered by tourists - it is very inadvisable to tell anyone that it is your first visit to Thailand, since you will then be marked down as an 'easy touch'.

The nightlife/entertainment areas have a lot of activity and are generally very safe - however pickpockets are a problem, especially on Walking Street when it's crowded, despite the official Tourist Police patrolling the area at night. For this reason, a visitor should not carry a passport and/or credit card with them, especially at night - these should be left in the safe at your hotel along with the bulk of your cash, or if they must be carried then they should be securely concealed. If you have been pick pocketed and then you actually spot the likely pickpocket departing, do not follow. You could be mistaken, and you almost certainly will be accused of being mistaken. Just put it down to experience, and leave the immediate area.

Never ever 'pick a fight' in any circumstance, no matter how much you have had to drink. Never try to intervene, even verbally, in an argument between two or more Thai people.

No matter how much you are being pestered, just smile and walk on. In cash payments, disputes over the value of notes and the amount of change can be avoided by carrying smaller notes and trying to give near enough the exact amount.

The beach side of Beach Road used to be worth avoiding late at night, however the entire length of both the promenade and beach are now floodlit, and although it's still a popular haunt for "freelance" prostitutes, it's now much busier from dusk through until dawn and by no means a "no-go" area.

Visitors should not visit entertainment venues that do not display a long-standing fixed sign outside, or which appear to be very poorly lit inside. Also; one or two of the hundreds of seemingly bright and established venues may actually be operating as a 'clip joint', offering free admission and then refusing to allow visitors to leave until they have settled a faked bill for non-existent drinks. Again; it is wisest simply pay up, leave and put it down to experience.

As always, travellers should take extra care in all poorly lit or more remote areas, and very late at night. This is especially the case if one has had too much to drink.

Drugs - as with all of Thailand, the penalties for possession and/or distribution of drugs are harsh.

Gambling - is illegal in Thailand, and the local press reports Pattaya Police as having a "zero tolerance" policy for gambling offences.

Drinking

The legal minimum age for customers in drinking establishments and discos is 20. In Pattaya this is rarely enforced for foreigners, but is frequently enforced for Thais, including those accompanying foreigners. Pattaya police conduct raids to check for underage employees (especially in "indoor" and go-go bars) and patrons (especially in discos) from time to time, and less frequently to enforce closing times. Foreign tourists are not the targets of these raids and are usually asked to produce ID (photocopy of photo/ID page of passport will normally suffice) and then allowed to leave, but are sometimes tested for drugs via an on-the-spot urine sample.

    


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