Trip Report to Pattaya

We had planned on using to our advantage the proximity to South Asian countries and the Middle East after our R2I. Our maiden venture was the Holyland trip during the summer of last year (Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt). For the Onam holidays, we considered either a Dubai-Muscat jaunt or a two-country outing from Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.

  • Dubai alone was quoted at $2.5K for the four of us for 4 nights at Ritz Carlton through Expedia including air-fare. Adding Muscat (3-nights each in Dubai and Muscat) brought it to around $3.6K - comparable three-star hotels in Muscat are almost thrice as expensive as in Dubai. For Dubai the travel agent quoted $360 for 3 nights, daily breakfast, transfers, and half day Dubai city tour while the same sans the half day city tour for Muscat came to $1120 (air-fare extra).
  • Malaysia was quoted at $589 for the four of us - two nights in KL, one night in Genting, daily breakfast, all transfers, full day indoor and outdoor theme park ticket in Genting, half day city tour of KL, and one way cable car ride and enroute Batu Cave photo stop tour. Thailand, was cited at $403 for the four of us, included two nights in Bangkok, one night in Pattaya, daily breakfast, all transfers, Coral Island tour with lunch in Pattaya, and a half day temple and city tour in Bangkok. Indonesia, which came in at $946 included three nights in Jakarta, daily breakfast, all transfers, and a half day Jakarta city tour.
We decided on Malaysia and Thailand. Air Asia was our preferred carrier for South Asia as few other options existed for direct flights from Kochi (Nedumbassery) International Airport. Moreover, Kaula Lumpur is the hub for Air Asia.
 
Our Air Asia flight into Bangkok had very limited food options (in quantity too) – it is best to prepay for meals when booking. The transfers and tour within Thailand was arranged via DS Travel, whose services were generally good although English was not their strength. The representative who greeted us at the airport came equipped to exchange dollars for competitive rates and also had on offer certain calling cards. The vehicle for our transfer to Pattaya arrived in 30 minutes – just the four of us in an eleven-seater for the 1.5 hour ride (90KM).
The Royal Palace hotel in Pattaya is a nice older hotel with a beautiful pool across from Marriot. It does not have an ocean view as it is a couple of blocks away from the beach. There is a 1000 Bhat deposit requirement during check-in. Internet is chargeable and the rates are high. The hotel staff left a lot to be desired especially the older lady at the reception counter who was just plain rude. Women in Thailand, in general can be quite impolite – we experienced boorish behavior from women at the checkout counters and realized quickly to only deal with men even for directions. There is also blatant white-worshiping which while good for that segment of the tourists does not bode well for others

 After exchanging money right outside the hotel (best exchange rate we got) we strolled to the beach area and opted for lunch at an ocean view restaurant – relatively expensive at 920 Bhats - food and service was just OK. Street vendors line the approach roads to the beach. Sandals are a must and we bargained to snag them at 50 Bhats only to find the same sandals at the hotel lobby shop for 50 Bhats! The breakfast at the hotel was good with plenty of choices but the coffee was simply average. The DS Tours rep stopped by our hotel room and tried to up-sell some tour programs – a ploy we did not succumb to.

Our main item in the itinerary was the Coral Island half-day tour with lunch. That proved to be a wonderful outing that went like clock work. DS Travel picked us right on time around 8AM. Sandals, sun-visors, and sunglasses are a must. At the beach, the boat was waiting – kids will find walking the few yards to the boat in knee-deep water easier barefoot. First stop was at the location for para-gliding: these are huge wooden platforms built in the middle of the sea. Paragliding was 350 Bhats each – cheapest we have seen the same offered anywhere. We enjoyed it thoroughly – the escort for the kids position themselves a level above them on the parachute. Motor boats tug’em chutes around and after circling the platform once helps them drift down by controlling the speed and direction. The entire experience lasts 10 minutes unless you get lucky – i.e., they fail to “land you” on their first attempt.They also gave the option for an under sea exploration (1040 Bhats) which involves diving down to explore the corals for half an hour. The alternative is to go on a glass bottomed boat to see the corals – visibility is poor in spite of the clear glass bottom. Almost all in our boat opted to give the under sea exploration option a miss. By around 10AM we were dropped off at the Coral Island - an excellent very well maintained white sandy beach. Beach chairs are available for free (part of the package) and the use of beach is also free. Everything else is an extra – options include water scootering, banana boating, massages, etc., that are priced very economically. Street vendors served large sized excellent guavas (30 Bhats) – the cut pieces are tossed in spices – indeed yummy! Lunch was at an Indian restaurant right at the beach – very basic fare. Charge for shower is 40 Bhats and bathrooms 10 Bhats. After lunch, a speed-boat dropped us back at the beach and DS promptly transferred us back to the hotel by around 2PM. For folks prone to motion sickness, the speed-boat rides may be a problem and so it is best to take adequate precautions.

Related Posts:
  1. Trip Report to Pattaya
  2. Trip Report to Bangkok
  3. Thai-Malaysia Trip - Gotchas to Avoid
Last Updated: 10/2012.


 

2 comments :

Dana said...

Sounds like a nice time! We tried parasailing this summer and truly enjoyed it.

Mubashir Khatri said...

Of course holidaying on the island has to be full of activities that is why Coral Islands which is located South of Phuket stands out among Islands in Phuket. A full day trip to Coral Island will give you memorable experience of both water and land activities.Coral Island Tour Lots of sporting activities to indulge in with various voyagers like you. Coral Island is believed to be the number one snorkeling and water sport destination in Phuket which is why the Island still remains unchallenged when it comes to offering clients a holiday on the Island filled with sporting activities.
Coral Island Tour

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