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Koh Larn (Coral Island) Pattaya

Pattaya Travel Guide | Villa Rental | Get Around | Accommodation | Restaurants | Transportation

► Overview

The slow evolution of Pattaya from a sleepy fishing town to a sprawling development of high-rise coastal resorts began in 1959 when U.S. Army GIs, stationed in the northeast, came here for R & R. Word spread, and with more U.S. troops arriving to fight in the Vietnam War, the town became a hot destination for weekend partying. The impression left by those early visitors accounts for its ill repute today, propagated by hundreds of go-go clubs, beer bars, and seedy massage parlors along the beachside. Tourism boomed in the 1980s, and unchecked resort development was exacerbated by a lack of infrastructure upgrades -- so much so that beaches became flooded with raw sewage. Recent years have seen a few civil projects to clean up the bay area with some success, but environmental work is still needed to improve water quality. Despite this, Pattaya now supports a collection of large, sophisticated international resorts. Smaller hotels set in sprawling, manicured seaside gardens and upscale restaurants dot the landscape. The town is also trying to create an image as a family destination, expat retirement magnet, and convention hub -- and it now has the facilities to back this up. Pattaya's close-knit expatriate community not only is at the forefront in the effort to clean up the town's image, but also is very active in other local activities, particularly in charity-related events. Neighboring Jomtien is a popular alternative to Pattaya. Less seedy surroundings complement the narrow beaches; however, government reports state that water quality is still under par. Jomtien's best accommodations are private condominiums, but it does have a few high-quality hotels.

► Sightseeing

Wat Khao Phra Yai is a small temple complex high above town to the south (go by songtaew toward Jomtien, and then hop off and climb the steep hill). The temple has excellent vistas and a 10m (33-ft.) gold Buddha serenely surveying the western sea. Alangkarn is a high-tech entertainment complex centered on the uniqueness of being decidedly "Thai" and features the Thai Extravaganza Show with laser and lighting effects. The shows include scenes from famous historical events such as an elephant battle, as well as Thai dancing. It also has a Thai restaurant, which serves dinner at 17:00 before the show, and a shopping area containing local products. Alangkarn is 10 km from Pattaya at kilometer 155 on the Sukhumvit Highway. The entrance fee is 1,000B for adults, 700B for children, for the show only, or 1,200B for adults, 840B for kids, including dinner. It's open daily from 17:00 to 23:00 (show time is 18:00 - 19:00). For something a bit hokier, Ripley's Believe It or Not third floor, Royal Garden Plaza, 218 Beach Rd. is open daily 11:00 to 23:00 (admission 480B). It's full of unusual exhibits and odd facts from around the globe. Just next door is the Ripley's Motion Master simulation ride. Admission to both places is 880B (adults), 780B (children). Both are great fun for kids of all ages. The Pattaya Elephant Village is a not-for-profit sanctuary dedicated to saving former working elephants. To help with funding, the village offers elephant treks and a 90-minute daily show, starting at 14:30, on elephant-training techniques. The treks range in price from 1,000B for a 1-hour ride to 2,000B for a full-day excursion, which also includes a guided walk in the forest and a 30-minute raft trip, while the show only costs 650B. The village is 7km (4 1/3 miles) off Sukhumvit Road: Turn east at kilometer 144.5, follow the signs to Siam Country Club, and then turn right at the intersection and continue another 4km (2 1/2 miles). Another option outside Pattaya is Nong Nooch Tropical Garden a 202-hectare (500-acre) botanical garden and elephant park 18km (11 miles) outside town, with shows that feature elephants performing alongside dancers, musicians, and other acts. Cultural performances, music, Thai boxing, audience participation, and dozens of amusing photo ops make this a fun albeit touristy activity. Lovers of tropical gardens should allow plenty of time to look at the immaculate grounds. Book directly and take advantage of a shuttle from Pattaya at either 08:30 or 13:15. The shows run four times a day (09:45, 10:45, 15:00 and 16:00 daily). Tickets for the garden and show cost 400B for adults and 200B for children. Sanctuary of Truth: This is a very new addition to the scene in Pattaya, located in Soi 12 on the northern side of town off Naklau-Pattaya Rd. The structure is made entirely of wood to a Thai design and has a religious philosophy aspect to the construction. The Sanctuary of Truth is a gigantic wooden construction which covers the area of more than two rais. The top point of the building is about 105 meters high. It was constructed to withstand the wind and sunshine on the seashore at Rachvate Cape, Tambon Naklua, Amphur Banglamung, Chon Buri Province. Referred to as a castle, it is certainly spectacular and lit to brilliant effect at night. There are horse drawn carriages to take visitors to the site, and once there they can see organized dolphin shows twice a day, as well as take tours on elephants and enjoy speedboat trips. Evening entertainment has Thai Dance displays and fire eating performances. Thai Boxing is Muay Thai or Muaythai. This a form of martial arts popular in counties including Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia. There are different types of this style of fighting, just as there are different styles of Kung Fu in many Asian companies. Thai Boxing in Pattaya, known as Muay Thai is a popular sport. This form of kickboxing has captured the heart of locals and visitors. There are a number of venues where you can watch Thai boxing in Pattaya as well as take Muay Thai classes. There are a number of different venues that offer Thai boxing in Pattaya. Muay Thai Camp - Venues Muay Thai boxing camp and training school offers a number of different classes and lesson on Muay Thai, K1 style kick-boxing and self defense courses. Muay Thai schools that offer lessons in Thai Boxing in Pattaya are: Scorpion Pattaya, Sydodthong Camp, Kombat Group Pattaya and Muay Thai Fairtex. Muay Thai - Thai Boxing in Pattaya Many visitors to Pattaya try to catch a match to watch this sport live and learn more about its art. There are typically a number of different opportunities to see Muay Thai in Pattaya. Asking your hotel staff is a good way to find out if there are any matches or exhibitions during your stay in Pattaya. Keep in mind that this is a sometimes brutal sport so you may want to consider whether or not it is appropriate for everyone in your party, especially children or anyone who may not react well to the violence. Travelers who enjoy getting a true sense of a culture may want to try to attend Muay Thai while visiting Pattaya to get a better understanding of Thai boxing in Pattaya.

► Koh Larm (Coral Island)

Ko Larn is the best known out of a group of small islands a few miles off the coast of Pattaya. It is popular with day visitors who want to spend a day on a wide sandy beach and do some snorkeling. The island offers a change of pace from the busy beaches of Pattaya - an island well known to Thai and foreign visitors for its tranquil surroundings, beautiful beaches, glass-clear waters and extensive coral. This landmass of four square kilometers, just seven kilometers from Pattaya Bay, sports three beaches and is Pattaya's closest island just a 45-minute boat ride from shore. Koh Lann is a lovely spot catering to all kinds of tourists. Whether you want to laze around on the island's soft, white sand, or get more lively and play a few water sports is up to you. The island offers parasailing, water-skiing and jetskis. Snorkeling and deep-sea diving are recommended off the nearby islands of Koh Krok and Koh Sak, where there is an abundance of coral and undersea life waiting to be discovered. However, tourists should bring their own diving equipment since there are no dive shops in this area. Take a ride in a glass-bottom boat to admire the underwater life or don your diving equipment to get even closer. Tien Beach has remained clean and has retained an air of tranquility due to minimal development and beach disturbance, although sufficient facilities exist to support a day-trip

► Ban Chang

Wednesday, October 16, 2019