Sunday 1 April, 2018
Day 4 / Bang Saen to Jomtien (Pattaya)
[Missed Day 3? Read the previous post here]
We set off on another shorter days cycle, but our last one for a while. We are heading towards Jomtien, another beach town just a little bit out from Pattaya. Cheye keeps telling me his memories of visiting Pattaya back in 2000 and how it was very much like being in party central Patong. It’s another cycle along the highway, only stopping once for a brief wander along a roadside markets.
We eventually turn off the highway and notice lots of bars and European inspired buildings as we get closer. We decide to get off the bikes to look for accommodation for the night and settle for Bamboo’s Soi 2. We discover later that this is a gay friendly hotel, explaining why there were always so many groups of guys hanging out in the lobby.
We park the bikes outside and ask the guy lying on the couch on the lobby how much rooms are. He says there are 600 and 700 baht rooms (without / with balcony). I check out the balcony room and we opt for that. As I check in, the couch guy, who is now behind the front desk appears very hungover.
“How are you?” I ask.
“Ergh, very bad…” he replies.
The balcony proves a good choice as we end up washing our cycling clothes for the first time during the trip and drying them in the sun. The one good thing about the hot weather is how quickly clothes dry when you hang them outside.
We decide to do a search on the Happy Cow website for vegetarian food so we don’t get stuck like we did yesterday. We find one called T&I Tien Sin Vegetarian Restaurant. Thai addresses are hard to navigate so I mark a point on the map that appears to match the one on the Happy Cow map. We walk about 15-20 minutes down the road, passing the Night Market location at the half way point, where we plan to go for dinner. Our entire trip seems to base around planning our next meal (story of my life)! We find the restaurant with ease and are welcomed by a cute, cheery lady who speaks a little English. There are pictures for menu items on the walls but we opt for the buffet and load our plates up. The food is good. There are a few interesting items including a green Asian vegetable I’ve never seen before that has spikes.
The lady has a chat to us in her broken English. She asks how long we are staying in Jomtien, where we are travelling and if we are vegetarian, saying that the food is good and healthy here. We are tempted to get some vegan ice cream but I decide I feel like some pineapple instead. On our walk back I buy some pineapple and we discover a small bakery stall outside a 7-11 and buy some bread for later. We also pick up some beer and snacks, including these seaweed chips we’ve become hooked on during our time here. Finally we pick up some thongs at the shop across from our guesthouse as we didn’t pack any to bring with us, assuming you could buy cheap thongs everywhere in Thailand. It took us four days longer than we expected!
We head out later that night for the Jomtien Night Markets. On the way there we see a restaurant that has an Elvis impersonator starting at 9pm. We consider going back if we get bored later. We arrive at the market and it’s quite busy with a bit of dance music pumping and kids dancing on the dance floor nearby. We do a lap around the stalls to see what’s on offer and notice a mixture of Thai and Russian food. One thing we notice about Pattaya is there are a lot of Russians here. I’m not sure when it became a popular destination for Russian tourists, but I notice a lot of travel agents and tour stalls with signs and pamphlets written in Russian. We decide to get some Pad Thai and BBQ’d corn on the cob, then cross the road to sit and eat while watching some locals play beach volleyball. I’m still hungry so we go back for round two and decide to pick up some dessert items too – dried mango, more pineapple and a custard donut.
On the way back we pass some French tourists taking photos of a rabbit on the street. Don’t know why you’d bother, they’re a pest where we come from! We also plan to buy some more bread from the bakery stall for breakfast tomorrow morning – the bread cabinet is still there with the goods, but the lady has closed up shop for the day nowhere to be seen. I really want to reach into the display, grab an armful of buns and leave the cash on the counter but the cabinet is locked. What a tease. Instead we head into the 7-11 and pick up some stuff for breakfast. Cheye also decides to get a banana pancake from the food stall before we call it a night.