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Pattaya

Pattaya

Pattaya is probably the most popular destination after Bangkok for expats and tourists alike.

Many people are drawn to it because of a small street known as Walking Street - it's the seamy, steamy red-light capital of Thailand.

You have to experience Pattaya so that you can experience it and get it out of your system. Saying that, many expats have made it their home - it's Thailand's Miami Beach, with perhaps similar problems but at a fraction of the price. It attracts criminals and low-life, but it's also home to thousands of (expat and Thai) families and large assembly plants.

The one section around Walking Street is an open air sex fair, a bit like the Belgian or Dutch red-light districts where the prostitutes parade themselves behind the windows looking out onto the street. It's the same in Pattaya, without the windows… and instead of just one or two women, you choose from around 50-100 at a time.

It'll be like a starving child in an exotic candy store – and many expats make a hobby of sleeping around with a different woman every night, or enjoy serial relationships with several women, perhaps a week at a time. There's a kind of camaraderie amongst the expats, they seem to spend their time with each other drinking and talking and watching the sports on TV, while their girl of the day waits patiently at the table until he is ready to take her home.

Sometimes, there can be problems with this. The girls want your custom. They wait for a very long time to be selected, so they will try to keep you interested for as long as possible and will feel disappointed, rejected and jealous if you move on to another girl. Some girls are waiting for the 'right' man, so they can give up the prostitution and settle with one man, get married, live in a nice house or apartment, get a good allowance that she can send back to the family, etc. But that's when the contradictory expectations will flare up. She won't necessarily feel the need to behave sexy and demurely anymore, she'll probably be lazy and get spoilt having being used to a fairly easy life as a prostitute, and it's unlikely that someone who can hang around mindlessly all day (and night) will have any intellectual interests or want to better herself. So the man will quickly get bored of her. From her point of view, her man might not be as she expected either. When you're on holiday, you spend more. In reality, the man might be poor (and cheap) and perhaps quite slovenly, maybe even have a violent temper when drunk or frustrated (not unlike Thai or any other man that she tried to avoid hooking up with).

So the danger is that you get sucked into a strange life of sex and bitter romance, and may end up losing your savings also – if you buy her a car and property in her name, and a business that she runs… and she decides one day to walk off with it all.

Go to Pattaya for at least a week or two - perhaps even live there for six months. Some people love it, but many people get bored of the superficial relationships and too-easy sex. Talk to the other expats, experience the sex-life, as well as the shopping, eating and watersports.

(Note! Don't rent a jetski and only rent a bike or car from a major rental company that has a reputation to defend , with multiple offices around the country and a big website presence – and pay the extra for the insurance and read the small print carefully).

You can get plenty of useful insider knowledge from pattaya-addicts.com. And if you want to make friends then you should attend the regular Sunday brunch and get-togethers run by the Pattaya Expats Club.

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