I am starting to think that we are now battle-hardened veterans of Thailand. What we used to think was all exciting, scary and dangerous, is all just an average Sunday afternoon. Yes, I am talking about Pattaya soi 6.
Let me wind it back a little… I arrived back in Thailand a few weeks ago. The Rats were planning on meeting for a recon mission in Pattaya – ahead of a planned bar crawl in a few months.
Now, when we usually go to Pattaya, I get up early in the morning (in HH), taxi to Bangkok to meet the Rats, spot of lunch and then another taxi to Pattaya. By the time we get to Pattaya I’ve been up 7 hours and am 5k in the hole. And that’s just the start of the day.
This time however, I thought it was time I take the Ferry!
The ferry has been in operation about 10 months now (I think) and started off at 2 trips per day. That’s now down to 1. Because of that, it meant I had to over-night it in Pattaya. Damn shame that. Instead of getting a cab back to Bangkok – Hua Hin I’d save time and money and get the Ferry back in the morning!. Perfect!
The Ferry leaves HH at 1pm and returns the next day at 10am. I checked out the Ferry terminal the day before with the intention of purchasing a ticket incase it’s a popular trip. – It isn’t.
The old crab working at the Ferry counter said I could not purchase a ticket unless I provided a passport. Why? Where was this Ferry going exactly?! I tried to argue that I can purchase a airline ticket to anywhere in the world without providing a passport but she was having none of it. Now, I can understand that passport details must be provided before I get on the Ferry incase it sinks and the authorities need to know who is now fish-food – but this can be done before getting on the boat. No need to stop things before the event. Has no one actually figured it out that all they need to do is make sure you produce a passport before getting on the boat? I left empty handed.
There are 3 seating choices available. Economy – which is full of the Chinese and Thai’s, Business, which has the odd Farrang in – and the VIP room which has no one in.
For 1500 each way, I went for the Business seat. Now, I could beat up on the Ferry Operators – but there is no point. I am sure they are trying their best to make it a professional and pleasurable experience for their passengers. What I don’t like though, is that their brochure is riddled with typos. Surely they would have had a Farrang proof-read it before it went to publishing?! What else have they over-looked?!
When the Ferry arrived, I couldn’t help but notice the crew were all wearing hard-hats. On a boat. I didn’t see anything over-head, so I am not sure why they were wearing them? These people probably take off their hardhats when they get on their motor-bikes afterwork?!
The Business Class seats were o.k. Only two other people on the top deck. Perfect. A little nap and 20 minutes more than the claimed 2 hour journey and we arrived in Patts.
The Rats were at a bar on soi 6 – so I grabbed the nearest mototcy taxi and 10 mins after arriving at port I was slinging a Grey Goose down my neck.
The plan was to stay on soi 6 and have a proper look. The usual walk up and down took place. Shit. There are a lot of bars. This crawl really isn’t going to be completed in 1 day.
We chose Scooters as our Hub. Turns out, they have rooms upstairs. The rooms are small but clean. Size doesn’t matter (I keep telling myself this) – as all I intended on doing there was passing out later on. It had aircon, TV, fridge, shower/crapper and double bed. All that for………..500bht! How is that even possible?!
With our overnight bags stowed – we hit the street.
Ah, what a street! There is something about it. It’s fun. It’s alive. There is an energy, atmosphere and an intrigue about the place.
There was a time when the soi was filled with hogs. A place where Ripley Believe it or Not would recruit. It’s no longer like that. There are plenty of nice girls there now. Many are dressed in uniforms. The girls look clean and respectable and the bars all stock premium booze.
We hit as many of the bars as possible. I am not going to list each one – I’ll save that for the bar crawl.
At one point we thought it best to have some food – so went to the Queen Victoria Inn. Inside, you’d never think you were in soi 6. It’s a total Oasis. Full of old codgers having a drink or food and not a bar girl/boy in sight. The food is good and the prices were dirt cheap. Really, soi 6 takes some beating.
As the last bars closed up – we thought we would keep in with the ‘sleezy’ theme of Pattaya and head down beach road… beach side.
Once again, we were pleasantly surprised – if not a little disappointed. Gone were the street urchins that would hang upside down by their feet. There were no call to us form the shadows, no girls huddled around a pipe looking over their shoulders. Yeah, there were girls, but most of them looked liked that had come to beach road after the bar they worked in closed for the night.
After a mile or so walk… we found ourselves back at Scooters and hit the sack for the night – in our little rooms. The plan was to do breakfast at 8am – as I had to be back on the boat at 10am.
Many people recall that soi 6 (and beach road) was scary back in the day. That day has long gone. Not so long ago, Rolln mentioned that he felt quite intimidated on soi 6 – which seemed odd to me. Those of you know Rolln will know that on Halloween, Dracula dresses up as Rolln to scare his pals.
So yes, it was a place for the ‘initiated’. No longer. It’s actually not a bad night out. Preferable to Walking Street and LK Monster.
Unless that is, we are just ‘ruined’ veterans and nothing makes our toes curl anymore?