Walking Street is internationally known, mostly for it being a haven of in your face prostitution. This for once is an accurate stereo-type about Pattaya and there’s no denying it. Every venue type and every type of prostitute is available in large number’s every single night of the year (give or take a holiday or two). So this includes open air bars with bar girls, GoGo’s with dancers and nightclubs with freelancers. Walking Street, including the small streets that are just off of the block, features as much of the pay for play scene as any man could ever need. But there’s more to Walking Street than just prostitution and you’ll find excellent restaurants with a great view, an upscale nightclub or two, decent enough hotels nearby, and good live music. It’s a massive hub of adult entertainment, and you can have the night of your life even on a budget, any night of the year as long as you’re between the ages of 18 and….let’s say 80. Some people consider themselves to be too good for Walking Street; they’re not and they’re missing out. As long as you’re not uptight, there’s no reason why you can’t have a great time on Walking Street. I’ll share a story with you that shows why how some people ruin Walking Street for themselves, and why anyone can have a good time there.
An American friend of mine and his wife were vacationing in Thailand and I was happy to get a chance to see them. I was thinking about meeting up with them in Phuket or Bangkok since neither one of them knew a lot about Pattaya and since I just didn’t think they would like it. But he insisted on coming to see me where I spend most of my time, so he booked a hotel in Pattaya for a couple of nights. I told him to tell his wife, who’s a bit on the conservative side, not to expect great beaches and to expect to see a lot of bar girls. By the time they arrived I was in the middle of an emergency web project for a VIP client of mine and I told them that I wouldn’t be able to meet up with them until around midnight. My friend asked me what he could to in the mean time since it was early in the evening. I thought about telling them to go to a nice restaurant near the beach to kill some time and I figured I’d eventually meet up with them at one of the nicer bars in town. But with a twist of curiosity and mild deviance I said, “You guys should just go to Walking Street around 9PM and just walk from end to end to see all of the craziness.” I got a text from him at 9:30 that said something like, “Why did you tell us to come here?” That was priceless for me! Deep down I knew that my friend would have loved Walking Street a decade ago, but like so many married couples in the U.S., he and his wife were too uptight to just go with it.
So later that night we met at his hotel’s bar where they were both shocked that I sent them there. “It was so loud and there were transvestites and girls were shouting at us to go into the strip shows.” After a few drinks I said, “Guys, loosen up! You know me; you know I’m not a pervert and we’ve had plenty of good times in the past. Give Walking Street a shot tomorrow but bring an open mind with you.“ So to get a little credibility with them I went to Koh Larn with them the next day and they loved it. They got on a jet ski, they went snorkeling, they ate the jumbo prawns; the works. So in a much better mood and with the alcohol flowing a little freely, we all went out to Walking Street Pattaya again, starting at the 2nd story of one of the Seafood Restaurants with an amazing view. They loved dinner and their attitude was in a really good place, so I took them to Lima Lima which is the nicest night club in Pattaya. They were dancing and enjoying themselves, and she was even dancing with a couple of Thai girls before long! Back on the street after Lima Lima, I made my friend take a picture with a ladyboy on the street who had her tongue out for the shot.; we got a kick out of it. We eventually went to a GoGo, a bar with a Thai band playing classic rock, another night club, and finished the night off with some ice cream. They were almost embarrassed to admit how great a night they had. What a difference one single night made; it was like they were different people than the couple who was upset with me just for sending them there. For me it was just another fun night on Walking Street, but for them it seemed like it was an eye opener as far as knowing how to have fun.
If you give Walking Street a fair shot and you don’t like all the craziness and commotion, I won’t judge you for it. There’s more to Pattaya, and obviously Thailand, than just one strip of bars and clubs. But I think if you do give it a shot, time after time it won’t disappoint.
Notes on Walking Street:
1) There is almost nothing going on during the day. The road is open to cars so the street fills up mostly with cars making deliveries.
2) On weekends you’ll find something open until around 6AM. There is a couple of late night GoGo’s and Insomnia nightclub is usually the last place to call it a night.
3) Remember that there are some hot spots just off Walking Street, like Soy Diamond which has a slew of well known GoGo’s.
4) The best way to have a problem with a ladyboy is to give her the “F off disgusted look.” Some of them, once in a while, will try and embarrass you if you act like that. It’s better just grin in a “thanks but no thanks” style.
5) Don’t go to the Russian GoGo’s. There’s a few and they are total rip-offs. I like Eastern European women and they have a few hot ones, but it’s not worth it. Trust me, been there and done that! If you want a Russian girl, have the stones to try and talk to some that are headed back to their apartment from their shift. Some will ignore you, but once in a while one will be up for…something.
6) For most of the year, Walking Street is unbearably hot. The lights and all of the people make it uncomfortable to walk. Especially if you’re headed from one end (beach) to the other (the pier). The point is to dress appropriately so you can avoid looking like Patrick Ewing in the 4th quarter (thank you Chris Rock).
7) There are some children out there begging or doing some tricks and stunts for money. Use your judgment and just know that sometimes they are being exploited by their parents; so you might not be doing anything good at tall by giving them some money.
8) There are a couple of places that have crazy shows, like the infamous “Ping Pong Ball Show.” I’ve seen it a couple of times but not because a taxi driver brought me in so he could get his 100 baht from the bar; I just happened to be in a bar that turned out to have them. It is what it is; the lady shoots the ping pong balls right out of herself all over the place. It was kind of funny actually.
9) The worst experience I have ever had in Thailand was being in Lucifer nightclub when it got raided by the police. Raids like this do happen. But it was the only time I was at a place when it happened and I have been out hundreds of times; so the odds aren’t good that you’ll see something like that. In any case don’t mess around with narcotics on Walking Street; not worth it.
10) Take a taxi. Not only is parking a nightmare anywhere near Walking Street (bike or car), but you’re probably not going to be in any shape to drive home after a night in Walking Street. So just take a taxi or a motorbike taxi both ways.
*** Most Importantly Do not fight with anyone on Walking Street no matter what; just avoid any and all confrontation. Also make sure to negotiate your rates with girls prior to leaving the street.