The views of Beach Road and the Gulf of Thailand beyond from the floor to ceiling windows were a wonderful way to wake up for the finale of our time in Thailand. There are two pools on the property, one on the seventh floor with saunas and extended garden area and the other on ground level with whirlpool and waterfalls and wonderful views of the beach and sea without the hassle of the sand. The pool and garden wicker furnishings are of high quality, plentiful and comfortable. You will find listings in this building on sites such as VRBO and booking.com. The rates were great for the amenities, space, surroundings and views.
A couple years ago we stayed in Pattaya and took a songtahew to Jomtien one afternoon. We had commented then if we were ever to return to this coast we would give Jomtien a whirl. The crowds are just too hectic for our preference in Pattaya.
This week proved to us that Jomtien is high on our list of destinations to return to. We found budget pricing on everything. We enjoyed the full gamut of salon services including Thai, oil, aloe vera and foot and leg massages, foot scrubs, facials, haircuts, manicures, pedicures and polishes and no service exceeded 300 baht. ($9) Just imagine what the cost of these would have amounted to in the USA! We found all service staff to be well trained, facilities clean, although sometimes modestly furnished (not high end salons by any means), awesome natural oils and herbs and friendliness of service staff to be top notch. The abundance of “salons” available makes it easy for anyone to find the environment to fit their comfort zone, especially at these prices!
Food options are plentiful. From sea view restaurants to street vendor carts to night market to Thai residential neighborhood restaurants, all options were easily available to us. Our average expenditure for dinner with beverages was 8-900 baht for the two of us. We ate seafood, Thai food and Italian. Our fav, a specialty for this area that we found on a few menus was singing scallops baked with cheese, they are shown in the last picture below. Mouth watery delicious, it’s a must try on your visit here!
We rented a motorbike, not because public transport is not easily available but because our preference is the freedom to discover that it gives us. The cost was reasonable at about $55 for the week.
We took a day trip south to Sai Kaew Beach to meet our newlyweds and fam for one last get together. When they messaged via Line (Popular app for text and call throughout the country; great to have downloaded to your smart phone when traveling here or many other international locations.) I could not resist the temptation to meet them as I saw that it was also home to a Naval training station. It was the day of the services for my Uncle who had passed. I could not think of a more fitting way to honor him from this distance. Once arrived at the gate, we were required to park our motorbike and proceed with escort from Naval staff. There is fee to motorbike taxi to the ticketing gate of 50 baht per person (foreigners are not allowed to drive on the grounds) and beach access fee of 150 baht. Once dropped at the entry fee station transportation was provided the remainder of the way to the beach by songtahew. The station grounds are pristine and dotted with housing, training and rec facilities. The beach itself is immaculate, soft, white sand and not crowded. We relaxed a bit, saluted and toasted to my uncle and then took a ride on a banana boat pulled behind a speed boat which was great fun for the 5 of us that went and a great value at 600 baht total ($18) for 30 minutes of riding, getting tossed in the water and climbing back on to do it all over again. All non Thai residents are required to be off this beach no later than 6pm which was fully enforced. Our friends were ready to leave as well so we hitched a ride with them back to the motorbike at the gate. As we approached the parking lot, I heard the bride’s youthful screech as she saw the mess a brood of monkeys were making all over her truck and surrounding vehicles. The mischievous little creatures had figured out how to open the cover on her pickup cargo area and found a large container of perfumed talcum powder. They were having a hey day jumping around tossing the open powder container amongst each other. The vehicles were white from the powder. As they heard the bride and saw the rest of us coming they scattered to the nearby trees. These lil wild fellas were being very true to their comedic characteristics! They really gave us a great laugh to end a wonderful day!
Excursion number two of this trip we traveled north to Wang Suen Sak, a Buddhist temple. Our ride took us through coastal Sri Racha, which is truly the hometown of the well known chili sauce. This hell temple might not have seemed quite as gory (maybe because of seeing these styles of representation before) as the first we visited in Phang Gna but it really gave us food for thought and fodder to inspire poolside conversation. The Naraka Swn (hell garden) gave us an overview of the Five Precepts and the punishments doled out to those who do not keep them. Some punishment was reinforced around the main precept representations. A myriad of Animism’s superstitious influence was present.
The pathway to enlightenment was also depicted in statues. Reinforcement about the importance of making merit was focused on.
Adventure number three found us marveling at the progress made since our 2017 visit to The Sanctuary of Truth. We agreed that we gathered way more insight into the questions of Buddhism verses Hinduism represented in these beautifully designed wooden halls. The intricate work is preformed completely by hand. Power tools are not found on this project expected to reach full completion in 2050. Hammer, chisel and other hand held wood crafting tools, scaffolding, paint brush and stain are visibly in use while you tour. The views framed out in carved windows looking into the sea, jungle or gardens are perfectly positioned to give you pause to wonder over the faith based ideas presented in the artistry. What Suen Sak temple is or is not is completely opposite of The Sanctuary of Truth. Here you feel safe to wander the halls and find hope in redemption. Amazing. Awe striking. Here in the Sanctuary you feel warm and fuzzy.
Motorbiking through the sois of Pattaya proved to be quite the nerve wracking undertaking, at least for this passenger. My driver on the other hand giggled with delight at the riding skills that were put to the test as he maneuvered in and around and over and back. These narrow streets, many of which have no traffic signs or signals were not meant for the heavy use they see in today’s tourism driven market and it is purely a free for all, may the best driver win, no rules applied here. We did head to this territory for some “people watching” a couple times. We were amazed at the number of girly bars packed into these square kilometers. Where do all the girls come from and how in the world are there enough customers for them all to make money? There are plenty of shops, indoor and outdoor markets and full blown malls to make any shopping maven happy. I have to say, the vibe is really great and the mix of American and Thai music, sounds of the pool balls dropping and girls crying out their “helllooo”, “massage madame?” “you buy drink for me papa?”, the honking of horns and reactionary leaning to the driver’s agility did not lead to boredom.
We chose to partake of our nightlife in Jomtien so we had no riding risks and to avoid the throngs (read: crowd claustrophobia). We are very glad we did as we were well entertained at places like The Country Club where the hubster shot some pool with a couple lady boys who challenged him when we stopped in and he could request railing guitar tunes like “Still Loving You” by the Scorpions and be very impressed by the house cover band while I got to put on my dancing shoes. The ladies over at ‘Da Family lived up to their name and made us feel right at home. I once again increased my Facebook friend numbers with a few women who will find pride and joy in the sharing of our posts as will I.
When it was time to leave, booking a private SUV was an easy method to insure ease of access and comfort for our hour and a half trip back to Bangkok. Online booking, earning the Expedia points as well as the cash back from our linked Ebates account made this a great value ride. Use the link in the word Ebates and start saving big yourself on many online shopping sites! I earn enough with this cash back site to shop for my seasonal wardrobe! The cash back goes directly to your account monthly!
Thank goodness we always play it safe and arrive in the city for our outbound flights the night before instead of the day of or we would have missed our flight home! A downpour started in Jomtien just as our driver finished loading our baggage and we were getting in the car. He located the fastest route with no traffic jam notification via his GPS and we headed out but it wasn’t 15 minutes that had gone by and the inundating rain had us coming onto flooded roadways. The driver consulted his GPS, rolled down his window and chattered with fellow Thai drivers and shopkeepers but every direction we turned we ran into flooded streets. Up to the bottom of the vehicle doors, even in an SUV, kind of flooding. My “safety manager” advised the course of action should we fall into an area where the road had washed away and find ourselves submerged. I’ll repeat it here in the hopes you’ll never have to use it, as we did not, but good lessons are always nice to have in your wheelhouse! If you are in a vehicle submerging in water, gather your senses, remain calm, unbuckle your seat belt. Roll down the window and swim out and up. If power windows don’t work try to break the side window. If you can’t do that then wait for the car to fully submerge and FILL with water. Keep your head up, breathe as long as you can, then hold your breath when necessary and when the vehicle is full the pressure will stabilize and you will be able to open the door and swim to the surface. Catch your breath. You can do it.
Back to the tale…Finally after an hour and 20 minutes of driving, going south instead of north, further inland than necessary and back out again, our driver braved flooded roadways. It was scary as the water rushed around us up to our doors and he risked engine failure. He had his next booking to make, an airport pickup, with no way to contact the foreign travelers or we would have just pulled off on high ground as many drivers were doing. He prayed in Thai, we held each other’s hands. It was slow going with jet skis washed off their trailers into the waters, kids risking the unknown threats to play in the water, already stalled cars and the unknown items already under water to maneuver around. It took us another 20 minutes but finally we moved far enough north to get past the flooding and then take some country roads to the next motorway on ramp. We laughed with relief about good fortune as we drove. We stopped for gas and the driver inspected his engine and the car body, no damage. He checked his next passengers flight status, landing had been delayed and he could still make it to the airport to retrieve them. Karma!
Finally three and a half hours later we pulled into the drive of At Residence Suvarnabhumi. Relief. It offered a great stay for arrival and departure from the city at the right price with restaurant and convenience store on site, open air market and indoor mall within walking distance and airport shuttle btw!
After twenty two hotels in the last nine weeks our days of fun in the sun in the land of smiles has come to an end. We’ll be back again, I don’t know when but we love you Thailand, let’s always be friends!
Now it’s time to head home to the good ol’ USA for some family, friends and business time. Watch for tips, trends, newsworthy notes, pictorial stories and even some local adventure as I hope to continue to grow this website and the value it brings to you, my readers! #comelivelifewithme #cometravelwithme
PS And the Jomtien sunsets are wonderful and we didn’t even go on a boat or ferry ride to one of the islands to snorkel :-/ See, we have to go back 😉