Restaurateur and beauty blogger Rika Dila stands up for Pattaya
I love Pattaya! And some people just don’t understand that. To most Thais, and many expats as well, Pattaya is considered dirty, and low-class, with Hua Hin being the more Hi-So style, preferred destination. For me, however, one of the main things is that I simply love watching the sunset, not the sunrise, and Hua Hin’s beach is east facing so it doesn’t offer sunsets. Plus, to be honest, the sand is whiter and nicer in the Pattaya area. Well, at least on the beach I’m located on, which is known as Sunset Beach. The Thai name is Hat Tawan Ron, and it’s in the area near Bang Saray (literally down the road from the Cartoon Network amusement park). I’ve had a home here for a few years, but I’ve been going to Pattaya regularly since I was a kid.
My Pattaya is amazing—very quiet and private. And the seafood is great! My favourite restaurant is the Surf & Turf Beach Club & Restaurant, on Naklua Soi 16 (near Long Beach Garden Hotel). It’s right next to the beach. Go early for lunch and try to score one of the sofas on the sand. Order a bottle of rośe or white wine and order the spicy lobster spaghetti. Tel: 091 758 3895
For Thai food the place I recommend is Rimpa Lapin, on Na Jomtien 36 (below). Make sure you don’t get too tipsy while you’re there as it’s a long walk up or down the steep narrow stairs. They’re a bit hard to navigate, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views and decent food. Tel: 03 823 5515
For drinks I love to go Drift (above), which is on the 16th floor of the Hilton Pattaya hotel (333/101 Moo 9). I like to slouch on the daybeds outdoors, have a drink, and enjoy the views. You may have to share the serenity with a few more Chinese tourists than you bargained for—there is no escaping them in Pattaya—so just join them and enjoy the experience.
At night, I sometimes make it out to Pattaya City’s infamous Walking Street. It can be fun just to walk around, observe the sleaze, have a good laugh, and watch as the touts and hawkers hustling there try to trick me out of my money.
One of the best kept secrets of Pattaya is the boating scene. I use Ocean Marina (see pg.54) to keep my boat and when I take it out, in just 20 minutes I can reach some of the best little islands, with sand as pristine as what you find in Phuket.
Society darling Rika Dila’s long list of accomplishments include being the owner and designer at such restaurants as Surface and Cafe Chilli. Recently she began sharing her health, beauty, and lifestyle tips online.