It is a well beaten drum the stick Pattaya gets, honestly even my Russian wife would rather not live here. In fact the words ‘babies’ and ‘children’ would usually only be mentioned in the same breath with Pattaya as one of the consequences for what goes on in this city.
Anyway, my debate today centres on whether a family can actually have a good, wholesome life living in Pattaya. And my case study for this? My family.
Sure, there are things about Pattaya I don’t like. The corruption and the current over tourism from the Chinese that gridlocks the streets with coaches and pollution being the two biggest gripes of mine, but besides that it offers so much.
My wife will always tell me Pattaya is no place to raise a family. She doesn’t want them exposed to lady-boys and prostitutes lined up on Pattaya Beach Road for example. All very good points and no ‘streetwise’ arguments will convince her otherwise, and – I am first to admit – maybe I have been here so long that I don’t see the problems anymore. It is normal for me, and I cannot fathom if that is a good or bad thing.
However what I thought would be good for the basis of this article is to talk you through a typical day in the life of my young family so you can work out for yourself if Pattaya is really that bad for children.
Typically as I am leaving for work our nanny will turn up and my wife will either go to the sauna or attend her yoga class. My kids are 3 and 4 years old and I have yet to send them to school. They will play in our home and go for a swim in the pool, even at their tender years they can both swim very well – they can even dive. I am sure living back in the UK their swimming skills would not be so advanced.
More often or not my wife also takes our kids to the beach to play in either Pratamanak or Jomtien – certainly not Pattaya beach as this in my mind is awful. It is crowded beyond belief and the sea looks dirty.
By evening time, as a family we will go somewhere to eat – my favourite being an Italian restaurant on beach road where all the meat and vegetables comes for the restaurants own organic farm. I will enjoy a pint of premium import draft beer and my wife a glass of wine. In Pattaya we are spoiled for choice of restaurants and all at very little cost. Life does appear pretty good.
If I have good energy after a day at work I also like to take the kids to Harbour Mall – a mall which dedicates two floors of activity just for kids; from roller skates, ice rinks, trampolines, climbing walls to general play areas. They love it, like really love it.
When it comes to shopping there is the large Central Festival Shopping Centre and shortly the impressive looking Terminal 21 shopping mall will be complete – it looks huge.
With the daily ferry to Hua Hin now, it means some weekends we will spend over on this beautiful seaside resort. I can double the trip up with business as I also have business interests here too.
When I consider we have year round sunshine too, for me at least, it seems a great set up.
That is my rose tinted views on living in Pattaya with kids, but I have skirted the main issue: Education. This is the biggest issue. If you want your children to go to good schools – comparable to the UK – then it will cost you a lot of money. I simply will not send my kids to a regular school here as they are not good enough. I would have let my kids down if I did this.
So a family can have a wonderful life living in Pattaya but with schooling the biggest issue, it does come at a cost.
In conclusion, Living in Pattaya can be fun for all ages, but there is an unpleasant underbelly to Pattaya that we all need to be aware of – even if it is not so overtly in your face like it was a decade ago.