Up Your Soi:
Beach Road Sois 12 to 9
by A Fool in Paradise
From the 7-Eleven on the corner of Soi 12 and Second Road, I headed north, passing the small alley beside Mike Shopping Mall. It is not really a soi, but does contain a series of small art shops and galleries. Anyone needing a portrait done of themselves, a loved one or a famous person from a photograph should check these guys out. I’m no art expert, but the paintings on show and for sale looked very good to me.
Next, I was off to the corner of Soi 11 and Second Road, marked by the Maytara Hotel and Restaurant. That was both the highlight and only thing to mention about Soi 11. There is nothing else in it. It is just another route to take if you want to get to the beach from Second Road.
Heading north along Second Road, I passed Tipp Plaza, which does connect with Beach Road but is thankfully not open to through vehicular traffic. The array of specialty shops includes Cuban Corner for cigar enthusiasts, Wine Collection for all your boutique wine needs, a Chinese restaurant, a pizza restaurant and a Subway at the Beach Road entrance.
After Tipp Plaza there are four beer bars, with Lucky New Friends bar marking the corner with Soi 10. Heading down Soi 10, past Jacky Beer Bar on the left, the first thing apparent about this soi is that it is home to a swathe of hotels, some very new and others under construction.
On the right is the swank Page 10 Hotel on the property which, several years ago, was occupied by the VIP Center of five small beer bars. Next is the Eastiny Residence Hotel, which is currently open but undergoing renovations. Unless their rooms are soundproof I suspect there could be a temporary noise problem for guests during the day.
The Sawasdee Sea View Hotel is next on the right, sporting the famous purple Sawasdee colours, followed by the new Sea Me Too Spring Hotel and Imperial Residence Apartments. Finally, a large and neatly appointed tourist shop on the corner with Beach Road sells souvenirs, t-shirts, bags, bikinis and women’s clothing.
Six years ago, the left side of the soi was home to the usual collection of Thai shops including beer bars, a tattoo shop, hairdresser, small Thai restaurant, laundry, beauty salon and a pharmacy. Now it is mostly a work in progress, apart from The Stay Hotel which appears to be open for business. Not a lot to write about, admittedly, but for tourists wanting a little more peace and quiet than Pattaya usually affords, the hotels may be worth checking out in future.
Once again on Beach Road, I headed towards Soi 9. The entire area between Soi 10 and Soi 9 is taken up by CentralFestival shopping extravaganza billed as “Asia’s Largest Natural Beachfront Shopping Complex”. The home to hundreds of variety, specialty and boutique shops and restaurants, I have already written to the management complaining that after an intensive search I could not find a 7-Eleven. Oversight, I’m sure.
With the entire southern side of the very narrow Soi 9 taken up by Central Festival, the northern side is the only area of interest, beginning with the main Pattaya City Police Station on the corner with Beach Road. Next is the police apartment building and a Thai food court followed by the multi-storey Baron Beach Hotel which, if memory serves me correctly, used to be the Prince Hotel; a Soi 8-9 landmark. The Green Hotel further along appears very nice and secluded, with the swimming pool and lush vegetation giving it the ‘resort’ look.
And that is Soi 9. I am now ready for a break before heading to Soi 8, the place I began my Pattaya experience back in 1998. See you soon, Up Your Soi.