A day at the park
Words and Pictures by Duncan Stearn
What does Pattaya offer in terms of free daytime fun for the more junior members of the community? Sadly, if you happen to have small children, aged between about three and nine or 10 years old, the scope for physical activity within the Pattaya city limits is, unfortunately, rather restricted.
The various city councils have, in their wisdom, allocated spaces and supplied materiel for the use of parents and children, but none are what you would call first class.
For example, Banglamung district is in control of a small park at the lower end of Naklua Road, right where the popular seafood market is situated. Although the sliders and swings and other facilities for children are limited, the proximity to the sea as well as the aforementioned market and other shops makes it a good place for families to relax for an hour or so.
There is ample parking but it does get busy, of course, on weekends and public holidays.
The beach at Ban Amphur, just a few minutes drive further south after Jomtien, has a reasonable park with slippery slides, see-saws, swings, and other items designed to keep active children occupied for longer than five minutes.
At any given time some of the see-saws and other child-friendly play things will have something broken or loose, but it does appear that the local government people eventually allocate funds and make the necessary repairs.
There’s also a series of exercise stations complete with a variety of training devices for the more active adults and most of these are also safe enough to be utilised by older children. This is another place that is busy at weekends and public holidays, although parking is probably more plentiful than Naklua.
Within the municipality of Nongprue, in eastern Pattaya, is another park area for children. Officially called the 72nd Anniversary Queen Sirikit Health Park, it is located on Soi Mapyialia 30 -turn off Sukhumvit Road in Central Pattaya- and forms part of the Nongprue Sports Stadium complex and is near the Nongprue Police Station and City Hall. Once again there is ample parking.
Given Thailand’s weather, the best times to visit these places with young children is early to mid-morning before the heat of the day has really taken hold, or late in the afternoon. As noted, maintenance tends to be a haphazard affair in all of these locations. While safety for their children is primarily the responsibility of parents, of course, there are some play stations at these various parks which are not as well maintained as they should be. The moulded, hard-wearing, all-weather plastic of the children’s facilities is no match for the exuberance of pre-teen youths.
Nonetheless, with a little bit of care and by keeping the standard watchful eye over their offspring, accidents or injuries should be limited to the usual minor scrapes and scratches which every athletic child is going to endure.