SPORTING ACTIVITIES IN PATTAYA
By Kevin Cain
Pattaya is a fun, happening city and the largest Thailand tourist destination on the Eastern Seaboard. It is also a place where many expats have decided to make their permanent home and to live out their days by the rolling sea and under the hot sun.
The atmosphere is really buzzing with people from all over the world living side by side with their Thai counterparts.Both cultures interacting together to offer so much to each other in terms of cuisine, language, art, music, behaviour and of course sport.
Because of it’s location Pattaya is ideal for the participation of all sports but mostly so outdoors. And because the inhabitants of the city work so hard they are also determined to make the most of their free time and enjoy participating in every manner of sporting activity. In fact many workers from the Bangkok area will journey to Pattaya at the weekend to enjoy the sports on offfer.
With it’s enviable position placed majestically peering out over the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya is one of the best places in the whole of Thailand to participate in sports on the water.
The water around Pattaya is famous for attracting nautical themed sporting activity, and the gentle winds make it ideal for yachting, windsurfing, sailing, surfing, skiing, jet-skiing, and every other water based sport you can think of.
Pattaya is home to numerous first class yachting events with the Yacht club at Cozy beach and numerous regattas and shows held at the fabulous Ocean Marina Yaching Club.
For Jet Ski enthusiasts there is the Kings Cup held annually at Jomtien beach area. Also regular windsurfing competitions are held out in the bay ongoing throughout the year.
Just about anything that can be thrown, kicked, hit and launched has a home in the sports of Pattaya.
There is an annual rugby tournament organised by Pattaya Panthers Rugby Club as well as numerous club games and junior events. Pattaya is home to two football clubs; Pattaya United and Pattaya City both of which attract a healthy support. For amateur players regular six-a-side football is available all week.
Football is becoming a very popular spectator and participant sport in Thailand. Mostly because of the wide coverage of the English Premier League. Full size pitches are available in most of the bigger sports clubs and there are even some very good artificial pitches that can be hired in the city.
Pattaya holds prestigious tennis tournaments and there is the regular professional Women’s Tennis Tournament held around July. There are numerous private courts dotted all over the city and in hotels for amateur players and enthusiasts to enjoy the sport.
Even a French influence has crept into the Pattaya sporting scene with the Pattaya Petanque Club (Petanque being a form of boules) . Open for members and non members alike, all ages are encouraged to participate.
More expectedly golf is one of the reasons why so many expats choose to live in Thailand and Pattaya in particular. There are some spectacular courses all over the Chonburi region and Pattaya regularly plays host to professional mens’ and ladies’ international tournaments, most recently the LGPA tournament at the Siam Country Club old course.
If you prefer ball on willow then perhaps you should join Pattaya Cricket Club who hold regular training and nets as well as organising matches out near Horseshoe Pass.
As well as some more of the more common sports available, Pattaya has some very interesting and spectacular pastimes to take part in. Out near Huay Yai you can try the ancient sport of archery while there are many shooting galleries to try your marksmanship skills.
Try your marathon and cross country technique with the Pattaya Hash House Harriers, the club regularly host runs utilising the local terrain to the full.
Volleyball is one of the most popular participating sports for local Thai people living in Pattaya. There are many courts gathered all over the city from outdoor sports arenas to beach side courts. You can find players enjoying the exercise late into the night as many of the courts are floodlit.
Sepak Takraw is a sort of volleyball played with the feet. It takes place on a court very similar to that of a volleyball court and is played three-a-side. Normally you will see locals enjoying playing Sepak Takraw at sports centers and almost any outdoor space they can find.
Everybody recognises Muay Thai as one of Thailand’s biggest sporting exports. There are a couple of stadium’s in the city which host regular professional bouts and some of the local gyms also stage amateur matches for willing contestants.
If you take a trip out to Chonburi you can even enjoy a spot of Water Buffalo racing. Guaranteed to bring spills and excitement as the huge beasts are ridden down a straight course to the winner’s post.
Because of the influence of foreign expats, Pattaya has been heavily influenced in adopting all sorts of weird and wonderful sports that you will just not find in other parts of the country. Mix this IN with the popular Thai sports that already exist and you are left with a sporting scene that puts most places firmly in the shade.