Pattaya partied like it was high season all over again for three days as seemingly everyone in Bangkok came to the city for the Labor Day weekend.
Highway 7 and Sukhumvit Road were both gridlocked April 30 thru May 1 as Bangkokians and residents of other central provinces flocked to the beach, hoping for a little a little respite from the sizzling temperatures that have baked the capital. Bangsaen, Sriracha, Bang Saray, Sattahip and Rayong also were reported to be packed as well.
The beaches were jammed and vendors did great all around, from smaller businesses like mini restaurants along the beach as well as proper eateries on Beach Road. Fresh seafood was popular and Naklua, known for its popular variety of seafood restaurants, boomed.
Offshore, the water was teeming with people on jet skis and banana boats, as well as ferry passengers bound for Koh Larn.
As the majority tourists were Thai families, many brought their own mats, rather than rent chairs, and their own food. Still, there were few complaints among umbrella hawkers, as even those with mats needed shelter from the blazing sun.
Kraisorn, a Bangkok bank employee, came to Pattaya from April 29-May 1 to catch up with friends and relax. He chose Pattaya because it is a popular, affordable place and only just over an hour from where he works. Overall, he said he had a great time and was looking forward to similar breaks in the future.
The only downside, he said, was the traffic, which was impossible on every major road and highway. Police did their best to divert vehicles to keep things moving and were aggressive in rousting double-parkers.
Still, patience on the road was needed as much as sunscreen on the beach during the long holiday weekend.