Thai tourist masses wash up on Jomtien Beach for Labor Day break

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Just two weeks after the government gave most Thais five days off for the Songkran holiday, it bestowed another five-day holiday – this time for Labor and Coronation days – on the public, and the masses took advantage of it by seemingly all coming to Pattaya.

Locals and long-time visitors reported the worst traffic they’d seen in at least a decade as cars, buses and minivans went bumper to bumper on Sukhumvit Road May 1 and 2, brought to a near standstill by the ongoing construction of the Central Road bypass tunnel. Visitors reported transit times of an hour to travel on Sukhumvit from North to South Road.

Locals and long-time visitors reported the worst traffic they’d seen in at least a decade as cars, buses and minivans went bumper to bumper on Sukhumvit Road May 1 and 2Locals and long-time visitors reported the worst traffic they’d seen in at least a decade as cars, buses and minivans went bumper to bumper on Sukhumvit Road May 1 and 2

Once out of their cars, many descended on Jomtien Beach, which was packed by Thai tourists escaping the rain and heat of Bangkok, and factories in Chonburi and nearby provinces.

Tai, a Buriram native, was off from her job at a factory in Amata Nakhon in Chonburi. She has worked in the province for eight years but had never visited Pattaya. But this year, with May 1-5 off, she packed up the kids, bought food at a cheap market in Chonburi and camped out on the beach.

She didn’t contribute much of anything to the local economy, but had fun nonetheless.

Brothers Wichit and Wichai from Amnart Charoen were off from their jobs as furniture-delivery men in Naklua, for which they are paid the minimum wage of 300 baht a day. This was the first Labor Day they actually had off from work.

Jomtien Beach was packed on Labor Day by Thai tourists escaping the rain and heat of Bangkok, and factories in Chonburi and nearby provinces.Jomtien Beach was packed on Labor Day by Thai tourists escaping the rain and heat of Bangkok, and factories in Chonburi and nearby provinces.

Ploy, 28, didn’t get the day off and found it nearly impossible to get to her beauty parlor in South Pattaya. She begged local officials to do something about the bruising traffic on holidays and during festivals.

Suwat Nuanyai, a 40-year-old squid vendor, complained there weren’t many foreign tourists spending money these days, but said he made good money on Labor Day as many Thais came to Jomtien for the long holiday.