Laem Chabang (Pattaya), Thailand -- November 26, 2016
We woke up to a beautiful day at the port of Laem Chabang, our second day here. Our ship would stay in port until 3:00 this afternoon. With many people spending the night in Bangkok, it felt less crowded on this ship this morning when we had breakfast at the Lido at 6:30. We did not have any plans for the day and figured we will see what comes our way. At 8:30, we got off the ship and as we walked off the gangway we were greeted by the taxi operator. We were sold to take a van for the day for $100 USD. I know we could have bargained lower but it was a price that we could accept. I told the person in charge that we just wanted to go to Sanctuary of Truth and then the beach. No factory, no shopping and no farms. We wanted to be back in port before 1:30. He then called a driver over and gave him the instruction. I was hesitant to pay the guy right away but he assured me that there won't be a problem and gave me a receipt. Good thing that I had the receipt because of what happened later in the day. He emphasized that if there is any problem to call him on the phone number printed on the receipt.
On our way to Pattaya.
Sanctuary of Truth
It was about a 40-minute drive from port to Pattaya. Our first stop was the Sanctuary of Truth which I have read so much about. Seemed that it's the 'must-go' place in Pattaya. Our driver went and got our tickets of 500 baht each, not exactly cheap! Then we just followed the signs and the other visitors to find the sanctuary.
This tree with gold decorations was right in front of the entrance.
We had to walk down these stairs to the site.
Petting zoo with rabbits
They also had the elephant rides.
Then, the Sanctuary.
It is an absolutely beautiful wooden structure.
With lots of details that show skillful craftsmanship.
The cafe and shops in front of the sanctuary.
Just like La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, this building is a work in progress.
We were required to put on hard hats as we were touring the place.
Entrance to the building
We were told that not a single nail was used in this building.
Sea wall at the back of the building.
Looking outside of the sea wall.
Some people enjoyed taking a ride on the horse-drawn carriage.
Now we are inside of the building at one of the balconies.
An elevator that's not being used.
Craftsman at work. Wait! How come he wasn't wearing his hard hat?
Exit of the building.
The last thing we saw was the carving of a family.
This certainly is a huge work of art!
Chung and Mavis, our travel friends from New York whom we met on the Sinorama Tour last November and took the same cruise in March, told us that we must try the non-dairy coconut ice cream when in Thailand. We found those here, at the outdoor cafe. It was so good that ChC had two of. For a person who don't usually like things with coconut, I agree that these were very good. A must-try item.
Enjoying our ice cream under the shade.
In the work area next to the cafe...
...workers working on these wood carving on a daily basis.
Looks like this will be part of a ceiling.
After spending enough time at the Sanctuary of Truth, we met up with the driver and he took us to the beach area. He dropped us off and we agreed to meet back up at the same spot at 12:30, to drive back to the port before 1:30. First thing that attracted us as we got off the van was a vendor selling frozen mango at the front of the market beside the street. They freeze the fresh mango on a stick and vacuum packed it. Looked refreshing, clean, and delicious. Other than the frozen mango that they were selling, the couple was eye-catching too. The woman was absolutely beautiful and the gentleman could have been either Korean or Japanese who spoke very good English. Little did we know that they turned out to be our greatest helpers for the day later on.
We crossed the very busy and dangerous street to the beach, took a few pictures and then found some loungers for rent. 40 baht each. We were not going to swim, just wanted to relax a little and watch the world goes by.
The beach looked nice but just too busy and crowded.
We also got some fresh coconuts as we relaxed in our shaded spot.
The problem here was that you really can't totally relax with people coming and asking if you want a massage or if you want to buy something every couple of minutes.
After about an hour staying at the beach, we left to meet our driver back at the drop-off point.
Crossing the very busy street again to the market area.
Our meeting point was about a block away from the market but our driver was no where to be seen when we got there. We waited and waited with no sight of him. We kept hoping that the next van driving up would be ours but no such luck. After waiting for 15 minutes, watching tour buses stopping and taking people away right in front of us, we decided to call the taxi operator. With no local phone connection, we went back to the couple who were selling the frozen mango and asked if we could use their cell phone to call. She was so kind and even helped us by calling the number on the receipt and talked to the operator about our situation. The operator then called the driver, and then called us back on her phone. It turned out that the driver moved his van up a block because the police wouldn't let him park at the original spot. Well, duh, then you should have walk back to meet us at the appointed time. How in the world would we know you were one block away? We thanked the couple and offered to pay them for the calls but they refused to accept. May God bless them, our angels in Pattaya! If anyone is going to Pattaya and see this couple, please tell them "Thank You" for us!
We got back in time, around 1:30, and still had time to check out the vendors. There were some good bargains there and we bought a few things before getting through security back on the ship.
Vendors at port
We had been on Diamond Princess twice. One on an Alaska cruise tour in 2011, and then the back to back Grand Japan cruise in 2015. Have wonderful memories of her and she was docked behind us that day in Laem Chabang.
The two huge car-shipping ships docked in front of Volendam at port.
They brought all these new cars to Thailand!
We had a late lunch at the Lido that afternoon in a very empty dining room. This was the only day that we did not even think about lunch while in port.
My first cannon ball burger from Dive In. Delicious!
That afternoon we napped, did the laundry in the self-service laundrette, then went up to the Lido to see Menard who gave me another sampling of his Filipino pork stew. I was pretty stuffed after that and figured that I wouldn't need a big dinner that evening.
Scallop and crab Gratin
Papaya, pineapple and orange plate
Thai shrimp bisque
MOR's mahi mahi
I was happy to see the three small pieces of lamb filet, just the right size for me.
Come to think of it, I really should have other kinds of dessert instead of having ice cream almost every night.