The Pattaya Marathon on July 15th was one of the highlights of our 2018 summer break in the Pacific. I was excited to visit Bangkok again after the race, and Richard was looking forward to connecting with a former colleague and fellow retiree who chose to make the Thai capital his home.
We took the two and a half hour Philippine Airlines flight from Manila to Bangkok on Friday, July 13, 2018 and paid 120 baht bus fare per person for the one hour trip to Pattaya. At the Pattaya Bus Terminal, a taxi driver wanted to charge us 300 baht to Hard Rock Hotel. A fellow passenger who was a seasoned visitor to Pattaya advised us against the taxi. Instead, we took a songtaew for 20 baht each, a local mini bus that resembled the Philippines’ jeepney. The driver dropped us a corner away from our hotel. We stopped at a 7-11 convenience store to get some drinks and continued the walk for about five minutes to reach Beach Road and the pool entrance to the hotel. We quickly checked in and was in for the night.
The breakfast buffet the next morning was sumptuous, just a tad too noisy.
We booked a car and a driver with the hotel to take us to sightseeing. Our first stop was the teak Sanctuary of Truth.
The next stop was a brief one to get our photo with the Pattaya sign in the background. It was so hot we couldn’t help squinting!
Next stop was the Wat Phrai Yai Temple with the Big Buddha.
We spent some time checking out the goods and enjoying the action at the Pattaya Floating Market.
With the major bulk of sightseeing musts done, we finally made our way to Central Festival Pattaya Mall to pick up my bib. I was already pre-registered when the online registration opened on June 19, 2018. Marathon registration is 1,000 baht. The race kit included the bib, singlet, and a drawstring bag.
The mall was located along the Beach Road, the major tourist hub in the city. There were many sidewalk vendors selling race-related merchandise.
We walked back to the hotel to cool off.
The sunset view from our hotel room was beautiful.
We were out again in the early evening to walk the famous Walking Street and get some dinner.
We settled for dinner at one of the restaurants. We were pleasantly surprised that the dining area opened out into the sea.
The Walking Street was hopping with action by the time we finished our dinner. It was a reluctant walk to the hotel for an early night.
I set the alarm for 1:30 AM to be ready for the 3:00 AM start time. The start line was thankfully just a few meters away from our hotel.
There were some product samples available at the starting area. We could also get some water, bananas, and power drinks already.
We were off at 3:00 AM. We ran through the Walking Street for the first few kilometers. I was surprised the clubs were already closed at 3:00 AM but there were still some straggling tourists walking back to their hotels. I was thinking they were open all night!
The aid stations had water, bananas, and the sports drinks. It was windy and overcast, and I took my time to finish the race.
I crossed the finish line in 5:50, slow but still in good shape. Richard and I immediately walked back to our hotel so that we could take a shower and get breakfast at the hotel.
We checked out at noon to take a cab to Pattaya Bus Terminal and ride the bus back to Bangkok.
We were booked at Movenpick Hotel in Sukhumvit Road.
Richard was scheduled for a medical check-up so we skipped the breakfast the first morning.
I got to meet Richard’s friend who is a long-time Bangkok resident.
Our Thailand trip was all too short. It was time to go back to Manila before we knew it.