If you ask someone about the streets and roads in Pattaya, usually the conversation will focus on one particular street. Yes, Walking Street. That 700-meter stretch of neon distraction that Pattaya is famous for.
But what about the streets and roads you don’t walk on? Is it easy to get to, from, and around in Pattaya? Ask ten Pattayans and you’ll get ten different answers. For those of us who live here, it seems that the streets and roads are always under some kind of construction. Whether it is putting in better drainage, burying electrical cables, or simply filing in potholes, there is always a Thai guy tearing up the asphalt with a big yellow machine.
The inconvenience all this road work causes will always be the subject of barstool banter here in Fun City. But we really shouldn’t complain. I remember when there wasn’t a Jomtien Second Road. Beach road was a nightmare and getting through to the eastern side of the neighborhood was awful. Then one day the Jomtien Second Road opened, and like magic, new development sprang up, the number of patrons to local businesses increased, and getting in and out of the residential part of the neighborhood became 100% easier.
I also remember what Sukhumvit Road near Pattaya Klang was like before the tunnel. The congestion was miserable any time of day. When plans for the tunnel were announced, locals and expats scoffed at such a grandiose solution. “An underground by-pass … you must be joking”. But, a few years later the tunnel opened and now we can’t imagine life without it.
Many residents of East Pattaya have been stunned when they stumble upon the extension of Motorway 7 that slices through their neighborhood. One long time resident told me, “I just hopped on it to see where it goes, and I found out … it goes on forever”.
Actually, it goes all the way to Maptaphut near Rayong. Motorists who need to get from Bangkok to the southern part of the eastern seaboard can by-pass the bright lights of Pattaya and head directly down the coast. One German expat I met from Bangkok told me he was heading to Trat to catch the ferry to Koh Chang and was pleasantly surprised by the new super highway. “There was nobody on the road”, he said. “It cut at least an hour off my travel time”.
Once again, the Thai government’s infrastructure wizards have managed to pull Thailand’s desirable destinations closer to each other. Add the new and improved roads to the numerous airport and rail projects and you’ll soon realize that every day when you wake up, it is easier to get around than it was the night before.
If we circle back around to the road that Pattaya is most famous for, we’ll see Walking Street has not escaped the eye of the upgrade brigade. For months it has been a shambles, but progress and an estimated completion date have established. The 13-million-baht facelift of Pattaya’s Walking Street includes buried electrical cables and transforming the pavement into “architectural motifs”. According to city officials it will be complete by August this year.
All the road work can be annoying, but in the end, it’s easier to get here ... it’s easier to get out of here ... it’s easier to get around.
Click here for article 1 of our article series: Change your mind about Pattaya
Click here for article 2 of our article series: Three airports are better than one
Click here for article 3 of our article series: Got Time to Take a Fast Train?