If you ever feel like bombing Pattaya, think Bang Phra

Route Seven

Just forty kilometers down the road from Pattaya, also known as Sin City, lies an area of outstanding natural beauty near Bang Phra Reservoir. It is to this area you should go if ever you get tired of the alluring ways of Fun City or Sin City or the Extreme City, aka Pattaya! Just hop in your car or get on your motorbike or pump up your bicycle-wheels or jump into your most comfortable jogging-shoes and head for Route 7. Once on it go straight for forty kilometers, take a turn on the left, another left, a right and about two kilometers down that road turn left when you see a sign for Bang Phra Non-Hunting Area. You will have picked up several fines on the way if you jogged or motorbiked or bicycled but never mind. How were you to know you were on the motorway that leads to Thailand’s famous airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport? Yes, cars only, please.

The Park

You dust yourself down and enter a park of magical waterlands, foresty trees, marshes, wildering vegetation of slurpy magnitudes, and you start to see the most marvellous array of birds.

There Are Birds And There Are Birds

In my novel about Pattaya called “Collected Selected Words” aka “Sexy Thai Bar Girls And Me” (the updated version), I mentioned the marvellous array of birds in Walking Street and those bar girls had names like “Yoyo, Nok, Nit, Nim, Mot, Fookart, Noy, Lek, Nuey, A, Ann, Saa, Oy, Jing, Jeng, Ling, Srai, Pere, Oon, Hot and Naan” (Chapter 4, “Characters”) which I felt compelled to translate as “Yoyo, Bird, Bit, Ant, Fuck’ard, Little, Small, Tired, A, Ann, Saa, Sugar Cane, True, Jeng, Monkey, Left, Pere, Oon, Hot and Long Time” but now you will find yourself staring at far more innocent but equally marvellous birds with names like egret, drongo, hoopoe, adjutant, bulbul, oriole, barbet (not to be confused with bar bet), bee-eater, coucal, koel, malkoha (not to be confused with mal a-go-goer), dove, pigeon, jacana, lapwing, kite, cormorant (not to be confused with short-time shag), shrike, minivet, myna (not to be confused with gold-digger), tailorbird, bushlark and munia. You will breathe a sigh of relief because these birds keep their distance and do not take your money.

If you like other fauna you can bet on seeing a squirrel or two, some sly, ferret-like guys who cross your path in an underhand, gangserish kind of way, and snakes. What buckles you up with the big wonder of it all is the landscape. It really is land and escape.

Twitching To Obliterate Pattaya

But how did you get here and why did you want to annihilate Pattaya, and, as important, why do you still want to annihilate Pattaya? Well, you’d been having a spot of trouble in the bars what with the ladies and the booze and the brain not being up to it. You’d got tired and a bit haggered about the chops, knackered had become one of your favourite adjectives, but in true fighting form and stalwart that you are, you’d gone for Walking Street and you’d hit the bars yet again! You’re a generous sort of guy and you bought four lady-drinks. The mamasans, there were two, stressed that their working girls were ever so thirsty so you bought another three. Bleary, you called for your bill. Five more lady-drinks had been added while you were heaving up in the loo.  You take a look at your bill and you faint. Now, you’re outside and you wake up three thousand baht the lighter and you’re looking at a tourist policeman who is there to tell you to walk home, don’t even think of driving, and when you start to babble that you’ve been robbed he looks at you scornfully and says, “You’re drunk. On your way.”

Bang Phra Infinitely Preferable To Pattaya

And that’s why Bang Phra is infinitely preferable to Pattaya and that’s why you’ve become a dedicated ornithologist for at least one day. Of course, the delights of waterlands may well wear thin and then it will be back to the loud sounds and neon lights but for now you are a nature-lover and while loving nature you suddenly realise you don’t want to go home to face that interview with your irate bank-manager. You look at a hut in the distance and think “Walden”. By your feet is a large, colourful lizard that seems to be grinning at you. You decide to frighten the bastard by pushing it nearer and nearer to the edge, the water-edge. You’re on a bridge. Brown swirls are underneath. The game goes wrong and the lizard falls in. He will swim out, you think, but there is a loud slosh like sluice-gates chomping, and you never see the wee fella again. Now you have a murdered lizard on your conscience, your bank manager at home is waiting to murder you, and you appear to be surrounded by aggressive nature.  That lesser adjutant’s bill also takes on a formidable, dagger-like form. You think just one drink tonight in Walking Street, yes, just one, to keep up the Dutch courage. You need it.

Bang Phra Non-Hunting Area – Infinitely Preferable To Pattaya For Half A Day

You leave Bang Phra behind you, sighing. You pay another bill because the lady has woken up and is sitting by the entrance gate waiting for you but it’s only 80 baht. You drive out and head for Pattaya.

It’s been a great day in the great outdoors but you need a drink.

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