Russians in Pattaya
There seems to be a lot of mixed feelings about the Russian holidaymakers in Pattaya. Some are not so happy about it while others are reeling in the Russian money flooding into the place. In March 2007 Thailand and Russia entered into a mutual visa waiver program between the two countries. This enables Russians to come here on the standard tourist visa as we all know today. The following graph shows the numbers of Russians that have visited Thailand over the past 6 years.
As you can see the amount of Russian tourists has simply exploded, Pattaya has seen it's biggest share of those Russian tourists but you have to simply ask why? Seems to me a lot of them are down on the beach oblivious to the hookers lining the palm trees. I can see young kids playing in the sand and walking down Walking street, what's up with that?
Are the Russians ruining Pattaya? No of course not, this is an international city now and people are going to come here from everywhere, Russian Chinese Malaysians Indians are also increasingly coming to Thailand and why not it's a great place why can't everyone come?
The problem with the new wave of Russian tourists into Pattaya is many if not most of them are not the sex tourist. I remember more than 15 years ago when I first went to Pattaya that's all there was, sex tourists. It was like a secret global meeting place of mongers from all over the world who were seeking one thing. A place where every business revolved around the Sex Industry.
Things have changed a lot now the happy beer bar girl has to watch hundreds of family holiday makers walk by before she get's the opportunity to shout out "sexy man". Anyone working a beer bar isn't too happy about the new "Family Friendly" arrivals.
Are the Russians turning off the wanna be sex tourist? Maybe. Mongers typically don't want to pick up hookers in front of women and children, just makes you feel a little off. Remember this place used to be a secret getaway where you could do this shit without women and children being around, that's why you left yours back home isn't it? It's off putting and I'm sure there are plenty who feel the same effect.
But it's not just the Russian invasion that has changed things, big business and hotels have changed the face of Pattaya as well. Higher rents closer to the beach has been pushing the beer bars further away from the beach.
Pattaya is changing all the time and quite frankly you can't say it's better or worse nor can you live in the past. Take a look at this picture of Pattaya from nearly 50 years ago, there's always an argument that it was better 10/20/30 years ago. Hell in 10 years time we could be saying that today were the good old days.
Are the Russians really outnumbering the original isaan Pattaya girl? Hardly! Whatever horror stories you've been told just forget about it. There are plenty of young brown girls to choose from.
Whether the Russians are here or not it really doesn't matter, as much as Pattaya has changed there's one thing that will stay the same even if 3 million Russians arrive in Pattaya. The Go Go's the beer bars and especially the girls will always be around they just might not be in the place you remember.
Are the Russians really ruining Pattaya?