May 26, 2014
‘Flash Packer’ in Thailand.
As I sit at my desk here in the UK, my mind wanders back to my recent visit to Thailand and my first time as a Flash Packer. In my last post I voiced my concerns that I was worried that I may have hit a time in my life after 40 years of backpacking that I would have to hang up my rucksack, I am pleased to say I have found a new lease of life, Flash Packing has provided me a way of continuing my travels without the worry of staying in hostels where I could not decide whether the quality of accommodation had taken a backward step or that I had got to a point where I wanted more of the creature comforts than hostels delivered.
During my stay in Thailand I stayed in 3 hostels owned and run by Asia BackPackers, the first was for 4 days in their Flash Packer apartments in Pattaya, what can I say…..’Wow’ backpacker’s facilities that consisted of a 40 square metres apartment with its own en suite bathroom, galley kitchen, lounge and dining area with its own separate bedroom and balcony! Not what I believed a backpacker would normally call home, but that’s what I called it for the time I was there.
The reason most of us backpackers stay in hostels was still evident in the bar/common area, in the pleasure and sense of security one gets rubbing shoulders with others who have shared the frill and fun in travelling alone, along with the unique humour and passion true backpackers feel in not being a ‘Holiday Maker’ but being a true ‘Adventurer’.
Pattaya I know is not every ones cup of tea and the press it gets is in part justified (I was last here some 18 years ago) but what I found was a city trying to reinvent its self as a family holiday destination, again not what most backpackers want but there is more than enough to do in around the city to make my stay worth the second visit and to decide that I would not to wait another 18 years before I pass this way again, it’s NOT all about the girlie bars, it’s more about the buzz of this 24 hour cosmopolitan ‘mad house’.
Nobody can say the beaches of Pattaya are the best in Thailand but when you want to soak up the sun’s rays and be waited on from the comfort of a deck chair, then it’s a good place to start, with street vendors plying their wares up and down the beach, selling food, drink, clothes and trinkets along with those offering there and then, Thai Massage, it’s a great place to unwind from a long flight and charge the batteries before starting on a new adventure.
There is so much more to do here than I remember, possibly as my last visit I was in the company of a couple of other backpackers and we spent a lot of time in the bars, not this time I decided, I wanted to see as much as possible and not through the bottom of a beer glass. The guys in the Hostel were able to point me in the right direction and with this new found wealth of information I managed to cram so much into the days and nights I was there. I started by following their guide on ‘Free things to do in around the city’ and from there I was able to decide on tours that kept me occupied and away from the bars during the days, great fun and all on a restricted budget. From my stay in this city full of noise, fantastic colours and smells, I was beginning to see the virtues of Flash Packing and to note that you can still find the fun in staying in hostels if they are run as well as Asia BackPackers in Pattaya.
From this fun and to some brash city I travelled down on the bus to Asia BackPackers hostel/resort in Koh Chang, to continue my travels as a new fledged Flash Packer… see my next post