Top 10 tips for expat teenagers in Pattaya
14 July 2014
After spending my teenage years growing up as an ex-pat in Pattaya, there are some tips and advice I would give to others who are currently in the same position, or are soon to be so.
Living in Pattaya: Being a Teenager in Thailand
- Take up a hobby. The wonderful thing about living in Pattaya is that there are plenty of things to do. If you are an animal lover you could take up horse riding at Horseshoe Point or if you enjoy shopping then Central Festival mall offers a wide range of shops which appeal to a wide variety tastes. If you have a passion for photography there are some beautiful places to shoot such as Silverlake. Pattaya also has some great beaches; the main beaches like Jomtien Beach and Pattaya Beach have exciting activities such as jet-skiing, windsurfing or snorkeling. There are also quieter, more scenic beaches on the outskirts of central Pattaya which are ideal for family trips.
- Have a healthy social life. Instead of focusing on making as many friends as possible, it’s more important to concentrate on making strong friendships which are likely to last. I found it particularly important to ensure I had an appropriate balance between my social life and my academic studies. Ensuring you manage your time efficiently between these two aspects of your life, which are both extremely important as a teenager, allows you to do everything you want to do and need to do without having to miss out due to having too much coursework piled up.
- Try to learn the language. If you’re not Thai and do not speak the language, make sure you put in the effort to learn some Thai because the locals really appreciate the effort and it makes it much easier for you to get by. Also if you speak some Thai you are less likely to get ripped off or be overcharged as you’ll be able to bargain down from the tourist prices.
- Stay safe. If you are out in Pattaya, especially at night, make sure you are with a group of friends or with your family and that you have your phone on you at all time so you can get in contact with someone responsible just in case you encounter any problems.
- Avoid the Pattaya nightlife. Places such as Walking Street should be avoided as they attract the wrong sort of people, people who you don’t really want to come into contact with. If you do want a special night out, which most teenagers do, there are much better alternatives such as relaxing on the Hilton rooftop which has great views of Pattaya, or even organising small gatherings over a friend’s house.
- Explore the culture. Thailand has a rich cultural background and Buddhist traditions which are extremely interesting and if you are living in Pattaya you should take full advantage of the opportunity to explore this culture and these traditions. Pattaya has many attractions such as the Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya Floating Market and Viharnra Sien, which give you a real insight into Thai ethos and beliefs. There are also Thai festivals such as Loy Krathong and Songkran which give you a real sense of the culture and the Thai way of life. These festivals are celebrated by everyone in Pattaya and are great to take part in because you are unlikely to get the chance to experience anything else just like these festivals anywhere else.
- Wear appropriate clothing. It is disrespectful to reveal too much skin in Thai culture so make sure that your shorts or dresses are an appropriate length because if they are too short it can make the locals nearby feel uncomfortable. Moreover, if your clothing is slightly inappropriate you may attract the wrong sort of attention, especially in Pattaya.
- Have a healthy diet. Thailand has a fantastic range of exotic fresh fruit and vegetables and the local Thai food is very flavorsome as well as tremendously nutritious. As a teenage it is crucial that you eat as well as possible as your body is growing and needs all the right nutrients and sufficient energy to function on a daily basis. Eating properly will boost your brain power and will help you when it comes to your studies as it helps improve concentration. Therefore I would highly recommend taking advantage of all the delicious and nutritional food available in the markets or in many restaurants here in Pattaya.
- Drink lots of water. Thailand is extremely hot and you can easily get dehydrated without even realizing. If you drink the recommended two litres of water daily it will help improve your skin and it also helps hydrate your brain which is likely to help you get better exam results if you keep it up!
- Get involved in extracurricular activities. As a student from an international school such as Regents, I found that there was always something going on outside of the standard school day. There were always school trips, conferences, or charity projects going on. I would strongly encourage anyone who is in the position I was to take part in as many of these extracurricular activities as possible whilst ensuring they do not adversely impact on your IB Diploma studies. Taking part in these activities looks great on your university applications and your CVs as they allow you to differentiate yourself and give you something to talk about during interviews which gives you an advantage over many others applying for the same position.
Zanzi studied at Regents from 2010 to 2012. She is now studying European Management with Spanish at university in the UK.
Settling-in: A Guide to Pattaya, Rayong, Thailand