Having taken the step out of my comfort zone and made the lifestyle change to travel and live in the seaside city of Pattaya in Thailand, the experience has opened my eyes and mind to the beauty of both Thailand and it's humble people in how to live life with a smile on your face.
Pattaya is renowned as a party town, and this can't be denied, however, when making a lifestyle change and actually live in another country, then an adjustment needs to be made to your mindset, as it can be easy to think of yourself as a tourist, but spending a year overseas is very different to spending a week or two.
I made the decision from the outset of my relocation that I will visit a different area at least once a week in Pattaya and Thailand in order to really appreciate my lifestyle change and have an authentic expat experience outside of the excessive bubble that is Pattaya..
The island of Koh Larn sits only 30 minutes via the old wooden ferries from the Bali Hai pier in Pattaya, and for only 30 BAHT ($1.20 Australian) you find yourself on a little island paradise, one that I have the good fortune of seeing from the balcony of my condo each and every day..
The ferry disembarks in the centre of the small town on the east side of the island, and from there the hustle and bustle, noises of vendors looking to take you on tours or hire you a bike, smells of street food and colours of the small village make you feel like you've flown off to a remote Thai island many hours flight away, but you turn around and see the familiar sights of the Pattaya shoreline a short distance away.
I decided to hire a motorbike to explore as the streets seemed small and there were hardly any vehicles driving around once you left the small main village, and for 250 BAHT ($12 Australian) for an entire day, it was well worth it. Although you do need to feel comfortable riding the motorbikes, and the best advice I would give is to simply take it slow, as once you leave the main small village the roads open up and you get around the island very easily.
My first stop was Tien Beach, only about 10 minutes over slightly hilly roads on the west side of Koh Larn, and the moment my eyes met the crystal clear turquoise waters, I knew this must be the best beach on the island. The short walk to the beach simply ignites the anticipation of reaching the sea, and the warmth of the water doesn't disappoint. So clean and clear, powdery white sand, and even better, not overcrowded with tree lined areas on the sand, but the amazing water made me want to spend way too long in it, as my mind simply drifted to how amazing this feeling was and how this was much better than sitting in the office back in Sydney, but the sun definitely made my tan much more extreme. A few ice cold sweet pineapples and watermelons later and I was ready to explore some more.
Next stop was Tong Lang Beach a little further north, again a pleasant hilly ride with a great viewpoint stop before the downhill descent to the beach. This beach was more crowded, and the one where you have literally every water activity you can imagine. Beautiful sea and sand again, and plenty of restaurants and bars, however this would be a place to visit if you had a few days on the island, as it can be a little harder to find a spot to sit as the families bring the kids down and it is fully of activity.
My final stop was to head south to Kual Beach. Although Koh Larn is small, the motorbike ride is pleasant as the roads aren't busy and it gives a feeling of freedom and fun looking out over the hills and fields where zip lines glide overhead while testing the speed of the ride.
Arriving at Kual Beach again gives a feeling of peace and calm with beautiful sea and sand, although not as spectacular as my favourite beach at Tien. However, a short walk to the rocky sides where the high hills rise from the water, provides a pleasant surprise as wild monkeys come down to the beach, literally on the sea, ready for any spare food that visitors are willing to provide. Getting so close to wildlife is always a thrill, and what this beach lacks in the prettiness of the others, it more than makes up for with the ability to get close to the monkeys. The few bars and eateries along the beach provide a last drink stop on the short ride back to the main village centre.
Returning the motorbike is as simple as simply parking it, and a short walk around the bustling main village to experience the noise and chatter of the locals, then another 30 BAHT trip back to Pattaya as the sunsets over Koh Larn, makes it another great day, a feeling of being productive and being full of positive vibes looking forward to the next adventure.
You can also see my film of Koh Larn at my Youtube channel "Destination Fitness With Carlos" at this link https://youtu.be/ycjS8Px0JQg and of course on my Instagram stories @carloselyseeofficial and @carlos.elysee.blog.