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I have recently been seeing many stories from the mayor of Pattaya proposing to make Pattaya a “world-class tourist city”. This is a great idea, but first, let’s start with some of the basics that need to be done.
I’m an ex-pat from Canada and I live in one of the many condos that line the Wongamat beach area with neighbors such as the Pullman and Centara Grand Mirage hotels. I consider sections of the beach to be wonderful with very few rocks to stub your toes on when you venture out for an ocean swim.
I recall the days before Covid when the Wongamat beach was so full of tourists, you could hardly find a spot to lay down your beach mat. These days, however, the beach is very quiet, and I find myself the only sole soaking up some of the rays on a sunny afternoon.
One of the favorite pastimes that I see my fellow condo residents do, is to go for a walk, jog or run along the beach. Currently, there are some good sections of sidewalks along the beach, and the condos and restaurants try to keep their sections clean and sand-free.
My concern is that these “sidewalks” are discontinuous. There are sections of the beach walkway that have no path but are just sand. I think that it would be a great idea to make a continuous sidewalk along Wongamat beach, just like the sidewalk that lines the beach road area. (but not as huge, just a regular sidewalk size that matches what we already have) Since there are many hotels along the Wongamat beach area, I am sure that the visiting tourists would enjoy strolling along the beach from the Dusit Thani hotel area down to the Sanctuary of Truth area. It would even be better if we could construct a continuous path that connects the Beach road area sidewalk to the Wongamat Beach area. (a pathway that hugs the ocean) I often wish that we had such a scenic sidewalk to travel from my condo to downtown Pattaya to avoid the city streets.
A peculiarity that I have noticed about the sections of the sidewalk that line the Wongamat beach is the intermittent lighting system. Sometimes the lights are on at night and other nights the sidewalk is completely dark. If you enjoy your evening stroll, it is annoying and sometimes dangerous when there are no lights on this sidewalk, I’ve often seen the lights off during peak tourist periods and this makes me very puzzled as to what controls these lights. I believe the lights should be on a regular, daily timer as many of the locals walk along the beach at night.
I can’t keep emphasizing enough that we need to place regular public garbage containers along the beach. (which would be serviced by government waste management) It would help visitors develop the habit of using the garbage bins to throw away their waste. It would also be beneficial to post some warning signs that littering the beach is a “substantial fine” if you are caught. A perfect place for these refuse and recycling waste containers would be beside the sidewalk for visitors to dump their empty beer bottles and takeaway containers.
Another “world-class” feature that we could add to this beach area is a regular sifting of the sand by a tractor-pulled cleaning machine. There are lots of vendors that make equipment that picks up the beach trash such as cigarette butts, broken glass, plastic bottles, and bags as it sifts through the beach sand. Everyone wants to visit a pristine looking beach and this regular mechanized cleaning would simplify the process. (and provide jobs)
While the water at the Wongamat beach area is not the clearest, a lot of people like myself still enjoy swimming in it. I appreciate that the water seems to be more litter-free these days. Are we being more conscious about littering or is it just the lack of sloppy tourists reducing the waste being thrown into the water? Time will tell as the tourists return.
I believe now is the time to take action in making Wongamat beach more attractive to tourists as well. With a continuous sidewalk, better lighting, and regularly placed refuse containers, it will be a welcome sight to tourists. There are many new hotels and condos being constructed close to Wongamat beach. Let’s treat the newcomers to a “world-class” Thailand beach.
Bob B., Pattaya resident
Photo credit: Thai2siam.com
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