Royal Garden Plaza was the originator of the ‘entertainment mall’ concept in Pattaya, bringing together family attractions and activities, a selection of restaurants, and international brand shopping, and it is still a blast of fresh, air-conditioned air to the beach city’s shopping scene. Occupying the full block between Beach Road and 2nd Road in Central Pattaya, the mall can be accessed from either side, but for the most impressive facade, go to the 2nd Road entrance and walk underneath the eye catching mock airplane that is half hanging out of the upper floors of the shopping centre. The plane belongs to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a museum of oddball finds, unique curios and a central attraction at the mall.
There is an impressive range of shops covering all four floors of Royal Garden Plaza, with something for all the family. Fashionistas will enjoy the latest trends found in Esprit, Guess, and Jaspal (a popular Thai brand), while a large Super Sport outlet is stocked with a range of sporting goods and beachwear. Swarovski keeps the ladies happy with a constantly updated selection of jewellery and Jim Thompson Factory Sales Outlet is a popular shop for picking up finely crafted silk items such as scarves, bags, clothes and pillowcases which make great souvenirs of your trip to Thailand. Many booths along the ground floor walkways have been rented by real estate agents who are trying to sell condos and timeshare options to sunburnt shoppers but they aren’t usually intrusive.
Eating options include everyday favourites such as Pizza Company, Sizzler and The Coffee Club, as well as Food Wave, a stylish food court concept with a comprehensive range of dishes from around the globe; speciality cooking islands serve everything from Indian to Korean, Italian and even Turkish cuisine. Food Waves’ outdoor balcony has amazing uninterrupted views overlooking Pattaya Bay and makes a great place to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat around sunset.
Royal Garden City has cornered the rainy day market in Pattaya for over a decade with a series of fun, family-friendly attractions and activities. It all started when Ripley brought his lifetime’s collection of weird and wonderful oddities to town and opened a freak’s gallery called ‘Believe it or Not’. Ripley’s original idea is still going strong and attracts an endless stream of curious families to gawp and gaze at deformed human heads, amphibious cars, and a scale model of the Titanic, painstakingly constructed from one million matchsticks.
Although there is no cinema here, other attractions in Royal Garden City include Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works, which is suspiciously similar to another – more famous – Tussaud’s gallery found elsewhere, but is an entertaining family activity and provides ample opportunity for pictures with celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Michael Jackson and David Beckham. There is also an Infinity Maze, a 4D Moving Theatre and, not for the faint hearted, a Haunted Adventure which elicits lots of screams and laughter. All of these activities have individual admission prices but it’s possible to buy a Super All Play Package which cuts 50% off the regular price.