Apart from Tiger Woods’ mansion, could anyone pick a better venue? The only surprise is that Pattaya is set to snatch the crown from Germany, of all places.
On February 13 Thailand’s liveliest resort town and the world of speed-dating are to collide in an encounter that was surely written in the stars. Ripley’s World of Adventure Pattaya and dating agency Sanook Online are preparing a devastating blow to the current world speed-dating record.
‘This is a good opportunity for people who are looking for real love,’ said Somporn Naksuetrong, general manager of Ripley’s World of Adventure Pattaya.
Participants can register free at thaimate.sanook.com and the organisers hope at least 253 will sign up, so they can top the record set by Dating Café in Germany back in November 2008.
The German record looks totally kaput. Pattaya’s reputation for high-speed romance cannot be matched anywhere on the planet.
Pattaya has been partying hard ever since GIs discovered Thailand‘s most popular resort during the Vietnam War. Beautiful women remain one of the seaside town’s top attraction, although today Pattaya and its sister town of Jomtien also pull in family visitors with leisure opportunities such as golf, kite-surfing, jungle-top zip-wires and elephant trekking.
Given the hectic pace of Pattaya’s nightlife, some might query the sincerity of Sanook Online’s chief executive, who told the Bangkok Post that he hopes the event will be a chance for foreigners and Thais to forge ‘meaningful relationships’.
But cynicism is out of order, says Terry Collins, the developer of Pattaya’s Vineyard villa project and a long-term Pattaya resident.
‘I found my wife out here and a lot of my friends also have fantastic marriages with girls they met in Pattaya,’ he says.
‘The attraction between Western guys and Thai women is about genuine mutual appreciation, not cash. Women in Thailand see farang men not as walking credit cards but as good husband material – men who won’t stray and who will treat them with respect.’
The Western-Thai love-in certainly shows no signs of flagging. Sanook claims Thaimate.com’s membership has swelled 20-30% per year since it was set up 11 years ago.
The site now claims 1.3 million members and 15,000 visitors per day, 45% of them women.