Pattaya used to be a small fishing village in Thailand until it became a popular R&R destination for American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today it attracts more than four million visitors a year – many of them from Russia. Most hotels run at least five Russian-language TV channels and two radio stations.
At one Pattaya resort, Russian businessman Maxim Kosikhin recently opened a museum of Asian spices (not, unfortunately, called Musée d’Spicy). It took him two years to prune the 53,000 sq. ft garden to feature some 200 plant species. Hopefully it won’t get peppered by the country’s first high-speed train line (connecting Pattaya to Bangkok) that the government is planning to build in 2018. At a cost of 2 trillion baht (about $67 billion) it will run at 250 kilometres per hour (or 170 mph).