From Pattaya With Love: Forget Sex Trainers, Meet The Real Russians Of Thailand’s Party Town

From Pattaya With Love: Forget Sex Trainers, Meet The Real Russians Of Thailand’s Party Town

-- The arrest of two ‘sex trainers’ – one claiming to have inside info on Trump’s election – has shone an unwanted spotlight on the Thai city’s Russian community

-- Most Russians visit briefly but thousands have stayed, buying homes and starting businesses




The Pattaya Skyline. Photo: Claudia Hinterseer


It’s hard to imagine a building less in sync with its surroundings. In the crooked soi s (side-streets) of northern Pattaya, cluttered with motorbike taxis encircling steaming street-food stalls, All Saints Russian Orthodox Church may as well have come from outer space. Yet here it stands, in the middle of this quintessentially Thai streetscape – its bright white walls and bronze onion domes gleaming proudly in the ferocious afternoon sun.


This dissonance is even more pronounced inside, where the temperature seems to drop, silence descends and the bleached white light of the outside world is replaced by the flickering of dozens of candles. Murals depicting the gospels adorn the ceilings and walls, flanked by a mixture of Thai and Cyrillic script.


Shelves are lined with hundreds of pocket-sized religious icons and books exalting the mission of the Orthodox Church. There is an abiding sense of peace – and enough gold to make the Romanovs blush. It’s everywhere: gold altars, gold goblets, gold lecterns, gold trim on the carpets.


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