The Wonderfruit Festival in Pattaya, Thailand, is the first lifestyle festival in Asia. Locals and foreign backpackers are usually what make up the crowd, with a few families also joining in on the fun. The best thing about Wonderfruit is that it offers something for everyone. You like hiphop with a twist of Scotland? They have Young Fathers in the line-up. Not into Thai food? Try Morimoto for some Japanese. Looking for something to entertain the kids? Sign them up for some Photography Walk. All these – the food, the music, and the workshops – are bind by sustainability and love for ecology.
It was my first time to attend last February this year, and the experience has been nothing but amazing. Wonderfruit is opening its gates again this December, and if you’re thinking of going, here are the basics:
How do you get there? If you’ll be coming from the Philippines, the flight going to Bangkok from Manila will take you three hours. We took a PAL flight, but I heard that there are cheaper flights if you fly with Cebu Pacific or Thai Airways.
From the airport, we hired a van that can take our group to Horseshoe Point in Siam Country Club in Chonburi in Pattaya, where the festival is set. It’s an hour-long drive, considering traffic won’t be bad.
If you’re going stag or renting a van is too boujee for your taste, you can ride a shuttle from Bangkok to Pattaya, then take a cab going to Chonburi.
What can you expect? You will be given two wristbands before entering the premises. The first one will serve as your ticket throughout the festival, while the second one will basically be your wallet. Most festivals now use top-up wristbands which you can load via cash or credit card. If you’re going to camp inside the grounds, you’ll be given the third wristband to make sure that only those who will camp can enter the general camping area. Separate bands will also be given to kids and to those who prefer to boutique camp.
If you decide to boutique camp, you won’t need to bring your own tent anymore since everything will be set up for you. But unlike the general camping area, it’s not free. If boutique camping is still too basic for you, you can rent RVs parked inside the grounds, with electricity and all. Now that’s fancy.
For members of the media, make sure to inform the organizers beforehand if you’ll be bringing cameras to obtain a camera pass.
If you’re worried about the maintenance of the shower area and the latrines as I was before, we’re glad that the maintenance team really made an effort to clean round the clock. There were stand-alone toilets too if you need to take a shit, and there were enough portalets for everyone.
If you brought valuable items with you like laptops or cameras, you can get a locker for safekeeping. Daily rate is 100 baht. Lockers were in the info tent so you don’t need to worry about it. As for our other belongings, we just kept them in our tents since the lockers were too small for baggages. Festival goers, at least in Wonderfruit, were respectful with one another so no one will barge in your tent and get your stuff.
Here are the must-haves to survive. In case you decided to stay in the general camping area, make sure to cross out all these stuff from your checklist:
- Wonderfruit App – If you really want to maximize your stay, we highly suggest that you install the app. With the Wonderfruit app, you can get a list of all the activities and personalize your own schedule. It has a map for easy navigation too, and notifies you of your schedule. Available on PlayStore and iTunes.
- Water bottle – Water’s for free, so make sure you bring your own water bottle. If not, then you would need to keep the cups every time you buy drinks from food stalls.
- Fan – It can be really hot during the day, and even hotter during afternoons. It’s also helpful to bring it if you plan on watching performances in big stages like The Living Stage, since it can be really crowded.
- Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, scarf – Protect yourself from the scorching sun. Trust me, you need these.
- Pillows and blanket – Weather in Thailand can be extreme. Even though it can be really hot during the day, it can also be really cold during nighttime. As in freezing! It can be hard to sleep without enough pillows and blanket, especially if you’re outdoors. If you’re traveling light, I suggest that you bring a multi-purpose shawl that can work as a mat, scarf, blanket, and towel.
- Pouch bag/Fanny pack – Since the venue is quite big, you would need to walk around a lot. Bringing a pouch bag or a fanny pack wherever you go will spare you the hassle of going back and forth to where you’re camping.
- Speaking of walking, bring comfortable shoes. You’ll be strolling on actual land, so it can get really dusty.
- Cash/Credit Card – I made a mistake of not bringing enough cash during the festival, so if I didn’t have my friends with me, I’ll be forced to withdraw from the ATM onsite and receive the 200 baht penalty. Note: Debit cards are not allowed.
Now you’re Wonderfruit ready!
So what can you expect inside the grounds?
Food, of course! Lots of food in creatively designed stalls, tents and trucks. Above were just some of the spots you can indulge in inside Wonderfruit. From pad thai to churros, they got it. We were even surprised to find a Dean and Deluca stall inside! Some of these food tents even have their own DJ turntables, a little dance floor, and lots of pillows and mats to nap on.
Were the prices reasonable? They can be pretty steep. Everything was relatively expensive compared to food outside the grounds but considering the venue and the concerted efforts of everyone who made the event possible, I’d say they were pretty reasonable. Food starts at 100 baht (omelette rice) to 800 baht (steeeeeak), and can go higher than that if you want some gourmet. If you want some Michelin-approved food, reserve your spot as early as you can for the Wonder Feasts where celebrity chefs will give you the best gastronomical experience you can get with the sunset as backdrop. From what we heard, they sold out fast. But if you’re sticking to food stalls, don’t worry because everyone served good food and nothing was mass-produced.
Any suggestions? Of all the food spots I’ve tried, my favorite would have to be the Young Thailand Farmers’ since all the ingredients they used came straight from their farms. Here’s a look:
The Thailand Young Farmers is a group of farmers from all over Thailand which seeks to promote the country’s agriculture. Since there was an onsite farm inside, you can see the ingredients growing right beside their stalls, with make-do aquariums on the side for prawns and crayfish. They have cheaper meals compared to others too, since they mostly rely not on money but labor and hard work.
What else? They have talks, workshops, and events round the clock. All you have to do is create your own schedule, register an hour before the event (if it’s going to be a workshop), and enjoy! Everything is for free 🙂
One of the workshops I attended was screen printing with a studio called The Archivist. They will let you pick a design from the prints created by their artists, choose the color you want printed, and bring it home for free. Good deal, right? You can choose to print their designs in tote bags, shirts, or bandanas.
If you’re not into screen printing, there were also workshops on wood carving and pottery. If you’re not into crafts, there were yoga sessions and photography for children. If you’re someone who just wants to chill around and enjoy the sun, go tent hopping and party with the crowd that you vibe with. Here’s what the festival looks like with ~all of the lights~
If you want to know more about my Wonderfruit experience, you can read my review and listicle on Inquirer Super. If you’ve attended the festival before, do you think I missed something? Share your thoughts 🙂
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