If you’re reading this, you’re either deciding whether to go or not, OR you already got tickets and wondering what to expect. Well you came to the right place, I just came back from the 4 day art/music festival from Pattaya, Thailand, Wonderfruit Festival.So I think I’m more than qualified to give you an honest and unbiased account of what it’s all about, what to expect and whether it’s worth spending your hard earned cash on.
What is Wonderfruit Festival?Wonderfruit Festival is this 4 day celebration of art, music, food and overall well-being and positivity in life. The festival is located in the fields near Pattaya, and is held during December every year.Many call Wonderfruit “Asia’s burning man”. Do I think that comparison is accurate? No, it’ll be like comparing apples to oranges.Wonderfruit is definitely uniquely Wonderfruit, and it’ll be a low blow to try to compare it to anything else.The festival is still in its infancy, with many people in Pattaya being clueless to this massive annual music festival happing in their own backyard. This means the festival isn’t over crowded, but it’s far from dead either.For me, it was perfect.The festival kind of prides itself on being this eco-friendly, super environmentally conscious body that is promoting sustainable fun. They have this no plastic policy and the trash is all separated by type for easy recycling or decomposing.It’s cool, but I think everyone at the festival can agree with me when I say they kinda failed in that regard. I’m sure they had the best of intentions and as the festival matures over the many years to come, they will get better. BUT when I was there. This was a fail.On the other hand, if we forget about the recycling eco-friendly aspect the festival tries to delivery and focus on the music, art, feel good vibes, then Wonderfruit delivered 100%.
How do you get there?Most people at the festival seemed to be flying in from other countries to attend or maybe they were already travelling in Thailand.So the best way to get to the festival is by flying into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport and making your way to Pattaya by road.I found some cheap tickets from Hong Kong to Bangkok with Thai airways and the flight was great. The food was the best I ever had on a plane. (close second is bibimbap on Korea air)If you’re travelling in a group consisting of more than 3 people, than I would highly recommend you pre-book a taxi service to pick you up at the airport and drive you straight to your hotel in Pattaya, or camping ground at Wonderfruit festival. (best for value)A coach ride will set you back at 120 baht per person, you can get on from the airport and it’ll take you to the Pattaya bus station. The last coach leaves from the airport at 22:00.A shared shuttle will go for 300 baht per person but the last shuttle leaves at 18:00.It does however take you directly to where you need to go if it’s within they’re provided service area.A private taxi ride from the airport to your destination in Pattaya will be 1000 baht which, if you pre-book. I pre-booked mine with Cherry Taxi Pattaya service. My flight came in the evening and my hotel location wasn’t anywhere near the main bus station or provided service area, which meant a private car worked out cheaper per head.NOTE: The usual price for a taxi from from the airport to Pattaya is around 1200 – 1500 baht. So don’t shop around or expect 1000 baht to be the price you get if you don’t pre-book with Cherry taxi service.
Where Should I Stay?Your ticket to the festival doesn’t include access to the camping area. You will have to buy a camping pass to set up camp on site.Wonderfruit sells various “glam-camping” packages to festival goers. But honestly I don’t think any of them are worth the price.If you want to camp, then just bring your own tent and set it up, the other camping options are simply not worth it. Unless of course you have a lot of money to blow and don’t mind spending 5 start hotel prices for a tent with air-conditioning and a bed in it. (different strokes for different folks)From my observations the vast majority of festival goers opted to stay off-site by booking hotel rooms in Pattaya city. (I know this because almost everyone had on an entry pass wrist band with no camping wrist band)Wonderfruit does partner with a few hotels to provide hotel offers. But if you do choose to stay off-site, then I would suggest finding your own hotel instead. Pattaya is full of affordable hotel options that provide great service. I found a great room at a 5 star hotel for $330 USD for 5 nights!Now if you do stay off site, you’re going to have to figure out transport to and from the festival, because it’s not nearby.The festival provides a shuttle bus at 300 baht per person, one-way. It has one pick up place in Pattaya and it runs every hour up until 9pm. 9pm was a bit early for us and our hotel was nowhere near the pick up spot, so instead I arranged a car hire to pick us up from our hotel to the festival and back for each night of the festival.It worked out cheaper than using the shuttle bus. I would advice any groups that are more than 3 people to consider this option instead.Our transport cost for the whole festival came to 3900 baht and each ride took 40+ minutes, depending on traffic conditions. I would consider that a good deal. (Contact Joe taxi if you want to use the same service as I did)
What can you do there?What can you do at Wonderfruit? Enjoy yourself and forget about daily life for a few days.Join in on an Acro-yoga session, go swimming in the pound, make art at one of the many stalls, climb and explore on the many imaginative structures. There’s a lot to do at the festival and it can be a lot to take in when you first get there.You probably will have a moment of not knowing where to look, go or do, but once things settle in you’ll appreciate the great atmosphere Wonderfruit has created in the fields outside Pattaya.The music never stops fully, but it kicks off at 6pm. Everything between the hours of 6am – 6pm is focused on the sustainability, holistic living aspect of the festival. Attend meditation workshops, do a bit of yoga or learn something you never knew about recycling.The whole site turns into a massive party from 6pm – 6am the following day. All different genres playing at different stages with live performances and performers at every corner you turn.I think the scheduling of the festival is great, but if I was completely honest, then the festival is pretty dead during the day and only comes alive with people pouring into the festival from 5pm onwards.The Thai heat is unbearable during the day, but don’t let that stop you from going during the day if there’s some workshop, talk or activity you want to do.Wonderfruit also advertises itself as a family friendly festival, which I didn’t take all too seriously, but to my surprise, it…kinda is?The number of young families I saw on site and even babies was pretty shocking for me. Wonderfruit had age appropriate activities on site and I even came across a childcare service sign.However, I honestly don’t think it’s particularly family friendly for any baby under the age of 2. For kids above 2, then sure, why not. I don’t think you need to come for the whole 4 days, but I think you definitely would be able to find something for everyone to enjoy.
Paying for things at WonderfruitThe whole festival is cashless, you use your festival wristbands to pay instead. Think of the wristband as a stored value card, you get your wristband once you enter the festival and then you can proceed to add money on your wristband to spend on food, drink and activities on site.There is a 3% fee if you top-up with a credit card, which I think is pretty reasonable.Any money left over can be refunded back to you in cash, so you don’t have to worry about how much to add. Just add whatever amount onto your wristband and simply get whatever is left before you leave.Oh and you HAVE TO get the refund on site before you leave because no refunds will be available once the festival is over.Prices are inflated; as expected for a festival. But nothing unreasonable in my personal opinion. You can easily feed yourself for 300 baht at one of the many stalls scattered on site.All the music and artists are free to enjoy, and most of the afternoon workshops and talks are also free. Only a few workshops required additional payment to attend.So overall I think the prices at Wonderfruit are reasonable, nothing outrageously overpriced.
Is it Worth going?I would say, yes.I think Wonderfruit has, and still is, carving itself a very unique festival experience that is worth the visit. I had gotten the full pass for the whole 4 days and enjoyed every day of it. There really is something for everyone, which makes the festival so appealing to me.I could be laying on the grass in-between 3 stages blasting 3 different types of music and still feel at peace amongst the sounds of hard bass lines, laughter and lights flashing all around me.Or dance the night away to EDM or latin funk, or vibing away in a drum circle. Wonderfruit has something for everyone who goes.I can’t possible do the festival justice in one post. It’s not something you write about and explain. It’s something you have to go and experience for yourself. You go there and just take it all in.No photo, video or blog post will do the energy and atmosphere at the festival any justice.I don’t know if Wonderfruit will retain it’s charm as it continues to grow bigger and bigger, but for now I can say Wonderfruit is an awesome festival experience for anyone that wants a little wonder in life.
- Come with an open mind and let your hair down to enjoy it fully
- Bring bug spray, there’s a lot of tiny flying things that do bite
- Bring a water canister to take advantage of the water stations dotted all over
- Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat if you decide to hang around during the day
- Try to get your refund one step before the crowd does to avoid the long lines
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing
- Bring a power bank to charge your phone