The Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya – also known as ‘Teddy Island’ – is a truly unique, slightly baffling and extremely fun family-friendly experience. Housed in the impossible-to-miss teddy bear-themed building at the northern end of Beach Road, it houses about 1,000 stuffed animals in the most unexpected journey through history and fantasy ever.
Particularly popular with Asian visitors and an unshakable part of the tour bus itinerary, every exhibit can be at least touched and, in many cases, interacted with. The route through the museum is surprisingly long, so guests should save at least two to three hours to really enjoy every section, stopping to take cute pictures with the bears whenever you fancy.
The narrative of the linear exhibition passes through 12 zones:
1. The Inca Zone shows teddy bears climbing up the distinctive stepped pyramids of the ancient Central American civilisation.
2. The Dinosaur Zone features the slightly unnerving spectacle of a two-metre tall Tyrannosaurus Rex being cuddled by stuffed bears.
3. The Fossil Zone jumps back to the present day and shows the descendants of the dino-cuddlers excavating the relics of the past.
4. The Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya’s Africa Zone features tribal hunts-bears wielding spears, which is about as incongruous an action as you can ever imagine a teddy bear performing.
5. The Thailand Zone shows some of the nation’s ancient culture and architecture, with the principle actors all in bear form.
6. The Under-the-Sea Zone sees bears in scuba gear – which comes close to beating the spear-wielding bears for weirdness – and features a pair of giant mer-bears.
7. The Eskimo Zone’s most noticeable feature is the collection of air conditioners set to their lowest setting, but the polar teddies are cosy and warm in their winter jackets.