Pattaya is a resort city in Thailand. It is on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) south-east of Bangkok, within, but not part of,Amphoe Bang Lamung in the province of Chonburi. The Pattaya City is a self-governing municipal area which covers the whole tambon Nong Prue and Na Klua and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai. The city is in the industrial Eastern Seaboard zone, along with Si Racha, Laem Chabang, and Chonburi. Pattaya's census population figure is 107,000, yet this only account for residents who have formally registered in the city.
Pattaya is the center of the Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area - the conurbation in Chonburi Province - with a total population exceeding 1,000,000.
Pattaya is mostly famous for its go-go and beer bars, but local authorities have made some efforts to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities. Although the sex industry is still going strong and sex tourism remains the key money earner for Pattaya, the resort also attracts local families and holidaymakers from around the world. If you are going to be offended by the sight of fat old men hand in hand with young Thai women, then Pattaya is probably not the place for you. In 2007, foreign tourists visiting Thailand totalled 14.5 million.
|TIME ZONE :||ICT (UTC+7)|
|LANGUAGE :||Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects|
|RELIGION :||Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1%|
|AREA :||22.2 km2 (8.6 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||12°55′39″N 100°52′31″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: |
|ETHNIC :||Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%|
|AREA CODE :||38|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+66 38|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Pattaya (พัทยา) is a seaside resort on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand, about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya is mostly famous for its go-go and beer bars, but local authorities have made some efforts to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities. Although the sex industry is still going strong and sex tourism remains the key money earner for Pattaya, the resort also attracts local families and holidaymakers from around the world. If you are going to be offended by the sight of fat old men hand in hand with young Thai women, then Pattaya is probably not the place for you.
Efforts by local authorities over the past few years have improved the quality of the beaches, but they are still lacklustre by Thailand's standards, and overdevelopment has long since destroyed some of the natural charms the area once had. However, the plethora of hotels and guest houses, and easy access from the capital and airport, make it a popular weekend getaway. Catering for over five million annual visitors, Pattaya is also able to offer an excellent range of eating options and a wide variety of things to do. Its population is a colourful mix of nationalities and ethnicities from near and far.
Pattaya occupies most of the coastline of Bang Lamung District (one of the eleven districts that comprise Chonburi Province). This article only deals with Pattaya proper, which spans the areas to the east of Naklua Beach and Pattaya Beach, plus the Buddha Hill headland (which is immediately south of Pattaya Beach). Jomtien is covered in a separate article, and contains Jomtien Beach and the areas east of it, including Dongtan Beach. The beaches of Jomtien are much broader and generally in a better shape, and the atmosphere locally is more sedate and family-oriented than at Pattaya Beach.
Once a fishing town, Pattaya first boomed as an R&R destination during the Vietnam War. It is striving to become a family-oriented seaside destination. In 2007, foreign tourists visiting Thailand totalled 14.5 million.
Popular activities include golf (19 golf courses within 40 minutes of Pattaya ), go-kart racing, and visiting different theme parks and zoos such as the Elephant Village, where demonstrations of training methods and ancient ceremonial re-enactments are performed daily. The private Sri Racha Tiger Zoo features tigers, crocodiles, and other animals in daily shows. The Vimantaitalay tourist submarine offers 30-minute trips underwater to see corals and marine life just a few kilometres offshore. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, about 15 kilometres south of Pattaya, is a 500-acre (2.0 km2) botanical garden and orchid nursery where cultural shows with trained chimpanzees and elephants are presented. The park also keeps several tigers and an assortment of birds.
Other attractions in Pattaya include the Million Years Stone Park, Pattaya Crocodile Farm, Pattaya Park Beach Resort Water Park, Funny Land Amusement Park, Siriporn Orchid Farm, Silverlake Winery, Underwater World Pattaya, the Thai Alangkarn Theater Pattaya (cultural show), Bottle Art Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and Underwater World, an aquarium with a collection of marine species from the Gulf of Thailand including sharks and stingrays. Khao Pratamnak or Khao Phra Bat is a small hill between south Pattaya and Jomtien Beach that provides a panoramic view of the city and its crescent bay. The hill is topped by Wat Khao Phra Bat, a temple, and the monument of Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak, who is regarded as the founding father of the modern Thai navy.
The Cartoon Network Amazone is a water park near the navy base golf course that was opened in late-2014. It has a Cartoon Network theme. The park includes different zones where different water slides can be seen. There is also a wave pool and surfing simulator that anyone can use, and the largest water playground in south-east Asia, which also includes two tipping buckets. A food court was opened later in 2014, and includes a large variety of cuisines, from traditional Thai food to Italian and Japanese food. Small huts are available for rent around the park. Yearly passes are available for those who wish to come there often and easily walk into the park. Several stores and gift shops are still under construction and are projected to be finished by late 2015.
RamaYana, with a total size of more than 18 ha (45 acres / 102 Rai), is one of Asia’s biggest waterparks, was opened in May 2016. The park, which is designed as a modern waterpark built on an antique Asian city, offers 21 water slides, and some of them unique1, 2 dedicated children’s zones, a 600m long lazy river and a double wave pool with a 150m wide beach as well as relaxation and activity pools. The park, which is located 20 km south of Pattaya City, close to the big Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan) and next to Silverlake vineyard, has natural lakes and islands in and around the park, and also includes attractions like a floating market, real elephants or a maze. A restaurant offers more than 100 dishes and food delivery to sun lounges, which are provided free of charge. The park also offers massage services and fish spa.
The Sanctuary of Truth is a large wooden structure constructed in 1981 by the sea at Laem Ratchawet. It was conceived from the concept that human civilization owes its existence to religious and philosophical truth.
Mini Siam is a miniature model village which celebrates the heritages of Thailand with replicas of the most famous monuments and historical sites including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Democracy Monument, the Bridge over the River Kwai, and Prasat Hin Phimai. Models of the Tower Bridge of London, Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and Trevi Fountainare also displayed in the section called "mini-world".
Wat Yanasangwararam Woramahawihan is a temple constructed in 1976 for Somdet Phra Yanasangwon, the present supreme patriarch. Within the temple compound are a replica of the Buddha's footprint, and a large chedi containing Buddha relics.
Thepprasit Market is the biggest and busiest market in Pattaya. It is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening on Thepprasit Road. It is known for selling pets, has many Thai food stalls including local specialities like fried insects and scorpions as well as branded clothing, shoes, and electronic goods.
Pattaya's downtown area is easy to get around. Running north-south, a few hundred metres apart, are Beach Rd (Thanon Hat Pattaya, sometimes also referred to as First Rd) which borders the main beach (Hat Pattaya),Pattaya Second Rd and Pattaya Third Rd (with the smaller but busy Soi Buakhao in between), and the main Sukhumvit Road coastal highway. Beach Rd is one-way (southbound), likewise Second Rd (northbound) -- this is the main circuit of the songthaews that cruise downtown.
These are connected by the three major east-west aligned roads: North Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Nua), Central Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Klang) and South Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Tai). North Pattaya Rd is a dual carriageway and carries the highest volume of traffic to and from Sukhumvit Rd.
Also connecting Beach Rd and Second Ro are a large number of smaller streets or "sois". The main sois are numbered from 1 to 16, from north to south. Sois 1-6 are between north Pattaya Rd and central Pattaya Rd; sois 7-13 are between Central Pattaya Rd and South Pattaya Rd (including the "Pattayaland" sois, immediately north of south Pattaya Rd); sois 14-16 are south of south Pattaya Rd. Most of these east-west sois are (in theory at least) one-way.
Beach Rd, Second Rd, and north Pattaya Rd (plus Naklua Rd to the north) all meet at the Dolphin Roundabout landmark. Heavy traffic and frequent accidents here have resulted in a semi-permanent diversion being set up which, at peak times, prevents vehicles (except motorcycles) from continuing around this roundabout any further than the north Pattaya Rd exit, pending the installation of traffic lights some time in 2006.
Second Rd south of South Pattaya Rd becomes Pratamnak Rd, which shares a junction with both the southern end of Third Rd and the northern end of the main road to Jomtien, Tappraya Rd.
Beach Rd south of south Pattaya Rd is closed to vehicles in the evenings (currently 18:00-02:00) and is called Walking Street; it's the main tourist area, both for nightlife and shopping. Other major tourism areas include the section of Second Rd between sois 1-4, and the sois immediately north of south Pattaya Rd.
At the south end of Walking Street is the New Pier, usually called Bali Hai Pier (sometimes "Pattaya Pier" or "South Pier"). The Old Pier, close to the junction of Beach Rd and south Pattaya Rd, is still shown on most maps but was dismantled and removed at the beginning of 2006.
The name Pattaya evolved from the march of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin) and his army from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi, which took place before the fall of the former capital to Burmese invaders in 1767.
When his army arrived in the vicinity of what is now Pattaya, Phraya Tak encountered the troops of a local leader named Nai Klom, who tried to intercept him. When the two met face to face, Nai Klom was impressed by Phraya Tak's dignified manner and his army's strict discipline. He surrendered without a fight and joined his forces. The place the armies confronted each other was thereafter known as "Thap Phraya", which means the "army of the Phraya". This later became Pattaya, the name of the wind blowing from the south-west to the north-east at the beginning of the rainy season.
Pattaya was a fishing village until the 1960s. Then, during the Vietnam War, American servicemen stationed at nearby U-Tapao or other US bases in Thailand began visiting Pattaya. One story, unverified by a reliable source, has it that it all started when a group of 500 American soldiers stationed at the military base in Korat were driven to Pattaya on 29 June 1959 for a week of rest and relaxation (R&R). They rented several houses at the south end of the beach from a prominent Thai, Lord Sunthorn. Despite their short stay, the GIs had a great time and raved about the place. The word spread among other American soldiers stationed in the region and Pattaya quickly became a hot alternative to Bangkok. Pattaya developed into a popular beach resort. Now greatly expanded, it attracts over 4 million visitors a year. Fishers' huts along the beach were replaced by resort hotels and retail stores, including Asia's largest beachfront shopping mall, the CentralFestival Pattaya Beach Mall and hotel (Hilton) on Beach Rd in central Pattaya. Today Pattaya is making efforts to clean up its image to become a family-oriented seaside destination.
Pattaya has a tropical wet and dry climate, which is divided into the following seasons: hot and dry (December to February), hot and humid (March and April), and hot and rainy (May to November).
Climate data for Pattaya
|Average high °C (°F)||30.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||23.0|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department|
Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand, is approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) south of the city of Bangkok within the Bang Lamung District.
The city of Pattaya is a special municipal area which covers the whole tambon Nong Prue(Nongprue) and Na Kluea (Naklua) and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai. Bang Lamung township which forms the northern border of Pattaya covers parts of the tambonBang Lamung (Banglamung), Nong Pla Lai and Takhian Tia. Bang Sali is on the southern border of Pattaya.
"Greater Pattaya" occupies most of the coastline of Banglamung (one of the eleven districts that comprise Chonburi Province). It is divided into a larger northern section which spans the areas to the east of Naklua Beach (the most northern beach) and Pattaya Beach (the main beach) plus Pratamnak Hill (often called "Buddha Hill" because of the temples on top of the hill) headland immediately south of Pattaya Beach, and a smaller southern section covering the area to the east of Jomtien Beach (which lies directly south of Pratamnak Hill).
Pattaya's coastal side is divided longitudinally into five contiguous sub-districts (or six, if also including Jomtien). Each one is named after the section of beach or headland at its seaboard.
In the middle are the three Pattaya Bay sub-districts, which share the main baht bus route (so most places are within 5 minutes / 10 baht of most other places, at any hour) and have much else in common, and hence in combination make up the main quasi-downtown zone:
- North Pattaya (Pattaya Nua) - not the northernmost part of Pattaya (as Naklua lies further north), but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the northern end of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of North Pattaya Rd. Does not include Naklua.
- South Pattaya (Pattaya Tai) - not the southernmost part of Pattaya (as the Buddha Hill headland, and then Jomtien, lie further south), but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the southern end of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of South Pattaya Rd. Includes Pattayaland and Walking Street. Does not include Buddha Hill or Jomtien.
- Central Pattaya (Pattaya Klang) - not the dead centre of Pattaya, but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the middle of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of Central Pattaya Rd. Some maps/guides disregard the central Pattaya convention, and instead extend north Pattaya and south Pattaya to meet each other along central Pattaya Rd; sometimes, Beach Rd is described with a similar division, and the respective halves given "North Beach Rd" and "South Beach Rd" monikers.
Flanking the Pattaya Beach sub-districts are:
- Naklua - immediately north of north Pattaya, and with quick, frequent, and inexpensive transport to and from the rest of Pattaya; Naklua is popular with visitors whose native language is German. In terms of tourism-related locations, it's the smallest and least significant sub-district, the main attractions being the beaches (which are quieter than Pattaya Beach) and the Sanctuary of Truth.
- Buddha Hill - named after the Buddha Hill landmark and sandwiched between south Pattaya (to the north) and Jomtien (to the south); to the east, south Pattaya and Jomtien meet directly.
In practice, exactly where each sub-district ends and the next begins is a very grey area as none of the boundaries lie along major roads, and none of the many readily available tourist maps attempts to define boundaries at this level; nevertheless they do provide a handy rough guide to approximate latitude. Further inland, the sub-district names are used less, and locality/road names take precedence - for example, an address might state "Sukhumvit, Naklua" which is useful in that it makes it clear the location is to the north of the Sukhumvit / North Pattaya Road intersection, however exactly the same place would not normally be described simply as being "in Naklua" as that would give the misleading impression of it being in the main beachside/tourism area further west.
Internet access is widely available in Pattaya, and speed and reliability of the connection is generally good; however, as is the case throughout Thailand, quality varies. The majority of Internet shops tend to open late and close late, but many are open 24/7; prices range from 120 baht/hr down to 20 baht/hr. One baht/min is typical for predominantly tourist-oriented shops, many of which also offer lower rates for pre-paid blocks of time. It's not difficult to find well-equipped, quiet, air-conditioned Internet cafés that charge 30 baht/hr if you shop around a little; likewise shops that can accommodate users who want to hook up their own laptops can easily be found. Printing (black/white) is usually 10 baht/page (30 baht/page for colour).
Many Internet cafés and photo-processing shops have facilities for off-loading digital photos from memory cards and burning them to a CD, for which the going rate is 100 baht per CD. As always, carefully verify the integrity of the images on the CD before re-formatting the memory card, and consider having two copies burned to CD — one CD to send home by mail, the other CD to take home in your luggage as a backup.
Many hotels and bars have the free(but password protected) wi-fi available. Ask for it from the hotel reception or the bar staff. They usually share the password for the customers.
The area code for Pattaya is 038. You only need to dial the 0 if you're calling from within Thailand. Overseas calls can be made from many agencies and Internet shops, as well as guest houses and hotels — most advertise a rate of 10 baht/min (or 20 baht/min to mobile phones). Using local SIM card may be a cheaper and more convenient alternative.
Pattaya Telecommunications Centre (183/44 Soi Post Office (opposite the Post Office, about 6 shops east, M-Sa 10:00-18:00). Outside, in the 24/7 payphones booth, there's an International Operator Direct Connection (IODC/Home Country Direct) service phone which provides one button press connections (suitable for making reverse charge / collect calls) to operators in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines (Philcom and PLDT), Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom and United States (AT&T, MCI and Sprint).
Pattaya has several post offices, the most central of which can be found (believe it or not) halfway along Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2). As well as the usual postal services, it handles Western Union transactions and hosts a large number of post/security boxes. On weekdays (except public holidays) it's open 08:30-16:30, and on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays it's open 09:00-12:00; +66 38 429-340(-1). One-stop-shops that handle DHL, EMS, FedEx, TNT and UPS are relatively common. Try:
- Pattaya Postal Service, 524/26 Moo 10, Soi Buakhao, . M-Sa 10:30-18:00.
- PAWS Post Service, Pattaya New Plaza, 329/10 Moo 9 (off Second Road), . M-Sa 10:30-18:00.
Money Transfer and ATM withdrawals
If you need money sent to you urgently then there are many Western Union agents located throughout Pattaya. If you regularly visit Thailand or for extended periods then it might be worth opening a local bank account to avoid the high ATM charges for International bank cards typically 180 baht, as well as fluctuating exchange rates. Stand alone ATM's in the tourist areas generally give a maximum withdrawal limit of 10,000 baht. ATM's at banks typically give up to 20,000 baht, the TMB bank gives up to 30,000 baht. Its advisable to use ATM's in or outside actual bank branches during opening hours as they tend to be safer and if you experience any problems, then you can report that directly to the bank without delay.