Pattaya (พัทยา) was a simple fishing village until it was discovered as a beach resort by Bangkok residents in the 1960s. Located just 1.5 hours outside Bangkok and with a city population of just over 100 thousand people it ranks as one the smallest tourist cities in Thailand. Nowadays, the city counts more than 5.4 million tourists per year.
During the Vietnam War servicemen from all over Southeast Asia, including United States Air Force where based in the Pattaya province which caused a huge increase in prostitution. Because of this fact Pattaya has pushed hard to raise its family friendly image again. It has build family resorts, and the nearby beaches Jomtien and Naklua increased it’s number of family friendly restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The opening of the Pattaya City Walk which is completely free of bars or nightclubs, and the opening of the new shopping mall The Avenue are great examples of this.
Pattaya City offers several fun day-time activities other than sitting on the beach and taking a ride on the banana boat or jet ski. If you’re into sports you can choose to go diving or deep sea fishing, riding horse, go-karting and bungee jumping or taking airplane lessons on the nearby domestic aiport. More known tourist attractions include the Mini Siam, Pattaya Water Park, Tiffany Show, Riply’s Believe it or Not and The Sanctuary of Truth.
Travelers need a valid passport and visa. American Citizens will receive a 30 days visa upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok’s international airport). Pattaya has a good climate all year, yet the least rain falls in the months December till April.
Photo courtesy of Marc Walker