||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2012)|
||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (April 2015)|
|Special Governed City|
|Pattaya City เมืองพัทยา|
|• Type||Self-administrating municipality|
|• Mayor||Ittipol Khunplome|
|• Total||22.2 km2 (8.6 sq mi)|
|• Density||4,800/km2 (13,000/sq mi)|
|Registered residents only|
|Time zone||ICT (UTC+7)|
Pattaya (Thai: พัทยา, pronunciation (help·info), rtgs: Phatthaya, Thai pronunciation: [pʰát.tʰā.jāː]) is a city in Thailand, a beach resort popular with tourists and expatriates. It is on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of Bangkok within, but not part of, Amphoe Bang Lamung in the province of Chonburi.
Pattaya City (Thai: เมืองพัทยา; rtgs: Mueang Phatthaya) is a self-governing municipal area which covers the whole tambon Nong Prue and Na Kluea and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai. The city is in the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard zone, along with Si Racha, Laem Chabang, and Chonburi. It has a population exceeding 100,000 (2007). Pattaya is the centre of the Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area, the conurbation in Chonburi Province, with a total population exceeding 1,000,000.
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 southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season.
Pattaya was a small 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 (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.6
|Average low °C (°F)||23.0
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||15.6
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||1||3||4||6||12||11||11||12||17||18||10||1||106|
|Average relative humidity (%)||73||77||77||77||78||77||77||77||81||83||76||70||76.9|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department (normal 1981–2010), (avg. rainy days 1961–1990)|
The city (mueang) had 104,318 registered inhabitants in 2007. As with the Bangkok Metropolitan Region, that figure excludes the large number of people who work in the city but remain registered in their hometowns, and many long-term expatriate visitors. Including non-registered residents, the population numbers around 300,000 at any given time. Other estimates put the figure as high as 500,000.
Most of the officially registered Pattaya residents are of Thai-Chinese ancestry. Due to the tourist industry, many people from the northeast (known as Isan, the poorest region of Thailand) have come to work in Pattaya, and are counted for census purposes in their hometowns.
There is a fast-growing community of foreign retirees living in Pattaya. Thailand immigration has a special visa category for foreigners over age 50 who wish to retire in Thailand. Pattaya is attractive to many retirees from other countries not only because of its climate and exotic, easy lifestyle, but also because living costs are lower than in many countries.
Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand, is approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) south of the city of Bangkok, surrounded by 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 tambon Bang 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 city has been administered under a special autonomous system since 1978. It has a status comparable to a municipality and is separately administered by the mayor of Pattaya city who is responsible for making policies, organising public services, and supervising the employees of Pattaya city's workforce.
Beaches and islands
The main sweep of the bay area is divided into two principal beachfronts. Pattaya Beach is parallel to city centre, and runs from Pattaya Nuea south to Walking Street. Along Beach Road are restaurants, shopping areas, and night attractions.
Pratumnak is on the south side of Pattaya and is popular for its viewpoints and the temple (Wat Phra Yai) on top of the hill. Pattaya Park and Pattaya tower are at the south end of Pratumnak and the Pattaya Exhibition And Convention Hall, or P.E.A.C.H, is positioned at the north end of Pratumnak. In recent years, Pratumnak has gained in popularity because of its more natural environment, nicer beaches, and its convenient location between Jomtien and Pattaya city.
Jomtien is divided from Pattaya by Thepprasit Road, the southern route into Pattaya city. It consists of high-rise condominiums, beachside hotels, bungalow complexes, shops, bars, and restaurants. Waterports include jet skiing and parasailing, which have been in the news repeatedly because of dishonest rental practices and scams regarding unfounded damage claims made by dodgy rental agencies.
Offshore islands include three "near islands", Ko Larn (main island), Ko Sak, and Ko Krok located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the western shores of Pattaya; Ko Larn, or "Coral Island", Mu Ko Phai; the "far islands", Ko Phai (main island), Ko Man Wichai, Ko Hu Chang and Ko Klung Badan, located offshore further west of the "near islands"; and Ko Rin, offshore to the southwest, south of Mu Ko Phai. Some of the islands in the group are accessible by speedboat in less than 15 minutes or by ferry, about 45 minutes. The names "near islands", "far islands", and "Coral Island" are used for marketing purposes only and do not correspond to any naming conventions of the island groups and are not shown on maritime charts published by the Hydrographic Service of the Royal Thai Navy. Many of the islands have public beaches and offer scuba diving activities.
- Via the Bangkok-Chonburi-Pattaya Motorway (Hwy 7) The motorway is linked with Bangkok's Outer Ring Road., (Hwy 9) and there is also another entrance at Si Nakharin and Rama IX Junction.
- Via Bang Na-Trat Highway (Hwy 34) From Bang Na, Bang Phli, across the Bang Pakong River to Chonburi there is a Chonburi bypass that meets Sukhumvit Road, (Hwy 3, passing Bang Saen Beach, Bang Phra to Pattaya.
- Central city roads
- Pattaya 1 Road (Beach Road): runs along the beach.
- Pattaya 2 Road: (Second Road) runs approximately 400 metres inland, parallel to Pattaya 1 Road.
- Pattaya 3 Road: (Third Road) this is Pattaya's outer-ring road which connects north, south, and central Pattaya.
- Pattaya Tai: (South Pattaya Road) runs from Beach Road to Sukhumvit Highway.
- Pattaya Klang: (Central Pattaya Road) runs from Beach Road to Sukhumvit Highway.
- Pattaya Nuea: (North Pattaya Road) runs from Beach Road to Sukhumvit Highway.
- Tappraya Road: connects Pattaya 2 to Jomtien Beach Road.
- Thepprasit Road: connects Tappraya Road to Sukhumvit Highway.
- Soi Buakaow: connects Pattaya Tai and Pattaya Klang, between Pattaya 2 Road and Pattaya 3 Road.
Pattaya is served by frequent bus service from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) and the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai), connecting to Pattaya's main bus terminal on Pattaya Nuea near Sukhumvit Road. A bus service which connects Pattaya with Suvarnabhumi Airport is on Tappraya Road near the intersection of Thepprasit Road. It uses modern air-conditioned buses, and takes around 1 1⁄2 hours to reach the airport. The trip from the airport to the bus terminal in Pattaya takes considerably longer due to many stops along Sukhumvit Road in Pattaya. Buses from a terminal on Sukhumvit Road near Pattaya Klang connects Pattaya with many destinations in the northeast (Isan).
City and suburban services are mainly provided by songthaew, popularly nicknamed "baht buses" or "blue taxis".
Some metered taxis and air-conditioned vans operate for private hire from hotel car-parks. Popularly nicknamed "baht-buses" in Pattaya, songthaews are the most common mode of public transportation. The cost is 10 baht for any distance on a regular route, but much higher if asked to go to a specific destination. Motorbike taxis generally operate in the town and suburbs. Although taxis must carry meters by law they are, in reality, rarely used.
Pattaya is about 1 1⁄2 hours, or 120 kilometres (75 mi) by road from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok's international hub. By road, it is accessed from Sukhumvit Road and Motorway 7 from Bangkok. Pattaya is also served by charter flights via U-Tapao International Airport which is 45 minute drive south of the city.
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 (21 golf courses within one hour 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 southeast 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. 
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 Fountain are 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.
Festivals and events
- Chinese New Year (varies from late January to early February) is celebrated by Pattaya's large Thai-Chinese community with dragon parades, lion dances, and fireworks.
- Burapa Pattaya Bike Week is Thailand's, and one of Southeast Asia's, biggest motorcycle event held in Pattaya each February, drawing motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Southeast Asia and abroad. The 2010 event was held over two days with local and international live music acts.
- Pattaya International Music Festival is held annually in the month of March. It attracts huge crowds to the different stages along Beach Road and Bali Hai Pier, and presents several styles of music performed by Thai and international artists.
- The Pattaya Songkran festival, locally called Wan Lai, takes place each year in mid-April. It differs from most other Songkran festivals of Thailand in several aspects. It lasts several days longer and, besides water fights, the event includes beauty pageants, musical performances, cultural shows, fireworks, and water sports competitions.
- Top of the Gulf Regatta is a week-long sailing event held at the end of April, beginning of May.
- The Miss Tiffany Universe beauty pageant is held mid-May each year. During the four day pageant, Thailand's most beautiful transgender persons and transsexuals vie for first place with the final evening broadcast live on Thai TV for an audience of, on average, 15 million.
- Pattaya Marathon, featuring several race categories, is held each year in July.
- Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival, held annually on the last weekend of October, organized by the Thailand Guitar Society, Pattaya People Media Group, and Siam Bayshore Pattaya.
- Loi Krathong, a light festival held during the full moon of the twelfth month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar and which usually falls in November, is celebrated in Pattaya, as in the rest of the country, that evening with people floating krathongs (small, candle-lit floats made from elaborately folded banana leaves) on the waters, as well as releasing khom loi (candle-fired hot air balloons) into the night sky.
- Every November Pattaya hosts Miss International Queen, a yearly international pageant for transgender persons and transsexuals. In 2007 the event drew an estimated 25 million viewers on national TV.
Pattaya has derived part of its reputation as a tourist destination due to the sex industry and the resulting nightlife, and in many ways the city has become what it is now because of this. Prostitution in Thailand is technically illegal but reality shows that it is tolerated as is the case for Pattaya with its vast numbers of host bars, gogo bars, massage parlours, saunas, and hourly hotels, serving foreign tourists as well as locals. This is prevalent in the Walking Street as well as other areas around the city. Efforts have of late been made to clean up the city's image.
Pattaya also has Asia's largest gay scene based around Boyztown and Sunee Plaza. The city is also famous for its flamboyant kathoey cabaret shows where transsexual and transgender entertainers perform to packed houses.
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Driven by its popularity as both a holiday destination and a location for foreign expatriates, Pattaya is an area of extensive property development, including hotels, Property investment, condominiums, and housing estates. Steadily rising prices of land and buildings have also led to investment and speculation contributing to the growth in the town's economy. While foreigners are not permitted to own land, they are permitted to hold title to condominium units. Many new condominiums sell out the allotted 49% for foreigners while the buildings are being constructed.
Large hospitals in the area include Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Pattaya International Hospital, Banglamung Hospital, and Pattaya Memorial Hospital. Many foreign tourists have dental and medical care done in Pattaya, although Bangkok is far more popular as a medical tourist destination.
Visitors may encounter petty crime, usually limited to pickpocketing and confidence tricks, particularly in and around major tourist areas such as Jomtien and Pattaya Beaches and on the "baht buses". A special Tourist Police division has been established to aid foreign tourists who are victims of crime. The 2009 British eight-episode TV documentary Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand described crimes involving tourists in Pattaya. There has also been an increase in accidents with tourists involved due to the large amount of drunk driving in the Pattaya area with the ease of renting motorcycles and scooters to get around. In 2009 the rate of drunk driving related accidents in Pattaya was 15.5% and in car driving accidents it was 10.1%.
On 11 April 2009, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency in the areas of Pattaya and Chonburi, in response to red shirt anti-government protestors breaking into the conference center of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort hotel complex, the then-venue of an ASEAN meeting. The meeting was immediately cancelled and Asian leaders were evacuated, some by helicopter.
Media and communications
Several local foreign-language newspapers and magazines are published either weekly or monthly, especially in English, Russian and German. The English newspapers include the Pattaya People Weekly, Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Today, and Pattaya Times. The German language magazine and news portal calls itself DER FARANG.
Local cable TV services such as Pattaya Channel TV are provided by Sophon Cable, Banglamung TV, Jomtien TV, and Baan Suan.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pattaya.|
- Pattaya travel guide from Wikivoyage
- Pattaya Official Website
- Thailand's Sin City Reaches for Respectability – slideshow by The New York Times