11 April 2019
Relaxation and Revelry
Pattaya is one of Thailand’s most popular destinations. Growing from a traditional fishing village, modern-day Pattaya is now a world away from a sleepy village and offers a broad range of entertainment for tourists.
Located along a picturesque bay on the East Coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya is roughly 170 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. While other Thai beach resorts offer laid-back natural beauty as their main draw, Pattaya stands out from the crowd. The weather and spectacular tropical beaches are the same, but the bustling city of Pattaya sprawls out along 15 kilometers of coastline in an attempt to provide everything a tourist could wish for on vacation. Droves of tourists come here each year for sightseeing, recreation, sports, entertainment, and the infamous nightlife.
For centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village. Then, in 1961, a group of about 100 American servicemen, who would join the Vietnam War, arrived in Pattaya for relaxation. Pattaya began its transition towards the destination it is today: Thailand’s premier and most successful beach resort that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. The fishermen’s huts have been replaced by a full range of accommodation from deluxe hotels to bungalows and small guesthouses along the beach.
On the powdery white beaches, there’s a wide range of water sports from jet skiing and water skiing to scuba diving and parasailing. Visitors who prefer to be more relaxed will still have a memorable time basking on the sand and cooling off in the turquoise waters. Aside from the beach, the city offers a unique shopping experience: visitors can shop directly on the sand with the beach sellers or venture to the wide variety of boutiques and shops that sell beautiful local and handmade items at very affordable prices. There’s also an abundance of activities inland ranging from family-friendly waterparks and an aquarium to the bars and clubs along Walking Street, the main nightlife and entertainment hub.
With such a wide variety of attractions, it’s easy to fill the day from dusk to dawn in Pattaya. The city continues to grow rapidly with a stream of new dining, shopping, and nightlife offerings. It's hard to imagine that the most famous city in the Chon Buri province originated from a traditional fishing village.
When to Go
Like most of Thailand, Pattaya is blessed by the tropical climate which welcomes visitors year round. There are some subtle changes throughout the year though, so it’s possible to pick a time that best suits you:
November to February: Often said to be the best time to visit Pattaya, November to February is when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and is mostly dry. However, this is also the peak tourist season and as such the beaches and attractions are packed with visitors.
March to May: The weather becomes hotter and more humid during the months of March, April, and May, but the beaches are quieter affording visitors a little more space to relax.
June to October: Pattaya experiences heavy rainfall during this time and the beaches are much less crowded. The temperature is also lower and hotel accommodation is cheaper.
PLACES TO VISIT
Pattaya’s iconic beach that spans a coastline of three kilometers. Decorated by palm trees that fringe a paved promenade, the public Pattaya Beach is neatly arranged. A footpath provides an easy and versatile route for sightseeing, jogging, and cycling. The beach is a great place to sunbathe and relax with good food and drink. It begins to become more crowded from 15:00 onwards as visitors arrive for the bars and cafés that open until midnight.
If you’re seeking a quieter beach than Pattaya beach, Jomtien Beach is the answer. The beach’s golden sand, clear blue water, and the shining sun attracts all kinds of travelers. If you are into water activities, Jomtien Beach is the place to go. The beach is lauded as the best spot for water sports such as surfing and kiteboarding.
One of the world’s most notorious red-light districts, Walking Street in Pattaya is an interesting place for tourists to at least have a quick, curious look. Strolling along the kilometer-long stretch at the end of the beach road, which is closed to traffic from 19:00 to 03:00 daily, you’ll be greeted by friendly hostesses trying to lure you into the plethora of restaurants, bars, and clubs. Say no politely but firmly and then pick your own dinner spot from any of the wide selection of Italian, European, Thai, and seafood restaurants.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and Resort
If you’re more of a dendrophile, a person who loves trees or forests, you’re sure to enjoy Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. This giant park covers an area of 600 acres. Opened in 1980, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is not simply a tourist destination, it’s also dedicated to education, preservation, and research on botany conservation. In addition to the park, visitors also can enjoy Thai boxing matches and an elephant show here. Nong Nooch also has accommodation for tourists to stay on site.
Sanctuary of The Truth
Standing 105 meters tall, Sanctuary of the Truth is a magnet for tourists to visit the north of Pattaya. Made entirely of wood (without even metal nails) and presenting a celestial view of the ocean, construction of the Sanctuary of Truth started in 1981 and is not expected to be finished until the year 2025. The displays are inspired by Buddhist and Hindu beliefs and each of the four corners of the landmark has a tower with figures from Thai, Cambodian, Indian, and Chinese beliefs and legends.