March 1, 2008


Pattaya is renowned for its nightlife. The city has hundreds of beer bars, go go bars, and night clubs/discotheques. The most famous include Tonys, Marine Disco, X-Zyte, Lucifer, Hammer, Mixx. New clubs and bars are opening all the time. The world famous Walking Street is the center of the Pattaya's nightlife.

Many bars, discos and nightclubs, as well as several large massage parlours, are venues for sex workers. Other massage parlors exist which provide traditional non-sexual Thai massages.

Since the "social order" crackdown of 2004, there are fewer sex shows (such as the ping pong shows). Depending on the enforcement climate, go go dancers may be seen fully nude, topless or in bikinis on different days or weeks. However, with the political crisis, there is little incentive to be strict about the former laws.

Muay Thai (Thai boxing) matches aimed at tourists can be seen at several open-air beer bar complexes.

Boyztown, Soi Sunee Plaza, and the Jomtien Complex areas are famous for their many beer bars, cabarets and go-go clubs catering to a gay clientele. Pattaya probably has the largest concentration of gay oriented establishments in Thailand; many specialize in specific types of hosts (slim, muscular, effeminate, etc.), while others have a broad range of men available. There is very little in the way of gay nightclubs or bars in the Western sense; the vast majority of places are no different than the venues that target heterosexuals, both feature sexual entertainment.

Pattaya is known for its cabaret revues featuring kathoeys (male-to-female transsexuals), with Alcazar and Tiffany's being the largest and most elaborate.

Another important, but understated aspect of Pattaya are the foreign restaurants. Often run by expatriates, most offer food at prices far below those found in Bangkok, Samui or Phuket.


In recent years, new shopping malls, outlet stores and jewelry stores have opened up, which has helped in increasing the length of stay of visitors to the city. Among the shopping malls are:

  • Central Festival, Pattaya Second Road – Indoor mall anchored by a BigC; also has a SF Cinema City branch.


Shopping Malls

  • Mike Department Store , Beach Road
  • Royal Garden Plaza, Beach Road – Three-story indoor mall with a Ripley's Believe It or Not!SF Multiplex cinema. Also has a Sizzler restaurant, Au Bon Pain, KFC, McDonald's, Auntie * Anne's Pretzels, ZEN Japanese restaurant, Swensen's, Haagen Daz, Pizza Company, Delice de France, and a large food court. The Marriott Hotel is adjacent.
  • The Avenue, Second Road (near Royal Garden) is in the midst of a soft opening with the following either open or their spaces being fitted out: a 22 lane Bowling Alley, Au Bon Pain, McDonalds,Thanachart Bank, 8 Major Cineplex theatres, Boots, McDonalds, California Wow! a major gym/fitness spa (open for subscriptions), Shenanigans, Iberry, Pizza Pizza, 20 Nails Spa, Starbucks, Kasikorn Bank, Bank of Ayudhaya, and a 24/7 Villa Market, which carries imported goods difficult to find in other supermarkets.
  • TukCom, Pattaya Tai (South) Road, boasts a large computer/IT complex offering reasonable prices.
  • An outlet mall is next to the Tesco Lotus selling discount clothing from many European and American brands.

Pattaya has many large home improvement stores including Home Mart, HomeWorks, Home Pro, Kanyong and True Value.

The closest department store to Pattaya is Robinson's, located about 30 minutes away in Sri Racha.

There are several large nightly markets in different parts of town.


Other activities include golfing at the area's many golf courses, and there are 21 golf courses within 1 hour of Pattaya, go-cart racing, visiting the construction site of an elaborate private wooden temple known as Sanctuary of Truth, and different theme parks and zoos such as
Mini Siam, and Elephant Village.

The private Sri Racha Tiger Zoo features several hundred tigers and thousands of alligators as well as some other animals. It has often been criticized for the animals' living conditions, and a worker was killed by tigers in 2004. There was a major bird flu outbreak at the zoo later that year.

The Vimantaitalay tourist submarine takes customers underwater to see corals and marine life just a few kilometers offshore. There are many boat trips from an hour to all day trips available, mostly leaving from Bali Hai Pier, near Walking Street.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is located some 15 kilometers east of Pattaya. The 500-acre site has well maintained botanical gardens and an orchid nursery. Moreover the facility has lively cultural shows in a Thai village setting. In addition trained chimpanzees and elephants are seen at the garden.

Other attractions in Pattaya: The Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm, Elephant Village, Pattaya Park Beach Resort Water Park and Funny Land Amusement Park, Siriporn Orchid Farm, Underwater World Pattaya (world class aquarium), Alankarn cultural show, Sriracha Tiger Zoo, Bottle Art Museum, Mini Siam, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, and Walking Street.

Some tourists take daytrips to nearby Rayong for beautiful beaches, as well as Koh Samet island.


Ko Lan

Ko Lan or Coral Island, is a small island situated 7.5 km west of Pattaya. Ko Lan is accessible by speedboat and ferry. The ferry departs hourly, and is a 45-minute ride costing just 20 baht each way. Speedboats are more expensive, but can reach the island in less than 15 minutes. Ko Lan has several beaches, which are known for their cleanliness, relaxing atmosphere, soft white sand, and crystal-clear water.

Island groups

Off Pattaya there are two small island groups, the "Near Islands" (Ko Sak, Ko Krok) located close to the northern shores of Pattaya, very near Ko Lan, and the "Far Islands" (Ko Rin, Ko Man Wichai, Ko Hua Chang, and Ko Badan), located offshore directly west of Pattaya. These islands, especially the "Far Islands", are the primary scuba diving destinations in and around Pattaya.


Pattaya Beach

Pattaya Beach is situated alongside the city centre, close to shopping, hotels and bars. The over-abundance of jet-skis and speedboats has contributed to the pollution of the water along the beach, as has the practice of dumping sewage in the ocean. The section of beach from Central Road (Pattaya Klang) south to the harbor is adjacent to the core of Pattaya's abundant nightlife area, and hence is less family-oriented than the North Pattaya, Na Klua and Jomtien beaches.
Most sections of the beach are covered by rented deckchairs run by local beverage vendors during daylight hours.
During nighttime a few deckchairs remain operated and drinks can be ordered at the south end (near walking street) of the beach.

Jomtien Beach

Jomtien Beach (Thai: หาดจอมเทียน) is divided from the main part of Pattaya by Pratumnak Hill, just south of the city. In contrast to Pattaya Beach, Jomtien is a popular spot for family vacationers and water sports enthusiasts. Jomtien is essentially a residential area with beachside hotels, bungalow complexes, condominiums and restaurants. A wide array of watersport activities can be found, including jet skis, parasailing and small sail boat (Hobie Cat) rental. Dongtan Beach, just past the Avalon Beach Resort in Jomtien, is known as the gay beach, and is busy every day of the year. It is very popular location for vendors of all types to solicit their services or goods.

Jomtien's most visible landmark is the 56-story Pattaya Park tower, part of the Pattaya Park entertainment complex which also features a water park, roller coaster, monorail and children's activities. This may soon be overshadowed by the proposed 91-floor Ocean 1 ("O1") Tower[3]. With an overall height of 367 meters, it would be the tallest building in Thailand and one of the tallest residential buildings in the world
The Jomtien district is already home to one of the largest resorts in Asia, the 4000+ room Ambassador City Jomtien. Jomtien beach can be reached by Sonthaew taxi. There is a direct route or you have to switch Songthaew at the 2nd road intersection near walking street. Songthaew fares from within Pattaya to Jomtien will be 20 baht for foreigner person while Thai people only need to pay 10 baht for the same ride. Motorbike taxi will take you there for 60 baht.

History of Pattaya

Pattaya was simply a small fishing village until it was discovered as a beach resort by Bangkok residents in the 1960s. Soon thereafter, servicemen from all over Southeast Asia, including the United States Air Force base at U-Tapao in neighbouring Rayong province began using the area for "rest and recuperation" (R&R), causing a huge boom in prostitution. When the Americans left following the end of the Vietnam War, the city fell into a crisis. However, modern mass tourism, particularly single men looking for companionship, brought a new lease of life to Pattaya.

The rapid growth of tourism brought about many negative consequences, such as pollution and petty crime. In 1976, the Pattaya City Act was passed by the Thai legislature, making Pattaya a self-administrating municipality governed by a Council-manager government. However, many argue that this administration system has drawbacks (for example, the mayor may disagree with the city manager). Critics have recommended abolishing the system.

In recent years the city has pushed hard to clean up its image, and family-focused entertainment is increasingly available; however, the core sex-industry has ensured that Pattaya retains its position as one of the world's most renowned party destinations. In 2005, more than 35,000 hotel rooms were available in Pattaya and it has seen a large increase in family tourism in recent years, thanks to efforts to present a more wholesome image. Despite these efforts, Pattaya's sex industry is the city's raison d' etre. Pattaya is an especially popular vacation destination for families from Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. Pattaya also has a large international expatriate population, especially British and Russian residents.

The city of Pattaya

Pattaya (Thai: พัทยา, RTGS: Phatthaya) is a city in Thailand, located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand about 165 km southeast of Bangkok located within but not part of Amphoe Bang Lamung in the province of Chon Buri.

Meaning the 'south-west monsoon wind" and correctly pronounced "Put-tuh-yah" not "Patt-eye-yah", it ranks as one of the most successful beach resorts in the world, with some 5.4 million visitors arriving in 2005. Increasing numbers of tourists come from the former Soviet Union and East Asia.

Location of Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand

The city of Pattaya is a self governing special municipal area which covers the whole tambon Nong Prue and Na Kluea and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai. It is located in the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard zone, along with Si Racha, Laem Chabang, and Chon Buri. However, it remains mostly a tourist city, with very light industry.

Pattaya is second only to Bangkok in high rise buildings, as many condos for foreign residents are built, and has a modest skyline. The city's economy benefits from its relative proximity to Bangkok.

Pattaya is also the center of the Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area, the conurbation in Chonburi Province.

Pattaya is about 1½ hours, or 120 Kms by road from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Pattaya is also served through U-Tapao International Airport which is 45 minutes drive from the city. By road, it is served by Sukhumvit Road and Motorway 7 from Bangkok. Intercity transport is usually through one of two bus stations, one for Bangkok and one for other destinations.

Until recently the only transport within town were private or shared songthaews and taxi via motorbike. However, a public bus service has begun in 2006, and a metered taxi service began in late 2007.