PATTAYA

Pattaya (Thai: พัทยา, 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 (Thai: เมืองพัทยา rtgsMueang Phatthaya) 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 107,406, yet this only accounts 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.

he 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, notes 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. They rented several houses at the south end of the beach from a prominent Thai, Lord Sunthorn. Despite their short stay, the soldiers 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, on the Gulf of Thailand, is approximately 160 kilometres (99 mi) south of the city of Bangkok in 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 make up 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 (directly south of Pratamnak Hill).

The sights and sounds of Walking Street are quite unlike anything else in Thailand. Other towns and cities try to claim to have their own version, but nothing comes close to matching the 500 metres of fun which is found at the end of Pattaya’s Beach Road. Taking its name from the fact that it is closed to vehicle traffic after 18:00, almost every building on both sides of the road – as well as many in the side streets around it – is a nightclub, beer bar, restaurant or go-go bar to the extent that the road is almost completely deserted during daylight hours as virtually everything is shut. At night, however, the road comes alive with neon lights, thumping music from different genres, food vendors, street performances and party animals from around the world.

The Sanctuary of Truth is perhaps the most iconic structure in Pattaya. Intricately carved entirely from teak wood, the awe-inspiring 105-metre-tall hall on the headland to the north of Wongamat Beach is a one-of-a-kind structure in the whole world. Neither temple nor palace, despite looking like a hybrid of both, it was commissioned by a local business tycoon to act as a place of appreciation for philosophy, art, culture and faith, without being tied to a single religion.

The sanctuary is perhaps best described as a monument to Thai craftsmaship, with its stunningly detailed carvings of elephants, people and scenes, creatures and deities from mythology. They pay homage to and are a reflection of the Ancient Vision of Earth, Ancient Knowledge and Eastern Philosophy and they adorn every single surface – both inside and out – of the building. They are also a reflection of the fleeting nature and ceaseless toil of human existence because none of the wood is treated or protected from the elements, meaning that older parts gradually succumb to the rigours of the weather and climate and need to be replaced. The construction of the sanctuary, which began in 1981, is an on-going, never-ending task. Admission and how to find The Sanctuary of Truth From North Pattaya Road, turn right into Naklua Road at the circle before you get to Pattaya Beach Road. Turn left into Naklua Soi 12, and travel right towards the end. Admission is 500 baht for adults and 250 baht for children. Tour guides are free, friendly and very knowledgeable.

Tiffany’s Cabaret Show takes place in a grand theatre that, with its huge faux-marble lobby, manages to be almost as spectacular as the dazzling costumes. Performers make their entrances dressed in everything from long sweeping ball-gowns and plumes of feathers, to elaborate headdresses and skimpy polkadot swimwear. A breathless hour-long riot of sound, colour and light ensues; a show that spans the entire hemisphere through song, dance or skit. Scenes include a Bollywood musical take on the Indian Raj, a traditional Korean fan dance, homage to China’s Imperial past and progress, Siam’s history told through graceful Thai dance, Broadway show tunes, and slapstick burlesque.

Opening Hours: Daily, 18:00, 19:30 and 21:00 Location: 99/1-2 Pattayasaisong Rd, Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150 Tel: +66 (0) 38 421 700

The 2.4sq.kms of Nong Nooch Gardens are full to bursting with some of the most remarkable flowers, displays and landscaped gardens in Thailand, if not the world. The team behind them have repeatedly won international awards for their designs, which include 17th-century-French-style gardens, a recreation of Stonehenge, creative topiary displays and gardens created exclusively with cacti, bonsais and tropical palms. It is also the home of over 670 native and hybrid species of orchid and regular displays of classic Thai dancing, boxing and drumming.

Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:00 Location: 34/1 Sukhumvit Road, Na Jomtien Tel: +66 (0)3 870 9358

Correctly known as the “Four Regions Floating Market”, the sub-sections of this 100,000sqm development represent the four major areas of Thailand – the north, northeast, central and south. This representation comes in the form of shops and stalls selling souvenirs, fruits, food, art, handicrafts, postcards and clothing as well as regular cultural shows and demonstrations. Some of the 114 vendors do indeed float, selling their wares from traditional boats and canoes. The rest are built into a sturdy stilted village, with covered walkways and stout bridges connecting them.

Opening Hours: 10:00 – 23:00 Location: 451/304 Sukhumvit Road, Jomtien Tel: +66 (0)3 870 6340

 

Walking Street Pattaya is the biggest and busiest party hotspot in the whole of Thailand, with only a couple of the top places in Bangkok beating it for sheer volume and variety. A full kilometre from its high-tech gateway at the Beach Road end to the Bali Hai Plaza end, almost every building along its length is a nightclub, go-go bar, beer bar or restaurant. Each of the side streets – which span from Soi 14 to Soi 16, with a couple of uniquely-named streets in between – is more of the same, making the whole southern end of the city into a warren of nightlife entertainments, with something for practically every taste.

The remarkable thing about Pattaya Walking Street is that there is so much to see and do, and it is so densely packed that you could spend every night for a whole week there and, aside from having the mother of all hangovers, you would still be finding new places each and every evening. We have endeavoured to survey the main points of interest and even here we are just scratching the surface of the hundreds of venues on and around the neon-drenched strip.

Anyone who has ever been to Pattaya will know about Walking Street: around 500 metres of bar after bar of dancing girls and nightlife entertainment. Even outside the bars, groups of girls wave and call at all passersby to try and entice them inside. Things get going from around 20:00 until late into the night and the street is a constant throng of tourists.

Go-Go bars come in many shapes and sizes, but the typical elements include a bar, a central stage with several poles, and lots of seating facing the stage. Girls will dance on stage to club music, replaced every few songs with a new group of dancers. In between dancing, these girls will mingle with the crowd, and are happy to have a chat in return for a free drink.