Pattaya Overview

Stretching 500 kilometres along the Gulf of Thailand and only a few hours drive from Bangkok, the East Coast of Thailand has long been the favourite getaway destination for both residents and visitors to Thailand. Attracting more than 3 million tourists from all over the world annually, Pattaya offers the highest standard of hotels, excellent weather, restaurants, sports, entertainment and shopping facilities. In recent years, Pattaya has become home to an ever-expanding number of businesses and business-related service institutions, underlining its evolution from a tiny fishing village to a pivotal player in Thailand’s social, cultural and economic scene. The city still retains much of the charm and tranquillity of the past while offering all the vigour, multicultural diversity and conveniences of a modern city.

Pattaya History

Fifty years ago Pattaya was a sleepy little fishing village, dwarfed by her neighbors to the North, Na Klua, to the South, Rayong. Its only claim to fame being that it had, in the 13th century, been a resting place for the battle forces of the great King Narai during his campaign to oust the Burmese invaders. From that overnight bivouac, Pattaya derives its name. Then came the Vietnam war and incursion of more benign foreign troops. Thailand supported the American efforts in the area! providing bases, manned by thousands of young America requiring rest and recreation. How is it possible to fix the date of an historical trend? Whilst Pattaya had achieved some popularity with a few adventurous souls who braved the rough road from Bangkok to take advantage of the crystal waters, great diving and soon following them, beach bars and restaurants, let us take the time when, on the 29th June 1959, four or five transport trucks loaded with American G.I.'s arrived in the village of Pattaya on leave from their base at Nakhon Ratchasima. On arrival in Pattaya they rented houses belonging to Phraya Sunthorn which were along the southern end of Pattaya Beach, now know as the "Strip". The marines stayed for about a week and returned to base. Having had a great time in Pattaya With the friendly residents, they spread the word. A new group of marines kept arriving periodically and the village geared up to cater to their every need. This can be considered as the birth of Pattaya as a tourist resort.

Pattaya continued to grow in popularity at such a rate with both Thai and foreign tourists, that the local government could not cope with the administration. Administrative and infrastructure combination with Na Klua, took place in 1976 and the government promulgated the Pattaya City Act in 1978, there by joining Na Klua and Pattaya to form the fifth local government municipality. 

Pattaya climate and best time to visit
Pattaya like most of Thailand has the typical tropical climate and sees tourists almost all through the year. Here's a monthly break-up of the climate so you can plan your trip better:
November to February: The best time to visit Pattaya is from November to February when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and remains mostly pleasant. This is also the peak tourist season and most beaches and other places of attraction are packed with visitors. One can expect short spells of rain and regular days of bright sunshine. But do try to make all your bookings in advance because places get sold out and prices tend to rise.
March to May: The weather becomes hot and humid during the months of March, April and May but nevertheless the influx of tourists remains high. While the beaches are busy during this period, they aren’t as crowded as during the peak season. Be sure to carry plenty of sunscreen lotion, sunglasses and a hat.
June to October: Pattaya experiences heavy rainfall from June to October and if you’re looking to enjoy Pattaya at its quiet best, then the rainy season is ideal. The beaches are much less crowded, temperature is not too high and hotel accommodation naturally becomes cheaper. Many people prefer to travel to Pattaya, especially during July and August, when rainfall is considerably lower and accommodation prices are more favourable. Don't forget to pack a sturdy pair of shoes to handle the rains!
Pattaya Transportation

By flight

The nearest airport is U-Tapao about 45 minutes east of Pattaya. Bangkok Airways fly from the airport to Phuket and Koh Samui with daily departures. The price is about 3500 THB for a single ticket. Reservations can be made on Bangkok Airways also has an office in Pattaya at the Fairtex Arcade Building in North Pattaya.

Most travelers choose to go via Bangkok Airport which is about 1.5 hours drive from Pattaya. The price is approximately 1500 THB for a private taxi from the airport to the selected hotel in Pattaya.

By train

A relatively slow way to get to Pattaya is by train from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok. The train ride takes about 4 hours and costs approximately 35 THB. The railway station Pattaya is located on Sukhumvit Road and from here you can take local songtaews to Pattaya for about 40 THB.

By bus

A very common and convenient way to get to Pattya is by bus. Buses to Pattaya depart from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road at Ekkamai BTS. There are departures every hour starting from 5 AM until 11 PM. A ticket costs about 115 THB. It is also possible to take a bus from Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal on Kampaengphet 2 Road near Mo Chit.

In Pattaya, the bus terminal is located on North Pattaya Road. From here you can get to Pattaya with songtaews for about 40 THB.

By car

Take Highway 3 east of Bangkok. Note that you have to pay toll fee for using the highway.

Things to do and see in Pattaya

11. 1. Budda mountain (Khao Chi Chan)

The largest engraving of Buddha in the world, the gold-embossed image was carved out of the side of a limestone mountain with a laser and is 130 metres in height and 70 metres across at its widest. The area in which it resides – commonly known as “Silverlake” – is one of remarkable natural beauty, with a couple of other nearby attractions.

2. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

The sprawling park at Nong Nooch (pronounced "nung nut") Village offers a variety of activities for all the family. Walkways wind among colorful themed gardens, including a topiary garden; 17th-century French garden; European Renaissance garden; and species-specific gardens featuring plants like tropical palms, succulents, and bonsai. The magnificent orchid garden will awaken the inner horticulturist in anyone. Live shows at the Thai Cultural Hall add to the line-up with performances of traditional Thai dancing, sword-fighting, Thai kickboxing, and an elephant show of dubious ethical quality. You can rent a bicycle to explore the different areas of the park, and door-to-door transportation is available.

3. Jomtien Beach
Stretching for six kilometers, Jomtien Beach is a welcome escape from the bustle of the main city four kilometers away. You can sunbathe along its golden shores or take refuge in shade provided by trees at the beach's edge. Water lovers can enjoy all kinds of activities, including jet-skiing, kitesurfing, parasailing, and windsurfing. When you need refreshment, you'll find plenty of restaurants and cafes along the beach serving local fare and fresh seafood.

4. Sanctuary of Truth
Billed as "the magnificence of heaven recreated on Earth," this massive monument, built entirely of wood, is a study in Thai architectural styles. Every available space is intricately decorated with wooden carvings, and the entire structure was built to pay homage to ancient religions and philosophies. The cycle of life, Utopia, and humanity's relationship to the universe are some of the themes reflected in the artwork here. While visiting the sanctuary, you can enjoy Thai cultural shows and Thai boxing, go elephant trekking or horseback riding, or take a ride on a speedboat.

5. Wat Yansangwararam
As with all of Thailand's impressive wats (temples), Wat Yansangwararam (known as Wat Yan) offers insight not only into Thai design and architectural traditions, but also into the society's values. Surrounded by sprawling palm-studded gardens, the temple was dedicated to King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1988 to commemorate the 42nd year of his reign. Precious Buddhist relics are housed in the main complex, and on the right-hand side of the path leading to the temple is a lake with impressive Chinese pavilions, filled with antiques and artifacts. Wat Yansangwararam's shrine stands on a hill, reached by a flight of 299 steps lined with Naga snakes.

6. Big Budda (Wa Phra Yai)
This 18-meter-tall golden statue of the Buddha looking peaceful and relaxed perches atop the wooded Pratamnak Hill south of Pattaya. Climb the steep stairs, adorned on both sides with golden Naga snakes, to see the statue up close and admire the several smaller Buddhas surrounding it. Many locals come here to pray for good health, happiness, and prosperity. You can also enjoy beautiful views over Pattaya and the bay from the top of the hill. If you're not up for a long walk up the hill, you can catch a taxi up and save your energy to climb the stairs to the statues.

7. Koh Larn (Coral Island) Day Trip

A 30-minute speed boat ride or 45-minute ferry ride from Pattaya, Koh Larn (also called Koh Lan) is a relatively peaceful escape from tourist-packed Pattaya. Several white-sand beaches stretch along the shores of the island, with food stalls, restroom facilities, and plenty of water sports. Parasailing, banana boat rides, and underwater Sea Walking are some of the most popular. Tien is one of the prettiest beaches, and monkeys frolic on Nual Beach. You can rent motorbikes to tour the island, and it's also possible to stay overnight at one of the many resorts along the beach at Samae and Tawaen. This is a popular place for families to spend the day away from the hubbub of Pattaya.

8. Art in Paradise

Family-friendly Art in Paradise is an illusion art museum and the perfect place for fun photo ops. Tickle a whale's belly, touch a rhino, or tackle a marlin in life-like artwork and capture the moment in a photograph to share with family and friends later. The different themed zones include classic art, Egypt, the underwater world, safari, dinosaurs, and fantasy. This is a great rainy day attraction, and a fun place to round out your vacation photo collection.

9. Four Regions Floating Market Leo Fung

The first and only floating market in Pattaya, this bustling hive of commerce is divided into different sections selling merchandise from the four major areas of Thailand. Souvenirs, arts and crafts, and clothing are among the many items sold here, and it's also a great place to indulge in some exotic cuisine; you can try everything from scorpions to crickets and crocodile meat. A great way to explore the markets is to rent a boat. Unlike more authentic floating markets, you have to pay for admission here.

10. Mini Siam

A fun way to see the wonders of Thailand  and the world, Mini Siam displays models of some of the most famous international sites. Among those on display are Bangkok's Victory Monument and Wat Arun (also known as the Temple of the Dawn), New York's Statue of Liberty, London's Tower Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, and the L'Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Children, especially, will enjoy seeing some of these famous structures all in one place. Bookings should be made at least a day in advance.

Pattaya Travel Tips
The main city transport is songthaews which are small open vans following certain routes like common buses. A trip should be paid directly to a driver of a van. Setting off to a city exploration tour travelers should have enough change.

Local restaurants feature rather affordable pricing policy. Thus prudent tourists should not deny their pleasure of visiting some upscale gastronomy establishments of the resort. An average cost of a rich dinner for two in one of the ethnic restaurants will be about 50 Euro.

Local markets and private shops welcome bargaining as this is an optimum way to sufficiently reduce a price. Open markets are the best places to hunt some souvenirs, memorable gifts and crafts meanwhile clothes, perfumes and jewelry should be bought in specialized stores and boutiques.
Local shops and stores offer a wide choice of fake brand clothes and accessories that is why tourists should be rather attentive and careful as in case of identification of fake items in the airport they will be confiscated. 
All the staff should be rewarded with tips. In restaurants and cafes a 5% addition to a total sum of a bill will be quite enough. In restaurants the tips for a waiter may be in coins meanwhile hotel maids, taxi drivers and other staff should be rewarded only with tips in notes. An average amount of tips equals 20 baht.

An optimum way to pay for goods and services is the national Thai currency. However local shops and restaurants accept US dollars and Euro as well. But in this case a cost may turn higher. Banks offer a more profitable currency exchange rate. Tourists will find numerous private currency exchange offices in Pattaya.

Tourists should follow rules of decorum. One should not speak and laugh in high key in public places. One should address a conversation partner in a calm, quiet voice as excessive excitement will puzzle local folks as in Pattaya such an act is considered to be offensive and disrespectfu
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