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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pattaya

Pattaya is situated approximately 147 km (91 mi.) south-east of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Blessed with sun, sea and sand, it is the largest and certainly most popular seaside resort in south-east Asia. Its development follows the line of the bay, the approximately 6-km (4-mi.) long, heavily-used coast road runs between the beach and the numerous hotels. The area south of the town with Jomtien Beach is tourist-oriented.

For many years Pattaya led a peaceful, sleepy existence. Visitors from Bangkok would come here at weekends, but it was left to the U.S. troops stationed at the air force base U Tapao at Sattahip during the Vietnam War to "discover" Pattaya. During the 1970s the small town developed very rapidly into a bathing and sex tourist resort; the building boom continued until very recently. The gap left by the withdrawal of U.S. troops in the late 1970s was filled mainly by tour operators in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. A large-scale action program has been initiated to "clean up" the resort's rather dubious reputation; in particular a war has been declared on prostitution. The quality of the sea water has been significantly improved, following the opening of a large sewage plant in 1992. On the other hand, water supplies in the dry season are still not very reliable.

Sleepy by day, Pattaya's greatest attraction - both in a positive and a negative sense - is its nightlife, famed worldwide and envied by its rivals. Countless bars, nightclubs, discos and other places of amusement are mostly crowded into the two main streets as well as the northern edge of the town. The pace of life continues to be a little slower at Jomtien Beach, south of the main resort, which for some years has been gradually developed into a "part" of Pattaya.

For those wishing to spend a peaceful beach holiday, the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, located on the edge of Pattaya, is recommended; otherwise search out resorts in southern Thailand, such as Phuket or Koh Samui.

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Nong Nooch Village

Nong Nooch (pronounced "nung nut") Village, approximately 15 km (9 mi.) south-east of Pattaya, can be compared to the Rose Garden at Nakhon Pathom. The life of the agricultural population is portrayed in this 400-ha (988-acre) park, with Thai boxing, cockfights and an elephant show. The magnificent orchid garden is not just for flower lovers to savor, and the zoo, housing animals typically found in the region, is not aimed solely at children. Outings to Nong Nooch depart from the office in Pattaya (opposite Nipa Lodge Hotel). Guests can also be collected from their hotels.
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Pattaya Orphanage

Pattaya Orphanage is situated near the motorway to Bangkok. Run by a Redemptorist priest of Irish descent, it cares for children of varying ages. Visitors wishing to gain an impression of life behind the façade of a pleasure resort are heartily welcomed here at any time, provided that they have made an appointment.
The U.S. military assisted in building the orphange when it was discovered that many orphans were born of American servicemen in the days of their presence at the U.S. base during the Vietnam War.
Address: Box 300, Pattaya Post Office, Pattaya, Chonburi 20260, Thailand

Wat Yansanwararam

Shortly before the entrance to Nong Nooch a road turns off from Highway 3 to the recently built Wat Yansangwararam. This temple was dedicated to King Bhumibol in 1988 to commemorate the 42nd year of his reign. To the right-hand side of the path leading to the temple there is a lake with attractive Chinese pavilions and other buildings. Wat Yansangwararam's shrine stands on a hill, reached by a flight of 299 steps lined with naga snakes. On the plain several buildings, including a round wiharn and monastic dwellings, are situated in a well-tended area of parkland.

Elephant Kraal

An elephant kraal is located 6 km (4 mi.) from Pattaya. The pachyderms demonstrate their skills every day at 2.30pm accompanied by an English commentary. After the performances there is an opportunity to ride the elephants. Another elephant kraal can be found 5 km (3 mi.) from Sukhumvit Road at Rodeo Ranch.

Naklua, Thailand

The little town of Naklua, about 12 km (71/2 mi.) from Pattaya, should be visited either in the morning for its busy fish market or in the evening for its night market. A number of good restaurants can be found around the market. It is best to use a group taxi from Pattaya to travel there.

Pattaya Park

Gardens at a park near Pattaya.
Pattaya Park, with spacious pools and four giant water-slides, was opened several years ago and lies 8 km (5 mi.) from Pattaya (take Cliff Road in a southerly direction and follow the signs). Pattaya Park contains several restaurants, as well as a complex of bungalows and a hotel.
Official site: www.pattayapark.com
Address: 345 Jomtien Beach, Pattaya, Chonburi 20150, Thailand

Mini Siam

As in Ancient City the Mini Siam park displays Thailand's most important attractions in miniature (scale 1:25). An evening visit should prove delightful as the 80 exhibits are then illuminated.
Address: 387 Moo 6 Sukhumvit Road, Pattaya, Chonburi 20150, Thailand
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