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.
All manner of water sports are popular in Pattaya, including surfing, diving, motorboat driving and parasailing (fairly expensive). Diving off the coast of Pattaya actually offers few attractions as the coral reefs have long since been plundered, although there are still a few attractive diving areas near the offshore islands. Almost every hotel has its own tennis courts, a number floodlit at night. Golf courses, some of which meet international standards, can be found at the Dusit Resort, and at the somewhat remote Siam Country Club and in Sattahip. In spring and in autumn motor racing takes place, motor sport fans can practice their skills on two go-kart tracks.
By car: from Bangkok highways 34/3 (147 km (91 mi.)).
By rail: from Bangkok-Hualampong. From Pattaya station there is a shuttle service into the town and to the hotels.
By bus: from Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal.
By air: nearest air route Bangkok-Don Muang.
The Royal Cliff Hotel offers guests a helicopter shuttle service (flight time from Don Muang 30 minutes).