It's remarkable that only 50 years ago Pattaya was just a small fishing village originally called Pad Tha Ya. All that changed almost overnight, when Pattaya became popular with American marines based at nearby Sattahip during the Vietnam war. Locals soon opened up rooms and makeshift bars to cater for the needs of thousands of troops. Pattaya has continued to grow at an unprecedented rate ever since, long after the last marine went home.
It has made an effort to clean up its tarnished image of the past. Pattaya
now has the status of a modern, major city resort attracting over two million
Thai and foreign visitors each year and is a winning formula for fun and
entertainment. You can be assured of a memorable holiday with its large
selection of restaurants, shopping opportunities, bars and night spots. The
daytime presents an ever-changing kaleidoscope of fun and thrills. Pattaya
nightlife is an experience you will never forget. Accommodation ranges from
luxuriously appointed beach hotels with superb facilities to budget guest
houses offering really good value for money.
Getting around Pattaya
Getting around Pattaya is very easy. The most common mode of transport is the songthaew, affectionately known as a baht bus by the majority of people. It
is little more than a dark blue pick-up truck with two benches in the rear and a covered top. The set fare within Pattaya City is 10 baht, although sometimes the drivers might try to get a little more from foreigners and refuse to give change. The songthaew supposedly follow set routes around Pattaya similar to our buses, well that's the idea anyway! The most popular route is the circle along Beach Road and back down the 2nd Road passing Walking Street on the way. You can just flag one down, jump on board and ring the bell to request the
driver to stop. If you find it is not going in the right direction, it is simpler to just get off and jump on another. If you want it to take you somewhere off the normal route this can be arranged with the driver at a cost. Be very clear where you want to go and negotiate the price first to avoid any nasty shocks over price and final destination. Beware having your baht bus taken off course by others chartering it. The alternatives are motorbike taxi and metered taxis.
Central Pattaya, otherwise known as Pattaya Klang is more lively and upbeat than the other surrounding areas. The hotels are more modest, offering very good value accommodation and no-frills Western and Thai food. Here you will find the heart of Pattaya's beer bars and go go bars.
Three of the main shopping malls, the Royal Garden Plaza and Mike's Place, and the Central Festival.
North Pattaya : Naklua
North Pattaya or Pattaya Neu starts from The Dolphin Roundabout a well-known landmark easily spotted considering it has a large statue of a dolphin. This area is regarded as the
posh end of town, and popular with the German community. Most of the larger hotels backing on to their own private beach areas. There are many smaller bars and a large bar complex, but nothing as lively as Central Pattaya.
From 2nd Road to Beach Road and up to Walking Street is the Southern area. Sometimes referred to as Pattaya Tai. A one way system operates here taking the traffic along Beach Road and away from Walking Street. This world famous street is completely car free, allowing revellers to bar hop the endless bars without the risk of injury. The biggest seafood restaurants are also here built over the sea. South Pattaya is older, very much in your face and busier than the remainder of the city. You can walk uninterrupted through to Arthachinda Road, which effectively marks the boundary.