Pattaya – The Dynamic Beach Resort
Pattaya is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 147 km southeast of Bangkok. From a fishing village in the 1960’s, Pattaya has emerged as one of Southeast Asia favorite vacation destination and in recent years has become the centre of Thailand’s principal holiday and recreation areas; Pattaya is often dubbed “The Riviera of Thailand” (in 2005, more than 35,000 hotel rooms were available).
Pattaya’s name originates from the march of Phraya Tak (later known as King Taksin the Great) and his followers from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi just before the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the Burmese invaders in 1767. When Phraya Tak’s army arrived in the vicinity of what is Pattaya today, he encountered the troops of Nai Klom who tried to intercept him. When the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was awed by Phraya Tak’s dignified manner and his army’s strict discipline, thereby surrendering without a fight. The place where the two armies confronted each other was later called Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This was later changed to Phatthaya, which happens to mean the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season. Today the spelling of the name has been simplified to Pattaya.
For centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village almost cut off from the outside world. When, in April 1961, 100 American servicemen from the Vietnam War arrived in Pattaya for relaxation, the transformation from the a sleeping fishing village to Thailand’s premier and most successful beach resort had started. Fishing vessels were adapted to become tourist boats, deluxe hotels and bungalows replaced fishermens huts along the beach and swimmers and sunbathers from various parts of the world frequented the quiet powdery golden beaches. Places of nightlife and entertainment have sprung up and are popular among international tourists.
Today, Pattaya offers first class beach resorts, delicious dining, shopping and world renown night life. Pattaya has more than 260 hotels, from simple guest houses to luxurious hideaways, thousands of shops, restaurants and bars. In addition, there is an array of sports and recreational activities including beautiful beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, go-kart, and many more. During the day, one may enjoy riding elephants or driving automatic mini-bikes, monstrous motorcycles, or even monster multicolored convertible Jeeps. Others go for scuba diving and surfing, deep-sea fishing, speed boats, scooters, water-skiing, parasailing, or aerial sports such as gliding ultra-lights and flying motor-propelled gliders. At night, there are restaurants, bars, theaters, cabaret shows, night clubs, bowling halls, billiard & snooker clubs, exotic and erotic shows, discos, sauna and massage parlors. Incredible shopping is available non-stop both day-and-night. Pattaya attracts annually more than 1 million pleasure-seeking visitors.
From Don Muang airport in Bangkok there is a bus service run by Thai International. Tickets can be purchased just outside the customs hall. Limousine services offer transport to and from the International airport, at a cost of 1500 Baht one way. Transfer times from the airport vary from 2 – 2½ hours depending on traffic conditions.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport shuttle bus is available to take you to the Passenger Bus Terminal. There is an air conditioned bus to Pattaya; fare is TBH 150 one way. Travel time takes about 1 ½ hours.
From Bangkok air-conditioned buses run every 20 minutes to Pattaya, and are clearly labelled in English; take a bus at Ekamai Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road (BTS station Ekamai); fare around THB 120 one way or you can take a bus at the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit); one way fare is around THB 130. A taxi ride from a central Bangkok hotel to Pattaya will cost you THB 1500-2000 plus toll way fees. Some travel agencies offer daily minibus transfers to Pattaya at THB 450.
A train (Hualamphong Station) is leaving Bangkok daily at 7.10 am and arrives in Pattaya at 10.45 am; from Pattaya the train leaves at 2.50 pm arriving Bangkok at 6.35 pm.
From Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Phuket you can fly to U-Tapao airport, which is a 30 kms southeast of the city, 45 minute taxi ride from Pattaya.