Pattaya's name originated from the march of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin) and his followers from Ayutthaya to Canthaburi just before the fall of the former capital to the Burmese invaders in 1767. When Phraya Tak's army arrived at the vicinity of what is today's Pattaya, he encountered the troops of Nai Klom who tried to intercept him. But when the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was awed by Phraya Tak's dignified manner and his army's strict discipline. And he surrendered without a fight. The place the two armies confronted each other, was later called Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This was 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. A small city in Chonburi Province, is an international play ground of renown, located on the east coast of the gulf of Thailand and facing a wide bay. Pattaya has the rare distinction of being both a beach destination and a full fledged city.
This near paradoxical status ensures the creature comforts and entertainment facilities of a major metropolis plus all the delights of sun, sea and sand. Such is the variety, Pattaya offers that it is ideal for all kinds of visitors. A little over two hours from Bangkok by comfortable, air-conditioned bus, Pattaya is within easy reach of a dozen excellent, affordable golf courses which have spectacular views and all the amenities. It is also home to numerous fully equipped businesses which offer scuba adventures at one of the nearby islands. The beach on Pattaya bay itself is not ideal for watersports, but nearby Jomtien and Naklua beaches provide cleaner, less crowded venues for swimming, windsurfing, boating, and other kinds of sun-drenched fun in the warm, turquoise waters of the Gulf.
From The Pattaya Guide
Welcome to Pattaya:
Pattaya lies 150km to the southeast of Bangkok, less than two hours by road, and stretches for some 15 km along the Eastern Seaboard. Thailand's largest resort, it shares the coast with traditional fishing villages, other resorts such as Bang Saen and Rayong, new industrial centres, the towns of Chonburi and Sri Racha, and the port and naval base of Sattahip. Pattaya Beach is a palm-fringed, sandy bay with a view of coral islands on the horizon. Nearby are other cliffs and other bays, while inland, the region is rich in agricultural products including sugar cane, tapioca, rubber, and fruit trees.
Pattaya in the 1960s was just a little fishing village, until a few Bangkok residents began to take their weekends here and generated a modest local tourist industry. Even so, the only hotel of any size was the Nipa Lodge; other accommadation tended towards holiday bungalows and beach huts. The Vietnam War saw the start of Pattaya's international reputation, for the fledgling resort was used as an official R&R center for the US forces. They were flown into U-Tapao Airport, which was built for American use at the time, and shops, services, bars and hotel accommadation grew to meet the demand.
Pattaya is now a city in its own right, with its own mayor and its own administration. This is not all due to tourism. The government development program for the Eastern Seaboard has transformed the region and this rapid industrial and commercial expansion has led to many expatriates coming to live in the area. There is a new deep-sea port at Laem Chabang, 20 km north of Pattaya with a vast industrial estate and another development zone at Map Ta Phut near Rayong to the south. Pattaya City is well located to be a major business center serving these two giant industrial communities. There are five international schools and four international hospitals in the area.
Information from pattayapropertyfinder.com
Fun for all:
As a beach resort with city status, Pattaya has something for everyone. Whereas most other beach resorts rely simply on natural surroundings for their charm, Pattaya makes an all out attempt to provide the best of everything. There is just about everything you can think of for recreation, entertainment, sightseeing and fun. Pattaya can be whatever you want it to be. Such is the variety that it is ideal for all kinds of visitors. While there is plenty to keep the children happily occupied, there is the everything for the sports enthusiast, for all ages seeking rest and relaxiation and for those who are simply looking for warm sunshine.
After dark the options include open-air bars, nightclubs, cabaret shows and discos. The nightlife center in South Pattaya, popularly known as "The Strip". is a trifle brash and noisy for some tastes, there are alternative quieter spots for evening fun in a more relaxed style.Shopping too, can be an evening attraction. Most establishments close late and the dedicated bargain hunter can find all of Thailand's best buys - such as silk, gems and jewellery, tailor made clothing, handicrafts and more.
Pattaya is and increasingly popular venue for international conventions, conferences and seminars. Several of the larger hotels are fully equipped to host meetings or receptions for a thousand of more people, and even smaller properties off or range of well appointed function rooms. Complementing the luxury of sheer space is a comprehensive selection of state-of-art equipment for audio-visual presentations and other conference related activities.
Pattaya boasts an incredible choice of accommodation to suit every pocket. Facilities range from luxury hotels with private beaches to bayside hotels and bungalows and inland economy class hotels and guest houses.
The easiest and most popular way to reach Pattaya is by bus. From the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, there are departures every 30 minutes by air conditioned bus from 5 am until 10 pm. The one-way fare is Bt 124. From the Northern Bus Terminal (Morchit II) there are departures again every 30 minutes from 5 am to 7 pm with a one way fare of Bt 105. Few visitors to Pattaya are aware that the city does have a railway station. It is north of Sukhumvit Rd close to the Siam Country Club. One train a day leaves Bangkok's Hualamphong station at 7 am and takes up to five hours to reach Pattaya stopping at many stations along the way. U-Tapao, which is located near Sattahip, has very few scheduled flights. Most visitors travelling this way are on chartered flights. Alternatively for those who prefer to arrive with more comfort and style, taxies and limos are available direct from the Bangkok airport 24 hours a day.
For getting around the main bay area, the minibuses and baht buses charge a flat fare of Bt 10. The run to Naklua is also Bt 10 and to Jomtien Bt 30. Drivers usually ask for Bt 40 to travel up the hill to Royal Cliff Beach Resort. Motorcycle hire will cost you between Bt 150 and Bt 700 a day, depending on size. Be very confident of your ability to handle the bigger bikes, including your skill in taking swift evasive action. Wear a crash helmet. A jeep from a beachside vendor is about Bt 1000 a day. Check that you have enough gasoline in the tank to get yourself to the nearest filling station and satisfy yourself that the brakes are sharp. You will not be asked to show your driving license, but most of these beachside hire places will ask that you deposit your passport with them. Ask where they are going to keep it because it may simply be placed in the attendants pocket or shoulder bag and travel around with him. Bicycles can be hired from beachside vendors at Bt 100 a day or Bt 20 an hour. If you prefer to drive reputable vehicles with full insurance cover, Which it is strongly advised, Pattaya has a choice of car rental companies. Two leading names are Budget Car and Truck Rental at Thip Plaza and Avis which is located at the Dusit Resort in North Pattaya. In addition to international standards of service, these companies will also offer you special deals, tour ideas, maps and other attractions to make your stay easier. If you prefer not to self drive you can hire cars with drivers to drive you to the destination of your choice for an agreed upon price.
Pattaya has three seasons. November to February, when it's hot; March to May, when it's hot and humidl and June to October, when it's hot and wet.
Dress as lightly as possible. Because of the heat and humidity, man-made fibers are not recommended. Pack some cool cottons, and if you find that you are changing your clothes at an alarming rate you will be able to buy locally made clothing very cheaply. Shorts and sandals are the usual daytime wear. In hotels and more upmarket restaurants, wear smart casual. If visiting a temple the usual dress rules apply; gentlemen, no shorts please, and long sleves are preferred; ladies, no shorts, short skirts, or halter-tops.
Post and Telecommunications:
The Post Office and international telephone office are together in South Pattaya on Soi 15, known to all as Soi Post Office. There are several private run long-distance phone centers, most notably along Beach Road. These will be slightly more expensive than the government service.
As in Bangkok, the number of internet cafes seems to increase every week. Most will post their rates in the window and, as competition is intense, the prices are invariably low.
Health and Safety:
Never drink tap water, and don't even gargle with it. Always use bottled water, which is readily available and inexpensive, particularly if you choose a local brand. The sun is strong even during the rainly season and when it is cloud , so is a good sunscreen and limit your exposure time. Malaria is no threat, but mosquito bites can be a major irritant. Seafood is mostly caught locally and is of high quality, but given the spicy ingredients to almost any meal, the occasional upset stomach is a possibility. The most likely way of slowing down your vacation is by having an accident, so watch your step when crossing the road, even (or especially) at traffic lights and pedestrian cossings. Medicines for minor ailments are readily available at the many drug stores in the city, and the high standard of medical treatment, for more serious problems can be expected from most of the clinics and hospitals. General practitioners, dentists, opticians and pharmacies are readily available.
Each of the private hospitals has its own ambulance service and 24-hour emergency facilities. Most medical specialties are represented: neurology, orthopedics, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, urology and dentisty. Cadiac patients will usually be referred to Bangkok. Note that an ambulance is not routinely called in the event of an automobile accident, and if you require assistance from the government service a Thai speaking person should dial 191 in Pattaya or 193 on the highway to arrange an ambulance service.
For information and advice, the Tourism Autority of Thailand (TAT) Central Office: Region 3 (Pattaya) is open seven days a week throughout the year, including public and national holidays, from 8:30am until 4:30pm. Tel (038) 428 750 or 429 113.
Residents and Lifestyles:
Pattaya has many expatriate residents, and is essentially an international tourist resort and expanding city, so the Thai population is itself very internationalised. Most notices are in English as well as Thai, and you will find plenty of signs in German and even Russian. Most vendors are used to non-Thao speakers and are ready with at least a smattering of English or German, vigorous miming, a smile, and an ever-ready calculator. Few of the Thai residents can claim to be natives of the locality. Even so, they haven't abandoned their traditional culture, and beneath the glossy city veneer you will still find evidence of underlying ethnic beliefs and customs.
Pattaya is one of the oldest diving centers in this part of Asia. It has a year-round diving season with good visibility, the waters have a mean temperature of 28 degrees C, and there is a rich variety of marine and coral. There are also two wrecks which experienced divers can explore: The Bremen, a 300-foot boat, lies upright in 24 meters of water off the Thai navy town of Sattahip, while the frieghter Hardeep rests in 30 meters of water in a channel between two islands off Samae San, not far from Sattahip. Pattaya offers a wide choice of well-stocked and safe PADI and NAUI operators, with competitive prices and deals. Most of them have offices along the waterfront. Costs average at about 1,500 baht per day, including transportation, food and equipment.
Visitors can windsurf, water ski, sea walk, swim, sunbath, snorkel, sail, or take trips to offshore coral islands. They can rent water scooters to explore Pattaya Bay, and motorcycles and jeeps to explore neighboring beaches such as the increasingly popular Hat Chom Thian just south of Pattaya. Tennis enthusiasts can enjoy themselves at the courts of leading hotels. Further entertainment inlcudes bowling alleys, snooker halls, shooting galleries and archery.
Attractions outside Pattaya City:
Pattaya Elephant Village is on the road to Siam Country Club Golf Course. The elephants display their forestry skills, perform cute tricks, and even play football. Daily showtime is 14:30pm. Panarak Park is on the road to Siam Country Club Golf Course, and has a tropical garden setting. The park is equipped with fishing gear and a well-sticked lake. There is also bungalow acommodation, restaurants, jogging and cycling paths, boating and water-cycling. Bira International Circuit located at KM14 on Route 36 to Rayong, offers international motor and motorcycle racing. The 2.4 km is ideal for formula 3 races. If you want to experience speed, the circuit is open everyday. Hat Chom Thian, located 2 kilometers from South Pattaya, is good for swimming. The beach has become popular for water sports and activities because it has a long straight coastline and there are less boats anchored in the area. Pattaya Park is between South Pattaya and Hat Chom Thian, and is a water amusement park with water slides, whirlpools and a large pool for children. Open from 9:00 - 18:00 hrs. Nong Nooch Village is about 15 km from South Pattaya, and is a Thai village style recreation park. The entre area of some 500 acres is beautifully landscaped, with an orchid nursery and other botanical gardens. There are also cultural performances and an elephant show. Wat Yansangwararam is a temple under the King's patronage. Here meditation courses are offered for foreigners and Thais. Bang Saray, a fishing village located 2 km off the main highway at KM164, offers deep-sea fishing opportunities.
Koh Kan, 45 minutes offshore by tourist boat or 15 minutes by speed boat, is the largest of Pattaya's archipelago. Major attractions include viewing coral reefs from glass-bottomed boats, snorkling, scuba diving, wind surfing, skiing and parasailing. There are a lot of seafood restaurants on the island's main beaches. Deep sea fishing can be arranged on Ko Lan's neighoring islands such as Ko Khrok and Ko Sak. Beyond Ko Lan is Ko Phai, an island currently the care of the Royal Navy. Visitors are not allowed to stay over night, but it has fine deserted beaches that are accessible during the day. All the nearby islands are easy to get to and charters can be arranged through your hotel tour desk or by negotiating a price direct with boat owners. Boat charters cost Bt 1000-5000 per day , depending on the season and size of the boat.