Pattaya Thailand Introduction to Thailand
Pattaya in Thailand is a beach resort but its main reputation is for sex. The town has many prostitutes, both male and female, some are transvestites (kathoey). Their services are available through the many go-go bars and massage parlours in the town. This reputation started during the Vietnam War when American servicemen came to Pattaya on leave and when they left, Western tourists took their place. There is also a large gay scene in Pattaya.
Pattaya is very westernised, with little Thai flavour to it, and many of the bars, restaurants and go-go bars are run by Westerners (farang). Apart from those in search of the seedier side of Pattaya's nightlife, families and older couples spend their holidays in Pattaya. It has changed out of recognition from the fishing village it was originally. The beach is kept very clean and there is plenty to do, both in and out of the water. Water-sports such as water-skiing and parasailing are popular and there are nearby golf courses. Pattaya is one of the most popular beach resorts for Western tourists in Thailand.
The busiest beach is Hat Pattaya, which is four kilometres long and packed with tourists and boats. The central part has restaurants, travel agents and souvenir shops but after dark the southern part, known as South Pattaya, gets going with its bars, both gay and straight, discos and massage parlours. There is a bay to the south with a fourteen-kilometre-long beach known as Jomtien Beach. This is safer than Pattaya Beach and is good for windsurfers. Naklua Bay, north of Hat Pattaya is the quietest area, probably because there is no beach.
Accommodation and food tend to be quite pricey here compared with the rest of Thailand so it isn't so popular with backpackers or low-budget travellers. Likewise the diving and other activities tend to be more expensive than elsewhere in Thailand. Pattaya is only a few hours away from Bangkok making it very accessible for a weekend away from Bangkok. It is on the south-east coast of Thailand and is on a train line and has an airport nearby. It is possible to rent motorcycles in Pattaya and this can be a good way of getting around.
Check out our suggested Pattaya hotel.