Pattaya may be notorious for its beer and go-go bars, but it is also one of the best resorts among travelers to Thailand. The reason behind this is the hard work by local authorities to project Pattaya as a family-friendly destination. Truly, there are some excellent things to do and see for tourists and families who visit Thailand. However, Pattaya beaches may be slightly disappointing if compared with other beaches in Thailand, as constant development has resulted in degradation of beautiful natural surroundings near the beach areas. Still, the city center attracts more than 5 million visitors annually, and many tourists see Pattaya as a nice weekend getaway destination and a great place to have a spectacular meal.
Pattaya was originally named Thap Phraya, which means Army of Phraya. The name was given to commemorate the surrender of the Nai Klom's awe-struck army to the disciplined army of King Phraya Tak during the post-Ayutthaya period. Later it was simplified to Pattaya, which simply meant the flowing of wind from southwest to northeast Thailand. Pattaya evolved from a simple fishing village to a popular resort after the Vietnam War. On April 26, 1961, a group of US servicemen arrived at Pattaya for relaxation. This gave local entrepreneurs an opportunity to expand its facilities to attract more visiting forces. Fishermen's huts were replaced by pricey hotels and guesthouses and soon Pattaya became a premier beach resort of Thailand.
Situated on Eastern Thailand's North Gulf Coast, Pattaya is approximately 90 miles away from Bangkok. It is a perfect destination for travelers seeking a comfortable Thailand vacation. The city's sunny climate complements the beaches very well, making it an ideal place for sunbathing and swimming. Although the beaches are not as well-maintained as others in Thailand, there are some good ones, such as the Jomtien and Koh Lan beaches. The latter is actually an offshore island located four miles from the coast of Pattaya Thailand. The beaches are teeming with a nice selection of food stalls, restaurants, and gift shops. You can try numerous water-sports activities such as windsurfing, snorkeling, and water skiing for an adventurous Pattaya vacation.
Tourists who travel to Pattaya seek more than just sandy beaches; there are numerous attractions for both kids and adults. One of the most unusual attractions is the Bottle Art Museum, which displays miniature art inside bottles—there are more than 300 pieces on display in the museum. The artwork inside the bottles include miniature Thai and international churches, palaces, and temples. Underwater World Pattaya is another great attraction. Located on Sukhumvit Road near South Pattaya, this underwater marine park is home to some of most exotic marine life. Another key Pattaya vacation attraction is the Khao Chichan cliff, which features a massive engraved image of Buddha. The sheer magnitude of the Buddha image can certainly leave you breathless. It is 426 feet (130 meters) high and 230 feet (70 meters) wide with an art style reminiscent of ancient Lanna and Sukhothai. It is located three miles away from the Sukhumvit Road.
Travel to Pattaya would also be incomplete without some great shopping. South Pattaya is one of the best places to shop, and you'll find a nice variety of cotton and handicraft shops, tailors, souvenirs, beachwear, DVDs, and shops selling jewelry. All shops are near major beachside hotels in South Pattaya Thailand. You can also shop around Central Pattaya, which is a nice place to buy necessary items and clothing. If you have a taste for exquisite Thai arts and crafts, then you should certainly browse the handicraft items from the Pattaya 2 Road.
The beaches in Pattaya boast spectacular restaurants. Most food stalls and restaurants offer various cuisines ranging from Thai, Japanese, and Indian to European cuisines including German, French, and Scandinavian dishes. Besides restaurants, there are several entertainment places to have a lively Pattaya vacation. You will find many discotheques, bars, and karaoke in Central and South Pattaya. Enjoyable travel to Pattaya is not limited to a simple beach visit. There are many other key attractions and activities for travelers, and the different facets of the area only add to its lively atmosphere.
Top image: Aleksandr Zykov (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0