Prior to the Vietnam War, Pattaya was a simple fishing town. American soldiers on leave seem to be responsible for initiating its development as a resort area. Being just 90 miles (160km) south of Bangkok has most likely contributed to its vast development. It’s home to Asia's largest beachfront shopping mall; that nicely demonstrates the scale of its growth.
Pattaya is not like other Thai beach resorts areas. It’s synonymous with the seedier side of Thailand and certainly not for you if you are easily offended or embarrassed. There are more respectable parts of the area, but these are in the minority. Efforts are being made to change this reputation, but it’s a way off from being recommendable for families. The flip side of this is that the nightlife here is lively and plentiful, brash and bold.
Pattaya's nightlife has become an attraction in its own right. Experience the loud, neon-filled entertainment zone which centres on Walking Street. For more traditional entertainment, visit the floating market or Big Buddha Hill. There’s even a ‘Ripleys Believe It or Not!’ theme park in Pattaya and a Flight of the Gibbon ziplining experience too.
You can reach Pattaya by road from Bangkok in under 3 hours. Buses run hourly from 7 am to 10 pm and connect directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport. You can arrange a private taxi if you wish. The closest airport to Pattaya is around an hour away by road, and there are no connections available from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. It’s only really worth flying if you are connecting from elsewhere in Thailand or Asia.