City description

The sea is the only thing you’d recognise from the little fishing village that used to be here, along with a rainbow of a beach stretching 4km long. Apart from that, Pattaya has been transformed into a bustling seaside resort with more than 110,000 inhabitants; it is even the second most visited city in Thailand, after Bangkok. Since the late 1960s, Pattaya has become one of the hotspots of the tourist scene in Thailand, and even the whole of Asia.

Around 150 kilometres south of Bangkok, in the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya comes to life at night in particular, but also during the day, visited by millions of tourists from around the world. Most attractions, particularly in terms of nightlife, are concentrated around two legendary avenues that run alongside each other, Beach Road and Second Road. Then there’s Third Road, which is trying to muscle in on the action as well. During the day, the nearby narrower streets – or “soi” – are bustling with life. The southern end of Beach Road becomes “Walking Street” to the delight of pedestrians, a great place to marvel at the view of the famous “Pattaya sign”. If it’s beach life you’re after, Pattaya Beach couldn’t be more convenient, as it’s right in the town center. It is often a victim of its own success, and if you’re looking for something quieter, head to Koh Larn, an island only 7 kilometres away.

But Pattaya is much more than just its beaches. One site that’s well worth a visit is the Sanctuary of Truth, Prasat Sut Ja-Tum, a huge wooden temple, built without any nails or screws, 105 metres tall, with the big blue sea as its backdrop. Staying away from the vibrant city center, between South Pattaya and Jomtien, “Big Buddha” is also well worth a visit. Phra Yai (also known as Phra Buddha Sukhothai Walai Chonlathan, or even Luang Pho Yai) towers up 18 metres on Khao Phra Tamnak overlooking Pattaya. It’s not quite as massive as “Buddha Mountain” (Khao Chi Chan), engraved with its own huge Buddha.

The city also hides a few surprises up its sleeve. Like its rather unusual museums, like Art in Paradise and its optical illusions, the Teddy Bear Museum, as well as the Gems Gallery… where you can marvel at and even buy some precious stones. Pattaya also boasts plenty of shopping opportunities, with lots of malls of varying sizes. You could spend the whole day at the Royal Garden Plaza, the Central Festival Pattaya Beach or the Mike Shopping Mall.

Last but not least, Pattaya has its own unique way of celebrating its traditional festivals, from the birthday of its King, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej, on 5 December, to Makha Bucha, one of the biggest Buddhist festivals in Asia. In April, Thais commemorate the Chakri Dynasty, while at the end of October, Chulalongkorn Day celebrates one of Thailand’s greatest kings. On the third weekend of November, elephants come out to play, particularly in Surin, for the huge gathering of pachyderms. Then there is the festival of lanterns, Loi Krathong, which lights up the sky. No doubt about it, Pattaya has plenty to offer.
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