Asia : Southeast Asia : Thailand : East : Chonburi : Pattaya
View of Pattaya Bay (Ao Pattaya) from Soi 12
Pattaya (พัทยา) is a popular resort on the North
Gulf Coast of Eastern Thailand, 150 km south-east of Bangkok.
Pattaya is most famous for its go-go and beer bars, but besides
the men and women on offer the place has made efforts to provide
more family-friendly attractions and activities. Although the
sex industry is still going strong in Pattaya, it also attracts
local families and holidaymakers from far and wide. Efforts by
the local authorities over the past few years have improved the
quality of the beaches, but they are still lackluster by Thailand's
high standards, and over-development has long since destroyed
some of the natural charms it once had. However, the plethora
of hotels and guest houses and easy access from the capital and
airport make it a popular weekend getaway. Catering for over 5
million tourists yearly, Pattaya is also able to offer an excellent
range of eating choices and a wide variety of things to do and
see, and its population is a colorful potpourri of mixed nationalities
from near and far.
"Greater Pattaya" occupies most of the coastline of Banglamung
(one of the eleven districts that comprise Chonburi Province).
It is divided into a larger northern section which spans
the areas to the east of Naklua Beach (the most northern beach)
and Pattaya Beach (the main beach) plus the Buddha Hill headland
(immediately south of Pattaya Beach), and a smaller southern
section covering the area to the east of Jomtien Beach (which
lies directly south of Buddha Hill) including Dongtan Beach. Jomtien's
beaches are much broader and generally in better shape, and the
atmosphere locally is more sedate and family-oriented, than at
For information about Jomtien,
see the Jomtien guide.
South is central, Central is north
Pattaya's sub-district names sometimes cause confusion,
usually when the official Pattaya Bay area titles (North
Pattaya, Central Pattaya, South Pattaya) are misunderstood.
These names don't relate to Pattaya as a whole, instead
they refer to the sections of Pattaya Beach to which each
sub-district is aligned.
Pattaya's coastal side is divided longitudinally into five contiguous
sub-districts (or six, if also including Jomtien). Each one is
named after the section of beach or headland at its seaboard.
In the middle are the three Pattaya Bay sub-districts, which
share the main Baht Bus route (so most places are within
5 minutes / 10 baht of most other places, at any hour) and have
much else in common, and hence in combination make up the main
- North Pattaya (Pattaya Nua) - not the northern-most
part of Pattaya (as Naklua lies further north), but the section
of Pattaya adjacent to the northern end of Pattaya Beach and
extending inland to both the north and south of North Pattaya
Road. Does not include Naklua.
- South Pattaya (Pattaya Tai) - not the southern-most
part of Pattaya (as the Buddha Hill headland, and then Jomtien,
lie further south), but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the
southern end of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the
north and south of South Pattaya Road. Includes Pattayaland
and Walking Street. Does not include Buddha Hill or Jomtien.
- Central Pattaya (Pattaya Klang) - not the dead center
of Pattaya, but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the middle
of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and
south of Central Pattaya Road. Some maps/guides disregard the
Central Pattaya convention, and instead extend North Pattaya
and South Pattaya to meet each other along Central Pattaya Road;
sometimes, Beach Road is described with a similar division,
and the respective halves given "North Beach Road" and "South
Beach Road" monikers.
Flanking the Pattaya Beach sub-districts are:
- Naklua - immediately
north of North Pattaya, and with quick, frequent, and inexpensive
transport to and from the rest of Pattaya; Naklua is popular
with visitors whose native language is German. In terms of tourism-related
locations, it's the smallest and least significant sub-district,
the main attractions being the beaches (which are quieter than
Pattaya Beach) and the Sanctuary of Truth.
- Buddha Hill - named after the Buddha Hill landmark
and sandwiched between South Pattaya (to the north) and Jomtien
(to the south); to the east, South Pattaya and Jomtien meet
In practice, exactly where each sub-district ends and the next
begins is a very grey area as none of the boundaries lie along
major roads (and none of the many readily available tourist maps
attempts to define boundaries at this level); nevertheless they
do provide a handy rough guide to approximate latitude. Further
inland, the sub-district names are used less, and locality/road
names take precedence - for example, an address might state "Sukhumvit,
Naklua" which is useful in that it makes it clear the location
is to the north of the Sukhumvit / North Pattaya Road intersection,
however the exact same place would not normally be described simply
as being "in Naklua" as that would give the misleading impression
of it being in the main beachside/tourism area further west.
Pattaya has several foreign language newspapers; most come out
weekly. The English newspapers include Pattaya Times, Pattaya
Today, and Pattaya Mail. Additionally, there are French, Norwegian,
German, Russian and Japanese publications. There are several English-language
cable television programs with news and video reports from Pattaya.
There are also several tourist magazines and nightlife, most of
them coming out monthly. Landline telephones, satellite phones,
all mobile phone systems, high-speed internet (ADSL), post offices
and parcel services are available in province.