Welcome to Pattaya
When moving into a new country, one knows that things would be different. Also, we know that the city where we’re going to live might be different than what we are used to.
However, we do not expect to find such differences ,as we did, when moving into Thailand, especially when leaving our western country for first time. As soon as we react from that special surprise shock , we want to start knowing everything from the first day we are here, what means from the simplest thing, as the name of streets and the the different areas of the city and how to get from one to the other, how is the climate, if it is a safe city, and the list go on and on…
As we understand this, having already experienced it ourselves, in this section we will help you by giving a basic information about Pattaya city, based on our own research and experience of years living here. Additionally, we suggest where to gather further information in each case.
We are introducing you to Pattaya, so you will make your own informed decisions.
Pattaya City Information
Each time one looks for some information about Pattaya, each time one reads : ” From the small fishing village of the 1960s to the bustling and still growing city that Pattaya is today”… an expression that is totally true, but one that doesn’t gives the real dimension of the metamorphosis that has been taken place in the city in such short period of time .. Still now, Pattaya hasn’t stopped growing or being renovated. You really have the impression that the city is under construction all year around, all day around, 24/7.
Pattaya city, located some 150 km from Bangkok, on the Eastern cost of the Gulf, is one of the main tourist destinations of Thailand. Pattaya’s coastline is just 15 km long, however ,within that space and surrounding area this resort city is packed with attraction after attraction, offering to its more than 10 million annual visitors far more action and adventure than any other Thai resort.
Although for several years was mainly known for its lively nightlife, lately Pattaya has started to try to change its image.
First class hotels, superb dinning, shopping malls, hospitals with high International standards, International schools, Convention and Seminar venues , international-designed golf courses, plus a wide range of water and aerial sports, give ample response to the growing international community.
In addition, several artistic and cultural activities started to being offered, never heard off just a few years ago…
The History of Pattaya
There are some versions, which vary in details, of how this city became to be named Pattaya, but we prefer to choose the City Hall’s version, just to give an “official touch” to it.
Therefore, according to the City Hall, the name Pattaya evolved from two events: the first one has it roots in Thailand’s history, and goes back to the time that follows Ayutthaya period, specifically the origin of Thonburi, the old capital of Siam, that seats crossing the Chao Phraya river from Bangkok.
In mid 18th century, the Burmese troops laid siege to the city of Ayutthaya for two years and when they broke through in 1767, they utterly destroyed the ancient capital, looting and burning palaces, temples, libraries and houses.
But during the siege, about a year before Ayutthaya fell, a Siamese general named Taksin managed to break out of the city with five hundred troops and headed for the east coast, toward Rayong, far away from the Burmese influence.
General Taksin was too late to save Ayutthaya, but while in Chantaburi and along the eastern coast he built up an army of 5,000 soldiers. With a land assault impractical, Taksin assembled a fleet of ships and sailed up the Chao Phraya river and drove the invaders out Ayutthaya and back across the border into their own country.
Ayutthaya was no longer habitable, and so Taksin as the new ruler had to choose a new place for Siam’s capital.He selected Thonburi, on the western side of the Chao Phraya river.
So, how Pattaya city enters into Siam’s ( today Thailand) history?….According to this version, the place where general Taksin, later King Taksin the Great, had his troops a rest , while marching toward Chantaburi, was called ‘Thap Phraya’ (which means the Army of Phraya or a general in English), which became, along the time, Pattaya.
If only I’d known..
- That is why there is a statue of general Taksin, in front of Pattaya city Hall, on North Pattaya Rd
- Also , this story is represented on the symbol, or seal, of Pattaya city, through the image of an ancient soldier rinding a horse with beach, sea and a island as background.
The second recount tells us that the place where the then general Taksin had his troops a rest, was a location with strong wind called “Phatthaya” (Pattaya wind’) blowing from the southwest which usually appeared in the beginning of the rainy season. So, the fishing village was called Pattaya Village later eroded, and not by the wind, to be just Pattaya.
Years quietly passed by, until 1959 when the Thai government gave permission to the American troops to use the U-Tapao Airport as their supply base during the Vietnam War. So, Pattaya’s was the logical recreational place for the soldiers (so-called G.I.) on their short leaves during the war.
That was the starting point of the city’s boom as tourist destination. Since then, Pattaya’s peaceful life and beauty had been verbally passed from the Americans to other westerners in such a way that by the year 1977 westerns tourists , most of them were Europeans, started coming to visit Pattaya. New hotels mushroomed from North Pattaya as far as Jomtien, at the south end …Fishermems’ huts along the beach were progressively replaced by resort hotels, retail stores, high-rise condominiums.
Pattaya city, located in the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard zone, along with Si Racha, Laem Chabang and Chonburi, gained a city status in 1978 and now is a self-governing municipal area, with its own mayor and city administration. But this situation temporarily changed, from June 2016 when, by order of the National Council of Peace and Order, the elected officials and their staff will all be replaced by appointed officials.
“Change in Pattaya City officials begins on June 16, 2016. This was the message from Pattaya City Mayoral Secretary Pumpipat (Rugby) Kamolnat, to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their Sunday, March 6 meeting.
…From 1978 until this year, Pattaya has been administered as special autonomous area. It has had a status comparable to a municipality, administered by a mayor and a council who have responsibility for making policies, organizing public services, and supervising the city’s workforce.
There have been elections every four years for the mayor and a 24-member council. The city was divided into four districts, each one having six councilors, a deputy mayor, and an assistant secretary.
But Rugby explained that all of this will disappear on 16 June 2016 when, by order of the National Council of Peace and Order, the elected officials and their staff will all be dismissed, replaced by appointed officials.
An 8-member Pattaya City Council Appointments Committee will be created, consisting of seven senior Chonburi provincial officials, including the governor, plus one representative chosen from among three provincial associations. Pattaya’s permanent administrative staff will remain in place from the 17th of June on and the permanent secretary of Pattaya City will assume the duties of the mayor...”
Read More about this article visiting:
Also, you could find further information about :
- Pattaya attractions, main sights, activities, visiting our sections: Entertainment in Pattaya City and Things to do in Pattaya
- For Pattaya Health, Education, you can visit our pages : Our Health and Our Children
Pattaya City Climate
Pattaya has a tropical climate, which is divided into the following seasons: Winter (December to February), Summer (March and April), and Rainy Season (May to November).
If only I’d known…
- Although the season between December and February is generically named Winter, when you you will see Thais wearing all kind of cups, scarves, jumpers, jackets, and getting colds and flu, please have in mind that it is, for our western standards just hot ; yes it is a little bit drier, but no expat would call it winter.
- Summer, it is really hot and humid, you will have that ‘sticky’ sensation all the time. It is advisable to have this in mind at the time of planning tours that could mean long walks under the sun…just think twice.
- The third season, is called Rainy Season, what means tropical, heavy rains and sunshine just minutes after, so it is really hot and rainy -wet. So, it would be advisable to remind this at all times , especially when planning a day outing, and take along your umbrellas.Do not trust on a beautiful sunrise, a storm -heavy rain could appear in a few minutes from anywhere.
As a summary, we could say that is hot all the year around, but , depending of the season , it could be dry, humid or wet-drenching, but always it is,and will be, just hot.
Which are the different areas of Pattaya
We are giving here a general description of the usually called Pattaya’s areas, so you could get familiarized them just from the start. Although it is not the strict geographical division of Pattaya’s sub districts, these areas’ names are the most common way of referring to them.
There are areas popular with expats along the Eastern Seaboard. Each has its own character as well as advantages and disadvantages, so you will have all pros and cons of each one , depending whom you are talking to. So, it is advisable to have a look at this map and then, ask to any of your new friends who already live in a particular area , before make any decision.
Pattaya’s Areas Starting from the North :
Naklua and Wongamat Areas ( 1-2)
The name “Naklua” translates as “salt fields”, with salt farming being the main industry of the area before the tourists arrived. If one wish to know how Thai life was, well, just go to Naklua Village, at the north of the city.
The more you go towards north, the more you get away from the westernized parts of the city and into a more traditional Thai community, with their narrow streets of wooden shop-houses, a fresh food Market, temples, stilt houses along canals, which are worth a visit, especially in early morning when boats are coming back from the night fishing.
The beaches in this northern part of Greater Pattaya are amongst the finest and cleaner in the city, bested only by those found on the surrounding islands or in Sattahip district. Consequently, during the last years five-star hotel chains and high rise condominiums have been built in the area, changing dramatically the shore line , therefore, its beaches became more and more crowded .
This area is a very easy-living and we could say “self-contained” neighborhood. There are dozens of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, a big Tesco Lotus complex for daily shopping, it is not so far from Pattaya center with more shoppings malls and Bangkok Hospital Pattaya, one of the favourite hospital among expats, is in this area.
In terms of transport in this area is located the North Pattaya road Bus Station which is very convenient when thinking of going to Bangkok or to Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Pattaya City Area (3):
This part of the city is what we called “town” or just Pattaya. We could say that is the part of the city that never sleeps, where pubs, bars, restaurants, shopping malls, little shops and street stalls ,where you can buy nearly everything, pack the roads.
It is essentially a tourist area, especially along Pattaya Beach, North Pattaya and South Pattaya Roads, where there are plenty hotels, condominiums aimed to satisfy thousands of tourists, but of you look inside the area marked by these three roads, you will find a some homes available,becasue it is more limited to condos and low-rises. We wouldn’t say that is a family oriented-residential area.
If shopping is the driver for choosing where to live in Pattaya, this area is the place: Foodland, Villa Market, Best, Friendship, Big C, Supermarkets, not so far from Naklua Seafood market and of course Royal Garden Plaza and the mega-mall Central Festival just on Pattaya Beach Road. And now, we have more news in terms of shopping and hotels: Terminal 21, a shopping mall and hotel complex is coming to the city, although still under construction, it won’t be long before we see the opening day.
Phratanmak Area ( 4):
Phratanmak, or Buddha Hill, is located on the south side of Pattaya and is popular for its view points and the temple (Wat Phra Yai), where the Big Buddha is, on top of the hill.
In recent years, Phratanmak has gained in popularity because of its more natural environment, nicer beaches and the convenient situation between Jomtien and Pattaya city what means being out of the busy main tourist district of South Pattaya and Walking Street, but near enough to get there easily.
This area, one of the most expensive of Pattaya, in recent years has been witness of a strong wave of building. Hotels and a wide range of condominiums have been built, several of them still under construction, what gives an ample offer for accommodation. Also,restaurants, clubs,coffee shops and bars are clustered on very street.
While there are some villas, the main form of residence is condos, both low- and spectacular high-rises. Although it is a little deficient when talking about shopping, is close to town, so it is not a great deal. Also, it seems that some of the biggest supermarkets are thinking of opening a branch in this area.
Jomtien Beach Area (5) :
Jomtien area is traditional residential area, offering a wide range of houses and condos, low-rise and during the last years, saw an incredible explosion on high-rise condominiums being built following the coastline.
Although this area was historically favorite among locals, nowadays it is also a choice for ex-pats. Its distance from the main city, makes the accommodations a little bit cheaper and more familiar oriented.
The last years this area has suffered a heavily construction process, becoming the new “darling” for developers leaving behind a great deal of residential buildings, some of them still under construction, changing the physiognomy of this neighborhood especially along Jomtien beach Rd and the new Jomtien Second Rd, which from being a quiet “rural” road became a busy avenue in just two or three years.
Na Jomtien (6):
Located to the south of Jomtien, Na Jomtien has been traditionally the quieter of all coastal areas, situation, that during the last years started to change a little bit with the construction of high -rise condominiums, and 5 star luxury hotels. It is also a favorite place for water sport, including the marina located at Ocean Marina complex.
East Pattaya area (7):
Also known among the International community as “The Dark Side” or “East Pattaya”..or just “Outside Sukhunvit”, it includes the zones that are situated to the east of Sukhumvit Road.
Looking at Pattaya map, it is easy to see how Sukhumvit Road, like a scar, divides the city in two parts: the “west”, along the coast, which includes Naklua, Pattaya city, Jomtien , Na jomtien and the “East” , which includes the eastern sections of the areas just mentioned, plus other zones further east.
Thus, whenever you ask for a specific location, you will get the same answer: ” it is located somewhere to the east of Sukhumvit Road, in East Pattaya”. Only when you try to be more specific, you will hear about : East Naklua, Nong Palai, Greater East Pattaya, Mabprachan lake, East Jomtien, Huay Yai, Huai Chao Nok reservoir , East Na Jomtien areas.
If only I’d known…
- Please, as we said at the beginning, be aware that this naming it is not an official and accurate geographical division that you will find on any valid and legal map. The popular name of each area generally make reference to a main road name, a local temple, or geographical detail for which that particular area is recognised by locals. Also, it is an easy way used mainly in the real state market, in order for us, expats- looking for houses, to understand a little bit where are the different locations of Pattaya,
- Also, and this comes in relation with the previous point, there is not a clear , concrete and official east border for the so called East Pattaya area which reaches the Highway 36 in some points, especially around roads that goes east up to the highway, as it happens in Mabprachan Lake area with Siam Country Club Road, or crosses that Highway covering areas on the other side , as it is the case of Nong Palai area, which starts next to East Naklua . In other cases, reaches up to the route 331, as in the case of Huay Yai area following Tesabal I Road, in the south of East Pattaya area.
These are quieter locations comparing with any of the coastal areas for living, with a huge number of closed compounds, or neighborhoods which had mushroomed during the last years and still are being built .
It is closer to several Industrial States, International Schools and golf courses, since then, it is a preferred place for expats with families to live.
But also, is in this area, where we can find extraordinary places for spending the day, and where you will find museums, vineyards, farms which are important not only for Pattaya’s daily life, but for Thailand’s history and culture.
You could find more information about each area of Pattaya city, visiting these pages in others Sections of our Website:
- Things to Do Section: Getting around Pattaya city and surroundings and Exploring Pattaya City
- Getting Settled, Moving In Section: Where to live
Getting around: Transportation in Pattaya City
For getting familiar with the location and names of the Roads ( important and wider thoroughfares) and “sois”( narrower than Roads, but wider than alleys) of Pattaya, we have divided into: Naklua, Pattaya City, Pratunmak Hill, Jomtien areas, starting from the north:
If Only I’d known….
- Expressions as: “I’ll walk around the block and be back in five minutes” don’t have any meaning here, very soon you will realize of it just looking at the streets.
- The roads in Thailand, and Pattaya is not an exception, are not straight, parallel or perpendicular. So, there is no way to go around the block and be back at the same point, without getting lost…
- Everything becomes more frustrating when you are trying to find a building with only a business card or the address written on a piece of paper. To avoid wasting your time, it is always advisable to have the directions/address written in Thai, so you can ask to any motorbike- taxi driver about it without confussion. Save yourself problems and always bring the name of the building & address in Thai (when possible of course!)
Naklua Road: starts at Dolphin Roundabout going North through Naklua and joins Sukhunvit Road
Soi Potisan: runs between Naklua Road and Sukhunvit Road
Soi Sawang Fa : runs between Naklua- Pattaya Road and Sukhunvit Road
Pattaya City Roads:
Pattaya has four main roads running North-South or parallel to the coast and Sukhunvit Road, ( which is Highway 3 when is not in town).
- Pattaya Beach Road: runs along the beach.
- Walking Street: southernmost end of Beach Road ( it becomes walking street during evenings)
- Pattaya Second Road (soi som): runs approximately 400 metres parallel to Pattaya Beach Road toward east.
- Pattaya Third Road ( soi sam) this is Pattaya’s outer-ring road which connects north, south, and central Pattaya, and is “parallel” to Second Road.
Also there are Four main roads running east-west or perpendicular to the coast, if we could say that:
- Pattaya Nuea or North Pattaya Road: runs from Beach Road to Sukhumvit Rd dividing Naklua from North Pattaya.
- Pattaya Klang or Central Pattaya Road: runs from Beach Road to Sukhumvit Rd dividing North Pattaya from Central Pattaya.
- Pattaya Tai or South Pattaya Road: runs from Beach Road( where Pattaya beach becomes Walking Street) to Sukhumvit Rd dividing Central Pattaya from South Pattaya.
- Thepprasit Road: connects Thappraya Road ( continuation of Pattaya Second road in Jomtien) to Sukhumvit Rd, dividing South Pattaya from Jomtien.
Phratanmak Hill (Buddha Hill ) Roads:
- Thappraya Road: connects Pattaya Second road with Jomtien Beach Road
- Phratanmak Road: connects Pattaya Second Road with Thappraya Rd at traffic Lights on Phratanmak Hill, making a loop around the top of the hill, where the big Buddha image is.
- Jomtien Beach Road: starts where Thappraya Rd ends, at the coast and runs parallel to the sea.
- Second Road Jomtien: connects Thappraya Rd from Macchanu’s ( Hanuman’s son) statue up to Sukhunvit Rd, runs parallel to Jomtien Beach Road at the beginning, heading east after Chaiyapuk ,ending in Sukhunvit Road.
- Chaiyapruk Road: runs perpendicular to the coast, between Jomtien Beach Rd and Sukhunvit Rd.
Although Pattaya brings many options for entertainment, it is also true that this city has gained part of its reputation as a tourist destination due to the lively nightlife and the resulting sex industry , therefore, the city has become what it is now because of this.
Prostitution in Thailand is technically illegal but reality shows that it is tolerated and kept within limits . Pattaya wouldn’t be Pattaya without its world famous night life. You cannot even name the city without immediately thinking of Walking Street and the bright glare of its overlapping neon signs for clubs, discos, bars, go-gos, massage parlous and other forms of nocturnal entertainment.
Although all this is true, it is fair mentioning that , lately, big efforts have been made to clean up the city’s image through establishing closing limit times for bars, strict urban zoning rules and restricting the sale of alcohol to minors of age, just to name a few of the the controls, with the aim of making Pattaya a city where its night life could also being enjoyed by families.
Pattaya city has so many attractions and offers so many activities for the whole family, that its night life doesn’t weight , as it did , at time of deciding whether moving or not with our families here.
We found useful information at : www.bangkok.com/pattaya/nightlife/
Crime in Pattaya
Pattaya ,with thousands of tourist coming every year, is still, we could say, a safe city to living in, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful.
We may encounter ‘petty crime’, usually limited to pickpocketing and also some cases of confidence trick, particularly in and around major tourist areas such as Jomtien and Pattaya beaches, especially when hiring a Jet sky, in bars areas , or when trying to hire a “baht buses” for a especial trip.
A special Tourist Police division has been established to aid foreign tourists or expats in general to solve some situations.
As we said, this is only an introduction, it would be just impossible to try to describe and tell all about this city in one time because it will be endless and difficult to grasp. Just let it to settle down a little bit…and then, visit the other sections of our site, one by one allowing all new information to fall in place.
Pattaya is a city that you must experience yourself. As we do. Every single day is a new experience, a new challenge. But we really hope that at least, we have been of a little help. If you have some comments, please, lets know. In this way, we will keep linking Pattaya together.