Welcome to Pattaya

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Pattaya has come a long way from when it was a sleepy fishing village known as Thappraya. With goals to draw 10 million tourists in 2015, Pattaya has become a sprawling city of resorts, attractions, restaurants and festivals.

The 100 American soldiers who trekked to the area on June 29, 1962 likely never imagined how it would grow. They were on leave from the American base in Nakon Ratchasima and rented the resort home of Phraya Sunthorn at the southern end of the current Jomtien Beach. It would mark the beginning of tourism in future Pattaya.

Pattaya Beach from atop Pratamnak Hill.Pattaya Beach from atop Pratamnak Hill.

Nature, beaches, islands, natural parks, arts, culture and tradition surround the city. It’s a city of film, music and sports with hotels, resorts and leading vacation destinations plus international-standard seminar halls equipped with world-class services and facilities, including health services and international spas, beach games and activities, adventures and exciting water, land and air sports ideal for all ages and sexes.

The city’s calendar boasts continuous festivals and international tourism events throughout the entire year and various relaxing activities to fulfill tourists’ vacation needs.

Perhaps the future site for a huge public park.Perhaps the future site for a huge public park.

The ambience of the city is perfect for weddings in temples of various religions, followed the ultimate romantic honeymoon. Moreover, the seaside city is lined with department stores and leading shops for tourists to enjoy shopping during vacations. Tourists also can enjoy sumptuous and fresh seafood straight from fishing villages, local and international food, and can enjoy their meals surrounded by music and entrainment, providing a unique, memorable and creative experience.

Jomtien Beach is a huge attraction for sun worshippers.Jomtien Beach is a huge attraction for sun worshippers.

Pattaya is divided into four main zones: north, central, south and Jomtien Beach. There are also two groups of islands, called the Near and Far Islands. The Near Islands consist of Koh Larn, Koh Krok, and Koh Sak. The Far Islands – under the control of the Royal Thai Navy – are not legally open to tourists, although scuba divers and snorkelers can enjoy their reefs.

Combined with Koh Larn, Pattaya has a registered population of more than 200,000 and an unofficial population of 750,000. Most of Pattaya’s underlying population is made up of business owners and retailers.

Pattaya Beach is known worldwide. In 2012, Pattaya was visited by almost nine million tourists. Unfortunately, some of these were foreign criminals posing as tourists. Pattaya also plays host to Thai criminals and alien laborers committing crimes. Hence, Pattaya many times has been perceived in a negative manner and as the center for foreign organized crime and human traffickers. In 2011, CNNGo.com rated Pattaya as No. 2 on its list of world beaches to avoid.

Pattaya is world-renowned for her exciting nightlife.Pattaya is world-renowned for her exciting nightlife.

The public sector has taken serious action to accommodate tourists by integrating police, administrative, local governments and relevant units to help prevent crimes against tourists in order for Pattaya to grow. If the plan succeeds, Pattaya could become the leading tourist destination in Thailand; moreover, the plan could be implemented at other tourism destinations such as Koh Samui, Phuket and other cities.

Currently, all sectors are rushing to set up the Tourist Service and Aid Center run by Pattaya police and administrative officers, Marine Police, and immigration officials at the site of the city’s original pier near Walking Street.

Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said the Center will open as a ‘one-stop service’ since the city has already been allotted 3.5 million baht for its operation and is currently in the process of approving the design and contractor. The service center will most likely be finished within three months and will open for use before New Year’s to accommodate the on-going high-season tourists.

Sakchai Taengho, Banglamung’s district chief, stated that the district has collaborated with Pattaya and police officers to solve issues faced by tourists, including requiring speedboats operators to have accident insurance and offering expedited cases for tourists at the Pattaya Courthouse.

Regarding crime, there are policies being implemented for all sectors to work together. Currently, local, tourism, marine, and Immigration police are coordinating.

Once the Pattaya Tourist Service and Aid Center opens, visitors with visa issues, injuries from accidents or even trials can ask for help and make inquiries. It will be equipped with officers from various sectors to help solve problems as fast as possible.

“The Marine Police will be stationed at Pattaya Bay and from now on, there will be patrol boats in high-risk areas to prevent crimes against tourists on water,” Ronakit said. “Pattaya has been assigned the responsibility of water transport, therefore, it is vital that the city regulate the boat operators systematically.”

Most of Pattaya’s tourists are from Russia and China these days. “They come for entertainment, beaches and the islands and the government is developing convenient travel to the city to prepare for future growth,” he said.

Improvements underway include the 810 million baht subterranean bypass under Sukhumvit Road, a 430 million baht project to refill and expand Pattaya Beach, and 490 million baht plan to bring water to Koh Larn.

While Pattaya City is implementing these various projects, the city’s real estate is booming, leading to an increase in population.

Nevertheless, with the high season starting, Pattaya is planning a number of events and festivals.

The Pattaya International Fireworks Festival will be Nov. 29-30 and the Walk-Eat Naklua event later. The year will end with the annual Pattaya Countdown week of concerts and fireworks.