Lonely Pattaya Beach harkens to a public that can’t go

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A quiet and remote beach and public space of Pattaya City that was once a hub of all kinds of activities is left with a simple track for a beach stroller and a bike.
A quiet and remote beach and public space of Pattaya City that was once a hub of all kinds of activities is left with a simple track for a beach stroller and a bike.

With the beach chairs and umbrellas gone, trash cleaned and sun shining, Pattaya Beach has never looked so appealing. Unfortunately, for sun-lovers, it’s closed.



Last week’s order by Chonburi Province to close the beaches came after both Thais and foreigners ignored pleas for social distancing and to stay home. Even with the sand now “off limits”, some people continue to mill about, either ignorant or uncaring that they may be silently contracting or spreading Covid-19.

The pristine sand – rebuilt with millions of baht over the past several years – certainly looks inviting for those that don’t mind the scorching April sun. Certainly the beach vendors wish people were there.

Yet even in the days before the closure order came down, there were only a handful of tourists sunbathing or swimming, many of them stranded refugees unable to get home after flights were canceled and Thailand’s borders closed in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

If one counted, there were probably fewer than 50 people on the sand along the 3.5-kilometer shoreline. More, of course, were congregating in groups too large for the times on the promenade.

One beach chair vendor looked shell-shocked at the speed at which high season was turned upside down.

The beach closure order, she said, came so suddenly she had no time to prepare. She had to scramble to pull all her lounges and umbrellas off the beach. Now she has no income. Even the road workers have left, leaving their drainage tunnel project uncompleted and Beach Road still dug up and blocked off.

Pattaya’s lockdown and the pandemic won’t last forever. When it’s over, the beach will be healed from all the ecological abuses the city’s locals, tourists and businesses have heaped on it. The only question is how long it will be until that time comes.

Pattaya beach after many years of refilling sand is now deserted.
Pattaya beach after many years of refilling sand is now deserted.



A couple of tourists bring along their own beach mat after the beach benches were ordered to keep away.
A couple of tourists bring along their own beach mat after the beach benches were ordered to keep away.
The beach footpath is now wide enough for tourists to walk.
The beach footpath is now wide enough for tourists to walk.
What more does one want on a late Sunday morning?
What more does one want on a late Sunday morning?

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Tourists still love the sea, sand, and sun of Pattaya City’s beaches but now it’s a different atmosphere.
Tourists still love the sea, sand, and sun of Pattaya City’s beaches but now it’s a different atmosphere.
A Thai woman taking a nap on the beach after a long and tiring walk.
A Thai woman taking a nap on the beach after a long and tiring walk.

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A beer bar opposite Pattaya Beach is seen shut down after the curfew had been in place a couple of weeks ago putting thousands of workers out of jobs.
A beer bar opposite Pattaya Beach is seen shut down after the curfew had been in place a couple of weeks ago putting thousands of workers out of jobs.
Don’t know who is luckier at this time.
Don’t know who is luckier at this time.



A motorbike policeman rides down Pattaya Beach Road when there is not much need to patrol.
A motorbike policeman rides down Pattaya Beach Road when there is not much need to patrol.
This tourist just loves walking along the beach on a quiet day.
This tourist just loves walking along the beach on a quiet day.
Tourist boats that once used to carry loads of visitors to and from Larn Island are now empty. Docking costs a lot more than leaving them in the sea.
Tourist boats that once used to carry loads of visitors to and from Larn Island are now empty. Docking costs a lot more than leaving them in the sea.