Photos tell history of Pattaya

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Sixty years of Pattaya history unfolded in photographs at a recent exhibit at Central Festival Beach.

The Oct 14-19 show, organized by the Pattaya Cultural Council, sought to tell the story of Pattaya and Naklua and show off the way of life before and after Pattaya was incorporated in 1978.

The exhibit featured more than 50 old photographs of Chaimongkol Temple, Pattaya Beach, Naklua Market, Beach Road, Pratamnak Hill and other sites.

Among the special guests were 71-year-old Pah Cheng Baikoy and son Sukit who were born in Naklua and have seen the changes that have come to the area over the past seven decades.

71-year-old Pah Cheng Baikoy and son Sukit were born in Naklua and have seen the changes that have come to the area over the past seven decades.

Pah Cheng told that the prosperity of Pattaya grew very fast after the first batch of 100 American soldiers came from Nakhon Ratchasima to Pattaya for “rest and relaxation” in 1959.

The military rented Praya Sunthorn’s vacation house for regular stays by troops, who stayed for a week.

Pattaya started becoming well-known among foreigners as a tourist spot, leading to its quick transformation from a peaceful fishing village to a popular and modern entertainment for both Thai and foreign tourists.

Historical view of Wat Chaimongkol in South Pattaya with Pattaya Beach in the foreground.

In the past, Beach Road was laterite and when the wind blew, it was dusty with sand. At that time, there was only one temple – Chaimongkol. There were fewer than 50 families in Pattaya-Naklua and the only way to travel was by cart, which could take an hour to reach the temple.

Roads eventually were improved and the number of businesses increased. Consequently, Pattaya became a city containing shops and beer bars and attracted bar workers from other regions.

Aerial view of Wat Chaimongkol in South Pattaya.

Naklua Market then was just a fishing and seafood market, and Jomtien Beach was too far away and covered in jungle. It took many hours to get there and few families lived in the area.

Pattaya Beach circa 1966.

Gold shops are not new to Pattaya, as this old photo shows.