Pattaya lies around 150km to the southeast of Bangkok, Thailand. This is Less than 2 hours by road, and stretches for some 15km along the Eastern Seaboard. Thailand ’s Largest resort, it shares the coast with traditional a fishing villages, other resorts such as Bang Saen and Rayong, new industrial centers, the town of Chonburi and Sriracha, and the port and naval base of Sattahip.
Pattaya in the past was just a little fishing village. Until 1960s, American servicemen form the U. S. Air Force base at Utapao in neighbouring Rayong Province began using the area for “Rest and Recreation” (R&R) , causing a huge boom in entertainment business.
When the Americans left following the end of the Vietnam War, the city fell into a crisis. However, modern mass tourism brought a new life to Pattaya. The city is considered heaven or hell on the Earth, depending on how you look at it.
More than 35,000 hotels’ rooms were available in Pattaya. It is an eapecially popular vacation destination for families from Russia, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and other countries. It also a large international expatriate population and many services meet international standards In recent years, new shopping malls, outlet stores and jewelry stores have sprung up like mushrooms, which have helped in increasing the length of stay of visitors to the city.
Pattaya’s main attractions are its beaches. Pattaya Beach stretches out along the central city close to shopping, hotels and bars. The section of beach from Central Road (Pattaya Klang) south to the harbor is adjacent to the core of Pattaya’s abundant nightlife area, hence it is less family-oriented than the North Pattaya, Na Klua and Jomtien beaches.
Pattaya is now a city in its own right, with its own mayor and its own administration. This is not all due to tourism. The government development programmed for the Eastern Seaboard has transformed the region, and this rapid industrial and commercial expansion has led to many expatriates coming to live in the area. There is a new deep-sea port at Laem Chabang, 20 km north of Pattaya with a vast industrial estate, and another development zone at Map Ta Phut near Rayong to the south. Pattaya city is well located to be a major business centre serving these two giant industrial communities. There are five international schools and four international hospital in the area.
However Pattaya has multi-cultural quintessentially Thai visitors, and although the convenience foods of the West are readily accessible, the Thai culture is everywhere and most visitors embrace the easy-going way of life readily. Over 95 per cent of people who live and work here are Thai and even a couple of blocks away from the beach the culture takes over from the holiday atmosphere by the sea and the beach. Despite this, the ex-pat community here is a perhaps the least assimilated of all the foreign communities in Thailand, and you’re more likely to feel like you’re in Tenerife than Thailand, with all the footage on TV, English style pubs and nary a word of Thai spoken in the many bars that service the full-time early retirees who favor this atmosphere.
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