Pattaya, the biggest playground in Asia

    Pattaya is Thailand’s most famous and some would say infamous holiday resort. It sits on the Eastern edge of a large bay that in itself sits at the top of the bigger Gulf of Thailand. About a hundred miles to the Southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya has more foreigners by the way of expats and holiday makers than any other city in the country. The official population of little more than 100,000 must be one of the most inaccurate anywhere.

    Pattaya was nothing more than a small fishing village until the 1960s and the Vietnam War. Used as an R&R venue it soon grew in fame and reputation. As the GIs came so did the good time girls and the upward growth spiral was unstoppable. It now gets over 4 million visitors every year.

    Since the New Suvarnabhumi International Airport opened in Bangkok in 2006, the resort has become even busier. Before this visitors entered Bangkok at Dom Mueang Airport which is on the other side of Bangkok to Pattaya. Almost everyone would have one or two nights in Bangkok before moving on to Pattaya. Now the airport is a third of the way between Bangkok and Pattaya, many simply go straight to the seaside resort. Bangkok’s loss has been Pattaya’s gain.

    Hotels and resorts have sprung up all along the main coastal road and even further south into Jomtien. There are now more than 2000 hotels here. The climate is pretty much perfect with only two really wet months, September and October.

    One of the main entertainment areas here is Walking Street with its garish bar fronts, noise and colour. Though to be honest the entertainment industry has swallowed up the vast majority of the entire beach front and for a couple of miles back. It is not for nothing that the most famous T shirt on sale here carries the legend, “ Good guys go to Heaven, bad guys go to Pattaya.”