Approximately 160 kilometres south of Bangkok, Pattaya is a coastal city in Chonburi, a province on Thailand’s eastern seaboard.
Until the 1960s, Pattaya was little more than a small yet bustling fishing village populated with people of predominantly Thai-Chinese ancestry. This started to change when American servicemen stationed at nearby U-Tapao air base – today an international airport – began visiting Pattaya during their time off. Soon enough, word had spread among soldiers across the region and Pattaya was well on its way to becoming a world-class beach resort destination.
Today, resorts and retail stores have long since replaced the fisherman’s huts that used to line the beach, and Pattaya attracts an estimated five million visitors a year. Recent years have seen the city cleaning up its image, ‘growing up’, with family-friendly attractions such as floating markets, water parks and ocean excursions now rivalling the adult-orientated nightlife.
A one-and-a-half-hour taxi ride from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Pattaya’s broad appeal is only increased by its accessible location.