History of Pattaya

Understanding the history of Pattaya and how it came to be the city it is today.

Prior to the 1950’s Pattaya was called Pad Tha Ya, which related to the south west monsoons that frequently passed over Thailand and across to the northeast regions. During this period, Pattaya was simply a district of Chonburi – it wasn’t even recognised as a municipality. Only in the late 1950’s did Pattaya expand into a resort which attracted a lot of visiting American GIs who had plenty of spare cash to spend. During the Vietnam war Pattaya quickly attracted large groups of US Navy men from nearby Sattahip. The rapid increase of visitors later lead to a great expansion of facilities within Pattaya and the destination soon became the official centre for American troops who required some much needed R&R.

Due to the rapid increase of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants being built in Pattaya to accommodate the service men, the coastal region grew considerably over a very short period of time. The new businesses soon attracted more and more visitors, especially the Thais from nearby Bangkok. Locals would often visit Pattaya for the weekend, using it as an escape from hustle and bustle of the capital city. It wasn’t long before Pattaya grew into a popular holiday destination for both Thais and foreigners, and in 1978 the national government granted it city statues to reflect this. To highlight this great achievement, every year on 29th November the local people celebrate this monumental occasion.

The History of Pattaya – Increased Tourism

Europeans flocked to Pattaya during the 1980’s and 90’s, especially during their cold winters. They couldn’t get enough of the guaranteed hot weather that Thailand had to offer them. Visitors quickly discovered destinations further south too, such as Koh Samui and Phuket and before too long Pattaya started attracting a new generation of Russian, eastern European and Arabian nationals. In order to cater for this new wave of foreign and Thai tourists, the city quickly grew and became one of the biggest resort towns in Thailand at that time.

Naturally, with such an increase of visitors, it was necessary to build lots more developments and accommodation options. Central and south Pattaya soon had new and attractive modern condos being built, as did nearby neighbourhoods Jomtien and Naklua. It wasn’t long before the city started to attract big time investors with money who wanted to contribute to this sort after holiday destination. With the addition of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport being built in 2006 and the capital now being just over an hour away by road, Pattaya was thriving.

Pattaya Today

Today, there’s still very much two sides to this city; it’s vibrant nightlife and it’s more serious business side. Due to the reputation the city gained during the Vietnam War when visiting GI’s used the destination for R&R, Pattaya kept its statue as a party destination. This went hand in hand with the ever growing sex trade, which is very much still part of daily life in the city. The more serious side provides a thriving and constantly growing infrastructure which supports more than 50,000 foreigners who live and work in the city. Contributing to local businesses such as restaurants, bar, hotels and services, it’s a combination of local Thai’s working alongside foreigners who make this city such an interested and wonderful place to visit.