Center of heavy industry and production, Pattaya is a city located on the east side of Thailand. Home to millions of tourists, the nightlife hub was once upon a time known as a “sin city,” well-known as the center of the country’s sex industry (1).
However, throughout the development of its reputation and renewal of family-friendly attractions, Pattaya has once again become a promising tourist wonder. Which poses the question, what is Pattaya most known for nowadays?
Located just 200 kilometers from Bangkok, Pattaya has become an emerging center of sunlight, escape, and relaxation. The city is famous for its lively atmosphere and scenic wonders, such as the islands, beaches, nightclubs, historical attractions, parks, gardens, malls, food, and animal culture.
The once-sleepy getaway destination of the Vietnamese War has once again created a name for itself (2). Over the years, the government has made efforts to attract families to the city while remaining a top honeymoon-adult destination.
What Is Pattaya Famous for?
1. Famous Nightlife in Pattaya
Pattaya is well known as a dream destination, especially for nighttime experiences. The city is entrapped in party culture and drinking. The lively atmosphere begins once the sun sets; thousands of bars and restaurants open up. Most famously is Pattaya Walking Street, home to go-go bars and the largest candy shop, Lucifer, Marine Disco, Insomnia, and Tony’s and Mixx (1).
Resorts also offer gourmet restaurants and cocktail units that are cheap and easily accessible (1). You can always expect to have a blast with live concerts, karaoke stations, and DJ nights.
2. Historical Wonders
Pattaya is well-known for its historical wonders and representation of the Thai people’s unique identity, religions, and traditions. It is home to the Pattaya Floating Market, a wonderful and scenic embrace of Thai history. The market is separated into four portions that all represent different parts of Thailand (1). You can find wood carvings, handmade clocks, traditional Thai clothing, delicious food, and bargain for the most unique and traditional Thai handicrafts (1).
Another fun wonder of Pattaya is Mini Siam. It displays the model of some of the most famous international and local sites (2). These include Bangkok’s Victory Monument and Wat Arun (also referred to as the Temple of Dawn). They also showcase the Statue of Liberty from New York City and London’s Tower Bridge. Even the Sydney Opera House and L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris are included (2). This is an interesting and exciting place to visit with family and friends. You can even enjoy the view of the sunset and sparkling lights (2).
3. Religious Attractions
Located in North Pattaya is the popular Sanctuary of Truth. It is an ancient-style wooden temple at the sea of Laem Ratchawat (1). It represents a unique vision of human civilization and its connection to religious and philosophical truth; these include the human version of seven creations: earth, sun, moon, mother, father, stars, and heaven (1).
Another impressive temple is the Wat Yansangwararam, known for its excellent Thai design, architectural tradition, and representation of society values (2). It is surrounded by a palm-stubbed garden dedicated to King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1988, commemorating the 42nd year of his reign (2). The temple is home to Buddhist relics in the main complex (2). The right-hand side of the path is home to Chinese pavilions, antiques, and artifacts. The temple itself stands on a hill, with a walk of 299 steps lined by Naga snakes (2).
Pattaya is also famous for its 18-meter tall golden statue of the Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai). Perched on a wooden Pratumnak Hill in South Pattaya, you can admire Naga snakes, smaller Buddhist statues and climb steep stairs to the main pavilion (2). Locals come to the Buddha to reflect, pray for good health, happiness, and prosperity (2). It also has an excellent view of Pattaya bay and offers a taxi service to help you travel up to the hill.
Many locals come here to pray for good health, happiness, and prosperity. You can also enjoy beautiful views over Pattaya and the bay from the top of the hill. If you’re not up for a long walk up the hill, you can catch a taxi and save your energy to climb the stairs to the statues (2).
4. Family Wonders of Pattaya
The Tiffany Show is a ladyboy cabaret show. Known as a family-friendly attraction, the show starts at 19:30 every night and features performances of Thai dancers wearing traditional clothing. You can also take pictures with the performers for free and participate in dancing and performing activities (1).
Art in Paradise is another fun place for kids, an illusion art museum for fun photos (2). Pattaya can be rather hot and tiring, which is why an indoor vacation can be fun for the kids. They can tickle a whale’s belly, tackle a marlin in life-like artwork, touch a rhino, and capture the moments in photographs to share with friends and family (2). The museum portrays different themes of artwork such as classical art, the underwater world, Egyptian art, safari, dinosaurs, and fantasy creations (2).
However, if you are looking to spend more time outdoors in the heat, what better way than to go to a water park. The Ramayana Water Park is the biggest waterpark in the country (2). Known as a top tourist destination, travelers of all ages can have an exhilarating day. The park offers 21 water-themed rides, including spiral slides, freefalls, and gentle rides for smaller children (2).
The park also includes a double wave pool, a kid’s Aquasplash park with fountains, and a green maze. Daily activities such as polo, fish feeding, Zumba, and volleyball are also available (2).
The Elephant Village is a real wonder for all the animal lovers out there. Known as Pattaya’s safe haven, you can spend time with elephants and take pictures. All fees for entry to the village fund a non-profit company. The money is used to pay for medical bills and to take care of the elephants (1).
Pattaya is also home to one of the largest malls in Asia, called the Central Festival Mall. With a top view of the beach, a cheap food court, and international stores, you will feel as if you are in heaven (1). It also has a cinema complex and bowling alley located on the top floor.
Like the rest of Thailand, Pattaya is popular for delicious food. From cheap food to luxurious Thai cuisines, you can find anything from drinks, food, and dessert (2). Already home to thousands of bars, food is a must-have contribution to Pattaya’s rising tourism industry and economy.
You can find food carts, food stalls, supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, peddling tuk tuk’s, and meatball vendors (2). Locations and international foreigners love the cuisine. One of the most unique food combinations in Pattaya is fried insects with a cold beer (2). While this might not sound too appetizing, it is a local favorite and an experience to try.
Nong Nooch Botanical Garden (pronounced “nung nut”) is a sprawling park located in Pattaya city (2). The city offers walkways with colorful themed gardens and a topiary garden that features 17th-century French aesthetics (2). The European Renaissance Garden features species-specific counterparts, featuring plants such as bonsai, succulents, and tropical palms (2).
This magnificent garden will awaken your love for nature. It also features a live show at the Thai Cultural Hall, with line-ups of traditional Thai performances from dancing, to sword-fighting, Thai kickboxing, and an elephant show (2). You can even rent a bicycle to explore different areas of the garden (2).
7. Beaches and Islands in Pattaya City
Jomtien Beach, stretching for six kilometers, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Pattaya City. It is an escape from the bustling city life and is only four kilometers from the region’s center (2). You can enjoy all kinds of activities from sunbathing, relaxing under the shade of trees, jet-skiing, parasailing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing (2).
The beach is also home to plenty of cafes and restaurants, serving local and international food such as drinks, fruits, and seafood (2). Additionally, the beach is located near a family-friendly waterpark called the Cartoon Network Amazone; full of spiraling pools, slides, splashing fountains, and cartoon-themed rides (2).
A 30-minute board ride or a 45-minute ferry ride away from Pattaya city is Koh Larn, also known as Koh Lan. It is a tourist-packed coral island, famous for its white-sand beaches that stretch miles along its shores (2). The island is full of food stalls, restaurants, and water sports such as banana boat rides, underwater sea walking, and parasailing (2).
Additionally, Tien is one of the most popular beaches on the monkey frolic of Nual Beach. You can rent a motorbike to the island and stay at one of the resorts. It is a popular place for families and couples to spend quiet time away from the busy nightlife of Pattaya (2).
Overall, Pattaya is popular for many reasons, truly depending on how you are as a person and what your dream vacation requires. Pattaya still provides a nightlife culture of parties and drinking that was embedded many years before; it is rather improved to some extent that it challenges the name “sinful city.” While Walking Street Pattaya and nightlife remain prominent tourism factors, there is also implementation of other activities.
Pattaya is a fantastic place for those on a spiritual or religious journey. It is home to temples and Buddhist traditions that teach the history of Thai kings and Buddha relics. Especially for those finding it difficult to learn by book, traveling through Pattaya Floating Market and Mini Siam is enough to experience different parts of Thailand.
Especially for families, Pattaya welcomes a new reputation of child life and adventure. Waterparks, gardens, museums, malls, and animal sanctuaries carry the reputation of providing Thai friendliness and beautiful sceneries. But do not forget why you really came; enjoy Thai cuisine and sit by the beautiful beaches and islands- the main reason why Thailand is a top tourist destination.
1. Ghangas, Sushmita. 8 Reasons To Visit Pattaya For A Marvelous Vacay. Travel Triangle. [Online] November 3, 2021. https://traveltriangle.com/blog/reasons-to-visit-in-pattaya/.
2. Hastings, Karen and Bocco, Diana. 13 Top-Rated Attractions & Things To Do In Pattaya. PlanetWare. [Online] June 23, 2021. https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions-/pattaya-tha-ch-chp.htm/.