Pattaya is a popular tourist resort on the North Gulf Coast of Eastern Thailand, located 150 km south-east of Bangkok. Pattaya is most famous for its go-go and beer bars, but local authorities have made efforts to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities, and specialist conference and golfing facilities.
Although the sex industry is still going strong and sex tourism remains the key money earner for Pattaya, the resort also attracts local families and holidaymakers from far and wide. If you are going to be offended by the sight of fat old European men hand in hand with young Thai women (and/or men), then Pattaya is probably not the place for you.
Efforts by the local authorities over the past few years have improved the quality of the beaches, but they are still lacklustre by Thailand's standards, and over-development has long since destroyed some of the natural charms the area once had. However, the plethora of hotels and guest houses, and easy access from the capital and airport, make it a popular weekend getaway.
Catering for over five million tourists yearly, Pattaya is also able to offer an excellent range of eating choices and a wide variety of things to do and see. Its population is a colorful mix of nationalities and ethnicities from near and far.
"Greater Pattaya" occupies most of the coastline of Banglamung (one of the eleven districts that comprise Chonburi. It is divided into a larger northern section which spans the areas to the east of Naklua Beach (the most northern beach) and Pattaya Beach (the main beach) plus the Buddha Hill headland (immediately south of Pattaya Beach), and a smaller southern section covering the area to the east of Jomtien Beach (which lies directly south of Buddha Hill) including Dongtan Beach.
Jomtien's beaches are much broader and generally in better shape, and the atmosphere locally is more sedate and family-oriented, than at Pattaya Beach.
Read more on the different beaches around Pattaya.