Love it or loathe it, you can’t deny the fact that Pattaya remains one of Thailand’s busiest tourist destinations. And it’s no hyperbole or cliché to say that this high-octane metropolis has, literally, something for everyone. And if it doesn’t have it yet, chances are someone is building it as you read this.
Pattaya’s attractions run the gamut—from the sacred to the profane. The city’s notorious Walking Street is a gawker’s paradise—and you’ll get an eyeful if you go—but there’s also a Drinking Street (on 2nd Road) where sexy sirens tempt barflies and bad boys. Speaking of drinking, the city even has it’s own winery, and visitors to Silverlake Vineyard (31/62 Moo 7 Na Jomtien) can sample local wines, delicious food, and maybe catch a live musical performance. Or, if you prefer finely crafted beer with your musical entertainment, pop into Hopf Brew House (Beach Road, corner of Soi 13/1) and hoist a stein of the bar’s own lager, wheat beer, or dark beer while Lorenzo, the local opera singer, belts out operatic standards. However, if you like your live entertainment with an air of mystery, check out one of the glitzy Ladyboy Cabaret shows, and try to guess which females are really males (hint: unbelievably, they’re all male).
For sports fans Pattaya has hundreds of options—from Muay Thai to mountain biking, from go-karts to golf courses, just take your pick. Meanwhile thrill-seekers can try the Tower Jump zip-line run, which extends from the top of the 170 meter high Pattaya Park Tower (or choose to go up and down via the gondola cable car and enjoy the view without any screaming). The city also caters to all manner of water sports, so whether you like scuba diving or sport fishing, the open ocean awaits.
There are also many temples and spiritual sites in Pattaya worth visiting, including Buddha Mountain, where a golden Buddha image over 100 meters high has been laser carved into the sheer rock face. Or, simply choose to relax on one of the district’s four most popular beaches—Pattaya Bay, Wongamat Beach, Jomtien Beach, or the idyllic white sands of nearby Koh Larn.
Be sure to read the whole story in our special 22 page destination issue feature story.