Colourful and Festive Pattaya

Pattaya is a city in Thailand that is popular as a beach resort with tourists and expatriates. This city lies on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, approximately 130 km southeast of Bangkok.  Pattaya City is a self-governing unit which covers Tambon Nong Prue and Na Kluea and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai.

The City can be found in the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard zone together with Si Racha, Chonburi, and Laem Chabang. Once a fishing town, Pattaya first boomed during the Vietnam War and developed into a seaside destination for families. Since then foreign tourism to Thailand has been increasing with 14.5 million visitors in 2007.

Sights

Different theme parks and zoos can be found in Pattaya such as the Elephant Village, where training demonstrations and ancient re-enactments are presented daily. The Sri Racha Tiger Zoo shows alligators, tigers, and other animals daily. Other attractions include The Pattaya Crocodile Farm, Pattaya Park Beach, Resort Water Park, Funny Land Amusement Park, Million Years Stone Park, and the Siriporn Orchid Farm.

Between South Pattaya and Jomtien Beach is a small hill, Khao PhraTamnak that provides a panoramic view of Pattaya and its crescent bay. On top of this hill, the Wat Khao Phra Bat, a temple, and the monument of Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak, the “founding father” of the modern Thai navy.  Still another sight is the Underwater World, an aquarium with a collection of marine species in the Gulf of Thailand including sharks and stingrays.

Wat Yanasangwararam Woramahawihan is a temple built in 1976 for Somdet Phra Yanasangwon, the present Supreme Patriarch. Within the complex of the temple are a replica of the Buddha’s footprint and a huge Chedi which contains the relics of the Lord Buddha.

Thepprasit market is the busiest and biggest market in Pattaya. The market at Thepprasit Road attracts locals and tourists and is open at night every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In the market are pets for sale, many Thai food stalls offering local specialities like fried scorpions and bugs, and branded clothes, shoes, and electronic goods.

Festivals and other Activities

Chinese New Year is normally observed within late January to early February. This is so because it is a lunar new year the people are celebrating with dragon parades, fireworks, and lion dances.

In music, the Pattaya International Music Festival is held annually in the month of March. It allures huge crowds to the different performance stages along Bali Hai Pier and Beach Road, where international and Thai artists present varied music styles. The Pattaya Songkran festival or Wan Lai in local language, happens in mid April every year. It lasts for several days with the water throwing, the beauty pageants, cultural shows, musical performances, fireworks, and water sports competition. Another musical attraction is the Pattaya Classical Guitar Festival, on the last weekend of October each year which brings more tourists to Pattaya.

Other adrenaline rush activities include a weeklong sailing event, Top of the Gulf Regatta which is usually held at the end of April and start of May. The Pattaya Marathon, features several race categories and is held in July.  Finally, the Burapa Pattaya Bike Week is Thailand’s biggest motorcycle event held in Pattaya every February, attracting motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Southeast Asia and abroad.

Travelling to Pattaya with a companion is best, considering the many sights and festivals that need to be shared and appreciated.  It will surely be a colourful and festive journey.

Photo by whltravel on Flickr

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