Pattaya – embodiment of rapid change

pattaya 85 miles south of Bangkok, on the east coast of Thailand, there is a major international attraction. It goes by the name of Pattaya. Not many cities can claim such meteoric rise to international fame as this city.

It was a sleepy town along the Gulf of Thailand till as recently as four decades ago. In 1961, from seemingly nowhere, an incident happened to change the character of the city forever. A few American servicemen, weary of the battlefield, came down to this place to unwind.

This turned out to be the proverbial meteor that changed the city’s destiny. Taking the clue from this small stop, the government realized it had unearthed a goldmine. It had all the latent potential for being a major tourist attraction, especially for westerners.

Till then, it was revered as a place on which something of great importance to Thai history happened. It was at this place that one of the country’s famous rulers of the mid-18th century, Phraya Tak (who later rechristened himself as Taksin, a name that still arouses awe in the country’s psyche), won a famous victory over an invading Burmese force.

From this event, not much happened to this city, till the incident involving the American servicemen. From then on, the change that happened in this town was phenomenal. The slums that dotted the beach line made way for swanky shopping malls.

Being a coastal area, Pattaya has many beaches and islands to make your holiday a happy and enjoyable one. Another prime attraction is an 18-meter Buddha statue overlooking the beach.

Built to accommodate the flow of hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world, Pattaya has a zoo, a circus, a botanical garden, a Believe or Not museum, a huge aquarium, a building known as Sanctuary of Truth and Mini Siam and several other such attractions that entertain these visitors.

Pattaya is easily accessible from Bangkok, because of the small distance between the two places. There are several flights from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, and its own U-Tapao Airport, which is much nearer. Of course, taking a bus or train from Bangkok is easy, and hiring a shared motorbike or taxi can be great fun.