This is the most popular beach based on sheer numbers. It is located on the central coast of Pattaya City, 100 km south of Bangkok. The beach is within the Banglamoong district in Chonburi Province. It is almost entirely visited by tourists and expatriates.
From Bangkok, find your way to either the Northern or Eastern Bus Terminals at Mo Chit or Ekamai Stations along the BTS. Buy a bus ticket to Pattaya or hop in a Van located at either station,
These vans and buses make frequent stops along the freeway to pick up passengers and extra fares, so expect a journey lasting between 2-2.5 hours.
The bus will drop you at the bus station along Sukhumvit Road but the van will ask for your destination. Inform the driver you are going to Pattaya Klang or Pattaya Central. The driver will announce your destination when you arrive. From here cross the Sukhumvit highway to Pattaya central road and take a song taow (Baht bus) the entire length of the road until you see blue waters, yellow sand and hear the music emanating from the numerous bars.
The beach has brownish red sand, with a few planted palm trees lining the elevated promenade. The massive development of the area has implications on the environment. During the 1990's the beach had numerous fish die-offs and problems with sewage and garbage in the waters and washing on shore.
Ironically, the same mass tourism that was a detriment to the environment was the main reason for initiatives in cleaning the environment. Since 1997, board members of the Thai Hotel Association and Pattaya Business and Tourism Association began a project to rehabilitate Pattaya's physical environment.
In the late 2000's Pattaya became the first beach resort in Asia to have a fully integrated water treatment system. The project has also resulted in the creation of natural parks, boat piers and better enforcement of environmental standards. It has been said that the water and beach quality has significantly improved.
Pattaya beach has a long history that deals with the development of the entire area. After the Second World War the entire area was a small fishing village until a developer came in and bought most of the area around the beach. The developer created all the roads and sois that lead to the beach. It was then arranged to have news reporters and authors from Bangkok to visit the beach and report on its beauty. After the publicity about Pattaya spread, beach tours from Bangkok began bringing Thai tourists to experience an unspoiled beach.
This changed during the early 1960s because of the second Indochina wars. An American base was built south of Pattaya, and modern roads and infrastructure were built through Pattaya and all the way north to Bangkok. American soldiers on rest and relaxation would visit the beaches of Pattaya and stay in local Thai lodgings and with Thai families.
With the improved road access, Pattaya was able to open its first beach hotel, the Nipa, in 1964. Beer bars and restaurants were built in the area to keep up with soldier demand. This was the beginning of the sex industry in Pattaya because soldiers on R&R leave would want alcohol, entertainment and women. Many women came to the area working as bar girls and doubling as prostitutes by night to make extra money. The local economy experienced a huge boom during this period. Once the war was finished, local businesses and stakeholders advertised the area as party town to foreigners to keep the tourism dollars flowing.
At the centre of Pattaya beach is a large concentration of beach activities and some of its main attractions. On the beach the activities include jet skiing, banana boat and paragliding. Off of the beach is Central Festival Pattaya Beach Centre, which contains 200 000 sq meters of retail space on 7 floors and an entertainment complex with 10 theatres, a bowling alley, a supermarket and 350 room hotel. At night the beach becomes very adult-oriented with countless beer bars lining the street, numerous people drinking on the beach and the notorious 'walking street' coming to life at the beach's south end.