Chon Buri The Nearest Seaside Retreat
Chonburi, Bangkoks nearest seaside town, is located on the eastern coast
of the Gulf of Thailand, only 80 kilometers from Bangkok. The area
boasts abundant natural resources, which are highlighted by delightful
beaches, local colors, traditions, delicacies and fresh seafood. This is
a popular resort among Bangkokians who seek the nearest escape from
hectic weekly schedules as Chon Buri has something for everyone. In
addition, Chon Buri is the center of the Eastern Seaboard Development
Project, with its industrial parks and fishing villages.
Pattaya A Travelers Paradise
Pattaya is nestled along a picturesque bay on the East Coast of the Gulf
of Thailand, roughly 170 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. From a fishing
village in the 1960’s, Pattaya has emerged as the favorite Southeast
Asian vacation center. A fascinating escape where tourists, holiday
makers and vacationers from around the world unfold an incomparable
array of possibilities to unwind during an exotic holiday beach
Unlike other beach resorts, where natural surroundings are used as
magnets to attract tourists, Pattaya makes an all-out attempt to provide
the best of everything. Here, everything means everything a tourist can
imagine while on holiday: recreation, entertainment, sports, sightseeing
and fun. To put it simply, Pattaya is a paradise for everyone, as it has
a variety of attractions suitable for all types of visitors. This is the
place where you can fill your day, from dusk to dawn, with endless
activities, or you may choose to do nothing at all and relax.
Pattaya’s name was originated from the march of Phraya Tak (later known
as King Taksin the Great) and his followers from Ayutthaya to
Chanthaburi just before the fall of the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the Burmese
invaders in 1767.
When Phraya Tak’s army arrived in the vicinity of what is Pattaya today,
he encountered the troops of Nai Klom who tried to intercept him. When
the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was awed by Phraya Tak’s
dignified manner and his army’s strict discipline, thereby surrendering
without a fight. The place where the two armies confronted each other
was later called Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This
was later changed to Phatthaya, which happens to mean the wind blowing
from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy
season. Today the spelling of the name has been simplified to Pattaya.
For centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village almost cut off from
the outside world. But a big change occurred on 29 April 1961 when the
first group of about 100 American servicemen who would join the Vietnam
War arrived in Pattaya for relaxation. Soon, sleepy Pattaya became
Thailand’s premier and most successful beach resort, which annually
attracts hundreds of thousands of pleasure-seeking visitors. A full
range of accommodations from super deluxe hotels to bungalows and mini-pocket
guesthouses replaced fishermens huts along the beach. Fishing vessels
were adapted to become tourist boats and swimmers and sunbathers from
various parts of the world frequented the quiet powdery golden beaches.
Places of nighttime entertainment have also sprung up and are popular
among international tourists.
Pattaya currently integrates the delights of a 1st class beach resort,
city-like dining, shopping and night entertainment facilities with more
than 300 assorted hotels, thousands of shops, restaurants and bars. In
addition, there are an array of sports and recreational activities
including beaches, golf courses, tennis courts, go-kart, gyms for
working out, weight lifting and Thai-boxing gear. Pattaya offers a broad
range of things to do. During the day, one may enjoy riding elephants or
driving humble automatic mini-bikes, monstrous motorcycles, or even
monster multicolored convertible Jeeps. Others go for shooting firearms,
scuba diving and surfing, deep-sea fishing, speed boats, scooters, water-skiing,
parasailing, or aerial sports such as gliding ultra-lights and flying
motor-propelled gliders. On the other hand, at night, there are
restaurants, bars, theaters, cabaret shows, night clubs, bowling halls,
billiard & snooker clubs, discos, sauna & massage parlors, not to cite
its absolutely incredible shopping which is available non-stop both day-and-night.
This exotic beach resort welcomes approximately 5 million visitors a
year. The friendly and hospitable Thai nature boosts its promotion,
frequently bringing back the repeat visitors and constantly increasing
the number of newcomers.
Pattaya city is located on the eastern coast of the country at latitude
13 N and longitude 101 E in the area of Chon Buri province. It is 147
kilometers from Bangkok and lies parallel to Sukhumvit Road on its east
and the coastline on its west. Pattaya occupies an area of 208.1 sq. km.
that is divided into 53.44 sq. kilometers of land and 154.66 sq.
kilometers of islands and sea. Its coastline is 15 kilometers long.
Pattaya has a plain on the coast with some high mountains to the south.
The area on the east slopes down towards the sea on the west.
Pattaya City has been administered under a special autonomous system
since 1978. It has a status comparable to that of a municipality and is
administered separately by the mayor of Pattaya City, who is responsible
for making policies, organizing public services, and supervising all
employees of Pattaya City Administration.
Travelling to Chon Buri
Chon Buri is a one-hour drive from Bangkok along Highway No. 34 (Bang Na-Trat).
Alternatively, taking the Motor Way (new Bangkok-Chon Buri Route) will
reduce travel time.
The 1.5-hour journey from Bangkok can be made on regular buses
originating from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai). Air-conditioned
buses leave Ekkamai every 40 minutes from 5.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tel: 0
2391 9829. Non air-conditioned buses leave Ekkamai every 30 minutes from
5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tel: 0 2391 2504.
There are also air-conditioned buses leaving the Bangkok's Northern Bus
Terminal (Mochit 2 Bus Terminal) on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road from 6.30 a.m.
to 6.30 p.m. Call: 0 2936 2852-66 for more information. In addition, Si
Racha Tour, Tel: 0 2936 4029 operates air-conditioned bus services to
Chon Buri and Bang Saen.
Travelling to Pattaya
Pattaya can be reached in a 2.5-hour drive along Bangna-Trat Highway via
Bang Pakong, Chon Buri and Si Racha. However, visitors can avoid Chon
Buri by opting for Highway 36, the new Chon Buri - Pattaya - Rayong
route or taking the motorway from Rama 9 Road.
Air-conditioned and regular buses depart from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai)
and Bangkoks Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit 2 Bus Terminal) on
Kamphaengphet Road daily. Buses (air-con) depart the Eastern Bus
Terminal every 30 minutes from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and from Mochit II (Northern
Bus Terminal) from 5.00 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Departure times and fares may be obtained from the Eastern Bus Terminal,
tel. 0 2391 2504, 0 2391 8097 or the Northern Bus Terminal, tel. 0 2936
There are also minibuses that travel directly from Bangkok Airport to
Pattaya at 9.00 a.m., 12.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m. daily. For more
information, contact the Bangkok International Airport, tel. 0 2535
In addition, most hotels in Bangkok provide bus services to Pattaya.
Contact the tour desk at your hotel for details.
The State Railway of Thailand offers a daily train service departing
Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Station at 06.55 a.m., tel. 0 2621 8701. It takes
about 5 hours to reach a station located near the Siam Country Club.
Bangkok Airways provides daily flights connecting Ko Samui and U-Taphao
Airport. (Approximately 30 kilometers south of Pattaya).
Travelling in Pattaya
Pattaya City is divided into four major zones: North Pattaya, Central
Pattaya, South Pattaya and Chomthian. It should be noted that there is a
small mountain known as the Hill, located between South Pattaya and
Chomthian. For a visual illustration take a look at the Map of Pattaya
and Chomthian with the Hill.
Motorbikes are the most popular mode of transport in Pattaya. However,
transportation in the city is facilitated through the use of special
cars (song taew), customized pickup trucks with passenger seats in a
covered overhead back cabin. These pickups, known as Bahts-Bus, can
easily carry 8-10 passengers in the back, plus 1 or 2 passengers in
front. They circle around the city and are allowed to stop anywhere. In
addition to motorbike-taxis, the Bahts-Buses are the only form of public
transport permitted in Pattaya. If not occupied, they also can be hired
as private taxis. In fact, they are private vehicles in most cases
belonging to the drivers. There are so many of them that they end up
looking for passengers.
This compact city consists of 3 major roads that parallel each other.
Right along the beach is Beach Rd., which is a one-way road from the
north to south that is a few kilometers long. Second Rd. is a hundred or
so meters away and carries city transport mainly from the south to north,
although it is partly a two-way road. The last road is Sukhumvit Rd, a
continuation of the highway leading to Bangkok. Many small streets
called Soi(s) cross the roads. And it's advisable to walk some of the
small streets, which are enumerated from north to south, although some
have names. Second Rd. continues on to South Pattaya and turns to
Chomthian reaching Chomthian beach within 5 minutes, and continues
alongside Chomthian beach, which is approximately 20 kilometers long
with some secluded escapes.
Chomthian Beach Rd., which is a two-way road, also parallels Sukhumvit
Rd and is the only road in the Chomthian area, except for some
connecting streets. On the other side of Sukhumvit road are several
country clubs, golf courses and typical Thai rural villages, providing
charming escapes on the banks of sweet-water lakes and small streams in
the leisurely and relaxing countryside.
Many kinds of motorbikes, convertible monster Jeeps, sport and passenger
cars are offered for rent. A driver's license is not required for
driving around Pattaya and vicinity, so many tourists are tempted get
behind the wheel. It should be noted that in Thailand drivers drive on
the left lane, as in England and Japan.