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Chonburi - Pattaya Travel Guide

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 vacation.

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.

The Past

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.

The Present

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.

Pattaya Facts

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.

Administration

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.

Lying about 7.5 kilometers off of Pattaya by a 45-minute ferry or 15 minutes by speed boat ride, the island measures 2 kilometers by 5 kilometers and offers several white sandy beaches, notably Hat Ta Waen, Hat Laem Thian and Hat Thong Long, the latter facing coral reefs. Visitors can choose either snorkeling or viewing the coral from glass bottom boats. Ferries to the island leave South Pattaya pier daily from 10.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Cruises by sailing junks, with lunch provided are also available.

How to get there

Travelling to Chon Buri



By Car

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.



By Bus

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



By car

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.



By bus

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 2852-66.

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 1111.

In addition, most hotels in Bangkok provide bus services to Pattaya. Contact the tour desk at your hotel for details.



By train

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.



By Air

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.

 
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