Did you ever wonder how the history of Pattaya culminated in the hedonistic destination we know today? Everything in the world is constantly in a state of flux. There was once an ice-age and there will be one again in the future.
Just 50-years ago, the place we know and love as Pattaya was a sleeping fishing village and is now considered a more hedonistic version of Las Vegas, gambling aside. The rapid ascension of this fishing village into a cacophony of neon lights, screaming females, and thumping baselines is pretty much unique. But how did it get to this in the first place in the briefest possible time with the briefest possible wordcount to detail the massive history of Pattaya?
At the Beginning – History of Pattaya
The first time in history Pattaya was ever mentioned was in 1767. The area got its name from King Taksin the Great, who was then called Phraya Tak who was running things in the capital of Ayutthaya at the time.
This dreamy little village pretty much kept itself to itself and under the radar for the next 200 years. Until the first US soldiers started to frequent the then growing village by the sea in 1959 on Rest ‘n’ Relaxation tours to rejuvenate during the animosities of the Vietnam War. Pattaya, as we know and love today, was born at this exact moment. The modern history of Pattaya and its tourism scene was about to blow up in a major way.
The Middle Bit – History of Pattaya
In the beginning, there wasn’t much. But now the soldiers were arriving by boatloads. The word went out far and wide that great fortunes could be siphoned off the soldiers which attracted the first ‘working’ girls to Pattaya. The girls visited Pattaya by hordes to help the soldiers unwind from their stressful experience of bombing the hell out of another country.
This carried on over the next several years. This saw minor to major development in Pattaya in an attempt to cater to the GI’s and their wallets that could choke a dozen donkeys. The Nipa Hut, The Coral Reef, The Outrigger, The Blue Pattaya, Suzanne’s, and the Seagull all opened in the early 1960s. But as quickly as the war with Vietnam started, it ended. However, some of the troops married the locals and stayed behind. The history of Pattaya was being altered forever.
Pattaya Today – History of Pattaya
Since that time in the mid-1960s, Pattaya has rapidly grown into the unyielding and unrelenting beast we see, know, and love today. Walking Street was paved, and businesses flourished. This attracted backpackers from across Northern Europe in the early 1970s and the holiday industry was launched. It wasn’t until the late 1980s until we started to see the development heading the way it is today as places like Jomtien, Naklua and Pratumnak Hill began to appear from the undergrowth. If you look out of your hotel room today across Pattaya Beach Road, just try to imagine what it must have been like pre-1955!
From 2010 onwards, Pattaya has tried to rebrand itself as a family-style holiday destination. There are several family-style attractions built in the surrounding areas. The Cartoon Network Water Park and Nong Nooch Gardens are just a couple. But will the city ever escape its party-style reputation? It might have to!
Even in the late-1990s, Pattaya Beach Road wasn’t yet what you see today. The growth has spiraled out of all proportions. However, since the COVID outbreak in the early-2020, the city is rethinking its future as a tourism epicenter.
The history of Pattaya is still being written. So it will be interesting to see how the place changes over the next decade or so.
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