Can one like Pattaya? The answer to this question is pretty simple NO! Why? Because it is hard to develop a differentiated view on Pattaya. You probably either love it or you hate it.
So, who could love this fast growing city with its just over 100.000 citizens? Maybe people love the beach, stretching over 4 km but being only 4 meters wide, with a questionable water quality and packed with sunshades and looking like this:
Or people love the infamous nightlife, and I would guess that this is the vast majority of mainly male tourists coming to Pattaya. Nightlife in Pattaya means girls and sex which is reflected by the thousands of beer bars, Go-Go-Bars, massage parlours, street hookers and the world famous walking street.
Generally I have no problem with this kind of nightlife. You will also find it on Phuket or other frequented tourist hotspots in Thailand. But it is on a much lower level and it is not dominating the whole place as it is the case in Pattaya, where you can hardly escape from it. Try to find a quiet place where you could just enjoy your beer with music in the background at an acceptable noise level and you will get frustrated easily after having walked around for over one hour just for vain.
The traffic is horrific. You must always pay high attention once you leave the walkway. Basically you will walk mostly on the street as the sidewalks are blocked or congested with people. And interesting enough, Pattaya is the only town in Thailand without Tuk-Tuks. I could not find an explanation for this. The public transport is covered by the small mini busses, the Songthaews, and the moto taxis you can find at nearly every corner.
But Pattaya also has some nice spots worth a visit. I first went to the lighthouse near the Bali Hai pier. It is a recommended place to watch the sunset. When I went there, some fishermen were patiently waiting for their prey and a wedding couple got some pictures taken on the beach.
I went on and passed a nice view point from where you had a great look over the bay of Pattaya.
My next destination was the Big Buddha on Phratamnak Hill, an attraction, as it appears to me, that almost all big tourist destinations in Thailand have. Just below the Big Buddha you find Wang San Siem, a Chinese sanctuary.
The complex looks like a wonderful park. It was setup according to the principles of feng shui. In a small lake a statue of Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, will catch your eyes.
I then reached my final destination, the Wat Phra Yai temple with its Big Buddha. I have never counted all those big buddhas I have already seen and I am a bt tired of it. But this one was quite nice and the location on top of the Phratamnak Hill provides a panorama view over Pattaya and the ocean.
The temple and the Buddha statue were built in the 1940ies, when Pattaya was still a fishing village.
The statue is surrounded by seven smaller Buddha statues, each representing a certain day of the week. Western people hardly know on what day they were born. Do you know? But for a Thai Buddhist this day is very important. He will go to the statue of his birthday, pray and make donations to his specific birthday Buddha.
Each Buddha (and day) has his own meaning:
Monday´s Buddha brings peace, Tuesday´s Buddha ensures, you have a good sleep (that´s why he is in a reclining position), Wednesday´s Buddha makes sure you are a nice person, Thursday´s Buddha gives you the capability to meditate, Friday´s Buddha provides happiness, Saturday´s Buddha is protecting you against natural disasters and Sunday´s Buddha secures that you are taken care of in case of poverty.
Pratamnak Hill and the Big Budhha are easy to reach and only a fifteen minutes drive from central Pattaya.
Click the slide show above the post to see more images.