Multicultural Pattaya (เมืองพัทยา) boasts some excellent places to stay and eat, and the area is also a family-friendly resort coast. Nevertheless, the city itself is no tropical paradise; its reputation as a sex capital is totally deserved, with hundreds of beer bars, go-go clubs and massage parlours. Much of the rest is dedicated to mass-market sun-seeking tourism, with a huge retired expat population, and enormous tour groups hurried through town in an almost constant stream. For a relaxing stay in Pattaya, base yourself outside the central area.
The city is built around Ao Pattaya, a wide, crescent-shaped bay that was one of Thailand’s first beach resorts in the 1960s when American GIs came for some R & R. North Pattaya (Pattaya Neua) is more upmarket while Pattaya South (Pattaya Tai) remains the nightlife hub. Further south Jomtien is a laid-back resort, while to the north Naklua is also quieter, with some top-end resorts at Wong Amat.