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A Brief History of Pattaya and Soi 6

Pattaya City bay viewed from Buddha hill near Jomtien, Thailand.


Pattaya’s location finds mention for the first time in the history of Thailand in 1767 when Phraya Tak, who was later crowned as King Taksin, and his followers marched to Chanthaburi after the decline of the capital Ayuthaya.

When Phraya Tak's army arrived at the vicinity of what is now Pattaya, he encountered the troops of Burma under the command of Nai Klom. When the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was so in awe of the dignified manner of Phraya Tak and the strict discipline of his army that he surrendered without a fight.

There are two schools of thought as how Pattaya found its name. The first is that the name Pattaya derives from the place where the two armies of Phraya Tak and Nai Klom confronted each other. It was later named Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This was changed to Phatthaya / Phattaya (Pattaya). The second is that Pattaya is named after Pad Tha Ya, which means the ‘wind blows from the southwest to the north-east at the beginning of the rainy season’, the name eventually became Pattaya.

Pattaya was a small fishing town before the tourists arrived

For the past centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village almost cut off from the outside world. Before 1956 Pattaya was just a sub-district of Chonburi and did not even have the status of a municipality. This covered only the Naklua area, which was extended to South Pattaya in 1964.


But a big change occurred on 29th  April 1961 when a group of about 100 American servicemen from a base in Nakhon Ratchasima with plenty of money to spend arrived in Pattaya for relaxation. Pattaya quickly became an official centre of ‘Rest and Relaxation’ for American troops flown into U-Tapao airport, which was built for American use at the time and US navy men from nearby Sattahip.
Hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and facilities rapidly opened to cater for these men with money.
The arrival of American GIs on R&R from Vietnam in the '60s changed Pattaya

Fishermen's huts along the beach were replaced by a full range of accommodation ranging from super deluxe hotels to bungalows and mini-pocket guesthouses. Fishing vessels were adapted to become tourist boats. Thais, particularly from Bangkok, also became regular visitors for the weekend, many of them renting or buying small bungalows and beach huts in the area. From that point on, Pattaya promptly grew as a holiday destination for both Thais and foreigners wih the continual influx of girls from the poor Isaan region of Northeastern Thailand supplying its ever-growing sex trade. Within a short period of time, Pattaya developed a reputation as a party resort, a title it still holds today.

29th November 1978 granted Pattaya ‘City Status’ which is celebrated each year.

The 1980s and 90s were also a boom time for Pattaya attracting tourists from European countries, particularly during their winter. Later, as well heeled visitors moved south to the Andaman coast and Samui, a new generation of visitors including Russians, Eastern Europeans and Arabs began arriving. The city administration has grown to cater for the increasing size and demands of Thailand’s biggest beach resort, which now receives several million visitors every year.

An estimated 12,000 people from all parts of the world now permanently live in Pattaya, supporting a large establishment of restaurants, bars, clubs, societies and services set up specifically to support them. This number increases considerably with the part-time residents who spent part of their year here

Pattaya Information

If you have any information on the history of Pattaya and in particular Soi 6 we would love to here from you.


email: webmaster at obarpattaya.com


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