Once a fishing town, Pattaya first boomed as an R&R destination during the Vietnam War. It is striving to become a family-oriented seaside destination In 2007, foreign tourists visiting Thailand totalled 14.5 million.
Popular activities include golf (19 golf courses within 40 minutes of Pattaya), go-kart racing, and visiting different theme parks and zoos such as the Elephant Village, where demonstrations of training methods and ancient ceremonial re-enactments are performed daily.
The private Sri Racha Tiger Zoo features tigers, crocodiles, and other animals in daily shows. The Vimantaitalay tourist submarine offers 30-minute trips underwater to see corals and marine life just a few kilometres offshore. Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, about 15 kilometres south of Pattaya, is a 500-acre (2.0 km2) botanical garden and orchid nursery where cultural shows with trained chimpanzees and elephants are presented. The park also keeps several tigers and an assortment of birds.
Other attractions in Pattaya include the Million Years Stone Park, Pattaya Crocodile Farm, Pattaya Park Beach Resort Water Park, Funny Land Amusement Park, Siriporn Orchid Farm, Silverlake Winery, the Thai Alangkarn Theater Pattaya (cultural show), Bottle Art Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, and Underwater World, an aquarium with a collection of marine species from the Gulf of Thailand including sharks and stingrays. Khao Pratamnak or Khao Phra Bat is a small hill between south Pattaya and Jomtien Beach that provides a panoramic view of the city and its crescent bay. The hill is topped by Wat Khao Phra Bat, a temple, and the monument of Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak, who is regarded as the founding father of the modern Thai navy.
The Cartoon Network Amazone is a water park near the navy base golf course that was opened in late-2014. It has a Cartoon Network theme. The park includes different zones where different water slides can be seen. There is also a wave pool and surfing simulator that anyone can use, and the largest water playground in south-east Asia, which also includes two tipping buckets. A food court was opened later in 2014, and includes a large variety of cuisines, from traditional Thai food to Italian and Japanese food. Small huts are available for rent around the park. Yearly passes are available for those who wish to come there often and easily walk into the park. Several stores and gift shops are still under construction and are projected to be finished by late 2015.
RamaYana, with a total size of more than 18 ha (45 acres / 102 Rai), is one of Asia’s biggest waterparks, was opened in May 2016. The park, which is designed as a modern waterpark built on an antique Asian city, offers 21 water slides, and some of them unique1, 2 dedicated children’s zones, a 600m long lazy river and a double wave pool with a 150m wide beach as well as relaxation and activity pools. The park, which is located 20 km south of Pattaya City, close to the big Buddha Mountain (Khao Chi Chan) and next to Silverlake vineyard, has natural lakes and islands in and around the park, and also includes attractions like a floating market, real elephants or a maze. A restaurant offers more than 100 dishes and food delivery to sun lounges, which are provided free of charge. The park also offers massage services and fish spa.
The Sanctuary of Truth is a large wooden structure constructed in 1981 by the sea at Laem Ratchawet. It was conceived from the concept that human civilization owes its existence to religious and philosophical truth.
Mini Siam is a miniature model village which celebrates the heritages of Thailand with replicas of the most famous monuments and historical sites including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Democracy Monument, the Bridge over the River Kwai, and Prasat Hin Phimai. Models of the Tower Bridge of London, Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and Trevi Fountain are also displayed in the section called “mini-world”.
Wat Yanasangwararam Woramahawihan is a temple constructed in 1976 for Somdet Phra Yanasangwon, the present supreme patriarch. Within the temple compound are a replica of the Buddha’s footprint, and a large chedi containing Buddha relics.
Thepprasit Market is the biggest and busiest market in Pattaya. It is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening on Thepprasit Road. It is known for selling pets, has many Thai food stalls including local specialities like fried insects and scorpions as well as branded clothing, shoes, and electronic goods.