Pattaya Walking Street in Thailand, is one of this country's major tourist attractions for foreigners who are seeking to experience the famous Pattaya nightlife. Located just 100 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya is just as well known for its popular beach resorts as it is for being a seedy adult entertainment district.
Indeed, the Pattaya Beaches are among some of the best within southeast Asia, and they are attracting more and more families each year due to the convenience of being located so close to Bangkok.
However, the Pattaya Walking Street is where tourists like to visit and it is unlike most other walking streets in Thailand (which are usually outdoor shopping markets).
This walking street is an adult entertainment area that is more about the scantly clad girls, the loud music, the alcohol, and the massage parlors rather than the food, cheap T-shirts and fake sunglasses that may be for sale.
In Pattaya you will find a selection of seedy go-go bars, disco's, restaurants, souvenir shops, cabaret shows and massage parlors all
of which stay open to around 3 AM in the morning. Indeed, there are
over thirty go-go bars and one hundred beer bars crammed into this
party focused street which is defined by beautiful Thai women and lady-boys who all seem to be out on the town and willing to have a good time.
When you arrive at this venue there is a large neon lit 'Walking Street' sign at the entrance (or at the intersection of South Pattaya Road, and Beach Road) just to let you know you have arrived at the correct place. The walking street actually extends all the way from the southern end of Beach Road to the Bali Hai Pier.
Once 7 PM comes around the
party atmosphere of the Walking Street really takes off. By this time the
street is closed to everything except pedestrian traffic and the colored
neon signs of all the competing businesses are all turned on.
The combination of flashing lights and the sound of loud thumping music (from the Hot Tuna Bar) including live bands, is a prelude that the night is getting underway along this strip which extends along Beach Road down to the Bali Hai Pier.
If dancing is your thing then you can dance the night away at the popular 'Club Insomnia' which stays open to the early hours of the morning. However, many people who visit this area, come here for a drink in one of the many bars or to relax and have a Thai massage.
This is a very crowded and seemingly chaotic environment and if you don't like seeing scantly clad young Thai girls walking around with much older western men then you may not enjoy this experience.
While this is an area where anything goes you will also find some clever attractions like the performing actors in full costume which wander along the street (i.e. the character of Jack Sparrow from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean) along with a magic show, each of which aim to provide additional entertainment for the passing crowds. During the Christmas and new years period they also have fireworks within the area which also adds to the party environment.
The smell of food coming from Indian, Italian and Thai restaurants permeates the night air so this is a good place to dine and the prices are quite reasonable. There is also your usual assortment of street food vendors if you just want to eat while your walking. Because the Walking Street stays open to around 3 AM, you can arrive late and there will still be plenty of entertainment on offer.
Because this is a late night area and potential problem area for alcohol related incidents, in September 2012 the Pattaya Walking Street, was officially designated as a 'Safety Zone' by the Chonburi Governor, the Mayor of Pattaya city and Pattaya police during an official ceremony.
The 'Safety Zone Project' which includes additional surveillance camera's and extra police walking the beat was introduced to ensure the safety of tourists visiting Pattaya and thus increasing revenue from tourism.
While most people seem to either love or hate the Pattaya Walking Street if you are already visiting the area then this unique attraction is worth a look but leave the kids back at the hotel. If you are looking for a family friendly venue then the Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum is a great place to visit.
The best way to travel to Pattaya is by taking an air-conditioned bus from Bangkok Ekkamai Bus Terminal (or Suvarnabhumi International Airport) as there is no airport located in Pattaya (the nearest is the U-Tapao International Airport which is located in the town of Sattahip which is 45 minutes away).
The Pattaya Walking Street is located at the intersection of South Pattaya Road, and the southern end of Beach Road. Just follow the crowds or ask reception at your hotel on how to get there.