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If you're after palm-fringed beaches during the day, entertainment by night, and good Thai food in between, a holiday in Pattaya will certainly deliver. Formerly a quiet fishing village on Thailand's eastern Gulf coast, today it’s one of the country’s liveliest beach resorts.
Sweeping around a turquoise bay, Pattaya's numerous beachfront attractions, hotels and neon-lit party streets offer visitors the perfect blend of rest, relaxation and revelling. At its heart is Pattaya Beach, a popular three-kilometre-long stretch that promises all the banana boat rides, jet skiing and parasailing you could wish for. South of the city, the mood is a lot more chilled – Jomtien's quieter beaches and safe waters are great for young families.
Bountiful beaches aside, Pattaya is brimming with history and culture. Highlights include the 105m-high (344ft) Sanctuary of Truth, an ornate, all-wooden temple; the hilltop Wat Phra Yai temple; and Mini Siam, a theme park that is home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks, in miniature size.
Pattaya is also a great shopping destination, so you may want to pack light when you travel here. Options include CentralFestival Pattaya Beach, an entertainment complex with more than 300 shops as well as a cinema and bowling alley, and the Jomtien district, where you can pick up a range of items, from fresh coconuts to a pair of Thai fisherman pants.
It almost goes without saying that the city’s hedonistic nightlife is a highlight of any Pattaya holiday, with Walking Street the most popular area for entertainment. And if go-go bars, discotheques and nightclubs aren't quite your thing, you can instead seek authentic street food in the night markets around Jomtien and Naklua.
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