Pattaya gained its name from Phraya Tak who later became known as King Taksin the Great who marched along with his followers from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi in 1767.

At that time and indeed up until the mid-1950’s the town largely paled into insignificance, dwarfed by the much larger Naklua to the north and Rayong to the south

During the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, for the most part Pattaya was just a small fishing village with isolated, palm covered beaches that attracted no-one apart from fisherman.  During this period, very little changed from one generation to the next.  However, in 1948 Mr. Parinya Chawalitthamrong saw that Pattaya had potential and purchased large sections of land with the intention of developing Pattaya into a Mecca for tourism.

The next significant development for Pattaya came in 1956 when Naklua became officially recognized having only previously been known as a sub-district of Chonburi, so small that it wasn’t even given the status of municipality.  In 1964 the official recognition for the area was extended to cover South Pattaya.

The mid to late 1950’s saw the first regular visitors from Bangkok start to venture down to Pattaya – braving rough roads and journeys that could take more than 8 hours. These visitors started to realize that Pattaya had plenty to offer in terms of crystal clear, clean waters and diving opportunities.  As more people started to visit, so the restaurants and bars started to emerge.  Pattaya had started to become more than just a sleepy fishing village, it had begun to evolve into what we know today.

Pattaya’s first big break came on 29th June 1959 when a reported five US Military transport trucks laden with GIs arrived in the city from their base in Nakhon Ratchasima.  The marines, on R&R, rented houses at the southern end of Pattaya beach from Phraya Sunthorn and stayed for around a week.

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