Many of the once ubiquitous seafront beer bars have been killed off by rapidly rising land values and escalating rents, to be replaced, no doubt, by more hotels and fancy restaurants, while the jury’s out on whether Walking Street will make a comeback after its two-year pandemic shutdown. It seems that the authorities are determined to ‘clean up’ the most visible areas of Pattaya, leaving its entrenched bar culture to hide and thrive away from the beaches. Down the line, there are plans to build a mono-rail to ease the resort’s notorious traffic jams.
Will Pattaya succeed in ridding itself of that 40-year reputation for sleaze and compete with Hua Hin for family business? It’s not going to be easy, especially as so many aspects of its character are deeply embedded. But the resort is definitely changing for the better and its detractors, most of whom haven’t visited Pattaya in years, should give it another chance.