The Different types of Tourists in Pattaya
A Blog by Adam "AJ" Judd
Today I am going to give a brief rundown on the different types of people, in general, that visit Pattaya. I’m fascinated by culture, diversity and different people and have always been. Pattaya is such a melting pot of people from around the world who come to visit that it makes living here truly enjoyable. One reason I ran a bar for five years, besides making a difference in peoples lives and getting to socialize for a living is that I get to people watch for a living as well. Soi 6 and the city in general attracts so many particular personalities and folks and it’s quite simply fascinating to observe.
Rather then list individual characters which I have previously done I am going to focus primarily on the core groups of people who come to Pattaya. I am not going to discuss nations or country of origin but rather the reasoning and intentions of those who come. Hopefully this quick blog will give people more of an idea of who visits this wonderful city and why. I’m also going to explain what motivates them.
Here for companionship-I suppose I’ll start here. By no means is it likely the most dominant group of people that come to Pattaya these days but it IS what made the city famous. They come in all shapes, sizes and ages but for the purpose of this group I am going to assume that this person is experienced, has traveled around the world in his pursuit of his hobby and is not shy about what they want. In general they tend to come twice a year, sometimes more, and spend about two weeks on the ground. Their primary activity is meeting various women and enjoying what Pattaya has to offer in this regard. They usually travel solo. They are mentally stable and enjoy stability back home as well.
Divorced/Widowed/Lonely/Emotionally Vulnerable-A second category and the one that tends to fall in love. There are a variety of reasons why they come but it almost always involves a lack of self confidence, problems with women back home and the feeling of being a rockstar that Pattaya brings. Unlike the first category they are often UNABLE to separate reality and fantasy and often end up sponsoring or wanting to be a white knight and “save” the girls from working. I spent a lot of my time when in the bar before and throughout the weeks and years trying to help these guys out and convince them they are better off being in the first category. They tend to visit and spend a lot more overall then the first category.
Relationship Visits/Former party animals-This usually comes from the prior category but are guys who are now visiting to see one girl, their wife or even their family/kids. Most are loyal (The guys anyways, lol) and usually spend a day or two in Pattaya before visiting the family or traveling around the country. This is a large group of people and a lot of my friends have fallen into this category.
Drunks/Party Animals/One of the boys-These tourists primary reason to come to Pattaya is NOT companionship but rather bonding with friends, guys they have met, guys who live here, even bar managers. They enjoy camaderie and drinking and chatting. Although most look for women often as well they more enjoy the social interaction they do not get back home. Many in this category, but not all, struggled to find friends or a social network in their home countries. Here, where everyone has something in common, they find the social interaction that their lives back home were sorely lacking. This category also includes those who want to be able to party every night and sleep every day.
Beach Resort Tourists-These are those who have been told how Pattaya is the closest beach resort to Bangkok or been sold on the variety of tourist attractions nearby. This is a very large category and despite the jokes about the main Pattaya Beach it’s a lot better then options in many of these peoples homes. Additionally some guys in the prior categories likely forgot or don’t know that there IS a lot to do here…tons of islands, water sports, Water parks, Ziplines, Art musuems, Magic Shows, Ladyboy Cabaret, Live music, Animal parks, etc. etc. There is also world class shopping to do here also. So these folks fill this category. This category includes most married couples, honeymooners, etc. The largest independent category here.
Package Tourists-These are the folks who are on a set package tour in whose path Pattaya is on. They can be seen at the various shows, the beach in the morning, being led around town on tour and even special shops. They generally don’t tend to spend that much as the tour group fees cover the majority of their expenses. They did little to no research before coming to Pattaya and are often a source of disdain for the educated, resourceful tourist who has spent time in their research. There are usually a lot of culture differences in this group as well.
Corporate Package Tourists-Most of these come from Central Asia. They tend to be brought here as a package reward for performance from their companies and are brought over for as little as a single weekend. They usually have not left their home country often and have done, like the former catagory, little to zero research on Pattaya. Their company tends to cover all their expenses so they have very little budget or pocket cash. Unlike the prior category they are not a strict agenda and other then a few small company sponsored visits they are basically left to do what they want for their short holiday. This group is very culturally misunderstood on both sides and tend to frustrate people. Fish out of water is an adequate term for them.
Business Travelers-Believe it or not, there are business conferences and corporate visits here that are almost purely for work. These folks usually go out a few times while here but in many cases are kept at hotels and resorts separate from the main tourist areas. Much more prevalent in Bangkok. You also get folks doing business in Bangkok who come down for the weekend.
Thai Tourists-A surprisingly large amount of the visitors here, especially on weekends. As mentioned before the close proximity of Pattaya to Bangkok allows Thais to easily come and visit. They tend to come over the weekend or when they have national holidays and tend to spend most of their money on the islands, shopping or Thai restaurants. Some also go to Karaokes, Discos and Bars.
Mentally Ill/Criminals/Con Artists-An offshoot of the lonely, divorced group this is a large amount of people who visit Pattaya. They usually didn’t fit in back home and due to mental instability issues feel that this is the right place for them, surrounded by women and booze. Sadly, the suicide rate amongst this group is also very high and these individuals lack a true support network. People who were mentally unstable prior to moving or visiting Pattaya often fall into this category as a result of the lifestyle. I am including criminals and con artists in this category as they often prey on the mentally ill and the emotionally vulnerable people that come here as well.
Golfers-Believe it or not a significant amount of people come here for the primary reason of Golfing. Pattaya has some world class golf courses here and some people travel the world for a golf holiday. Most of these also visit bars and drink a bit but their primary activity is golfing.
Religion-Many people visit here to visit the temples (REALLY) and the religious sites and areas such as Buddha Mountain, the Chinese temple, etc. An offshoot of this group also visit to attempt to convert Thai people to different religions, especially working girls. They tend to not spend much money and mostly on a budget.
Backpackers-Pattaya attracts a lot less backpackers then most of Thailand as most backpackers have little interest in tourist attractions or the adult nightlife scene and lonely planet, a too backpacking resource, is very disparaging to Pattaya. The ones that do come tend to be here for a very little period of time and don’t tend to spend much, if any money. They tend to stay in hostels (There are a few here actually) and generally stay out of the major tourist areas. They usually visit an island or two or the beach.
That about sums up the majority of the reason people visited. Why/What brought you here?
A note…this is not about expats. I will cover the different types of expats in the future.