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Pattaya....A Thai City of Sleaze Tries to Clean Up


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Here is an interesting article from New York Times:




Somewhere in the world there may be a city with a more seedy reputation, a place more devoted to the sex industry and more notorious as a haven for criminals on the lam. But probably not.

When dusk comes to this beach resort, a sea of pink neon bulbs casts a pale glow onto the thickly made-up faces of thousands of women (and some men) who sit on bar stools waiting for their patrons.


If Las Vegas is Sin City, Pattaya is a bear hug from Lucifer himself.


And yet, amid the back alleys jammed with girlie bars and a beachfront peopled with what the Thais euphemistically call “service women,” there are signs of change.


Indian couples, Chinese tour groups and vacationing Russian families stroll around the city. A dozen luxury hotels cater to the weekend crowd of wealthy Thais from Bangkok who mingle with tourists at a huge shopping mall. Pattaya has a growing number of fancy restaurants, an annual music festival and, perhaps most improbably, regular polo tournaments.


Long derided as a city of sleaze, the city is reaching for respectability.


A two-hour drive from Bangkok, Pattaya was little more than a fishing village four decades ago when U.S. soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War discovered a pristine, coral-filled bay. Tens of thousands of lonely soldiers armed with dollars sought respite from the war in a country of relative poverty, lax law enforcement and historically tolerant attitudes toward prostitution. The result was predictable.


Pattaya survived the departure of the G.I.’s by expanding into sex tourism. Visitors to Thailand in the 1970s were offered brochures at the Bangkok airport showing pictures of available companions. The booth at the airport no longer exists, but the business lives on: for at least the past decade, men have outnumbered women as tourists in Thailand. They make up about 60 percent of foreign visitors in Thailand compared with 52 percent in nearby, law-abiding Singapore.


In recent years the Pattaya tourist industry has sought to diversify its client base. hotel managers learned that, despite jokes about recession-proof industries, relying heavily on a Western male clientele was unwise at a time when the United States and Europe were buffeted by recession.


Tourism agencies now actively seek out visitors from the rising economies of China and India.


“There’s definitely been a change,” said Shyam Anugonda, a 39-year-old lawyer from Bangalore, India, whose first trip to Pattaya was eight years ago, when he was single.


“It was more sex oriented before,” Mr. Anugonda said as he shopped for Thai fabrics with his wife, Kavitha.


This time, Mr. Anugonda’s five-day vacation included an elephant show and parasailing.


The government is encouraging the rebranding of Pattaya by developing a master plan for the city, including a monorail to help relieve traffic-clogged streets, a redrawn waterfront and a high-speed rail line from Bangkok. The plan is awaiting approval from the Thai cabinet.


The police, too, say they are trying to clean up the city’s image.


“There are people who say Pattaya is the paradise of criminals,” said Col. Atiwit Kamolrat, the head of the immigration police. “It’s now going to be impossible for them to hide here.”


His office’s Transnational Crime Data Center combs through lists of wanted criminals from foreign governments and cross-references them with hotel registration logs and visa renewal applications. Since the beginning of the year, the office has arrested 12 foreign criminals hiding out in Pattaya, Colonel Atiwit said.


Somchet Thinaphong, a board member charged with the city’s redevelopment plan at the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration, a government agency, said Pattaya’s face-lift would cost 32 billion baht, or about $1 billion. He spoke in generalities about “sustainable development” and making the city more ecologically friendly.


But here in Pattaya, officials chuckle derisively at the notion that the city can be totally sanitized. Stamping out Pattaya’s sex industry is fantasy, said Niti Kongrut, the director of the Pattaya branch of the Thai government’s tourism office.


“You talk about sustainable development, how about prostitutes? They have been around for a very long time,” Mr. Niti said. “We can’t close down the go-go bars. It’s a free country. Besides, it makes money.”


For decades, officials have wrestled with the question of what to do about the seedy side of the city, Mr. Niti said. “Now we just ignore them and try to promote other activities.”


For visitors who have no intention of partaking in it, the sex industry has become a sort of spectacle, a red-light district that makes its counterparts in other cities seem almost Victorian.


Olga Bidenko, 28, a tourist from Ukraine who came to Pattaya with a colleague from the marketing company she works for, said she was entertained by Walking Street, a thoroughfare stretching a kilometer and a half, or about a mile, blocked to motor traffic and packed with bars. Typical of the bars is Sexy Airline, where women dressed in old-fashioned air hostess outfits call out to prospective patrons passing by.


“We thought Amsterdam was the sex capital of the world,” said Ms. Bidenko, 28. “But now that I’ve been here, I think Amsterdam is a perfectly respectable city.”

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Typical of the bars is Sexy Airline, where women dressed in old-fashioned air hostess outfits call out to prospective patrons passing by.



:Busted: So they call Airport Agogo, Sexy airline? What will they call the other Agogo's? Brass Club? P Zone? Badgers? Genial Agogo? They should at least try and get their facts right when writing an article so that we can take it a little more seriously :GrinNod1:

Elephants are really, really big compared to televisions....yet I saw a whole herd of 'em on my TV only yesterday..Go figure?
Oh..I nearly forgot..Ehhhh?


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The dutch had to pull the stops out to tame Amseterdam. they had to close down some of the brown cafes... not so hard when they are regulated and control the licenses. The Dutch govt also bought up half the red-light district!


That requires good governance, money and time. Does Thailand have these three things? I think articles like this are aimed at convincing public opinion and decision makers that Thailand is out to change. It will only change if there is a finiancial reason to change. Remember "money no1" and there is still plenty of money being made by the army/police/thais via the current p4p set up in pattaya.


Selling Pattaya as a tourist destination for beaches just will not fly, its the p4p that brings us here. If couples and families end up there is because the destination has been missold by travel industry people who are using the glut of hotels and easy access to cheap bangkok flights to push cheap package holidays.


I think you will find the p4p scene will be staying in pattaya for long time to come.


I mean, "a monorail to help relieve traffic-clogged streets" please!


As with the dutch example, it takes ages to make these types of changes... and they had the cards staked in their favour.

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it took them a long time to put the skytrain in bangkok ,so i would not hold my breath to see one coming to pattaya & if it does it will be funded from the money from the mongerers.

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I definitely wouldn't mind a high-speed monorail from BKK to Pattaya, makes p4p that much more convenient hahaha.


We have one in Okinawa, it is badass....BKK to Patts would be 30-45 mins if it will be the like the one here.

Murr-man: Hang on goddamnit, I gotta finish getting ready and my drink is still half-full, we will leave in a second...

David: Hurry your fuckin' ass up, I am ready to go fondle somebody's daughter.


Top - "You just don't fucking get it, you aren't paying for sex....you are paying for the early release of a visa, money, farang-baby-craving woman."


Alan R - "So I was blastin' one in the ass, and this other one has the audacity to ask me to stop what I am doing so I can fuck her, as if I am dispensing a fucking number to those in line....the nerve of these women"


Jeremy - "If there was one that could make Elton John, Michael Jackson, and Boy George eat a twat....it would be that one"


Random Bar Girl says "America.....I want to go America.....how is America?" I hurry to reply with "Guns, Freedom, and Jesus baby.......Guns Freedom and Jesus".......she says "oooh, I like dis"

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That tourist at the end had it right, even though she had zero interest in the sexy industry, she like thousands of other tourists who have no Desire to take part in Pattaya sex, still enjoy cruising through Walking Street. Respectable city is very right. They can try to 'clean up' the 'image' of Pattaya all they want, but why would they bite the hand that feeds them lol.


I'll be damned if families and 'morally straight' tourists to Pattaya start giving us mongers dirty looks and pointy fingers because they don't 'approve.' Pattaya always has been and always will be for the monger. Every other tourist is just a guest ha ha ha.

GFE: Gull Friend Experience


Official Pattaya Song

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A lot of money is being spent by the Thai government promoting the Country and resorts such as Pattaya overseas and the short term results are there for all to see however I would question quite how sustainable the promotion will be in the long term.


Will families or couples return to Pattaya for a second holiday? Will they not tell their friends and family about the place when they return home thus putting other potential tourists off from visiting?


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Take it seriously. This along with the news that they will jail farangs overstaying visas means that Thailand is being pressured by other nations who fear criminals are hiding in Patts. As a result, some do-gooders are pushed into office or already in office and offered a chance to be brazen. Next thing you know, they are making it harder for the go-gos to operate in plain sight. Then the girls, already pissed that visitors are dropping and seeing opportunities in other business sectors start to leave the ho stroll. All the while, dumb-ass overpayers give more and more for less service. Then, after a few years you have... Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Can you tell I'm bitter? :rolleyes:


I know I've said it before, but I have seen this before in Rio. The only slight difference is that because of Rio's richness in natural resources and previous investments in agriculture, they had a lot more opportunities for garotas de programas (aka hoes). Thailand doesn't yet have that. But as China grows and starts to need lower cost labor, get ready because Thailand will be one of a few places they look. All in all it means Patts as we know it will change... drastically. My prediction is in 10 years, the sex industry will be much more underground and the average cost for LT will be 5,000 baht. :OMFG:

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