Pattaya is renowned for its entertainment, which is as abundant as it is diverse. However, as well as its all year round shows, bars and clubs, it also hosts many significant annual events that too good to be missed.
Pattaya’s countdown celebrations start with the lighting up of the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, followed by a fabulous firework display. There are concerts on the massive stage on the beach throughout the week with many stalls and vendors along Beach Road, making for a great party atmosphere. The hub of the New Year celebrations is at the Bali Hai Pier, where lots of games, music, and entertainment can be found, suitable for all the family. The culmination of the week’s events is the countdown fireworks that seem to get bigger and better every year.
The Pattaya Carnival is usually held around January or February at the Bali Hai Pier and is organized to promote tourism in the area. The event is visually stunning, as would be expected from a Pattaya spectacular. There is a floral float procession, a beauty pageant, live music, and cultural shows. There are also exciting watersports competitions a sandcastle competition and a grand fireworks display in the evening on the beach.
The Pattaya International Music Festival is a three-day outdoor festival held along Beach Road. There are two main stages, hosting some top Asian bands, playing everything from rock, pop, jazz, and hip-hop. This is the Glastonbury of Thailand, attracting music lovers from around the world. Also, to the two main stages, there are many stalls selling merchandise, CDs and musical equipment. A must for music lovers.
Songkran Festival is huge across Thailand as Thai people celebrate the Thai New Year. However, there is nowhere that celebrates it better than Pattaya, where celebrations last all week. Be prepared to get soaked as locals and tourists hit the streets for the annual water-splashing festivities. Although it is all good fun, it can be quite competitive. Water guns are on sale everywhere well before the event, giving ample time for everyone to arm and defend themselves. In addition to the water fights, where is also a beauty pageant and many cultural shows to enjoy throughout the week.
Top of the Gulf (TOG) Regatta will be held between 30th April and 4th May in 2016 at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club off Jomtien Beach in Pattaya. The Regatta is in its 12th year and last year almost 250 yachts took part, competing for the Thailand Optimist Nationals and Platu Coronation Cup. This spectacular nautical event is hailed as the best in the region and one not to be missed by yachting enthusiasts.
This year will be the 25th Pattaya King’s Cup Marathon. The event is getting bigger each year, attracting top athletes from around the world with more than 5000 runners in 2015. As well as a full marathon, there is also a half and quarter marathon race and a wheelchair race, all of which start at sunset. An event is a charitable event open to all nationalities, with a small fee payable at the time of registration. There are cash prizes for the winners and medals for all participants.
The Chonburi Buffalo Races are held annually in Chonburi, which is about an hour from Pattaya. The races have been held for over 100 years and were originally a pre-harvest celebration for the locals. The festival lasts for three days and is one of the highlights of the calendar year for both locals and tourists alike. Visitors can see sprint races and parades of beautifully decorated carts. There is a serious but often amusing competition for local boys, where they try to climb a greased pole. The first to achieve this gets the money pinned to the top of the pole. It is also a chance to get close to water buffalo that still have a significant role in farming today. Great family fun and visitors are guaranteed an incredible experience.
Loy Krathong is a festival to pay respect to the water spirits by floating a Krathong down a river or into the sea. Traditionally made krathongs are made from banana tree trunks, decorated with banana leaves and flowers, and usually have a candle and incense sticks too. In Pattaya thousands will flock to the beaches, canals and rivers to float a krathong and make a wish. Some modern krathongs are made of polystyrene and are not environmentally friendly. Traditional krathongs or ones made from bread are a better alternative. In Pattaya, there will also be a Nopphamat Queen Beauty Contests as people dress up as Nang Nopphamat, who according to legend was the first person to float a krathong. There will also be paper lanterns released and spectacular firework displays. An event not to be missed.
The 10th Pattaya International Fireworks Festival will be held along Beach Road and is normally towards the end of November. This is a two-day competition between countries such as China, Korea and Japan all competing to be crowned champions. On day one the competitors give a 10-minute preview of their displays and on day two, each country provides a full 45-minute display. The event is held on Beach Road and also features, live music and dance, along with many stalls selling handicrafts and food.
Before booking a holiday in Pattaya check out the events calendar as there is always something amazing happening that should not be missed. Many of these events centre on Bali Hai Pier and Beach Road. The Holiday Inn Pattaya is a good family-friendly hotel located on Beach Road, just a short walk from Bali Hai Pier and would make an ideal base for a stay Pattaya.