Pattaya's name originated from the march of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin) and his followers from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi just before the fall of the former capital to the Burmese invaders in 1767.
When Phraya Tak's army arrived at the vicinity of what is today's Pattaya, he encountered the troops of Nai Klom who tried to intercept him. But when the two leaders met face to face, Nai Klom was awed by Phraya Tak's dignified manner and his army's strict discipline. And he surrendered without a fight. The place the two armies confronted each other, was later called Thap Phraya, which means the Army of the Phraya. This was changed to Phatthaya, which happens to mean the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season. Today the spelling of the name has been simplified to Pattaya.
For the past centuries, Pattaya was a small fishing village almost cut off from the outside world. But a big change occurred on 29 April 1961 when the first group of about 100 American servicemen who would join the Vietnam War arrived in Pattaya for relaxation. Soon, the sleepy Pattaya became Thailand's premier and most successful beach resort which annually attracts hundreds of thousands of pleasure-seeking visitors. Fishermen's huts along the beach were replaced by a full range of accommodations from super deluxe hotels to bungalows and mini-pocket guesthouses. Fishing vessels were adapted to become tourist boats. And the quiet powdery golden beaches are frequented by swimmers and sunbathers from various parts of the world. Places of nighttime entertainment have also sprung up and are popular among international tourists.