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12 December 2010 ~ 265 Comments

Is Pattaya the Biggest Brothel in the World?

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I was scanning through Yahoo Answers over the weekend and I ran across this question. I know that Pattaya has quite a reputation, but I didn’t know it was quite that bad. I mean really, Pattaya is a smallish city at best, with an official population of just 72,000 people. Granted there is a large-ish number of westerners who live at least part time in Pattaya and aren’t included in that number, but c’mon.

Take a look at Nevada which has over 30 licensed brothels. And what about prostitution in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Seoul and even Bangkok itself. There are much larger numbers of prostitutes and in some places it is just as open as Pattaya.

Since the Thai’s don’t put the same negative connotation on prostitution that westerners do it is much more open. Don’t get me wrong, upper class Thai’s will still frown on prostitutes and will view them as second class citizens, but they also acknowledge the reality of the situation and the fact that prostitution has and will always exist. They know what pigs men are :)

There is no doubt that Pattaya was developed due to the sex trade, maintained because of the sex trade, and prospers today because of the sex trade. It is likely that billions are spent annually in Thailand on sex and all of the related tourist dollars spent on hotels, food, drinks, condoms, gifts, taxis etc.

But Pattaya can be more than just sex. You can go windsurfing, parasailing, bungy jumping, horse-riding, Go-Karting, shooting, scuba diving, waterskiing, snorkeling, sailing, jet-skiing and bowling. Or you can play snooker, golf, badminton, tennis or squash. You can even race Formula 3 cars at the Prince Bira International Circuit which is located on the outskirts of town.

Pattaya is also by far the most westernized place in Thailand and you are just as likely to hear English or German on the streets as you are Thai. Most of the signs include both Thai and English, something you won’t find even in Bangkok. English language newspapers, books and magazines are easy to find and many of the bar owners in Pattaya are farang.

No, Pattaya probably isn’t the largest brothel in the world although it is the cheapest and that is the draw for many. That combined with the ease of obtaining any kind of sexual favor has made Pattaya a kind of legend among sex tourists and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Thailand would need to crack down on prostitution there as well as in Bangkok and Phuket and there is just too much money to be lost from the millions of sex tourists that come to Thailand each year.

If you are easily offended by seeing blatant sex for sale, fat old men with young girls or transvestites (katooey) then leave Pattaya off your tour agenda. But don’t expect it to change because Pattaya is what it is. Love it or hate Pattaya is there to stay.

BTW – I haven’t been to Pattaya yet, although Golf has. Seems a very interesting place for people watching. I do want to get there sometime if for no other reason than to see Tiffany’s Show. If you’ve been to Pattaya we’d love to hear about it, leave a comment.

Posted by Steve Walters () in Pattaya, Thailand Travel

About the Author

Steve Walters started Thailand Musings in 2006 after meeting and marrying Golf on the site Thai Love Links. The site was started as a way to share information about Thailand, it's people, culture and traditions and has grown substantially since that time. As a long time visitor to the Kingdom Steve hopes you enjoy his thoughts and observations about Thailand and it's culture. He can be contacted here.