50 years ago, Pattaya was a sleepy little fishing village. Then came the Vietnam War and the incursion of thousands of young American GIs in search of rest and recreation.
The area grew at such a pace, with both Thai and foreign tourists, that the government promulgated the Pattaya City act in 1978, thereby joining Naklua and Pattaya to form the fifth local government municipality. Thus Pattaya City was born with an ever-increasing influx of visitors and residents from the burgeoning surrounding industrial estates.
The latter use this whole stretch of coast as an escape from the city, resulting in overcrowded beaches and hotels every weekend and during school holidays. The 10-kilometre stretch of grossly overdeveloped coastline from Pattaya to Jomtien has also gained a reputation for its wild nightlife.
Surprisingly, perhaps, Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) and Ocean Marina, just south of Jomtien, are havens of relative tranquillity.
Royal Varuna Yacht Club holds regular yacht racing for large and small sailing boats, while Ocean Marina Yacht Club organises regular cruising weekends to the offshore islands as well as regular weekend racing. In May each year, the Top of the Gulf Regatta is held at Ocean Marina, attracting attracts yachts from Hong Kong and Singapore as well as the Gulf Coast.
Each November the marina stages the Pattaya Boat Show.
206 miles from ao Nathon, Samui
This anchorage is secure only in the northeast season. Although good holding can be found in 4-5 metres anywhere in the bay, we recommend the southern end, away from the many fishing and tour vessels.
Anchor well clear of the busy parasailing pontoons and floating restaurants scattered throughout the bay.
The sand beach is accessible by dinghy, and there is plenty of action ashore, particularly at night, with countless bars, restaurants and more along the colourful and noisy strip.
2 miles from South Pattaya Bay
Anchor only in settled weather and only near the two mooring buoys at the southern end. Stay well clear of the rock awash in the middle of the bay.
This anchorage is not recommended for overnight stays. There is often a shore break, which can upset a small tender and, during the northeast season, the beach can be depleted of sand.
The Royal Varuna Yacht Club house offers good facilities, including a bar, a restaurant and a swimming pool. Visiting yachtsmen are warmly welcomed, but be sure to register with a committee member. Good road links into the city.
7 miles from South Pattaya Bay
This pretty anchorage in 5-8 metres on sand is recommended only as a day stopover – a place for swimming or lunch ashore at the restaurants on Haad Tein.
Good snorkelling can be found along the outer edge of the reef that fringes the beach. Further south there is another less busy bay with resorts and restaurants ashore.
6 miles from South Pattaya Bay
Good holding can be found in 5-10 metres on a sandy bottom, lending protection in the southwest season. The sand beach makes for convenient dinghy access to the many hotels and restaurants ashore.
A very popular daytime destination for the tour boats operating out of Pattaya. Numerous speedboats and even a yellow submarine operate from the commercial jetty in the bay.
5 miles from South Pattaya Bay
This small horseshoe-shaped island has a well-sheltered bay in the southerly season. Anchor in about 4-6 metres on a sandy bottom in clear water off the fringing coral reef.
Swim ashore on Koh Sak to a basic seafood restaurant. The island used to be an exclusive resort for Thailand’s rich and famous, though it is now rather rundown. On the footpath leading south from the beach you’ll see the foot and hand prints of many famous visitors, including some old Hollywood legends.
NOTE: On the passage from this group of islands to Pattaya, avoid the area around Hin Koh Larn, about 1.5 miles east of Koh Krok. Do not rely on the marker buoy, which is frequently washed away or which drags during rough weather. Anchoring at Koh Krok, a private island, is not permitted.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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