Thailand is a monarchy, and as such, there are strict rules that protect the name and reputation of the royal family. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you need to be careful not to say anything negative about the royal family, not even just in jest, for fear of imprisonment or fines.
Religion: The main religion in Pattaya is Buddhism, though the result of westernization has resulted in many Christians in the city. There are a few Muslims and Hindus and Confucians as well, plus a few Chinese minorities.
Culture: Tourists perceive that Pattaya does not reflect the traditional Thai culture. This is true to a large extent, as Pattaya is very westernized. However, behind Pattaya’s western front are the subtle characteristics of traditional Thailand culture. You can notice the intrinsic Thai culture through the following symbols:
- Thai Spirit Houses: Spirit houses are usually on display at most households and businesses. The Thais revere the spirits of their dead; Animism (spirit worship) is a deep-rooted aspect of Thai culture and lifestyle.
- Sacred Fig Trees: Fig trees are sacred because Lord Buddha found enlightenment while sitting under one in India. The Thais believe that the sacred fig tree houses holy spirits. They place broken artifacts under the two prominent sacred fig trees to placate the spirits.
- A Wide Array of Temples and Buddha Statues: Pattaya has its share of temples and Buddha statues everywhere, free to visit. Of note are the Wat Yansangwararam, Buddha Hill and Buddha Mountain.
- Distinct Difference Between Night And Day: During the day, Pattaya resembles any western city with kids with their ears plugged listening to music on their smartphones and iPods. However, in the early morning, Buddhist monks take to the street begging for alms, in stark contrast to the vibrant, dynamic nights.