The name Pattaya evolved from the march of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin) and his army from Ayutthaya to Chanthaburi, which took place before the fall of the former capital to Burmese invaders in 1767. When his army arrived in the vicinity of what is now Pattaya, Phraya Tak encountered the troops of a local leader named Nai Klom, who tried to intercept him. When the two met face to face, Nai Klom was impressed by Phraya Tak’s dignified manner and his army’s strict discipline. He surrendered without a fight and joined his forces. The place the armies confronted each other was thereafter known as “Thap Phraya”, which means the “army of the Phraya”. This later became Pattaya, the name of the wind blowing from the south-west to the north-east at the beginning of the rainy season.
Pattaya was a fishing village until the 1960s. Tourism began during the Vietnam War, when American servicemen began arriving on R&R (rest and relaxation). One large group who arrived from a base in Korat on 29 June 1959 and rented houses from Phraya Sunthorn at the south end of the beach, on what is now known as the “Strip”, are credited with recommending Pattaya, whose fame spread by word of mouth.