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Rayong>Events & Festivals

Pattaya's Songkran Festival is different to the rest of Thailand, it runs on 18-19 April. Pattaya Carnival/Festival is held annually at Pattaya Pier and it is a colourful event which includes beauty pageants, musical performances, cultural shows, fireworks and water sports competition. Pattaya International Music Festival is held annually in the month of M arch. On different stages, there are a bandwagon of several styles of music performed by both Thai and international artists.

Pattaya was a small fishing village until it was discovered by Bangkok residents in the 1960s. Soon thereafter, servicemen from all over Southeast Asia, including the United States Air Force base at U-Tapao in neighbouring Rayong province began using the area for "rest and recreation" (R&R), causing a huge boom in prostitution. When the Americans left following the end of the Vietnam War, the city fell into a crisis.

The rapid growth of tourism brought about many negative consequences, such as pollution and petty crime. In 1976, the Pattaya City Act was passed by the Thai legislature, making Pattaya a self-administrating municipality governed by a Council-manager government. However, many argue that this administration system has drawbacks (for example, the mayor may disagree with the city manager). Critics have recommended abolishing the system.

In recent years the city has pushed hard to clean up its image, however the core sex-industry has ensured that Pattaya retains its position as one of the world's most visited party destinations. Despite these efforts, Pattaya's sex industry is the city's raison d'?tre

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