Pattaya City (Thai: เมืองพัทยา; RTGS: Mueang Phatthaya) is a self-governing municipal area which covers the whole tambon Nong Prue and Na Kluea and parts of Huai Yai and Nong Pla Lai. The City is situated in the heavily industrial Eastern Seaboard zone, along with Si Racha, Laem Chabang, and Chonburi. It has a population exceeding 100,000 (2007). Pattaya is also the center of the Pattaya-Chonburi Metropolitan Area, the conurbation in Chonburi Province, with a total population exceeding 1,000,000
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 the Burmese invaders in 1767.
When his army arrived at 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 southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season.
Pattaya remained a small fishing village until the 1960s. Then American servicemen during the Vietnam War began arriving in Pattaya for rest and relaxation. Pattaya developed into a popular beach resort; now greatly expanded, it attracts over 4 million visitors a year. Fishermens' huts along the beach were replaced by resort hotels and retail stores, including Asia's largest beachfront shopping mall, the CentralFestival Pattaya Beach Mall and hotel (Hilton) situated on Beach Rd in central Pattaya.