Great thread, thanks to those that ressurected it.
First went to Thailand 1992, Pattaya, and have only vague memories of what things were like probably because I was overwhelmed by it all. So these are a few Pattaya memories jotted down in no particular order.
One thing that definately has improved is the journey from/to the airport. Used to take four hours but if you were going for a flight it was best to allow six. Of course on a good day, three hours, this made for some extended imbibing at Don Muang. The record for two of our lads, courtesy of a rainstorm and an accident, was ten hours. They missed the flight. They were just building the elevated Don Muang tollway so that added to the general mayhem of any journeys
Filling in the time off work, Sundays, was not so easy unless you played golf. There was one cinema in town, down south end just the other side of south road, but that only showed Thai films. Manager was willing to show English language films but only if we guaranteed a full house which was just not possible.
No fast food outlets (Maccy Dees, KFC, Pizza Hut etc) but that was part of the attraction (for me). No shopping malls, except for Mikes, and getting western food items particularly condiments was always a problem. Everyone on the project had a standing list of stuff to bring back from the R&R trips back to UK. One of my favourite eating places was the little restaurant at the yacht club, used to be almost opposite Mikes. Best avoided at low tide though, the smell from the residue on the beach was overpowering. When they demolished the yacht club the restaurant relocated to second road but it just wasn't the same again.
Beach was truly filthy in those days with raw sewage churning out of a large concrete weir box direct onto the beach down almost opposite south road. In fact the drainage around the entire town was woefully inadequate and it wouldn't take much of a rainstorm to bring things to a standstill.
The nightlife scene hasn't changed except it was less pushy then, you could actually sit and talk to a girl without getting the impression she was on a bender or trying to set a new record for the number of lady drinks from one customer. The thing that has changed is the amount of beer bars and gogo bars in town. My first place of residence was Siri Homes apartments off soi eight opposite the immigration office. Soi eight itself was busy but nothing like it is today. Soi seven, apart from a few places at either end was deserted. The plot of land behind the immigration was waste land and the loudest noise heard was the frogs singing after the rain.
Soi Buakhaw was a sleepy little lane, before they installed the stormwater drains, and there was only about two bars on it one associated with Diana Apartments.
Third road between north and central wasn't there and between central and south it was a narrow little lane known as soi Choomsai. It was down a little dirt track off that I rented my first house in '94 for the princely sum of 4000 Baht a month. Fan only, no a/c, and no hot water when we had water at all. House is still there but many of the eatery shacks and other assorted accommodations are now no more, replaced by small apartment blocks.
I remember the Buffalo bar on soi Choomsai (3rd road) when it was a quiet beer bar and was attached to a restaurant run by a Frenchman named Joseph. Served up the best steaks in town, amongst other culinary delights. As I remember he split from his wife and went on to run an Argentinian restaurant in the arcade with Kiss on the corner. Later he opened his first Au Bon Coin on second road opposite Mikes which has since relocated, via soi 4, to Jomtien. Still knocks out the best steaks, it's good that some things don't change.
Beer choice has improved enormously, when I was forst there you had a choice of Singha, Singha Light, Kloster and Amarit. Some bars had imported beers but these were extortionately expensive. Draft beer was almost unheard of, I can only recall draft Amarit in the Diana Inn and draft Singha in Kiss restaurant on Nahklua road. Amazingly beer prices are about the same now as back then despite the '97 crash, there may be a few differences but nothing when compared to the hike in UK prices over the same time. seems the Thai government has yet to learn of the annual duty hike revenue earning gravy train.
Traffic round town has definately got worse and these days, when I'm back, I tend to walk when before I'd have jumped a Baht buss or mocy taxi. The cost of Baht bus journeys have changed little over the years. Back then you could get away with 5 Baht, provided you had the 5, if you just used them on their standard route but would often get a bit of verbal abuse. I always gave/give 10 Baht, it's nothing to me and avoids potential conforntation.
Violence has risen dramatically particularly amongst/involving farangs. When I was there in the nineties you almost never heard of a farang getting into bother but now it seems a regular occurrence.
I'll see what I can dredge up from my trips to the islands and up north but unfortunately I have lost all my photos of the times.