Cheap sex is the stigma of Pattaya. Yet it is a town where Thais come to work at "normal" jobs, tourists enjoy "clean" holiday fun, and many expats retire to. Thais learn English, understand foreign "ways", intuit holiday dreams while middle-age (or young) western men and Chinese, Taiwanese, South Asian, Korean, Russian families, tour groups and couples are charmed, seduced or annoyed by the myriad methods the locals have invented to entertain them.
The whole essence of Pattaya is determined by the liaison between host and guest, seller and buyer, hustler and conned. It might be only a short-time relationship, but the thriving interchange that takes place there makes it much more than the sordid quickie imagined by the censorious onlooker.
American photographer Christopher Wise has worked for Men’s Vogue,
Travel + Leisure USA, Conde Nast Traveler USA & UK, Departures, Men's Journal and Forbes Life, and has been recognized by the American Photography competition in 2000, 2002, 2006. His visual essay on Pattaya was first projected as a work-in-progress at the Angkor Photo Festival in 2007.