A COMPLETE PATTAYA TRAVEL GUIDE

Pattaya is a beautiful cosmopolitan city located on the eastern side of the gulf, about 150 km from Bangkok. Pattaya is well-known for its wild nightlife and naughty party scene, that’s why you will find some travellers that love this city and some that stay away from it. But Pattaya is much more than just a party destination, it has gorgeous beaches, cute cafes, many shopping malls, different types of hotels, and landmarks to visit.

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about your travel to Pattaya.

Jump straight into the topic:

  1. Things to do in Pattaya
  2. Where to stay
  3. How to get there
  4. How to get around
  5. When to visit
  6. How much time is enough Pattaya
  7. Some Things to Be Aware Of

Things to do in Pattaya

Phra Tamnak Mountain Viewpoint

Phratamnak hill located between Southern Pattaya and Jomtien gives a beautiful panoramic view of the city landscape. Viewpoint is accessible by car or scooter, or by walk. The whole area is nice and clean, you will also find a monument for the Prince of Chumphon, the founder of the Thai navy, here. The viewpoint is popular with locals and visitors and is a great place to relax and have a coffee or a cold drink.

Big Buddha Temple

On the other side of the Phratamnak hill stands the Big Buddha Temple. It is quite a walk up the hill, but you are rewarded with a tranquil atmosphere and beautiful views of Pattaya city. To reach the Buddha you need to walk up the staircase which is decorated with dragons. Locals come here to offer their prayers and visitors come to find peace and relaxation.

The entrance is free. Don’t forget to cover your shoulders and knees, and take off your shoes when entering the temple!

Bali Hai Pier

Bali Hai Pier is a great spot for water sports lovers, you can find parasailing, and scuba diving tours, you can take the ferry to Koh Larn (the Colar Island), take great pictures of the famous Pattaya City sign and all the coastline, walk around, and people watch. There is not much going on in here, but a beautiful spot to walk around in the evening.

Walking Street

Pattaya is known for its wild nightlife and Walking Street is where it all happens. Night clubs, go-go bars, and people offering all that you didn’t even imagine are at this 600-meter-long strip. Visit this street is a must-do while you’re in Pattaya (except if you don’t want your kids to see it). But don’t worry, the party scene does not end here, there is another street – Soi Buakhao – that is filled with alleys full of different types of clubs, bars and lounges for your naughty night out.

Walk Across The Pattaya Beach

Pattaya has a beautiful 2.8-kilometre-long beach that goes from the Walking Street in the South to the point where Pattaya Beach Road meets the North Pattaya Road. The whole stretch has pavement where you can enjoy the walk along the beach. On your way, you will find a few street food vendors here and there, on the other side of the road you will see many hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars, shops and shopping malls. There are a few water activities, many beach beds to rent, and dedicated safe spaces to swim.

The Sanctuary Of Truth

The Sanctuary of Truth is a museum where the deepest questions of our society meet the art. In the shape of a Buddhist temple, the exhibition of wooden sculptures in this Great Castle tells a story of the Seven Truths of Life. The questions of who are we, where are we from, and what is the purpose of life are presented through the carved images and Buddhist and Hinduist deities.

The entrance fee is 500 baht, and the guide is included in this price. They offer tours in different languages – Thai, English, Chinese, Korean, and Russian. In approximately one hour the guide will explain all the things about the museum and what it represents, and show you the carving workshop. After the tour, you can explore the museum and the area on your own, grab some refreshments in the cafe (for an extra fee), have a massage (for an extra fee), and row the boat (for an extra fee). They also have a horse carriage and elephant riding services, but I strongly advise of skipping them.

It is located in North Pattaya. If you take a Baht bus then you will need to hop off on the main road and take a 15-minute walk to the museum.

It is one of a kind type of place so it’s worth visiting while you’re in Pattaya.

Visit Markets

There are quite a few markets that you can visit in Pattaya. Here are a few worth visiting:

Pattaya Night Bazar – located in Central Pattaya it’s a great place to shop for clothes, souvenirs, accessories, and lots of food options as well. This market opens at 11 AM and closes at 10 PM. Easy to reach by Baht bus.

Tree Town Market – is a great place if you want to have a great evening. Lot’s of food options and tables to enjoy your dinner. Located in Central Pattaya. Opening hours are between 5.30 PM to 2 AM.

New Naklua Market – is a local market in North Pattaya. Here you will find stalls that sell a lot of fresh produce, fresh seafood, as well as ready-to-eat meals, and a few clothing shops. Opening hours are between 4.30 AM to 9.30 PM.

Jomtien Night Market – one of the best markets located on the beachfront in Jomtien. Here they sell a great variety of food, from Thai to western tastes, smoothies, cocktails and beer. Easy to reach by Baht bus. Opening hours are between 5 PM to 11 PM.

Pattaya Floating Market – is an open-air market selling produce from boats or waterfront stalls. It’s not open to its full capacity due to Covid, but still worth visiting if you want something different. The entrance fee is 200 baht. The boat ride is 800 baht.

SHOPPING MALLS – there are a few shopping malls to choose from if you’re in a need of a break from the heat or want some new things to buy. Terminal 21 is a big shopping mall that has everything you might need, from branded clothes and sports shoes to underwear and toiletries. Central Festival shopping mall is also a big one with many food and drink options and famous brand shops, like Muji, Calvin Klein and others. Royal Garden Plaza – beachfront shopping mall with many boutiques and dining options. And besides that, there are a few places that shouldn’t be missed – Ripley’s Believe It or Not exhibition hall and Louis Tussaud’s Wax Historical Centre.

Where to stay

Pattaya is a very tourist-oriented city and it’s adapting to ever-growing demand. The list of accommodations in Pattaya is enormous, here you will find everything from high-end luxury hotels and budget rooms to one-bedroom condos and mega-size villas.

One thing to consider before choosing your accommodation is the area. So you can stay in South, North, or Downtown Pattaya, Jomtien, or Pratumnak.

Central Pattaya is where all the people go if they want a wild party. It’s a busy area during the day and even busier during the night. There you will find the main Pattaya Beach, lots of hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops. It is a great area to stay because everything is within walking distance, or a short drive by Baht bus (check below).

North Pattaya has a beautiful Wongamat beach, clean streets, bars, restaurants, high-end hotels, and many shops. It is a bit quieter area than Central Pattaya, but still one of the busiest ones.

South Pattaya is located near Sukhumvit Highway, a bit further from the beach and all the craziness of Central Pattaya. You will find more budget-friendly accommodations, quieter bars and restaurants. From here you can easily reach all the parts of Pattaya by Baht bus.

Pratumnak, also known as The Hill, the area is filled with more family-friendly houses and villas, as well as many hotels and condominiums. There is a beach nearby where you can chill during the day, and many bars and restaurants to end your evening at.

Jomtien, my personal favourite, is furthest from Central Pattaya, but also has its own charm. The road by Jomtien Beach is busy during the night, they have a lively night market, many bars and restaurants, and all budget-friendly hotels and guest houses.

I would also recommend staying close to the main Baht bus road for easy and cheap travelling around Pattaya.

You can always search for hotels on the Booking.com platform. Some of my accommodation recommendations:

Hostels:

18 Coins Cafe & Hostel – a nice and clean hostel, very close to the beach and central location, with a cafe on the ground floor. They have built-in capsule-like bunk beds with curtains and private rooms to rent.

Nonze Hostel Pattaya – is located right next to the beach and very close to Walking Street. It is a capsule hostel, so privacy and a good night’s sleep are guaranteed.

Hotels:

Aster Hotel And Residence – located in Central Pattaya, a few streets from the beach, and further from the noise. They offer modern and well-equipped rooms with a kitchenette, washing machine, and balcony. They also have a great-sized pool, gym and sauna.

Grand Jomtien Palace – a 3-star hotel is located a 5-minute walk from the beach with amazing views of Pattaya from the rooms and a huge swimming pool outside. Many restaurants and bars and street food options are available around the hotel.

How to get there

Pattaya is located around 150 km east of Bangkok, so you can easily reach it from there by bus, van, taxi, or flight.

From Suvarnabhumi Airport – there is a direct bus from the airport that goes to Jomtien Bus station, stopping at North Pattaya and South Pattaya Junctions along the way. The journey takes around 2.5 hours. You can book the tickets on the 12GoAsia app or website, or directly at the ticket booth that is on Level 1 Gate 8. Ticket will cost from 150 baht to 200 baht depending, on the hour you’re going. The buses are going every hour from 7 AM to 9 PM.

From Don Muang Airport – there is no direct bus from this airport, but there are a few ways to reach Pattaya.

You can use a free shuttle bus to Suvarnabhumi Airport. And then take a direct bus to Pattaya.

Or, you can take a shuttle bus A1 to reach Mo Chit bus station, and then a direct bus to Pattaya. You will find the A1 bus outside Terminal 1 exit 6. The journey takes around 20 minutes and costs 30 baht. There’s no need to purchase any tickets in advance, just hop on the bus, the driver will take money from you, but be sure to have small coins as they often don’t have any change.

In Mo Chit bus station (also known as Northern Bus Terminal) find ticket counter number 47 on level 1 to purchase your ticket or check in your online ticket (you can buy tickets here). The bus goes every 2 hours from 6 AM to 6 PM. The ticket cost around 130 baht.

From Bangkok by taxi – that is the most convenient and quicker option to reach Pattaya. It will cost from 1,o00 baht to 1,800 baht. There are a few Pattaya-based taxi companies that I recommend – Nam’s Taxi (female drivers only) and Tan’s Taxi (female drivers if preferred).

By flight – U-Tapao International Airport is approximately 39,1 kilometres away from Pattaya. This airport is small but it’s growing fast due to the demand. There are shared minivans outside the airport that you can hop on. It cost around 250-350 baht per person. Or you can book a taxi (use the companies mentioned above) to reach Pattaya.

How to get around

Pattaya is a very well-developed city and I found it to be most convenient if we talk about public transportation. There are a few options for how you can get around Pattaya.

Songthaew, or a Baht bus – a converted truck with two benches for passengers in the back. Songthaews are the best and cheapest way to travel around Pattaya. It costs 10 baht for most routes per journey, no matter where you get on and get off. Baht trucks are running from the South end of Jomtien and go to North Pattaya and some even further than this.

When you see a Baht bus going in the direction you need, just stretch your arm, with your palm facing down, and it will stop for you to get on. It is also a standard practice for empty baht buses to beep their horn if they see you standing or walking on the side.

When you want to stop just press the buzzer (there are a few of them in the truck) and it will stop whenever he finds a chance on the side of the road.

Officially there are several routes that cover the main spots in Pattaya and Jomtien. The most popular one is the anti-clockwise loop along The Beach Road and the Sai Song Road (or the Second Road). The other one goes from the Pattaya South Road and Sai Song Road junction to Jomtien. I found this map of official routes here.

Although each Songthaew has a set route that it follows, sometimes you will see the drivers ignoring these rules and going further than they should. So hop on one of them and see if it’s going the direction you need, if you see that it turns, just press the buzzer, get off, pay the fare to the driver, and find another one going the right way.

Grab and Bolt Apps – the easiest way to go from point A to point B is by using the app. You can hire a motorcycle or a car, you see the price, and everything is official, making it really safe for solo travellers.

Motorcycle Taxi – you will see little tables, umbrellas and men or women dressed in bright orange vests in every corner of Pattaya. That’s a motorcycle taxi that you can hire to take you to your destination. To determine the approximate price you can use Grab or Bolt apps and then haggle with the driver. It is a pretty safe and convenient way to travel around Pattaya.

Hiring a scooter – if you have an international driving license, travel insurance, and want your freedom, then renting a scooter is the best option to travel around Pattaya. You will find a lot of spots that rent motorcycles and scooters across the town, even some hotels and guest houses offer this service for their guests. It costs around 150-250 baht per day. Some vendors will ask for your passport as a deposit, but I would advise finding one that will accept the copy or takes a cash deposit. Although they do not require you to show a driving license, and you might get away without it, I wouldn’t recommend driving for the inexperienced ones because traffic in Pattaya is pretty hectic.

Metered taxis – you will find blue-yellow cars pretty much everywhere where you can find a lot of people in one place. It is a convenient way to travel if you don’t have a phone on you, or can’t be bothered to travel long distances by Baht bus. But be aware that more times than not they don’t use the meter, so you better haggle the price before you sit in the car.

When to visit

The low season is brought by southwest monsoon wind, which makes the days to be hot and rainy, season usually begins in June and lasts until October, the latter counting the most rainy days of all.

There are two main seasons in Pattaya. The High season, is between November and May, and the Low season, is from May to November.

If you’re looking for warm and pleasant weather with low to no rain, then you should consider coming from December to March. Expect the temperature to be around 30 degrees Celsius during the day with the real feel temperature being even higher depending on the humidity. I think that’s perfect if you want to stay on the beach and bearable to explore the area.

How much time To Spend in Pattaya

Pattaya is a popular destination to visit and has a lot of things to offer its guests. I think it all comes down to what you’re looking for. If you come here for your holiday and want to chill some days on the beach and party through the night on others then a week might seem like not enough.

But if you’re travelling through Thailand and want to experience a bit of Pattaya then 2-3 days is more than enough. You will have plenty of time to visit the main attractions (mentioned above), relax on the beach, and even have a little party here and there.

Some Things to Be Aware Of

Like anywhere in the world, there are some things to be aware of on your holiday in Pattaya so that you would have the best time here.

  • Dress code for temples – both men and women should cover the shoulders and legs above the knees. That means, no hot pants and bikini tops are allowed in temples, unfortunately. It might get hot during the day, so it’s a good idea to grab a large scarf or sarong or a shirt so that you could cover during your visit to the temples.
    • Also, if you have a Buddha tattoo, to show respect for the religion, you should cover that too.
  • Watch your for taxi scams – some tuk-tuk or taxi drivers (or any other random person out there) might take advantage of you as a traveller in a foreign land. People want to earn money and sometimes they earn it in dishonest ways. They might be very creative and say that the place is closed due to all kinds of reasons (public or some kind of cultural or religion-based holiday, floods, electricity shortages, and so on) or even that they know a better place than this and they are very kind and generous and will take you there. Public places usually work as it works anywhere in the world, but it’s a good idea to check out the opening hours and public holidays before you go. And ALWAYS agree on the price before you sit in a taxi or tuk-tuk.
  • Think before hiring a jet ski – throughout the years there were a lot of incidents where foreigners would rent a jet ski and then have to pay thousands of euros for its alleged damage. Renters would take the passport as a deposit and wouldn’t return it until the money was presented. Although the authorities tried to minimise these scam activities it is still present to this date. So be very cautious and choose a provider that has good reviews.
  • Be aware of pickpocketing – as everywhere in the world you are not gonna escape pickpocketing in Thailand. Be aware of your wallet and phone while you’re on a crowded Walking Street, or while riding a Baht bus.
  • Bag snatches – a day of exploring might be ruined even while walking down the street. If you hold a phone or a wallet, and even a bag or backpack in your hands or even if it’s loosely hanging on your shoulders because it might be easily snatched by a person driving a motorcycle. Keep your belongings close and secure to your body at all times.

Sending loads of love


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