Pattaya for First Timers
What to Expect in Pattaya
Where is it?
Pattaya is located on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard and at 147km or just over two hours from Bangkok, it is the closest of Thailand's major beach resorts to the capital city. Pattaya City is a self-governing municipal area, and is located within but not part of Amphoe Banglamung in Chonburi Province.
How to get there
•From Bangkok, buses leave every 30 minutes from Ekkamai Bus Terminal (near Ekkamai BTS), and the Northern and Northeastern Bus Terminal (best known as Mochit Mai).
•A taxi from Bangkok to Pattaya should cost no more than 1,500 baht.
When to go
Pattaya is an all-year-round holiday destination, though the best time to be on there is between November and April. This is the tourist season and getting accommodation can be difficult, especially during New Year, Thai New Year (Songkran Festival, April 13 – 15), and at long weekends. A three-day Pattaya Music Festival is held yearly in March.
What’s it like?
The three main areas in Pattaya are Pattaya Beach, Na Klua and Jomtien Beach, and each features its own unique charm and individual characteristics. High-rise-lined Pattaya Beach is more chaotic, packed with modern shopping malls, fine-dining outlets, and best known for its raunchy nightlife scene, while Na Klua is a quiet beach off the beaten path. Family-oriented activities and water sports can be found in Jomtien, only 10 minutes from Pattaya Beach.
What to see
•The Sanctuary of Truth – This is an enormous wooden castle-like building constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity and entirely covered with intricate wooden carvings. Here, well-trained and delightful dolphins put up a show twice daily.
•Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum – Located on the second floor of Royal Garden Plaza, this quirky and world-famous museum features over 250 bizarre and almost unbelievable items from around the world that promise to thrill both mind and body. Nearby are the haunted house, a 4D cinema, and the latest Louis Tussauds Waxworks.
•Pattaya Floating Market – Only a short drive from Pattaya, the market offers dining and shopping experiences in style. Hire a man-powered boat or walk through hundreds of shops and restaurants lining both side of the canal. Admission is free.
•Cabaret Show – Pattaya is where the very first transsexual cabaret in Southeast Asia was opened. Nowadays, there are two main theatres in Pattaya; Tiffany and Alcazar. Let the professional performers entertain you with an impressive repertoire ranging from song-and-dance numbers in dazzling costumes to comedy impersonations.
What To Do
•Koh Lan (Coral Island) – Koh Lan is a little paradise! The beaches are clean and the water is always crystal clear. Snorkeling tours and daytrips around the island can easily be arranged. Ferries leave frequently from South Pattaya Pier.
•Water Sports and Beach Activities – Jomtien Beach is one of the best spots forwindsurfing and waterskiing. Prices are negotiable and lessons are widely available for beginners. The beach here is less chaotic than Pattaya Beach, making it an ideal place to sunbathe or relax.
•Golf – There are over 20 professional golf courses around Pattaya and neighbouring Chonburi Province. Most courses are busy at the weekends and holidays when extra charges and member preference will apply.
•Pattaya Park – Located on Dong Tan Beach, Pattaya Park features a massive seaside water-park, amusement park with roller coasters and other thrill rides, and a 240-metre tall tower with three revolving restaurants. The observation deck on the 55th floor has panoramic view and quite exquisite especially at sunset. Tower Jumping is also available.
•Party – The fun in Pattaya doesn’t end when the sun sets. In fact, things heat up when evening falls. Pattaya nightlife is pulsating with plenty of bars (including beer bars and A Go-go bars) and nightclubs serving drink, food and fun until very late. Party animals shouldn’t miss Pattaya Walking Street and the Beach Road. Hard Rock Hotel throws a pool-foam party every Saturday from 21:00 – late.
What not to miss
•Pattaya Walking Street. This is one massive party zone, stretching from Pattaya Beach Road Soi 13 – 16, with endless beer bars, A Go-Go bars and discos. Even if you may not be interested in the ‘Pattaya nightlife experience’, visitors should visit this strip at least once when in town.
•Pattaya Music Festival held yearly in March. The festival goes on for three days, usually starting around 16:00 – after midnight. A few international bands attend with over 100 Thai pop, rock, and indie groups performing on three stages. Admission is free.
Don’t go if you are
•After white powdery beaches and clear water. Pattaya features neither. Koh Lan, with its beautiful beaches is an hour offshore, though it’s more suitable for a daytrip as choices of accommodations and facilities are quite limited. Koh Samed and Koh Chang are more of an ideal sun-sea-and-sand getaway.
•Seeking tranquillity and peace. Pattaya never sleeps. This is is a place where fun, excitement and adventure come together in a tropical seaside hotspot.
•On a honeymoon – the south of Thailand is more appropriate for newlywed lovebirds and couples.
Go if you are
•A party animal. Pattaya has plenty of choices for partygoers. Most nightclubs stay open until the early morning hours. Pattaya is known as one of the best after-dark entertainment towns in Thailand.
A party animal. Pattaya has plenty of choices for partygoers. Most nightclubs stay open until the early morning hours. Pattaya is known as one of the best after-dark entertainment towns in Thailand.
•Ready to experience Pattaya’s legendary after-dark reputation. Beer bars, go-go bars and massage parlours, both straight and gay, are dotted along the main roads and side sois (street).
•Short on time in Thailand, but still want to go to the beach and get a nice tan. Pattaya is only two and a half hours on a bus from Bangkok.