Travel to Pattaya Guide: Everything You Need to Know683
BY Dirk (Big Bear)

Travel to Pattaya Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Listen up, fellow explorers! As a thrill-seeker at heart, I recently explored Pattaya, and let me tell you, it's a city that surprised the heck out of me. Ditch those old travelogues – Pattaya offers something for every soul, from families to adventurers like myself (though these days, my adventures involve uncovering cultural gems, not chasing waterfalls).

Pattaya's story began as a humble fishing village. But in the 60s, American service members discovered its beauty, and the city boomed. Today, it's a vibrant hub with a sizzling nightlife scene and a food paradise waiting to tantalize your taste buds. So, ready to ditch the generic itineraries and experience Pattaya like a seasoned traveler?

Buckle up because this insider's guide, crafted by a techie with a local's soul, will reveal Pattaya's hidden gems, hottest nightlife, and the must-try dishes that will have you bragging to your friends back home. Pack your bags because Pattaya awaits! Come on, and let's begin this unforgettable Thai adventure together.



Landing in Paradise: How to Travel to Pattaya?

Aerial View Pattaya Thailand

Interested now and planning your Pattaya escape? Well, let's begin to explore transportation options to travel between cities and get to this Thai gem, whether you're a jet setter or a road warrior.


Taking Flight

Soaring into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) is your closest air option. This international hub is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Pattaya. For a budget-friendly ride, hop on the comfy Air Terminal Pattaya Transport 389 for around 120 Thai Baht and arrive downtown Pattaya. Feeling fancy? Chime Travel offers a service for around 269 Thai Baht per person (be sure to double-check the current fare).



Train Time

Travelers on a time crunch might not find the train the speediest option, but it offers a scenic alternative. The State Railway of Thailand runs daily trains on the Eastern Line, departing from Bangkok's historic Hua Lamphong Railway Station and chugging all the way to Pattaya's Bang Lamung Station.



Hitting the Road

Calling all road trip enthusiasts! Pattaya lies approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Bangkok. Cruise down the scenic Bangkok-Chonburi-Pattaya Motorway (Highway 7) for a smooth connection from Bangkok's Ring Road. For journeys further afield, the Bang Na-Trat Parkway (Highway 34) connects you to destinations like Phuket, Bang Na, and Chonburi.



Local Transport Hub

Once you arrive in Pattaya, getting around is a breeze.  The city's main transport terminal sits conveniently on Pattaya Nuea Street. This hub offers connections to various destinations in Thailand's northeastern region, perfect for continuing your Thai adventure.



Finding Your Perfect Accommodation in Pattaya

Pattaya Thailand April 20 2016 Relaxing Jacuzzi Outdoor Big Blue Pool Summer Vacations Centra Maris Resort It Is Luxury Hotel Large Swimming Pool Pattaya Thailand April 20 2016

Luxury Resorts and Hotels

For the discerning traveler, Pattaya offers a haven of luxurious indulgence. Picture yourself basking poolside at a sprawling beachfront resort or indulging in pampering treatments at a world-class spa. These retreats boast impeccable service, private beaches, and all the amenities you could desire for an unforgettable stay.

Here are some well-established options:

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Pattaya: Experience unparalleled luxury at this iconic beachfront resort. Think stunning ocean views, immaculate service, and world-renowned dining experiences.

  • Dusit Thani Pattaya: Immerse yourself in Thai hospitality at this luxurious resort. Featuring opulent villas, award-winning restaurants, and a private beach, it's perfect for a truly unforgettable escape.

  • Waldorf Astoria Pattaya: This prestigious hotel embodies sophistication and elegance. Indulge in spacious rooms with breathtaking ocean views, a rejuvenating spa, and a vibrant culinary scene.



Mid-Range Hotels

Pattaya boasts a wealth of mid-range hotels for those seeking a comfortable and stylish stay without breaking the bank. These properties offer excellent value for money and feature amenities like swimming pools, on-site restaurants, and sometimes even spas or fitness centers.

Check out the Mercure Pattaya Hotel, the Nova Platinum Hotel, or the Siam@Siam Design Hotel Pattaya—all fantastic examples of this category.



Budget-Friendly Guesthouses and Hostels

Traveling on a shoestring? No problem! Pattaya caters to budget-conscious travelers with a wide variety of guesthouses and hostels. These no-frills options offer basic amenities and a central location, perfect for walkers and those who prioritize exploring over luxurious accommodations. The Study Room Hostel, Sawasdee Ocean View, and Nonze Hostel are just a few examples.



Serviced Apartments

Craving a bit more space and freedom during your stay? Consider a serviced apartment. These renovated condos offer fully-equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, allowing you to pick up your own meals and settle in. Many serviced apartments, like View Talay 6 Condos and The Base Pattaya, provide additional perks like housekeeping and concierge services.


Remember, this is just a glimpse into Pattaya's diverse accommodation scene! In the next section, we'll delve deeper into how to get around Pattaya while sightseeing its stunning attractions—considering your travel style and, of course, your budget!



How to Get Around Pattaya?

Passenger Ship from Pattaya to Koh Larn Pattaya Thailand

Pattaya offers a variety of convenient ways to get around, catering to all budgets and travel styles.  Here's your rundown on navigating this vibrant city:


Public Songthaews

Pattaya's iconic mode of transport, the songthaew, is a converted pickup truck with two benches in the back, perfect for a shared ride experience. These brightly colored trucks serve the main areas of Pattaya, Naklua, and Jomtien. Hailing one is simple – wave it down like a taxi.  Fares are incredibly affordable, typically around 10 Thai Baht per ride.



Taxi Time 

Need a more direct route? Taxis are readily available throughout Pattaya. While metered taxis are becoming more common, negotiate a fare upfront with non-metered taxis to avoid confusion. Prices will vary depending on distance, but expect to pay a bit more than Songthaews.



Exploring on Two Wheels

For the adventurous traveler, bicycle taxis (also known as Samlors or Thai Rickshaws) offer a fun and unique way to explore the city. These colorful contraptions are a great way to experience the sights and sounds of Pattaya up close. Fares are usually around 30-40 Thai Baht for a short ride across town.



Hitting the Road

While traffic jams can be a reality in Pattaya, renting private vehicles allows you to explore at your own pace.  However, remember that parking, especially in central areas, can be challenging. Rental options start from around 775 Thai Baht per day. Reputable companies like Pattaya Vehicle 4 Lease and Pattaya Lease a Vehicle offer various rental options.


🐻 Big Bear Tip:

Download a ride-hailing app like Grab or Bolt for convenient and often affordable car rides around the city. To learn more about this, check out my other article on Essential Apps in Thailand: Exploring the Best for Travelers.


Remember, this is just a starting point!  In the next section, we'll explore some must-see attractions and activities that await you in Pattaya. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the best ways to navigate this exciting city!



Sightseeing and Adventure Attractions in Pattaya

Pattaya Thailand Dinosaurs Statue Is Beautiful Travel Holiday Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

Alright, folks, Pattaya's not all about sunbathing (although there's plenty of that, too!). This city packs a punch for exciting attractions and cultural experiences.

So, ditch the beach brochure for a minute, and let's explore some hidden gems and must-see sights, perfect for curious travelers like yours truly.


Escape to a Botanical Paradise: Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

Need a break from the city buzz? Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is your oasis. This sprawling wonderland boasts meticulously landscaped gardens and fascinating animal shows.

Kids will love the fluttering butterflies in Butterfly Hill, while everyone will be captivated by the majestic elephants performing in the Nong Nooch Theater. To top it all off, the on-site cafes offer a chance to relax amidst the beautiful surroundings, enveloped by the sounds and scents of nature.



A Spiritual Journey: Wat Yan Nasangwararam Woramahawihan

Hopped in a motorbike for a quick escape from the beach scene? A scenic ride leads you to the serene sanctuary of Wat Yansangwararam (Wat Yan Nasangwararam Woramahawihan). This temple complex is a beautiful example of traditional Thai architecture, nestled amidst tranquil gardens and ponds.

Perfect for quiet reflection and a chance to soak in the local culture. If you're feeling more adventurous, a short trip (about 8 kilometers) will take you to Khao Chee Chan ("Buddha Mountain"). Here, a colossal laser-cut Buddha, gleaming gold in the sunlight, stands in stark contrast to the traditional temple, offering a fascinating juxtaposition of modern and ancient beliefs.



Miniature Marvels: Mini Siam

For those on a time crunch, Mini Siam lets you tick seven of the world's wonders off your list in under three hours. This mind-boggling miniature park features replicas of iconic landmarks from around the globe, all shrunken down to a manageable size.

It's a quirky and fun experience, especially for families with kids. Imagine marveling at the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, all within a stone's throw of each other!



The Sanctuary of Truth: A Vision Carved in Wood

This architectural masterpiece is a true labor of love. Started in 1981 by Khun Lek Viriyaphant, the Sanctuary of Truth is a continuous artistic project dedicated to preserving Thai craftsmanship and cultural heritage in an increasingly globalized world.  The intricate wooden structures, some perched serenely by the water's edge, showcase intricate carvings depicting deities and mythical creatures.  Every detail is meticulously crafted, prompting reflection and social awareness.



Jomtien Beach: Relaxation or Recreation

Craving some seaside serenity? Jomtien Beach, a 6-kilometer stretch of golden sand, offers the perfect escape from the city bustle. Relax under the warm sun, soak up the sea views, or indulge in various water sports – from jet skiing to scuba diving, the turquoise waters offer something for every thrill-seeker.

And for a dose of adrenaline-pumping fun, Pattaya Park is located nearby. This amusement park features breathtaking water slides, heart-stopping rollercoasters, and the iconic Pattaya Park Tower. The observation deck at the top offers panoramic views, and for the truly fearless, there's even the exhilarating "Pinnacle Hop" – a freefall experience that's not for the faint of heart!



A Roar-some Adventure: Tiger Topia Sriracha Zoo ไทเกอร์โทเปีย

Calling all animal lovers! A short hop from Pattaya lies the Tiger Topia Sriracha Zoo ไทเกอร์โทเปีย, a thrilling haven for feline enthusiasts. Witness the majestic tigers in action during exciting shows, or get your heart pumping by watching daring presentations. For a truly unforgettable experience, you can even observe the feeding of adorable tiger cubs – just be sure to follow safety guidelines!



Island Paradise: Escape to Coral Island

Crystal-clear waters and an island getaway calling your name? A short boat ride whisks you away to Coral Island, a haven for water enthusiasts. Dive into the turquoise embrace of the ocean and soak up the sunshine. Adrenaline junkies, rejoice!

There are many water sports to choose from – from snorkeling and scuba diving to exploring vibrant coral reefs to exhilarating jet skiing adventures. Relax on pristine beaches, soak up the island vibes, and create fun memories that will last a lifetime.


This is just a taste of what Pattaya has to offer! Next, we'll delve into the city's vibrant nightlife scene, from trendy rooftop bars to pulsating nightclubs. So, stay tuned and get ready to experience the electrifying energy of Pattaya after dark!



Nightlife and Entertainment of Pattaya

Night Light Sea Pattaya Thailand

Alright, adventurers, the sun may be setting, but Pattaya's energy is just getting started! This city pulsates with, I must say, an interesting nightlife scene, catering to every taste and thrill level.

So, ditch that guidebook once again, and trust me, here are the most electrifying options that await you after dark:


The Heartbeat of the Night: Walking Street

Consider Walking Street the epicenter of Pattaya's nightlife. This lively pedestrian zone comes alive after dark, transforming into a dazzling kaleidoscope of bars, clubs, cafes, and the infamous "go-go" bars.

Live music spills out onto the streets; neon signs cast a vibrant glow, and the air thrums with energy. Whether you're looking to grab a drink with friends, catch a live band, or soak up the atmosphere, Walking Street offers something for everyone.



Go-Go Bars and Club Hopping

Pattaya's nightlife scene is also legendary for its vibrant go-go bars. These lively establishments feature performers showcasing their talents while patrons enjoy music and drinks.

For dance floor enthusiasts, Pattaya boasts a diverse club scene catering to various musical preferences. You will surely find a club that gets your heart racing from pulsating electronic dance music to heart-thumping hip-hop.



Beyond the Glitter: Alternative Nightlife Options 

While Pattaya's nightlife is known for its flamboyant side, there are options for those seeking a more relaxed experience. Several laid-back beer bars offer a chilled atmosphere to unwind with a cold beverage and watch the world go by. Sports fans can definitely catch the latest games at lively sports bars equipped with big screens.

And for a touch of cultural immersion, consider a traditional Thai cabaret show. The iconic Tiffany's Show is a renowned option, dazzling audiences with elaborate costumes, talented performers, and energetic routines.



Unveiling Pattaya's Cultural Gems

Sanctuary Truth Views Pattaya Thailand

Alright, culture vultures, listen up! Pattaya isn't just about flashy nightlife. This city offers cultural experiences that are waiting to be explored.

So, ditch the party hats for a moment, and let's look into the sights, tastes, and traditions that truly capture the essence of Thailand.


A Culinary Adventure: Pattaya's Street Food Scene

Forget fancy restaurants! Pattaya's true culinary gems lie hidden in its bustling street food markets. The aroma of sizzling pad thai, fragrant curries, and smoky grilled meats will tantalize your senses as you wander through these lively hubs.

Be adventurous and try something new! Experience a skewer of satay (marinated meat on a stick), savor a steaming bowl of tom yum soup (a spicy and sour delight), or indulge in a plate of mango sticky rice for a sweet ending. These affordable and delicious treats are a fantastic way to experience authentic Thai flavors.

Don't forget to haggle a bit for the best prices, and remember, a smile goes a long way! Popular markets include the Pattaya Night Market and the Naklua Fish Market, each offering a unique selection of culinary delights.



Shopping for Souvenirs: From Markets to Malls

Pattaya caters to shopaholics of all budgets. For a truly local experience, explore the night markets. Another haggling could be expected here, so put your bargaining skills to the test and hunt for unique souvenirs – from handcrafted silk scarves and elephant pants to quirky trinkets and local artwork.

Pattaya boasts several large shopping malls if air-conditioned comfort is more your style. Here, you'll find everything from international brands and designer boutiques to local department stores offering a wider range of Thai products.

Central Pattaya and Royal Garden Plaza are popular choices for mall enthusiasts. For those seeking a luxurious shopping experience, the prestigious 'The Gallery' offers high-end designer goods and a touch of elegance.



A Feast for the Eyes: Exploring Pattaya's Temples

While not the only cultural experience, Pattaya's temples glimpse Thailand's rich Buddhist heritage. Take a break from the city buzz and find serenity at Wat Phra Yai. The awe-inspiring 18-meter Big Buddha statue stands majestically, overlooking the city. Climb the steps to the top for spectacular panoramic views and a moment of peaceful reflection.



Beyond the Tourist Trail: Exploring Local Culture

For a deeper cultural immersion, consider venturing beyond the tourist hotspots. Take a cooking class and learn the secrets of preparing delicious Thai dishes.

Also, do check out Hungry Bear's articles below to try only the best dishes in Thailand, where you can make them at any time:



Other than those mentioned above, you can also watch a traditional Thai boxing match (Muay Thai) and witness the power and grace of this unique martial art. You may also immerse yourself in Traditional Thai melodies and Festivals and consider watching a live performance of classical Thai dance, where intricate movements and elaborate costumes tell captivating stories.

These experiences truly offer a window into the heart and soul of Thai culture, creating memories that will last a lifetime.



🐻 Big Bear Bonus: Sample Day Trip Itinerary

View from Sea Speed Boat Tawaen Beach Koh Larn Island Pattaya Thailand

Alright, thrill-seekers, listen up! Here's your chance to pack some adventure into your Pattaya getaway. A special bonus sample day trip itinerary from me to you.

Now, let's get this day trip rollin'!


  • Morning in Pattaya
    • 8:00 AM:
      • Fuel up like a champ with a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant.
      • I'm talking about a feast to energize you for all the exploring ahead.

    • 9:00 AM:
      • First stop, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden!
      • Get ready to be blown away by the meticulously landscaped gardens, a true showcase of Thailand's incredible plant life.
      • Explore themed gardens, marvel at the orchid displays, and witness the fascinating elephant show – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, especially for families.


  • Midday in Pattaya
    • 1:00 PM
      • Time to refuel!
      • Grab a delectable lunch at a restaurant within Nong Nooch, or if you're feeling adventurous, pack a picnic and enjoy it amidst the beautiful surroundings.


  • Afternoon in Pattaya
    • 2:00 PM
      • Buckle up because we're heading to Coral Island for an afternoon of island fun!
      • Soak up the sunshine on pristine beaches, feel the sand between your toes, and unwind in paradise.
      • Still feeling more adventurous? Try your hand at water sports or explore the magnificent underwater world through snorkeling or scuba diving.

    • 5:00 PM
      • As the sun starts to set, catch the return boat back to Pattaya, enjoying the scenic journey and the cool ocean breeze.

This is just a taste of what Pattaya's day trips offer! Remember, you can swap Nong Nooch for the Sanctuary of Truth if you prefer intricate wooden carvings. The choice is yours!



🐻 More from Big Bear: Practical Tips

Many Tourists Walking Taking Pictures Bridge Pattaya Pierxacaptured July 8 2023 Pattaya Thailand

Plan Like a Pro

Before diving headfirst into your Pattaya adventure, do some research! Identify the must-see sights, activities that pique your interest, and any special events during your visit. A little planning goes a long way in maximizing your time and ensuring you experience the best Pattaya offers.

Check travel websites and forums for reviews and recommendations to create a personalized itinerary (well, aside from my bonus above 🐻).



Dress for the Occasion

While Pattaya embraces an interesting nightlife and exciting beach culture, remember to dress appropriately for certain situations.

Temples and other cultural sites often have dress codes, so pack modest clothing—thin pants or skirts that certainly cover the knees and shirts with sleeves. For the rest of your adventures, comfortable and casual attire is ideal for navigating the city and exploring its surroundings.



Navigate Like a Local

Songthaews, meter taxis, and ride-hailing apps like Grab are convenient ways to get around Pattaya. Always negotiate fares upfront with non-metered taxis to avoid any surprises.

Organized tours offer a hassle-free experience with transportation and insightful commentary from local guides when considering day trips. Renting a motorbike or car allows you to explore at your own pace, but make sure to be aware of any traffic regulations and safety precautions.



🐻 Big Bear Wrap-Up

"Be Free. But Stay Mindful."

Alright, adventurers, our Pattaya adventure is about to set sail! Before you head off to explore this vibrant city, here are some final thoughts from yours truly, Big Bear 🐻

Pattaya is more than sun-drenched beaches and neon lights. It's a treasure chest overflowing with hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Whether you crave heart-pounding thrills like jet skiing at Coral Island or a serene escape amidst the meticulously landscaped gardens of Nong Nooch, Pattaya caters to every explorer's spirit.


Travel to Pattaya Guide: Everything You Need to Know

So, crank up your sense of adventure! Dive into the vibrant culture, uncover hidden gems, and create memories that'll last a lifetime. This isn't your typical beach bum vacation—Pattaya's your launchpad for an unforgettable Thai adventure.

Remember to follow the local rules and stay mindful, ensuring a worry-free experience. See you there, thrill-seekers!



Written by
Dirk (Big Bear)

A software developer by trade, CTO by profession, motorcyclist and touring enthusiast, family man, tech lover, minimalist, tech leader, expat/immigrant, and above all, a free spirit.


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