Pattaya is a resort town on the east coast of Thailand, around 150 km from the capital Bangkok. Pattaya has grown in popularity and now offers something for everyone – from families to couples, groups of friends to business travellers. Here we take a look at Pattaya – what you need to know, where you need to go, and how to get there.
Pattaya View/ Image via jbremer57/ Flickr
Pattaya consists of Pattaya Beach, Macula Beach, and the Buddha Hill headland. There is also Jomtien Beach and Dongtan Beach, and these areas are generally quieter and offer more for families than Pattaya Beach itself. The downtown area of Pattaya is easy to access when you arrive in Pattaya.
Getting to Pattaya
At just under 150 kilometers from Bangkok, Pattaya is easily reached by car, taking around two hours to get there. The motorways and highways are fast and convenient. The airport at Pattaya is not generally used as a commercial center and connects only with Phuket and Koh Samui, not with Bangkok. One of the most popular ways to get to Pattaya is by bus. A variety of options exist including first-class, air conditioned buses that go direct from Bangkok to Pattaya, and second-class buses that make frequent stops along the way and therefore take longer. If you want a more direct service then you can take a minibus – several specialist services drive to Pattaya picking up customers from their hotels in Bangkok. It is more expensive than the regular bus but more convenient. You could get a taxi to Pattaya although the price is much higher. A much cheaper option is the train, although you can’t get to Pattaya by train at the weekend.
Getting Around Pattaya
Taking songthaews – pick-up vehicles that take public passengers – is a quick way to get all around Pattaya and the surrounding areas. These are also called baht buses. There are no tuk tuks in Pattaya, so getting around by songthaew is the cheapest option although you can of course take a taxi to any location in Pattaya. Local buses operate on a circular route around the Pattaya district and can be convenient when you know where you are going. Moto-taxis are cheaper than regular taxis and it’s quick, but watch out as some drivers can be rather reckless. Hiring a car is possible although the traffic in Pattaya can be difficult and it is not really necessary unless you want to travel further out of town or you are on route to another place in Thailand. You can rent a motorbike but again this is not the safest option as many accidents show.
Pattaya Beach/ Image via Alex Kislow/ Flickr
Beaches in Pattaya
The main beach, called Pattaya Beach, is a 3km stretch of sand that goes alongside the city center. Flanking the beach are many bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, and street vendors so you will never go hungry or be short of somewhere to shop. Close to the beach is the Walking Street, the famous part of Pattaya that comes alive at night with music, bars, discos, and restaurants. Pattaya Beach is practically always crowded because it is the main beach in the town and because it has so many stores and bars in close proximity. The sea is not the cleanest but the sand is kept clear of litter.
There is another beach in Pattaya, Jomtien Beach, which is in the southern part of the city and is popular with families as it has a more relaxed vibe and fewer nighttime activities. Jomtien is popular for its watersports too, and there is an amusement park.
The 1km-long Wong Phrachan Beach is in north Pattaya and is a particularly good beach to go if you want to swim. This beach is quiet and tranquil so it’s a good place to go to chill out.
Macula Bay is to the north of Pattaya Bay and Macula Beach is the main place, with Crescent Moon Beach and Palm Beach a little further south. The beaches here are generally much quieter and cleaner than Pattaya Beach itself so are ideal for relaxation or for families.
A Few Places in Pattaya
Buddha Hill is one of Pattaya’s highest points and from the top, where there is a big Buddha statue, you can see across the bays and along the coastline. The hill is a good place for watching the sunset. Chaloemphrakiat Park at the bottom of Khao Pattaya is a 6-acre park with some lovely flowers and a great view over Pattaya. The Sanctuary of Truth is an impressive wooden temple built by the ocean in north Pattaya. This building is worth a visit for the interesting detail on the temple and the scale of the project.
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