Pattaya is one of the liveliest, most vibrant resort cities in Thailand. The popularity of Pattaya soared in the 1980s and has been visited by countless tourists ever since. As Pattaya is the closest beach resort to the capital, it is always filled with people looking to escape the craziness of Bangkok and relax on the beach or in one of the many bars and nightclubs. Pattaya beaches are fun and full of water sports, massages on the sand, loungers to chill out, and beach cafes to relax in. Once the sun goes down, you are spoiled for choice with the range of nighttime entertainment available. Pattaya once had a reputation for offering a particular type of tourism but it has since widened its appeal to include families, couples, and friends traveling together. If you’re in Pattaya, here’s what you’ve got to do and see.
Pattaya/ Image via Aleksandr Zykov/ Flickr
1) Crazy Pattaya Walking Street
There are walking streets all over Thailand but Pattaya’s is particularly interesting and fun. Check out the walking street as night falls when the road is closed to traffic and you’ll see every place is a restaurant, bar, café or club. The street is a vibrant, crazy experience where music blares out of every building, girls offer free drinks, street performers try to lure you into clubs, and there is plenty of tasty street food to be tried. Maybe not for the fainthearted, but Pattaya walking street is a great experience. The street is “open” between 6 pm and 2 am every day, with the clubs and bars having their own opening hours.
2) Unique Cabaret Shows
The cabaret shows in Pattaya showcase a particularly special Thai performer – the ladyboy. All the female performers are in fact male. The Pattaya cabarets are glitzy, elaborate, glamorous occasions with plenty of costume changes and some amazing dancing. Go visit a cabaret show for a truly unique way to spend the evening and a fun way to see another side of Thailand.
3) Relaxing Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
If the nightlife gets a bit too much, chill out in a tropical landscaped garden that has some gorgeous flowers and plants to admire. The designers have really gone to town with plans that include topiary displays, bonsais, a recreation of the stones at Stonehenge, and French-style garden displays. The tropical gardens are also home to over 600 different species of orchid. You can enjoy regular displays of Thai dancing plus drumming and costume. Open from 8 am to 6 pm.
4) Awe-Inspiring Sanctuary of Truth
This teak building is truly original and like nothing, you will have seen before in Thailand. The sanctuary tells the story of the importance of faith, art, and philosophy in life and the mistake people make in the following materialism instead of a higher path. The wood used to build the structure is not chemically treated so it is forever having to be replaced and rebuilt as it is affected by the tropical conditions. A humbling place to visit, which is open from 8 am to 6 pm each day.
5) Sacred Wat Phra Khao Yai (“Big Buddha Hill”)
The 18-meter Buddha statue is located over 100 meters above sea level. By climbing to the top of the hill you get a fine view over the town and its beaches, as well as being able to enjoy a tranquil atmosphere in the temple gardens.
6) Impressive Buddha Mountain (“Khao Chi Chan”)
This is the largest stone engraving of the Buddha anywhere on earth and it is positioned on a huge limestone hill overlooking Pattaya. The 109-meter-high image of the Buddha was created in 1996 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of His Majesty the King of Thailand’s accession to the throne.
7) Interesting Floating Market
Not all the stalls float but the ones that do are formed of people selling their wares from converted boats and traditional canoes. The wide range of stalls and boats sell different souvenirs from all parts of Thailand, food, art, clothes, and handicrafts. You can visit the market between 10 am and 11 pm.
8) Quirky Art in Paradise
This funny little museum allows you to play with perspective and take pictures next to the works of art so it looks like you are riding an elephant, or flying on a magic carpet. The exhibition is arranged with large paintings that create optical illusions when you stand in a particular place. An interesting place to visit, particularly on a wet day. Open from 9 am to 9 pm.
9) Fun Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
You’ll understand how the truth really is stranger than fiction in this exhibition. The exhibits are all developed around quirky, funny facts and you will discover things that blow your mind. In addition to the exhibits you’ll find a waxwork museum, a 12D Theater, and the Sky Rider – the large yellow balloon you can see for miles around which offers a great view over Pattaya.
Pattaya Bay/ Image via Not That Bob James/ Flickr
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