My girlfriend and I are going to be in Pattaya for a couple of days in February with a tour group. I was wondering what there is to do and see from a traveler's perspective. I've read the travel and wiki sites but I want some expert opinions, like what is worth seeing. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
You definitely wont run out of activities on day specially if you are in the beach.. there are lots of games to play and food to eat and once the sun goes down, the party in Pattaya starts. its a great place to party but of course, do be careful of your belongings at all times.
Here are a few thoughts on Pattaya for those who can’t make up their mind, or are worried about the sex industry and what it’s like for single women, couples, children etc,
Pattaya is a cheap and, in general, cheerful town On the Eastern seaboard of Thailand, the climate is great....just about the driest place on the Thai coast and the cost of living is cheap.....
The image most people have of a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah is really a result of careless and sensationalist reporting by various media around the world. It is true that there are many middle-aged men who have found they can afford to retire here often with a wife or girlfriend half their age – or at least “looks” half their age...who are we to judge? - ...but it is also a fun holiday resort and great value for money.
The demographics are changing – new markets have been found in Eastern Europe Russia and Asia..Korea, Taiwan China and India – the new economies are sending their people on holiday for the first time in many cases and Pattaya is ideal for them
There is also a lot to do if you are a family on holiday.
Visually, the beaches in Pattaya are not up to much compared to elsewhere in Thailand; it’s a very urban environment...rows of umbrellas and deck-chairs. Although people do swim, the sea is rather polluted…how much is unclear….they claim to have cleaned up the water a lot in the last few years and have marked of areas for swimmers. Neighbouring Jomtien beach about a 15 min “bus” ride away looks to be more swimmer-friendly but there is the occasional bout of untreated sewerage there from time to time. (This IS Thailand!). Cosy beach and Sugar beach between Pattaya and Jomtien offer less crowded or urban alternatives. Bear in mind that what is done to monitor pollution on any of the beaches throughout Thailand is not clear. Inevitably, wherever you are, ALL the main holiday beaches in Thailand are subject to pollution from time to time depending on season wind and tides.
All the same many people enjoy the beaches in and around Pattaya....At both Pattaya and Jomtien beaches you can hire all sorts of water sports stuff, and it’s all pretty cheap. However there are several reports of scams and intimidation involving hirers of jetskis etc. (take a photo of anything you hire before you use it)
All beaches have plenty of people selling drinks and snacks etc....have a fresh coconut and drink the liquid inside through a straw....very refreshing!
Off shore there are one or two islands with much nicer beaches, they are easily accessible for a day trip. If you go to Koh Laan, the main beach is really just a row of restaurants etc., but, it’s well worth hiring a moped and driving over to the other side of the island.....views from the top are great and there are some very quiet beaches there. Or simply walk along the coast for a bit to get away from the crowds.
Further down the coast towards Sattahip there are some quite reasonable beaches, Ban Sare or Ban Amphoe for example.
On the mainland, Pattaya offers a range of amusement parks, gardens, and theme parks and various sports.
There are numerous good quality golf courses, horse riding and motor sports, both karting and a car racing circuit. There are some small airfields nearby for fans of light aircraft too.
Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens although scandalised by the Beeb for their treatment of Elephants is worth a visit, just don’t support the Elephant rides. Elephant village is similarly not to be supported. Pattaya Park is a Water World amusement park that offers all the usual water rides plus a revolving restaurant and some hair-rising ways of getting up there and back down. Mini Siam is a miniature tour of Thailand - full of bus-loads of tourists with a MacDonald’s’ at the entrance. Million year old stone park has beautiful gardens - feed the 5ft long catfish! And cringe at the abysmal treatment of tigers and crocodiles. Further a field is Sri Racha tiger Zoo...to be avoided at all costs, and Kao Keow Open Zoo, a refreshing change from the usual callous way animals are treated in Thailand. There is also the “Underwater World” Aquarium on Sukumvit Rd. Any hotel or travel shop will arrange to take you there. For kids and the easily pleased, there’s also Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and Toys R us!
The Sanctuary of Truth is a rather unexpected attraction given the nature and reputation of Pattaya as a holiday destination. Built by a wealthy business family to celebrate the religions of the world, it is an enormous hand-carved wooden building built on a small promontory at Naklua the Northern end of Pattaya.
You’ll need a Sawngthaew or Motorcycle taxi to get there and it is rather dear to get in....current price unknown.
Work on the building seems to be continually in progress, and provides employment for many artisans and craftsmen from all over the country.
A walk around the site you’ll see carvers at work, inside the building are signs explaining each section of the building, and just marvel at the wonderful if rather crude carving.
The building itself is amazing but there are also some peripheral attractions that don’t seem so wonderful. One can rent a horse to ride around the site. At the time your correspondent was there one of the animals had got out of control and was being chased around the site by clearly untrained staff.
Another “attraction is the dolphin show. Here a small species of Dolphins (they are replaced from time to time!) -are put through there paces in a muddy pond, balancing balls and splashing the audience....it’s all rather embarrassing really.
However, all in all despite the rather second rate other attractions the site is well worth a visit.
Pattaya offers some of the best shopping outside Bangkok, and it is actually more accessible being sited in a much smaller area. New shopping malls are constantly being built –
The malls....several new malls have opened in the last 2 or 3 years - – Central Plaza is the latest to spring up between beach road and second – very large very “up-market” – lots of “brand-name” shops/restaurants etc etc – with a food hall and “hi-so” supermarket downstairs. Beach road and second road are the main shopping roads. The Avenue Complex on Pattaya Second Road, features the Villa supermarket for those craving a taste of home – at a price.
Still going strong despite the new competition is “ROYAL GARDEN PLAZA” - accessible from Beach Rd or Second Rd); they offer more quality goods and brand names. Royal Garden has an eatery with good views of the bay on the top floor.
Check out the older “MIKE’S” shopping malls – (2 on between beach rd and 2nd) good for clothing (Thai and branded) toys musical instruments and souvenirs; Mikes has a public swimming pool on the roof!
Other Malls around town include “Big C” on 2nd road, Tesco’s on Pattaya North (Nua), and Carrefour on Pattaya Central (Klang), and the new All these have a range of other shops and restaurants all under one air-conditioned roof. Tesco and Big C also have stores on Sukumvit Rd - the main road from Bangkok. - All have car parking
Along the beach stalls shops and arcades offer all the usual souvenir stuff and some things that might cause a few raised eyebrows.... (A Samurai Sword or replica gun?!?!). Lots of ersatz stuff and big brand copies, CDs and DVDs for 150 baht, computer programs.....
Eating out in Pattaya & Jomtien is a treat! There’s everything form every country and it’s all cheap! Even the up-market stuff is half what you’d pay in Europe. You can eat US, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Full English Breakfast, Italian, Belgian, Dutch, German....... The list is endless.....BUT – don't forget, this is Thailand......gastronomy is said to be the Thai National sport........
Thai food is wonderful.....everything from mild Chinese based noodles to hot and spicy Issan food....seafood, barbecue, Tom Yam soups...try it...you’ll love it.....if you want to spend a bit of Money try Ruen Thai on 2nd road or Sugar Hut on Thap Phraya Rd, the hill between Jomtien and Pattaya. Ruen Thai has great food from the all regions of Thailand and puts on an ethnic floor show music, dance or even demonstration Thai boxing! Sugar Hut is in fact a very beautiful resort, the restaurant is in a traditional Thai style wooden house. The atmosphere is amazing.... you remove your shoes on entering the dining area and the seating is either traditional low or for those of us who are less flexible there are “normal” height chairs and tables. Everything is teak and silk....just a pity the menu is so badly written and the food is a little on the bland side, but for a one off evening out it’s a must.
At the other end of the price range there are the small Thai restaurants and street stalls dotted all over town....many won’t have a menu in English so just walk in, sit down and look hungry.....let them bring you something and try and guess what it is you’re eating....for (a lot) less than $5 for 2 you can’t go wrong. A bowl of street noodles can be as little as 15 baht.
Just one phrase you might find useful....”Mai Pet” (one for the Geordies!) - this means “not hot”...it won’t mean no chillies but it might bring it down to a level where you can just about eat it! - “Mai Prik” is NO chillies at all.
And for the mindless, bootless and unhorsed, the culturally stagnant and the grossly obese, there is the usual plethora of fast food outlets....McD’s, KFC, and Burger King....how can people eat that stuff!?!?!? And WHY when you are in a land of gastronomic delights, would you? (My comfort food of choice is a big plate of liver and onions - mmmmmmm!)
I visit Pattaya annually. I find wildfk's overview informative and well balanced. Maybe add a paragraph on Walking Street and its virtues. A MUST DO when visiting Pats. Also a mention of the markets every Tuesday near the intersection of Soi Buokaow and South Pattaya Road for shopping. Then copy it into a travel guide. Personally, I have never swum at Pattaya beach, and probably never will. I always stay at a place with a pool but for a day out at the beach I head to Koh Larn. Ferry/speedboat from Pattaya Pier. wildfl's comments on most 'attractions' are negative in part and for good reason. I have not bothered to visit any of them. A (retired) friend of mine lives there and I have met many other expats who have not visited these attractions. My recommendation for a 2 day stay, with a girlfriend, is a ferry over to Koh Larn for the day and the other day just walking around Beach Road, Second Road, markets(Tues) soaking up the culture. One night a visit to Walking Street with dinner at the adjacent Beer Garden overlooking the water ending with a walk along the Beach Road promenade, and the other night finding a nice restaurant followed by a visit to bar(s) with live music or a disco nightclub. Even if you do nothing you will come away with a positive experience.
point taken -
I've added the following....
There are a lot of markets around Pattaya too. The most notable being the “soi Bua Khao” market on Tuesdays between that Soi and South Pattaya road, and the Saturday night market near Tesco on Threpasit road and Sukhumvit and for food, the fish market in Naklua or the nearby general market.
The southernmost end of beach road is pedestrianised after about 6.00 pm every evening and is called would you believe - “Walking Street”! This is probably the single most popular or visited part of Pattaya. With quite a few girlie bars etc , it's also the centre for most of the go-go bars, seafood restaurants built out over the sea, shops of all description, (there's even a Boots” pharmacy) - street entertainers, beggars, everybody goes there to see or been seen. There are plenty of open-fronted bars where you can just sit and watch the crowds go buy. It is also one of the dearer parts of town too. In the Sois off Walking street the mayhem continues ….. more go-gos, hotels, restaurants and some very good seafood street stalls too.
Thanks for the info guys! We will have to try out the different activities. Its good to know that there are more choices than just getting stuck in a tourist trap. We are getting excited for our first visit to Thailand! Thanks again!
Dont miss the Ladyboy show the alcazar show... that is must see.
and also ripleys believe it or not at royal garden.
wildfk, sorry, I should acknowledge your additional contribution. I think your description is an excellent overview for any potential visitor. I've cut and pasted your Pattaya description in to my general info on SEA document. I'm also a member of other travel websites and would like to rely on your overview in place of my own if that is okay?
Go ahead, but mention the source - You'll find you're not the first to use it!