Travel Guide Asia Thailand Pattaya

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Introduction

lipe pattaya beach

lipe pattaya beach

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Pattaya is located off the Gulf of Thailand and is around 147 kilometres from Bangkok, the capitol of Thailand. Though not as popular as Phuket, this small fishing village has grown into an excellent beach resort offering all the options available at a typical beach resort. Pattaya has a range of water sports activites available besides having a number of amusement parks, botanical gardens and a number of museums. Pattaya comes alive at night with its wide variety of nightclubs, bars, pubs and a number of sex shops, which are buzzing with activity. Many people have praised Pattaya as man's paradise making it a bit intense in some areas and quite seedy. The seeder side of Pattaya can be a bit overwhelming for many travellers, especially solo female travellers. Pattaya was a fishing village until the 1960s, became famous with the Vietnam war, now a town with over 300,000 people.

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Neighbourhoods

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Pattaya's downtown area is easy to get around. Running north-south, a few hundred metres apart, are Beach Rd (Thanon Hat Pattaya, sometimes also referred to as First Rd) which borders the main beach (Hat Pattaya), Pattaya Second Rd and Pattaya Third Rd (with the smaller but busy Soi Buakhao in between), and the main Sukhumvit Road coastal highway. Beach Rd is one-way (southbound), likewise Second Rd (northbound) -- this is the main circuit of the songthaews that cruise downtown.

These are connected by the three major east-west aligned roads: North Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Nua), Central Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Klang) and South Pattaya Rd (Thanon Pattaya Tai). North Pattaya Rd is a dual carriageway and carries the highest volume of traffic to and from Sukhumvit Rd.

Also connecting Beach Rd and Second Ro are a large number of smaller streets or "sois". The main sois are numbered from 1 to 16, from north to south. Sois 1-6 are between north Pattaya Rd and central Pattaya Rd; sois 7-13 are between Central Pattaya Rd and South Pattaya Rd (including the "Pattayaland" sois, immediately north of south Pattaya Rd); sois 14-16 are south of south Pattaya Rd. Most of these east-west sois are (in theory at least) one-way.

Beach Rd, Second Rd, and north Pattaya Rd (plus Naklua Rd to the north) all meet at the Dolphin Roundabout landmark. Heavy traffic and frequent accidents here have resulted in a semi-permanent diversion being set up which, at peak times, prevents vehicles (except motorcycles) from continuing around this roundabout any further than the north Pattaya Rd exit, pending the installation of traffic lights some time in 2006.

Second Rd south of South Pattaya Rd becomes Pratamnak Rd, which shares a junction with both the southern end of Third Rd and the northern end of the main road to Jomtien, Tappraya Rd.

Beach Rd south of south Pattaya Rd is closed to vehicles in the evenings (18:00-02:00) and is called Walking Street; it's the main tourist area, both for nightlife and shopping. Other major tourism areas include the section of Second Rd between sois 1-4, and the sois immediately north of south Pattaya Rd.

At the south end of Walking Street is the New Pier, usually called Bali Hai Pier (sometimes "Pattaya Pier" or "South Pier"). The Old Pier, close to the junction of Beach Rd and south Pattaya Rd, is still shown on most maps but was dismantled and removed at the beginning of 2006.

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Sights and Activities

Sanctuary Of Truth

Sanctuary Of Truth

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Although mainly known as a party destination for older single men Pattaya does have much to see and explore. Some of the more important ones include:

  • Pattaya Beach and Jomtein Beach are in the city center and the road adjacent to it is the center of night-life activities. Jomtein beach is to the south of the city and is comparatively cleaner and peaceful. Jomtein beach area has a number of luxury reasorts and also has a huge Entertainment park featuring a water park, roller coaster and numerous other joy rides.
  • Ko Lan or Coral Island is a small island situated around 8 kms from Pattaya. Speedboats and normal ferry leaving quite frequently from the Pattaya beach can provide access to this island. Corals can be viewed by taking a ride on the glass-bottomed boat. Range of water sports options is available at the Coral island.
  • Nong Nooch Botanical Garden is a beautiful and well maintained botanical garden located around 15 kms from Pattaya. Live cultural shows in a traditional Thai setting are the highlight of this garden.
  • Underwater world is an aquarium which has a collection of marine species including sharks and sting rays. The tunnel is more than 100 metres long divided into a number of zones.
  • Cabaret Shows are a popular activity here. The two main transvestite cabaret shows namely Alcazar and Tiffany shows. Both are good in their own respect but the Tiffany show is more spectacular of the two.

Some of the other attractions of Pattaya include the Pattaya Crocodile Park, Ripley’s Believe it or not Museum, Walking Street, Elephant Village and the Thai Alangkran

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Events and Festivals

Songkran Parade

Songkran Parade

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Pattaya festival is usually held around the middle of April to boost tourism in this region. The Miss Pattaya beauty contest and many sports competition are held during this time. The beach glitters due to the spectacular fireworks display and the various cultural performances/exhibitions are also held during this period.

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Weather

Pattaya has a tropical climate with air temperatures not varying much during different times of the year. The average daytime temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius. This region received most of the rainfall from June to October. The best time to visit Pattaya is from mid November to February when it is not very hot and it is relatively dry.

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Getting There

By Plane

Pattaya is around 120 kilometres from the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) near Bangkok and 147 kilometres from Bangkok city. It can be directly reached from the airport or from Bangkok city. Buses, shared taxis and private taxis are easily available for traveling to Pattaya.

U-Tapao International Airport (UTP) is a 45-minute drive from Pattaya but only has scheduled flights to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Koh Samui.

The easiest way to transfer between U-Tapao and Pattaya is by direct door-to-door minibus. Three different companies operate on this route and deliver passengers to their hotels, including Bangkok Air's and Air Asia's minibuses. Pre-booking is not required and buses can be found at the front doors of the airport. However, pre-booking surface transport might be essential, as competitively priced door-to-door transfer services may not be available on arrival. Driving time is normally about 30-50 minutes. 150 baht at the front doors or 200-250 baht per person for pre-booked services. If you don't get one to where you specifically want to go, note that it may drop you at the North Bus Station (which is still a far distance from the Beach strip). The Songathaew drivers know this, and will always ask for another 150 baht from the North Bus Station to the Beach/Walking Street (it should be 10 baht, though).

Metered taxis cost 750 baht including motorway tolls, if purchased at hotel.

If speed and convenience don't matter, the ad hoc option is to hop on virtually any bus on Sukhumvit Rd. Going south, if it's a bus that terminates at Sattahip you'll have to swap buses or finish the journey by songthaew; if it's going further east (e.g., Rayong, Chanthaburi or Trat) it'll drop you off at the airport entrance as it goes by. Going north, wait for a bus that's going further than Sattahip and then you won't need to transfer. Alternatively, the white songthaews that travel Sukhumvit Rd between Pattaya and Sattahip charge just 20 baht.

Or to buck the trend big time, go by rail (3rd class, weekdays only) between Pattaya and Sattahip. Get off just before or after the line crosses Hwy 3, and connect with the airport by songthaew or bus. The fare for the 40-50 minute train ride is just 6 baht. Departs Pattaya 10:18, arrives Sattahip 11:00; departs Sattahip 13:30, arrives Pattaya 14:21. But don't forget, no trains on Saturdays or Sundays.

By Train

Provided it's a weekday, the most economical way to travel between Pattaya and Bangkok by public transport is by rail. The one-way fare is just 31 baht, and if you've never experienced a 3rd class Thai ordinary Train No. 283/284, this can be an interesting experience.

From Monday to Friday, a single daily 3rd class (non-air-con) train departs Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station at 06:50 and arrives at the main Pattaya station at 10:18 before continuing on to Sattahip. It then returns via Pattaya at 14:21 and terminates back in Bangkok at 17:40 (on Saturdays and Sundays it turns back to Bangkok at Chachoengsao, so is of no practical use for getting to or from Pattaya on weekends). Regardless of direction, simply turn up and buy a ticket at the station. This train can't be pre-booked.

The fare from/to Bangkok is 31 baht, from/to Sattahip 6 baht.

The surcharge for transporting a bicycle (up to 20 kg) between any two points on this line (i.e., Bangkok-Sattahip) is 80 baht.

Tickets for other journeys can be purchased (up to a maximum of 60 days in advance) at the Pattaya Train Station ticket office between 08:00 and 16:00. The same tickets can also be arranged through Pattaya agencies, who will add on a 200-300 baht mark-up to cover their assistance and the cost of sending a moto-taxi to collect the tickets from the station.

Travelling by train although is the most economical, is far less comfortable than travelling by bus (train is non-air-con, not very clean and no toilet). Also travelling by train takes longer time, as much as 3.5 hours compared to bus 1½-2½ hours.

By Bus

Frequent buses from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, Ekamai (eastern) bus terminal and Mochit2 (northern) bus terminal. Also to U-Tapao airport, Rayong and further east, Hua Hin, Chiang Mai and other places in the north. Buses to Ekamai and Mochit2 are leaving from the terminal in North Pattaya road, buses to Suvarnabhumi leave from Thappraya road in Jomtien, buses to Chiang Mai from Sukhumvit road, also to U-Tapao and Rayong.

By Boat

Pattaya-Hua Hin-Pattaya (The Bali Hai Pier ferry dock is at the far (south) end of Walking Street), ☎ +66 38 488 999, +66 98 625 9949, e-mail: info@royalferrygroup.com. Buy tickets at dock or book online. A passenger-only ferry service from Pattaya-Hua Hin-Pattaya, started January 2017. The service is operated by Royal Passenger Liner Co, Ltd. It operates three catamarans, each accommodating up to 346 passengers. The ferry leaves Pattaya once daily at 10:00. (May 2017) From Hua Hin it leaves at 12:30. The 116 km journey takes 2 hr. Passengers are discouraged from leaving their seats during the voyage and are not permitted on deck. The reason to take the ferry is to save time, as the excellent 24-passenger bus service between Hua Hin and Pattaya takes 4-5 hr, but only costs 389 baht and offers more leg room. Economy, 1,250 baht; Business, 1,550 baht; VIP cabin for 8 persons, 14,000 baht.

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Getting Around

Private taxis are available for traveling in and around the Pattaya region. Public transport is usually available in an extended auto rickshaw type vehicle, which is also known as “Tuk Tuk” in local language. These ply on sharing basis but normally the rates are much higher for foreign tourists.

By Car

If considering renting a vehicle, bear in mind that traffic in Pattaya can seem very erratic by Western standards, and that driving on the left can be confusing not only for those who have previously only ever driven on the right, but also for those unfamiliar with the common Thai practice (even the police do this) of motorcycling alongside the kerb on the "oncoming" side of the road, or the wrong way up one-way streets. The latter problem is especially prevalent in the Pattaya Bay area, where the majority of the roads in the main tourism zones are one-way; and the northern section of Second Road requires great care as some treat the right-hand "bus" lane as oncoming, while others do not.

By Public Transport

Apart from a handful of privately operated examples, Pattaya has no tuk-tuks and most ad hoc local transport is undertaken by a flotilla of over 700 dark blue coloured songthaews - pickup trucks used as buses. The "bus" fare is 10 baht for trips within Pattaya, for locals and foreigners. Having the correct change is by no means essential, but does keep the potential hassle factor to a minimum. In the past, dual pricing applied (5 baht base fare, but generally only applied to locals, with a 10 baht fare for foreigners) and some drivers will short-change you on a 20 baht note if you don't act like you know what you're doing, but most will return 10 baht. Avoid asking destination (or talking to the driver at all) when riding a songthaew, as many drivers will charge you a lot of money (100-200 baht). If you know the direction of where you're going, it's recommended you just wave at the truck to stop, get on the back, and ride the songthaew without talking to the driver. That way you will just pay 10 baht per person no matter how far you go.

Flat fares only apply when operating as a bus. Beware of the driver of an otherwise empty songthaew, especially one that's parked at the roadside, who might presume (or decide on your behalf) that you want to charter him as a taxi, in which case expect a much higher fare of 100 baht or more, depending on your negotiating skills. Taxis in Pattaya do not use meters at all, and unless you can speak Thai, start at 150 baht and up.

The busiest route is the beach circuit: from the junction of Second Rd and South Pattaya Rd, north along Second Rd to the Dolphin Circle roundabout; then south along the full length of Beach Rd; then briefly east along South Pattaya Rd to complete the loop. Frequency is virtually non-stop, and even at the most unlikely hours, average waiting time is literally no more than a minute, often only a few seconds during daytime hours.

Routes sometimes vary. For example with a left turn (from Beach Rd or Second Rd) into Central Pattaya Rd; or no left turn at the Dolphin Circle roundabout (where Second Rd, Beach Rd and North Pattaya Rd meet) and going straight on to Naklua (or even a right turn towards the bus station and Sukhumvit). The only way to know the route for sure is to ask (but don't let the driver mistake your asking as a charter request). Sometimes the driver will just decide to turn down a random soi for no apparent reason, or because he's just been hired as a taxi, but you'll still be expected to pay your 10 baht if you've ridden for more than a soi or two.

It's also easy to catch songthaews along South Pattaya Rd, Central Pattaya Rd, and North Pattaya Rd. In the latter case, there's often a songthaew waiting at the Dolphin Circle roundabout (they depart from here at regular intervals, or when full, and the fare to the bus station is 10 baht) and there's also a free songthaew service to the Tesco-Lotus supermarket on North Pattaya Rd.

For Jomtien, songthaews wait at the beginning of Pratamnak Rd (the continuation of Second Rd, from the South Pattaya Rd crossroads), and charge 10 baht.

For Naklua, take a songthaew up Second Rd to the Dolphin Roundabout (10 baht). If the songthaew turns left or right at the roundabout (i.e., it's not one of the few that continue straight on to Naklua), disembark immediately and cross to the north side of the roundabout, and either walk or take a northbound songthaew (10 baht) from there.

White coloured songthaews ply Sukhumvit Rd, going as far as Si Racha and Sattahip (20 baht). Full-size buses to destinations as far away as Trat and even Chiang Mai also stop and pick up passengers on Sukhumvit Rd (at the South Pattaya Rd, Central Pattaya Rd, and North Pattaya Rd junctions).

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Eat

There are many restaurants, food carts, food courts, food markets, motorcycle-sidecar hotdog and meatball vendors, fruit sellers both mobile and stationary, even a roaming coffee peddling tuk-tuk. OK, so the germ theory of disease doesn't yet seem to be widely accepted but don't let that stop you from ordering the sushi. Many (although not all) non-Thai-cuisine restaurants also have at least a limited menu of Thai favourites as well.

Chonburi Province has a lot of fresh seafood and dried fruits. As there are a lot of people from the Isaan region living and working in Pattaya, there is an abundance of northeastern favourites such as spicy papaya salad (som tam) and spicy-sour chopped pork salad (larb).

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Drink

Pattaya is internationally known for its nightlife—you might want to think twice before heading into the insanity that's called Pattaya. Obviously famous as a sex tourist destination, you don't necessarily have to partake in order to experience Pattaya's nightlife. More and more visitors come over just to see what the fuss is about. There are ample opportunities to dance, drink, and observe humanity even if paid sex is not of interest. Steer clear of the staid hotel bars and head into the warrens of central Pattaya, where nightclubs, transvestite cabarets, coffee shops, karaoke bars, open-air bars and restaurants with live music and entertainment compete for attention. Most of these establishments are located along Pattaya Beach Road, Pattaya 2 Road, and in South Pattaya, which is also the city's major shopping area.

Pattaya is especially famous for its beer bars, staffed by "bar girls" who are "for hire" to the tourists and ex-pats who drink there. Popular beer bar pastimes include pool, connect-four and shut-the-box.

Open-air beer bars can be found all over Pattaya, with the biggest and best known concentrations being along and around Soi 7/Soi 8 and Walking Street, at numerous points on Second Road, Beach Road, Soi Buakhao, and in smaller numbers just about everywhere else, including along the southern end of Naklua Road. Although the staff of a typical beer bar will usually include many working girls, customers who have no wish to pay a "bar fine" and take a lady are welcomed and indeed make up the majority of the clientèle. Indoor beer bars can also be found all over Pattaya, the most notorious areas being Soi Yodsak (Soi 6) and parts of Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2). While some of these bars are much more "bar fine" oriented, in most cases customers who simply want to drink are welcome.

Go-go bars differ from beer bars as they have bikini-clad girls dancing around chrome poles on stages. The main concentrations are along Walking Street and Soi L.K. Metro (see below), with more dotted around the most popular beer bar areas. Sightseeing tourists are welcome in go-go bars, however, cameras are not. Signs prohibiting photography are widespread, and a minority of venues require patrons to deposit their cameras with security staff as they enter. This rule is enforced: if caught snapping shots, you'll be lucky if you're only thrown out and not beaten up.

The official closing time in "entertainment zones" is 01:00, although in practice usually somewhere between 01:00 and 03:00, depending on location—however, "closing" is defined as switching off the music and non-essential lighting, and numerous beer bars remain open 24 hours. Bars outside of these zones close around midnight.

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Sleep

Pattaya has an extensive selection of inexpensive mid-range accommodation, and a good variety of more upmarket options. Standard rooms (double bed, air-con, cable TV, refrigerator, hot shower) start from 400 baht/night, and rates are invariably per room, not per person. Soi Buakhao has many relatively cheap guest houses and is popular with long-stay visitors, with other budget places along Soi LK Metro and Soi Honey Inn. Very few of these can be booked online, or appear on hotel booking sites. The cheaper places are often above bars or massage shops, and may therefore be noisy at night. There's generally no need to book in advance.

Like all resort areas in Thailand, hotel pricing is seasonal. High season dates vary from hotel to hotel, but typically prices go up considerably during the Christmas-New Year's period (which coincides neatly with the season of best weather), and are lower between February and October/November. In addition to higher rates during the holiday period, guests staying over Christmas and New Year's Eve will often be required to pay for compulsory "gala dinners" which can substantially increase the cost of the room. In recent years some hotels have started to insist that March is also covered by 'high season' prices — presumably because professional Western visitors are usually free to visit during a long Easter holiday break from work, and are happy to do so despite the worsening weather.

With the exception of large resorts or international chains such as the Hard Rock and Marriott, the lowest rates available from abroad are typically those available from the hotels directly. Except for the least expensive, many will handle reservations via email or a web form. Many will expect a deposit, especially during high season, usually by credit card or bank transfer.

While some hotels do not allow prostitutes to accompany guests to their rooms, the majority of hotels in Pattaya are used to (and even expect) it — though some "upmarket" hotels may charge a "joiner fee" for unregistered visitors as discouragement. In most hotels, security staff will keep hold of visitors' ID cards until they leave, to help protect the client from possible theft or assault, and to deter prostitutes under 20 years of age from entering the hotel. On leaving, staff will ask the girl if she had any complaints about the client.

For visitors who simply want to sleep soundly, a box of high-grade foam earplugs is a wise investment when staying at many Pattaya hotels. Also be aware that many hotels in Pattaya allow smoking in all rooms. This is nearly universal in the budget range. With the exception of those operated under the auspices of large international chains, those hotels that have dedicated non-smoking rooms will typically only have a few of them. If you are intolerant of tobacco smoke, make sure to inquire directly with the hotels about their policies and the availability of non-smoking rooms.

View our map of accommodation in Pattaya

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Keep Connected

Internet

There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.

Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.

For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.

Post

Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 12.9357
  • Longitude: 100.889

Accommodation in Pattaya

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Pattaya searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Pattaya and areas nearby.

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This is version 25. Last edited at 9:53 on Jan 9, 19 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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