Where to Go
One of the hottest beach-resort destinations in Thailand, Pattaya may not be idyllic but it certainly makes up for it with a wide variety of activities, accommodation and nightlife venues.
Pattaya is a popular beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand just 150 km. southeast of Bangkok - a mere two-hour drive. Pattaya’s pulsating nightlife is well known, but local authorities have, in recent years, improved the quality of the beaches and reinvented the resort as a more family-friendly destination. Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn each year to Pattaya to windsurf, water ski, swim, sunbathe, snorkel, sail, or take trips to nearby islands. Other activities include Bungee jumping, cycling, skydiving, go-Karting, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), and Paintball. Golfers, both novice and expert, are well catered to as well, with a wide selection of golf courses around Pattaya. Another major draw for visitors to Pattaya is the wide selection of restaurants serving some of Thailand's freshest seafood. Due to the high number of expatriate foreigners in Pattaya there is also an excellent selection of authentic foreign eateries serving French, Italian, Swiss, German, Hungarian, Scandinavian, English, Indian, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine. Drawing such a large number of diverse visitors from across the world, it’s no surprise that Pattaya also boasts an incredible choice of accommodation. Those on a tight budget and those with money to spend are equally able to find rooms to suit their needs. Visitors can always find some peaceful beach time at nearby Jomtien beach, just 3 kilometers south.
Just over one hour from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Pattaya is a lively beach town that draws visitors from around the world. With activities that include a wide array of water sports, golf, shopping, cabaret shows, an elephant village, and fascinating museums, it’s impossible not to have an action-packed Pattaya holiday. Unless of course it’s relaxation you crave, in which case there are beach chairs and umbrellas lining the Pattaya shore, where wandering vendors will cater to your every need: from barbequed shrimp to a foot massage. Pattaya is certainly a Thai beach resort that meets the needs of any visitor on any budget.
- Only fish during the appropriate fishing season.
- Dress politely and take off your shoes before entering Buddhist temples.
- Examine rental motorbikes and cars thoroughly before renting.
- Drive motorbikes and rental cars with extreme caution.
- Beware of con-artists who prey on new tourists to Thailand. While most Thai people are just being friendly, be careful of those offering to do you too many favors or promising you incredible bargains.
- Beware of pick pockets, especially on Walking Street when it's crowded.
- Beware of entertainment venues that have poor signage or are poorly lit inside; some venues offer free admission and then refuse to allow visitors to leave until they have paid exorbitant bar bills.
- Do not purchase or consume illegal drugs or participate in illegal gambling.
- Show respect to the local Thai people and the Thai police. Guilty or not, your display of anger will only make things worse.
- Haggle in a good natured way with small shop vendors. A polite “no thank you” will be more effective than a loud display of emotion.
- Ask for the price first when ordering food and before getting a massage or manicure on the beach. Do likewise before renting a jet ski or getting in a tuk tuk or taxi.
- The sun in Pattaya is very strong; apply sunscreen liberally and frequently.
- Tap water in Thailand is not safe to drink; however, bottled water is cheap and readily available.
- While illegal, the sex industry is a reality in Pattaya. It is strongly advised to protect yourself accordingly, both from sexually transmitted diseases and from theft.