Pattaya has pretty much something for everyone, whether it be partying, enjoying waterparks and watersports, visiting some weird but interesting sites or just relaxing on the beach.
Since the 1980s, this coastal city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast has constantly been growing, evolving and adapting to the variety of visitors that choose to make Pattaya part of their holiday. As you’ve probably already guessed here, it’s not the most authentic and traditional Thai city though.
However, there is just so much to do and we can’t emphasise that enough! If you’re travelling with kids, there’s 2 waterparks and a number of fun museums to keep the kids entertained. If you’re in Pattaya to party, that’s exactly what you can do all night long!
When visiting Pattaya, it’s important to consider what you’re looking for. It’s quite touristy which means there’s a lot of things to do, but also be prepared for busy beaches and party-filled streets. Most backpackers tend to stay away from Pattaya, while families or retired workers often have a great time dedicating a full week or more at one of the nearby resorts.
To sum Pattaya up in a sentence, it’s a tourist-tailored and lively city.
Pattaya is full of resorts that are scattered widely throughout the city.
If you’re looking for a pool-side holiday where the sunbed is your new home, it may be worth staying further outside of Pattaya. Doing this can mean you get a lot more for your money or a comfier sunbed!
For those that like to spend their time exploring, then location is a bit more important for you. Here’s a short overview of the different areas where you can stay in Pattaya:
Location #1: Walking street – party central
You couldn’t get enough of Bangkok’s Khao San Road? Pattaya’s Walking Street is up there when it comes to a place to party. So, if you don’t want to miss a moment of the action then you should choose to stay near Walking Street.
The street is rammed with stalls, pubs, bars, go-go bars, clubs and restaurants; even that sentence was busy! You’ve probably already guessed that if you stay in close proximity to Walking Street, you’re not going to get much sleep. The thumping bass and shouting from drunk revellers continue on till the early morning.
On the plus side, you’ll save on transport costs, if this is where you plan to spend most of your time, and it’s a great location for other attractions. Only a short walk away you’ll find Pattaya beach and the huge Central Festival shopping complex.
You won’t find any resorts in this area, but there are a few nice and reasonably-priced hotels as well as hostels.
Location #2: Pattaya Beach – the more relaxed version of Walking Street
Pattaya Beach is actually 4km long, making it still quite a big area to choose where to stay in. However, most people tend to cluster around the middle section of the beach, near Soi (side street) 7 and Soi 8.
The Pattaya Beach area still offers a whole host of bars and restaurants, creating a lively nightlife, just on a more chilled scale compared to Walking Street, which is only a 5 minute walk away.
Pattaya Beach is a great location if you want to be only a short stroll away from a stunning, white-sand beach and be well-connected to the other activities available in Pattaya.
Over the past few years, the standard of accommodation has been improving as a result of renovation in the area, so it’s much easier to find a nice place to stay in this area nowadays. If you’re looking for a budget option, the majority of hostels are clustered in this area too.
Location #3: Jomtien Beach – a place to escape some of the tourists
Travellers are often keen to stay at the centre of it all in Pattaya, but it doesn’t stop here. If you travel slightly south, over the hill you’ll find Jomtien Beach.
Arguably just as beautiful as Pattaya beach, or even more so due to fewer tourists, Jomtien beach area allows you to really relax.
Don’t worry though, it’s still only a short 10-15 minute bus ride away from the hustle and bustle.
Jomtien seems to offer the perfect amount of amenities. You’ll always find what you need without having an overwhelming amount of choice.
To find most of these amenities such as restaurants, shops and bars, it’s best to wander to the western side of the beach. Here you’ll find a more chilled nightlife and also cheaper prices.
This accounts for accommodation too. Staying further from the centre, you’ll find better priced hotels and a large range of hostels to pick from.
How to get around in Pattaya
The area of Pattaya covers 53.4km², meaning that unlike some other smaller destinations in Thailand, walking won’t get you very far. If you’re situated around Pattaya beach, pretty much everything you need will be within walking distance, but if you want to venture any further, transport will be needed.
Here’s a rundown of the different modes of transport available in Pattaya:
If you’ve been to Thailand before, you’ll probably know what a songthaew is – a pickup truck with 2 benches that’s been turned into a bus. Well, in Pattaya, the same concept applies, but they’re called baht buses instead.
These are a great way to travel around the different areas of Pattaya, as there’s plenty of routes and they’re cheap! Most trips around Pattaya will cost you 10 baht, with longer journeys e.g. from Jomtien to the quieter north Pattaya costing 20 baht.
Unlike other cities, new regulations in Pattaya means that you shouldn’t really just hail down a songthaew off the road as there are now designated areas (red bus stop zones) where the bus should officially stop. However, not all of the drivers listen to this, so it’s worth a try.
The process is simple; hop on, enjoy the ride and when you want to get off press the buzzer and pay the driver the 10 baht.
Top tip: If you give the songthaew driver a specific location that’s not on the route, this will be considered chartering the songthaew, which can cost you a lot more money!
There’s 3 forms of taxis that you can take in Pattaya; a normal taxi, Grab and a motorbike taxi.
You’ll find most metered taxis (although most don’t actually use their meter so you’ll need to negotiate) outside of major amenities around Pattaya, like the shopping centres and popular hotels.
To give a rough indication of price, but again it depends on your haggling skills, a 5km journey should cost around 120-150 baht.
Another option is to use Grab, South East Asia’s version of Uber, which allows you to select a pick-up and drop-off location before ordering your taxi. Fares are often cheaper on Grab so it’s worth checking on here first and using it as a price indicator if you are going to use a normal taxi.
For speed and agility, a motorbike taxi is probably your best option. The nimbility of a motorbike taxi allows you to weave between the heavy traffic, creating a shorter journey time. However, they aren’t the most comfortable rides, so we wouldn’t advise using one for a long journey. Most short rides will cost between 30-50 baht.
Already know how to drive your own motorbike and want complete freedom? If you do, then hiring your own motorbike is probably your best option.
They’re also most likely going to be your cheapest form of transport if you’re looking to explore a lot of the surrounding area. To hire a motorbike for the day, it will cost between 150-250 baht depending on where you hire it from.
Most hotels and homestays have their own motorbike rental which tend to be cheaper than the many vendors that line Pattaya beach.
Make sure your bike comes with a helmet and that you have some experience of riding a bike!
Breeze Hostel is located just 700m from Jomtien Beach and is surrounded by bars, restaurants, and all amenities yet far enough away that you will get a good sleep at night. The hostel offers a shared lounge and garden area for the guest’s enjoyment. The beds are extremely comfortable and the hostel is well known for comfort, safety, and friendly staff.
Located in Pattaya North with the beaches on one side and shopping on the other, it’s an ideal location for all types of travelers. A clean, modern hostel with a shared lounge offering a pool table, ping pong table, and dartboard for guests to enjoy. There is a 7 Eleven, ATM’s, swimming pool and cafe on-site for all your needs.
Just 300 meters from Jomtien Beach, this hotel is set in a perfect quiet location. The area is full of restaurants, bars, shopping, amenities, and white-sand beaches. The rooms are spacious, clean, and have very comfortable beds. All rooms offer a small seating area most have a private balcony attached to the room.
Just a 1-minute walk from Jomtien Beach, this hotel is located in an ideal location. The onsite restaurant is extremely popular and the bar and garden areas are great places for the guests to relax and enjoy the surroundings. Well known for the extremely comfortable beds and cleanliness, this hotel is a great pick for any traveler.