Is Pattaya right for you?
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, lively city.
Also read: Top 15 Things to Do in Pattaya
Where to stay in Pattaya
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 the city. 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 4 km 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 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.
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
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 53.4 km², 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:
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, 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 metreso 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 5 km 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!
How to get to Pattaya
|Leaving from||Duration||Prices from||See details|
|Bangkok||2-2.5 hours||from 30 THB ($0.80)||Bangkok to Pattaya|
There are over a thousand accommodations to choose from in Pattaya. That’s a lot! What there isn’t a lot of is budget options. Many of the hotels tend to start at around $50 per night, soaring way into hundreds of dollars. If you have the cash to splash, Pattaya has some incredible luxurious and unique accommodations. On a bit more of a budget?
We’ve got accommodation recommendations for all budgets:
Butterfly Garden Boutique Residence - Budget Friendly
Finding budget-friendly accommodation in Pattaya isn’t the easiest task, but Butterfly Garden Boutique Residence is a great find. The apartments are huge, coming with a kitchen, spa bath and a private balcony. It feels like a home from home.
The location is great, not too far from the Night Market and a 10-minute walk from the beach. There’s also a swimming pool if you need to cool down from Thailand’s scorching weather.
- Swimming pool
- Ideal location
- Huge apartments
- Great value for money
Apartments start from $29 per night.
Citismart Luxury Apartments - Mid Range
Staying at Citismart Luxury Apartments you don’t just get a standard room, you get a kitchen, a lot more space than most hotel rooms and a private balcony. The rooms vary in luxuriousness depending on the price, but even the cheapest one is comfortable and spacious.
You also get to use the apartment’s amenities which include a swimming pool and sundeck. Staying here puts you in a great location, 250m from the beach and a short drive to Central Pattaya.
- Swimming pool
- Large apartment
- Great location
- Sun deck
Apartments start from $54 per night.
Amethyst Hotel Pattaya - Treating Yourself
Situated 700m from Pattaya Beach, you can almost see it from Amethyst Hotel’s rooftop pool and terrace. Spectacular city views from an infinity pool, can life get much better? Maybe in their hot tub, it could.
The rest of the hotel is just as impressive with luxurious and spacious rooms you won’t want to leave. The onsite restaurant is delicious and there’s a gym to burn off all the food you’re eating.
- Rooftop swimming pool
- Spectacular views
- Luxurious rooms
- Onsite gym and restaurant
Private rooms start from $78 per night.
Grande Centre Point Space - Treating Yourself
This place really does feel like you’ve boarded a space ship and your next stop is space! Everything about Grande Centre Point Space feels modern and futuristic. We guarantee it will be like nowhere you’ve stayed before.
There are too many swimming pools to count — one with waterslides, a lazy river and even a rooftop pool. You’ll also find a gym, delicious restaurant, kids club, sauna and steam room. Plus the rooms are as incredible as the rest of the hotel.
- Unique design
- Lots of swimming pools
- Rooftop terrace
- Delicious free breakfast
Private rooms start from $165 per night.
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Kate is a writer, (ex)Management Consultant and avid traveller. She recently returned from a 2-year career break exploring the world and decided corporate life wasn’t for her. She’ll soon be testing life as a digital nomad. She’s visited over 40 countries and fell in love with Latin America in particular. Her travelling has inspired a passion for yoga, salsa, hiking and Spanish.
Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.