Once you know the various modes of transport and how they work, you will find it very cheap and easy to get around Pattaya, especially if you are staying in downtown Pattaya, Jomtien, or Naklua.
First of all, a little more about those areas:
Downtown Pattaya is the area between Pattaya Beach Road (west) and Sukhumvit highway (east), South Pattaya Road (south), and North Pattaya Road (north).
Getting Around Pattaya by Baht Bus
At 10 baht per person, per ride (subject to change) for most routes, the only way to get around Pattaya cheaper is by walking. The baht bus (aka songthaew) is the most popular and convenient way of getting around downtown Pattaya, and to and from Jomtien and Naklua.
What is a Baht Bus?
The baht bus (so-called because back in the day it cost a baht) is a pickup-style truck with a canopy roof and 2 bench seats in the back for passengers. The photo below shows the dark blue colored baht bus which operates in downtown Pattaya, Jomtien, and Naklua.
How to use a Baht Bus in Pattaya
New Pattaya baht bus rules and regulations: According to legislation, Pattaya baht buses must operate on one of several given routes, and passengers must only embark and disembark at ‘stops’ assigned along the baht bus route. In reality, you will find most Pattaya baht bus drivers ignore these rules.
Hailing a baht bus: If a baht bus is going in your direction you may be able to hail it down. The polite, correct way is to beckon with an outstretched arm, with your palm facing down. It’s also common practice for an empty baht bus to beep its horn as it passes by, if you want it just wave it down and climb in the back.
Baht buses follow set routes, so if the baht bus does not continue in the direction, or along the road you want to travel, ring the buzzer, get off, pay the driver, then take another baht bus that’s going in your direction.
Exiting and paying: When you want the baht bus to stop, press one of the buzzers located above your head, or on the side at head level. Go to the passenger window and hand over the correct fee, don’t ask how much. Don’t worry, if you are not paying enough he will call you back.
Pattaya baht bus routes: There are several so-called baht bus routes in Pattaya. The golden rule is, regardless of the advertised/displayed route, never assume that that’s the route it will follow. If a baht bus deviates from your expected route, get off, pay, and wait for another.
The most popular baht bus routes in Pattaya:
The Beach Road and 2nd Road Loop: On Pattaya Beach Road and 2nd Road all traffic follows an anti-clockwise one-way system. On Beach Road, the baht bus travels south, turns left before the entrance to Walking Street, and then takes the next left onto 2nd Road and heads north towards the Dolphin Roundabout. At the Dolphin Roundabout, it turns left and continues south again on Beach Road.
Pattaya to Jomtien Beach: You can take the baht bus from the “baht bus stop” located on 2nd Road just a few meters south of the 2nd Road and South Pattaya Road junction.
Pattaya to Naklua: Take the baht bus heading north along 2nd Road until it arrives at the Dolphin Roundabout, if it turns left to Beach Road or right to North Pattaya Road, get off and wait for the next baht bus heading to Naklua. Naklua Road is the road that passes the entrance to the Dusit Thani hotel.
Along South Pattaya Road baht buses travel in both directions between Sukhumvit highway and 2nd Road.
Along Central and North Pattaya roads baht buses travel in both directions between Sukhumvit highway and 2nd Road and Pattaya Beach Road.
On Soi Buakhao baht buses travel in both directions between South Pattaya Road and Central Pattaya Road.
The map (above) shows the Pattaya Beach Road and 2nd Road baht bus route (red arrows), and directions baht buses travel along the major roads in downtown (central) Pattaya.
Google map of baht bus routes in Pattaya.
Pattaya baht bus stops: After the new baht bus legislation was put into effect, a number of designated “baht bus stops” were introduced. In most instances, the ‘baht bus stops’ are denoted by a red zone, as seen in the photo below.
Pattaya baht bus fees: Most baht bus trips in Pattaya cost 10 baht per person. The exceptions are for longer trips such as Jomtien to North Pattaya, for which some drivers charge 20 baht. You should make sure you give the correct fare, many drivers are reluctant to give change if you pay for a 10 baht ride with a 20 baht note.
Chartering a baht bus in Pattaya: If you ask a baht bus driver to take you to a destination outside his usual route that means you are chartering him. Whether you are taking a short trip to meet your friends at a local beer bar or hiring the baht bus for a full-day sightseeing tour of attractions in Pattaya you need to negotiate a price first.
What’s a reasonable price for hiring a baht bus in Pattaya? The best way to determine a fair price is to check the rates to your chosen destination with the Grab or Bolt Taxi app, then come to your own conclusion.
Getting around Pattaya by Motorcycle Taxi
Motorcycle taxis are a fast and convenient way of getting around Pattaya. They are more expensive than a baht bus, but they are able to weave through the slow-moving traffic of downtown Pattaya much quicker than any other form of transport.
Unlike baht buses, motorcycle taxis take you to any location you ask them to.
Important: when you use a motorcycle taxi, always ask about the price first.
Motorcycle taxi ranks are very common in all areas of Pattaya, even on the dark side (east Pattaya) there is usually a motorcycle taxi within a short walking distance.
Price of a motorcycle taxi ride in Pattaya: Motorcycle taxi fares in Thailand were standardized back in 2015. In Pattaya, you can use these motorcycle taxi rates not to work out the correct fare, but to evaluate how much you have been overcharged. To be more to the point, expect to pay more than the official rates.
Here are a few more examples of Pattaya motorcycle taxi rates:
- 60 baht for approx 2.7 kilometers from Walking Street to Thepprasit Road Jomtien
- 100 baht for approx 3.7 kilometers from North Pattaya Bus Terminal to Soi Diana Inn.
The official (2015) Thailand motorcycle taxi rates: 25 baht for the first 2 kilometers – over 2 kilometers up to 5 kilometers is an additional 5 baht per kilometer – after 5 kilometers up to 15 kilometers is an additional 10 baht per kilometer – after 15 kilometers is negotiable.
Example motorcycle taxi fees: Up to 2 kilometers 25 baht – 3 kilometers 25 +5 – 4 kilometers 25 +5 +5 – 5 kilometers 25 +5 +5 +5 – 6 kilometers 25 +5 +5 +5 +10.
As you might have guessed, the rates in Pattaya are way above the official rates. In reality, if you double the official rate, that might be closer to the real motorcycle taxi rates in Pattaya.
Bolt & Grab Ride Booking Apps
Using the Bolt and Grab ride booking apps you book a taxi (or motorcycle taxi) from your location in Pattaya, to anywhere else in Pattaya, and beyond, even as far as Bangkok. They are easy to use, safe, and to locations in Pattaya, a Grab or Bolt taxi is not much more expensive than a motorcycle taxi.
Hiring a Motorcycle to get around Pattaya
Before you hire a motorcycle, read this more detailed article about hiring a motorcycle in Pattaya. If you do it the right way, hiring a motorcycle can be the most cost-effective way of getting around Pattaya, especially if you are staying in Pattaya long term.
See motorcycle hire rates, and get a quote from Jan’s motorcycle hire in Pattaya.
Getting around Pattaya by Meter Taxis
Meter taxis are usually found outside most shopping malls and other strategic locations around Pattaya. The irony is, they most usually refuse to use the meter. So if you are going to use a meter taxi to get from A to B in Pattaya, make sure you negotiate a good rate.
Navigating your way around Pattaya
If you don’t know your way around Pattaya, it’s handy to have Google Maps or a similar navigation app on your phone, especially if you are getting around by baht bus.
Baht Buses on Sukhumvit Highway
Besides commuting in and around Pattaya, you can use baht buses to travel north and south on Sukhumvit highway. You will frequently see the dark blue buses on Sukhumvit, doing a loop back to Pattaya, or they have been chartered.
But the main baht buses for commuting along Sukhumvit are the white baht buses (see photo above). They travel as far south as Sattahip, and north to Naklua and beyond.
You might also want to read about Pattaya bus and coach stations.