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 let me elaborate a little more about those areas. Downtown Pattaya is the area between beach road (west) and Sukhumvit highway (east), South Pattaya Road (south) and North Pattaya Road (north). Use the Pattaya baht bus routes map (scroll down) for assistance.
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 you 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 jump on.
Boarding a baht bus: You can ask the driver where he’s going if you wish, but it’s best just to get on. If the driver asks you where you are going, I would say nothing or even wait for the next baht bus. Once you tell a driver where you are going, and he takes you there, he could well charge you a charter fee of 100 baht or more, depending how far he de-toured from his route.
Exiting and paying: When you want the baht bus to stop, either because you are at your destination or it is no longer traveling in your desired direction you should press one the buzzers located above your head. Go to the passenger window and hand over the 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, but don’t assume just because a baht bus ‘route sign’ states South Pattaya – Naklua or any other route, it will remain on that route. If a baht bus is going in your direction, get on. If it deviates from your expected route, get off and wait for another.
The most popular baht bus route in Pattaya is the loop which goes anti clockwise north along 2nd Road from south Pattaya Road, turns left at Dolphin Roundabout and then south on Pattaya Beach Road. Routes also include Pattaya to Jomtien and Naklua. Click on the map link below to see the most popular baht bus routes in Pattaya.
Google map of baht bus routes in Pattaya.
Pattaya baht bus stops: After the new baht bus legislation was put in to effect, a number of designated “baht bus stops” were introduced. In most cases 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. I can tell you that from personal experience.
Chartering a baht bus in Pattaya: If you ask a baht bus driver to take you to a destination outside his usal route you are chartering him. Whether you are taking a short trip to meet your friends in a local 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 check the rates to your chosen destination with the GrabTaxi app, compare the rates of Pattaya full or half day car and driver charter, and 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 weave through slow moving traffic of downtown Pattaya much quicker than any other form of transport.
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.
My last few motorcycle rides in Pattaya (2018) have been charged as follows. 60 baht approx 1.6 kilometer ride from Queen Sirikit Park to Wat Chai Mongkon on south Pattaya Road – 40 baht for approx 800 meter ride along South Pattaya Road to Sukhumvit highway – 60 baht for approx 1.8 kilometer ride down Soi Nernplubwan to Sukhumvit.
Here’s a few more examples of Pattaya motorcycle taxi rates (2017) I found on the internet. 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 and 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. Always ask the price first. I must confess, most times I forget, but I’ve never been overcharged by a ridiculous amount.
Grab Taxi App
The Grab Taxi App lets you book a taxi your location in Pattaya, to anywhere else in Pattaya. It’s easy to use, it’s safe, it really does work well, and the app tells you the estimated fare. Did I already say, the GrabTaxi app is a good way to compare the prices of other modes of transport such as meter taxi and baht bus charter.
Hiring a Motorcycle to get around Pattaya
I recommend you read a detailed post on the blog about hiring a motorcycle in Pattaya before you take the plunge. 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.
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
You can easily buy paper maps from bookstores. My own preference is to use Google Maps for navigating, and ‘Map Marker’ for storing locations on my phone. All you need to do this cheaply is an unlocked phone, and a Thai SIM card (passport or ID required) which you can buy from a shopping mall, any 7-11 store, or you could even arrange a hassle free SIM card collection at the airport when you arrive in Thailand. You can top up your card with daily, weekly, or monthly data packages, starting at around 15 baht per day, or between 300 – 400 baht per month.
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. The main baht bus on Sukhumvit is the white baht bus (see photo below), it travels as far south as Sattahip, and north to Naklua and beyond. Other colors of baht baht are pale blue, red, and green among others.
Both the white, and pale blue baht buses can be used to commute between Sukhumvit, but if you want to head as far as Sattahip you will need to take the white baht bus. As you would on a blue baht bus in downtown Pattaya, get off if it makes an unexpected turn, and wait for another. You may be able to travel as far north as Sriracha on the white baht bus, but it might mean changing bus at Naklua.
Transport Inclusive Attraction and Activities in Pattaya
A large number of attractions, shows and activities in Pattaya can easily be reached using the modes of public transport highlighted in this post. Even some of the attractions a little further afield like Mini Siam, Mimosa, Underwater World and Pattaya Floating Market can easily be reached by baht bus.
Sometimes though, especially if you are a large group or a family with young children it’s just more convenient, and sometimes just as cheap to book a transport inclusive tour or activity. If that’s for you, take a look at this article about Pattaya online tour and activity booking and see which Pattaya shows, activities and attractions have transport inclusive options.