Are you considering a vacation in Pattaya for the first time and looking for tips and more information about Pattaya? Like what is there to do in Pattaya, when is the best time to visit, where to stay, and how to get around?
What is Pattaya?
Pattaya is a beach-resort destination on the eastern seaboard of Thailand, famous for its naughty nightlife and sex scene, which dates back to the Vietnam War era—when the sparsely populated and picturesque fishing village became a popular “rest & recreation” retreat for American troops.
Since then, mainly thanks to tourism—Pattaya has reached the status of a thriving—cosmopolitan city, complete with world-class shopping malls and modern high-rise hotels and condominiums.
The famous Pattaya nightlife scene and its associated Thai bar girls, beer bars, go-go clubs, discos, and nightclubs is still thriving, but Pattaya is no longer seen as a men-only destination.
There’s also a rapidly growing family-friendly scene in Pattaya these days, with family-friendly attractions and activities attracting families from far places in Thailand abroad.
You could say modern-day Pattaya is a city with everything, a place that can be anything you want it to be.
Pattaya Facts & Figures
Starting at Krating Lai Beach in the north and finishing at the southern end of Na Jomtien Beach to the south – Pattaya has approximately 26 kilometers of coastline.
Pattaya’s downtown (central) area is situated between Sukhumvit highway to the east, Pattaya Beach to the west, North Pattaya Road, and South Pattaya Road.
From Pattaya Beach to Sukhumvit highway is a distance of around 2.20 kilometers, and North Pattaya Road to South Pattaya Road is approximately 3.3 kilometers.
Immediately north of Pattaya Beach and Downtown Pattaya are Naklua and Wongamat. To the south is Pratumnak Hill, Jomtien, and Na Jomtien.
Pattaya is approximately 150 kilometers south of central Bangkok, 120 kilometers from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, and 160 kilometers from Don Mueang airport. Utapao airport – often referred to as ‘Pattaya airport’ is 40 kilometers south of Pattaya, in Rayong.
Things To See & Do In Pattaya
There’s actually a very diverse choice of things to see and do for everyone in Pattaya, by day and by night.
Included in the Things To Do In Pattaya category, there are popular attractions and activities in Pattaya, including “must dos” like Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (see photo below), popular family-friendly places like Columbia Pictures Aquaverse (formerly Cartoon Network Amazone), Ramayana Water Park, and everyday sports and pastimes like golf, football, and lawn bowling.
See & Do Pattaya Cheaper and Plan Your Own Pattaya Sightseeing and Tour Itinerary
The Pattaya discount entry ticket and tour booking page is especially useful for first-time visitors looking for the best entry ticket and tour deals, what’s worth doing in Pattaya, and how to easily plan your own sightseeing activities in Pattaya – and beyond.
Beaches in Pattaya
Beaches are one of the major attractions in Pattaya. They are a great place to spend the day chilling out, or to partake in water activities such as jet skiing (with caution), para-sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing.
There are some pretty little beaches in Pattaya, and some spots like Naklua Beach are very popular with bathers. But the beaches around Pattaya are not typical “picture-postcard” beaches, and the water quality is not that great.
Fancy a few days “kicking back” on a picture-postcard beach within easy reach of Pattaya? Take a look at the islands near Pattaya.
If you fancy a day trip to beaches more suitable for bathing and letting the kids have a splash around, take the ferry to Koh Lahn or drive the short distance to Sai Kaew Navy Beach in Sattahip.
Sample the Nightlife in Pattaya
The best place to experience the famous Pattaya nightlife is Walking Street. This is the place to get a feel of what it’s all about and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.
Walking Street has it all, the neon signs, beer bars, go-go clubs, discos and nightclubs. For couples, I recommend the live music bars, beer bars with Muay Thai boxing shows, and try one of the larger go-go clubs just for the experience.
Staying in Pattaya
The price of accommodation in Pattaya is relatively cheap, and the standards are quite high. The accommodation types are extensive, including hotels, resorts, beach resorts, guest houses, apartments, and private houses.
It’s an extremely competitive market, which helps to keep the prices low. You can pay as little as 200 baht for a room or thousands of baht for a 5-star hotel or luxury villa.
Family Accommodation in Pattaya
Finding somewhere suitable for children is the number one concern for families taking a vacation in Pattaya. For a little more guidance on family accommodation, read this post about family hotels in Pattaya.
Should I book a hotel room in advance in Pattaya?
You will get a better deal booking a few weeks in advance, no matter what time of year. During the busiest period of the year (November to February), booking well in advance is recommended if you want to get a room at your first-choice hotel.
When is the best time to visit Pattaya?
The dry season, November through to May, is the best time to visit Pattaya if you want good weather. The coolest—most pleasant period is November to March when temperatures average around 26 – 27 Celsius.
The wet season, May to November, is the cheapest time to visit Pattaya, when hotel rates are usually reduced by 50 percent or more.
Read more about high and low seasons in Pattaya
Getting to Pattaya
The easiest way to get to Pattaya from the airport is by taxi, using a taxi company based in Pattaya. Book a few days (or more) in advance and give your name and flight details; the driver will be waiting for you at the meeting point.
For more information about booking buses, vans, and taxis to Pattaya online and Pattaya-based taxi services, read the getting to Pattaya guide.
Getting Around Pattaya
Two very cheap and convenient ways to get around Pattaya are by baht bus and motorcycle taxi. There are also meter taxis, the GrabTaxi and Bolt taxi apps, local private taxis, and even private car and driver charters available.
You can read more detailed information on using each mode of transport and what it costs in this guide to getting around Pattaya.
Hiring a Motorcycle in Pattaya
It’s still easy but not as carefree as it used to be, so before you jump in, please read more about hiring a motorcycle in Pattaya.
Things You Need To Know About Pattaya
The Pattaya Jet Ski Scam
Although the jet ski scam “seems” to have been stamped out by the authorities, you should be aware it was, and could once again, become very real.
The scammers operated on Pattaya Beach, most notably in front of Mike’s shopping mall. It was a simple scam; you hired a jet ski, and upon returning it to the vendor, they inspected it and found some “not previously visible” damage, for which you must pay.
The two most reported incidences of pick-pocketing in Pattaya are single men getting pick-pocketed by lady-boys and unsuspecting tourists getting pick-pocketed while riding on a baht bus. So long as you are aware, it’s easy to prevent by keeping your purse/wallet in your front pocket and with a hand on it if need be.
A typical incident of street robbery in Pattaya involves valuables such as gold or bags being snatched from the victim by a couple of opportunist thieves riding a motorcycle.
Driving in Pattaya
You must keep your cool when driving in Pattaya; that’s the first rule of the road. And if you set off with the assumption that most other road users are trying to test you, set you up, or kill you, you will be ready for anything.
What you need to know about driving in Pattaya.
Changing and Withdrawing Travel Money in Pattaya
You can exchange all (major) foreign currency easily in Pattaya, and you will get much better rates exchanging your money in Thailand than you will at home. You can also use your bank card. First off, check with your bank if you can use the card in Thailand, ask what the charges are, and inform the bank you will be using the card overseas. You might also want to look into using prepaid travel cards.
Dos and Don’ts in Pattaya
When in Pattaya, do as the Thais do, at least when it comes to respecting local customs and etiquette. That extends to knowing when you should take off your shoes, which parts of the body you should not touch, when to cover up, and respecting the Royal Family. You can learn more about what you should and should not do on the list of Pattaya Thailand Dos and Don’ts
- Carry a copy of your passport
- Either carry it with you or take a photo of the hotel business card
- Carry a small bottle of mosquito repellent at all times, even during the daytime
- Add the Thai Tourist Police telephone number (1155) to your contacts
- Download a map/navigation app to your phone
- Get yourself a Thai SIM card
Tips for single men in Pattaya
If you’re a single man making your first trip to Pattaya to enjoy the nightlife, the bar scene, and the girls, here are some handy first time in Pattaya tips for men.