To the east of Bangkok, less than an hour and a half from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport or about 2 hours from Bangkok CBD by car, Pattaya is a popular seaside resort town both for locals and tourists from overseas. Visitors are drawn to Pattaya to windsurf, water ski, swim, sunbathe, snorkel, sail, or take trips to nearby islands. More adrenaline pumping activities include Bungee jumping, sky-diving, go-karting, Muay Thai (Thai boxing), zip-lining and paintball. Other fun activities to do with friends and family are a visit to one of the waterparks or to the 3D museum Art in Paradise with its optical illusions (known locally as the ‘Trick-eye Museum’). For those who like watching stage performances, check out KAAN Show (cultural show) and Tiffany Show (transgender cabaret). Golfers, both novice and expert, are well catered for as well, with a wide selection of golf courses available around Pattaya. A major drawcard for Pattaya is the wide selection of restaurants, from some of Thailand’s freshest seafood, to an excellent selection of authentic foreign eateries (due to the high number of expatriates).
Best Time to go
In general, the high tourist season in this region is from November to April as there is less rainfall and the sea tends to be calm.
How to get to Pattaya from Bangkok
By land: Pattaya can easily be reached by car in an hour and a half from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport or about 2 hours from Bangkok CBD.
There are regular bus services from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) to Pattaya. The journey takes just over 2 hours.
By Air: There are a few domestic flights to U-Tapao, the closest airport to Pattaya.
Active travellers can enjoy golf, Muay Thai, water activities (such as parasailing, jet skiing, water-skiing, wake boarding, scuba diving, snorkelling and canoeing), land activities (such as cycling, mountain biking, zip-lining and abseiling) and even skydiving.
Beaches: The 3km Pattaya Beach is lined with hotels and restaurants. The northern section is more tranquil, whereas the central and southern sections are packed with hotels, restaurants, shops and nightclubs. The 6km Jomtien Beach, south of Pattaya is popular for windsurfing and other water sports. To the north of Pattaya Bay is Wong Prachan Beach, which is quiet and good for swimming.
Ko Lan is great for snorkelling, scuba diving and viewing coral reefs in glass bottomed boats. Ko Lan can be reached by ferry from Pattaya.
Besides the beach, Pattaya offers a variety of activities and attractions for all ages. Examples of the attractions for the whole family include:
The Sanctuary of Truth: This is a gigantic structure made entirely of wood and with exquisite architectural carvings. It was conceived out of the vision that human civilisation has been achieved and nurtured by religious and philosophical truth. (www.sanctuaryoftruth.com)
Flight of the Gibbon: Here you can see the jungle through the eyes of a gibbon. The high ropes adventure course is 3km in length, with exhilarating zip-lines, abseils and scenic sky bridges. You will be guided by highly trained, safety-minded Sky Rangers who share their knowledge of the biologically diverse rainforest along the way. (www.treetopasia.com)
Cabaret shows: Pattaya has many popular transgender cabaret shows such as Alcazar and Tiffany.
Waterparks: Pattaya is home to Thailand’s biggest waterpark– Ramayana Waterpark (www.ramayanawaterpark.com) and the world’s first Cartoon Network-themed waterpark – Cartoon Network Amazone (www.cartoonnetworkamazone.com). The parks offer many different challenges, so both kids and adults can enjoy their visit.
Pattaya Floating Market: A complex of over 70 shops offering handicrafts, clothing, antiques and eateries – Pattaya Floating Market was established to present the cultures and traditions of the four regions of Thailand – the North, the South, the Central, and the Northeast.
Thai Thani Arts and Culture Village: This is a reproduction of Thailand of a bygone era, preserving what it means to be truly Thai, including culture, traditions, arts and crafts, Thai activities and performances. (www.thaithanipattaya.com/en/home.html)