Traveling to Pattaya, Thailand? Here’s everything you need to know for your trip:
- An infamous party beach town in Thailand, Pattaya has a population of ~120,000.
- Known for its varied nightlife and picturesque beaches.
- Nickname: Sin City
- Currency: Thai Baht (THB).
- Spoken languages: Thai. English is also widely spoken.
- Best time to visit: from November to April (coolest time of year, with the least rainfall).
- Arriving via airport: taxis from the airport in Bangkok are about 1200 baht. Bus service from the airport will run about 300 baht – there are multiple providers.
WHERE TO STAY
- Best Pattaya hostel for solo travelers: Nonze (book ahead as this one fills up fast). Close to the beach, with a great view.
- Whatever you do, do NOT stay on Walking Street – it gets too loud and crazy at night. There’s a reason why most of the establishments on Walking St. are paid by the hour.
- There are hotels everywhere in Pattaya. Those seeking low prices can find guest rooms in the Soi Bukhao area – prices start at about 800 baht a night. Beach Road has the 4 and 5 star hotels, and the cost goes up considerably.
- Pattaya is a fairly small city, so walking can get you most places. Keep in mind that the days can be very hot and sunny, so plan accordingly if you don’t want to get to your destination soaked in sweat. Remember to drink plenty of water!
- As with any city in Thailand, the most common form of transit is the motorcycle taxi. Costs anywhere from 20 baht to 160 baht, depending on how far you want to go.
- Note: always make sure you wear a helmet when taking a motorcycle taxi or renting a bike yourself. The local police like to ticket foreigners all over Central Pattaya when they catch them breaking the law.
- The baht bus network in Pattaya consists of pickup trucks with modified seating in the back. These buses run loops of the city and stick to the main tourist areas (they can also be privately booked by groups). Locals and foreigners take them and no matter how far you go, you pay 10 baht when getting off.
- Car rentals in Pattaya are available, but not common. Consider booking a car if traveling out of the city – otherwise, it may prove to be more of a hindrance. Traffic in the city is often bad, and parking is hard to find.
- Drinking age is 20 (rarely enforced), and there is no last call at most venues.
- Walking Street is the night life hub of Pattaya, and is home to almost all the night clubs and go-go bars. L K Metro is essentially a “mini” Walking Street, slightly cheaper but with a lot to offer.
- If some very friendly ladies start talking to you, it helps to know what you’re getting yourself into:
LT = Long Time (the girl stays with you from evening to morning)
ST = Short Time (you go upstairs or she goes to your place, 1 hour or under)
- Soi 6: a popular street with beer bars, full of ladies waiting for you to talk to them. If you’re on Soi 6, it’s assumed what you’re there for!
- The beer bars of Soi 7 and Soi 8 (off Beach Road) are more low-key, with prices that can be as low as half of those on Walking Street.
- Soi Bukhao (highlight: Tree Town NightMarket) is a great place to relax and have a beer. Big expat scene, and lots of street food and restaurants.
- Soi 13/2 (off of beach road) is home to a large number of gay & transgender focused bars.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Buddha Hill, overlooking the city of Pattaya, is home to one of the local temples (Wat in Thai) and offers great views of the city and the sea.
- Built in 1981, the Sanctuary of Truth is a relatively new temple. The temple features unique architecture, mimicking the style of older wooden temples.
- The Pattaya Night Market on Second Road is a bustling market, and is a great place to pick up on souvenirs (prices are much lower than in Bangkok).
- Catch a boat to Koh Lan, a beautiful island just a 15 minute (300 BHT by speedboat) ride away. Go early to avoid the crowds, and you’ll be rewarded with clear water and clean beaches! You can rent golf carts at Tawaen beach — lots of fun for 200 BHT/hour.
- Take a stroll through Walking Street to see one of the largest and most concentrated bar / red-light districts in the world. You will see plenty of just about everyone, from go-go bar patrons to large tour groups looking for photo opportunities.
- Explore the Pattaya Floating Market. Requiring a combination of walking and boating, this is a great day activity. The market features food and souvenirs from all over Thailand.
- Just south of Pattaya, Jomtien Beach stretches on for miles and makes for a great walk (whether during the day or at night). Far less crowded than the main beach in Pattaya, so you won’t have to spend your time dodging people – or jet skis!
- Make sure you check out either Alcazar Cabaret or The Tiffany’s Show. These ladyboy cabarets are very entertaining with a focus on singing and comedy. If you’re into guys, Boyz Town is the venue to be.
- Amazing family-friendly activities in Pattaya are plentiful! Check out EasyKart Go-Karting, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, SFX Cinema Central Pattaya (catch a movie).
- While Pattaya is a hub for the sex industry in Asia, remember that there are still many local Thais living here with no involvement in the trade. Always treat people respectfully, and don’t raise your voice – Thais can be quick to anger if they feel they are “losing face.”
- Dangerous areas: be careful around Beach Road when walking alone at night – numerous robberies have been reported from this area. Be wary of ladyboys here – they may just take your wallet while giving you a big friendly hug.
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days