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Just a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok, Pattaya is one of Thailand’s most easily accessible seaside resorts and—with its long sandy beaches, palm-fringed promenades, and lush tropical gardens—it is deserving of its popularity. While Pattaya’s tourist boom might have afforded it a reputation as a hedonist getaway, behind the strip of go-go bars, massage parlors, and cocktail bars, there are plush resorts and pristine beaches to tempt even the most discerning traveler. The beaches and buzzing nightlife might be the main draw, but it’s worth taking the time to explore Pattaya’s other attractions. The hilltop Wat Khao Phra Bat temple, with its gigantic golden Buddha, affords spectacular views over Pattaya Bay; the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is bursting with vibrant orchids and exotic plants; and Pattaya Floating Market is one of the liveliest in the country. For adventurous types, the Flight of the Gibbon at Khao Kheow Open Zoo should be top of your list, while nearby Jomtien Beach is a hotspot for water sports including windsurfing, parasailing, and scuba diving. Off the coast, there are several possibilities for island day trips, with Koh Si Chang, Koh Samet, and Koh Larn island all just a short boat ride away.
November through February is the most popular time to visit Pattaya, but don’t be fooled by locals calling it the "cool season"—temperatures rarely drop below 70°F (21°C). It’s also the high season, so expect crowds and prices to match, especially during flagship events such as the Lantern Festival (Loy Krathong Festival), Maya Music Festival, and Wonderfruit. If you can withstand the climbing temperatures and humidity, it’s less crowded March-May, and Thai New Year (Songkran) festivities in April are legendary.
Many central attractions and beaches are reachable on foot, and the bumper-to-bumper traffic often means that it’s quicker to walk. If you need to go further afield, Baht buses, Pattaya’s version of the songthaew, are the cheapest way to get around and stop at all the main points of interest. Alternatively, download Grab (Southeast Asia’s answer to Uber) or flag down a taxi—just make sure the meter is on.
You’ll need your own transport or to take a taxi to reach Ban Amphur beach, around 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Pattaya. Local families and expats frequent this stretch of golden sand, and it’s a welcome relief from the tourist-packed urban beaches. Snag a shady spot beneath the palm trees and tuck into some fresh seafood from the beachfront restaurants.
Pattaya is best-known for its beaches, nightclubs, high-rise hotels, and shopping malls. A two-hour drive from Bangkok, it’s a popular weekend getaway from the capital. Some of its bars and clubs are open 24 hours so the city is a much-loved nightlife destination....More
Many travelers find that two or three days is enough time in Pattaya, depending on their interests. Beach activities and water sports, museums, temples, shopping, and nightlife can be fit into a couple of days in Pattaya, but travelers with more time can find plenty to do....More
The do’s and don’ts in Pattaya are similar to elsewhere in Thailand. Do watch your belongings to avoid petty crime. Don’t speak negatively about the Thai king or royal family. Don’t point with your feet, or turn your back on a statue of Buddha. Do wear modest clothing in temples....More
Couples will find plenty of things to do in Pattaya. Spend time together at built-up Pattaya Beach, try water sports, enjoy an evening out dining and drinking (and perhaps dancing), and visit popular attractions such as Underwater World or Ripley’s Believe it or Not!...More
Many travelers consider Pattaya Beach to be the best beach in Pattaya, as it’s a bustling 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) stretch of sand with beach chairs. Other great beaches include those on Coral Island, just off the coast of Pattaya, as well as Dongtan Beach, Jomtien Beach, and Bamboo Beach....More
You can go to Pattaya’s many beaches for free, including Pattaya Beach, Jomtien Beach, and Paradise Beach. In some places you’ll pay to use beach chairs and other facilities, but sitting on public stretches of sand and swimming costs nothing. Another free place to check out is Pattaya Walking Street....More
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