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* '''Sriracha Tiger Zoo''', 341 Moo 3, Nongkham, [[Si Racha]] (''30 minutes from town centre''); tel. ''+66''-38296556 [http://www.tigerzoo.com]. A zoo with various shows.
 
* '''Sriracha Tiger Zoo''', 341 Moo 3, Nongkham, [[Si Racha]] (''30 minutes from town centre''); tel. ''+66''-38296556 [http://www.tigerzoo.com]. A zoo with various shows.
 
 
'''if you want to see images gallery of attractions and some attractions information, you can see at''' [http://www.pattayaconcierge.com/pattaya-attractions/ www.pattayaconcierge.com/pattaya-attractions/]
 
  
 
=== Gardens ===
 
=== Gardens ===
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Sight-seeing tourists are welcome in go-go bars, however cameras are not. Signs prohibiting photography are widespread, and a minority of venues require patrons to deposit their cameras with security staff as they enter.
 
Sight-seeing tourists are welcome in go-go bars, however cameras are not. Signs prohibiting photography are widespread, and a minority of venues require patrons to deposit their cameras with security staff as they enter.
 
'''you can see a go go bars, night clubs and images gallery''' [http://www.pattayaconcierge.com/pattaya-nightlife/ www.pattayaconcierge.com/pattaya-nightlife/]
 
  
 
=== Popular bar venues ===
 
=== Popular bar venues ===

Revision as of 16:38, 19 June 2008

View of Pattaya Bay (Ao Pattaya) from Soi 12

Pattaya (พัทยา) is a popular resort on the North Gulf Coast of Eastern Thailand, 150 km south-east of Bangkok. Most famous for its go-go and beer bars, it's also one of Thailand's best locations for all manner of sports and activities. Some of the beaches are lacklustre (by Thailand's high standards) and rampant over-development has long since destroyed any natural charms it once had, but its plethora of hotels and guest houses and convenient location with quick and easy access from the capital make it a popular weekend getaway. Catering for over 5 million tourists yearly, Pattaya is also able to offer an excellent range of eating choices and a wide variety of things to do and see.

Contents

Understand

Pattaya's name was originally "Thap Phraya", meaning Army of the Phraya - commemorating the surrender of Nai Klom's army to that of Phraya Tak (later King Taksin the Great), without a fight. Thap Phraya became Phatthaya (the name of the north-easterly wind at the beginning of the rainy season), and then Phatthaya (the true phonetic spelling).

Since 1978, Pattaya has been administered under a special autonomous system with a status comparable to that of a municipality by the mayor of Pattaya City, who has overall responsibility for policies, public services, and supervision of all City Hall employees.

Tourism

Once a sleepy fishing town, Pattaya first boomed as an R&R spot during the Vietnam War and has been a sex tourism destination trying to improve its image ever since. Currently, Pattaya is booming again: TAT claims 5,338,000 visitors for 2005 (up 6.5% from 2004), of which two-thirds were foreigners, and the opening of the new Suvarnabhumi Airport (located to the east of Bangkok, alongside the expressway to Pattaya) has made visiting easier than ever.

Pattaya is popular not only as a beach resort and for its entertainment, nightlife and shopping, but also for the broad selection of pastimes it caters for, from golf and horseback riding to bungee jumping, karting and shooting - not to mention a wide variety of watersports such as scuba diving, jet-skiing, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, and a whole lot more. Pattaya is also very popular as a conference, convention and seminar venue, and the grapevine hosts rumours of future developments of varying degrees of plausibility, such as a horse racing track, casinos, and a tram system.

The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) Information Office is just outside the centre, exactly 1 km south of the junction of Second Road and South Pattaya Road - proceed along Pratamnak Road, continue straight up the hill, and where the road bears sharp right part way up, turn sharp left into the small side-soi. Worth a visit if you're in Pattaya for an extended period and want to browse for fresh ideas for new things to do/see. Open daily 08:30-16:30, tel. +66-38428750 / 8990 / 7667 or use the TAT freephone number: dial 1672 or e-mail: tatchon@tat.or.th

Foreign language newspapers

Orientation

Districts

"Greater Pattaya" occupies most of the coastline of Banglamung (one of the eleven districts that comprise Chonburi Province). It is divided into a larger northern section which spans the areas to the east of Naklua Beach (the most northern beach) and Pattaya Beach (the main beach) plus the Buddha Hill headland (immediately south of Pattaya Beach), and a smaller southern section covering the area to the east of Jomtien Beach (which lies directly south of Buddha Hill) including Dongtan Beach. Jomtien's beaches are much broader and generally in better shape, and the atmosphere locally is more sedate and family-oriented, than at Pattaya Beach.

For information about Jomtien, see the Jomtien guide.

Sub-districts

South is central, Central is north
Pattaya's sub-district names sometimes cause confusion, usually when the official Pattaya Bay area titles (North Pattaya, Central Pattaya, South Pattaya) are misunderstood. These names don't relate to Pattaya as a whole, instead they refer to the sections of Pattaya Beach to which each sub-district is aligned.


Pattaya's coastal side is divided longitudinally into five contiguous sub-districts (or six, if also including Jomtien). Each one is named after the section of beach or headland at its seaboard.

In the middle are the three Pattaya Bay sub-districts, which share the main Baht Bus route (so most places are within 5 minutes / 10 baht of most other places, at any hour) and have much else in common, and hence in combination make up the main quasi-downtown zone:

  • North Pattaya (Pattaya Nua) - not the northern-most part of Pattaya (as Naklua lies further north), but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the northern end of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of North Pattaya Road. Does not include Naklua.
  • South Pattaya (Pattaya Tai) - not the southern-most part of Pattaya (as the Buddha Hill headland, and then Jomtien, lie further south), but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the southern end of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of South Pattaya Road. Includes Pattayaland and Walking Street. Does not include Buddha Hill or Jomtien.
  • Central Pattaya (Pattaya Klang) - not the dead center of Pattaya, but the section of Pattaya adjacent to the middle of Pattaya Beach and extending inland to both the north and south of Central Pattaya Road. Some maps/guides disregard the Central Pattaya convention, and instead extend North Pattaya and South Pattaya to meet each other along Central Pattaya Road; sometimes, Beach Road is described with a similar division, and the respective halves given "North Beach Road" and "South Beach Road" monikers.

Flanking the Pattaya Beach sub-districts are:

  • Naklua - immediately north of North Pattaya, and with quick, frequent, and inexpensive transport to and from the rest of Pattaya; Naklua is popular with visitors whose native language is German. In terms of tourism-related locations, it's the smallest and least significant sub-district, the main attractions being the beaches (which are quieter than Pattaya Beach) and the Sanctuary of Truth.
  • Buddha Hill - named after the Buddha Hill landmark and sandwiched between South Pattaya (to the north) and Jomtien (to the south); to the east, South Pattaya and Jomtien meet directly.

In practice, exactly where each sub-district ends and the next begins is a very grey area as none of the boundaries lie along major roads (and none of the many readily available tourist maps attempts to define boundaries at this level); nevertheless they do provide a handy rough guide to approximate latitude. Further inland, the sub-district names are used less, and locality/road names take precedence - for example, an address might state "Sukhumvit, Naklua" which is useful in that it makes it clear the location is to the north of the Sukhumvit / North Pattaya Road intersection, however the exact same place would not normally be described simply as being "in Naklua" as that would give the misleading impression of it being in the main beachside/tourism area further west.

Major roads

Map of major roads in Pattaya (not to scale)

Pattaya's downtown area is easy to get around. Running north-south, a few hundred metres apart, are Beach Road (Thanon Hat Pattaya, sometimes also referred to as First Road) which borders the main beach (Hat Pattaya), Pattaya Second Road and Pattaya Third Road (with the smaller but busy Soi Buakhao in between), and the main Sukhumvit Road coastal highway. Beach Road is one-way (southbound), likewise Second Road (northbound).

These are connected by the three major east-west aligned roads: North Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Nua), Central Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Klang) and South Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Tai). North Pattaya Road is a dual carriageway and carries the highest volume of traffic to and from Sukhumvit Road.

Also connecting Beach Road and Second Road are a large number of smaller streets or "sois". The main sois are numbered from 1 to 16, from north to south. Sois 1-6 are between North Pattaya Road and Central Pattaya Road; sois 7-13 are between Central Pattaya Road and South Pattaya Road (including the "Pattayaland" sois, immediately north of South Pattaya Road); sois 14-16 are south of South Pattaya Road. Most of these east-west sois are (in theory at least) one-way.

Beach Road, Second Road, and North Pattaya Road (plus Naklua Road to the north) all meet at the Dolphin Roundabout landmark. Heavy traffic and frequent accidents here have resulted in a semi-permanent diversion being set up which, at peak times, prevents vehicles (except motorcycles) from continuing around this roundabout any further than the North Pattaya Road exit, pending the installation of traffic lights some time in 2006.

Second Road south of South Pattaya Road becomes Pratamnak Road, which shares a junction with both the southern end of Third Road and the northern end of the main road to Jomtien, Tappraya Road.

Beach Road south of South Pattaya Road is closed to vehicles in the evenings (currently 18:00-02:00) and is called Walking Street; it's the main tourist area, both for nightlife and shopping. Other major tourism areas include the section of Second Road between sois 1-4, and the sois immediately north of South Pattaya Road.

At the southern end of Walking Street is the New Pier, usually called Bali Hai Pier (sometimes "Pattaya Pier" or "South Pier"). The Old Pier, close to the junction of Beach Road and South Pattaya Road, is still shown on most maps but was dismantled and removed at the beginning of 2006.

Get in

Most visitors arrive by road from or via Bangkok, many having flown in to Suvarnabhumi (the "new" BKK). Much smaller numbers arrive direct by road from the north and east, by rail from Bangkok, and by air via U-Tapao from Ko Samui or Phuket in Southern Thailand or Siem Reap in Cambodia.

A surprising number of visitors inquire about ferries across the Gulf of Thailand - however no such services exist. Those determined to go by sea may find that local dive shops can help, if cost is not a consideration.

By plane

Pattaya has no commercial airport of its own, however access by air (especially via Suvarnabhumi) is very straightforward.

Suvarnabhumi

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is Bangkok's shiny new successor to Don Muang. Only 110km from Pattaya (40km closer than Don Muang), transfers by road are inexpensive and quick (currently around 80-90 minutes) and getting quicker as the upgrades to the connecting highway are completed.

Don Muang

Don Muang Airport (new code: DMK) was superseded by Suvarnabhumi on September 28th 2006, subsequently re-opened on March 24 2007, and currently handles Nok Air, One-Two-GO, PB Air and most Thai Airways domestic flights. The easiest way to transfer is by taxi; the most economical alternatives are to go by bus via Moh Chit (Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal), or to go by train via Hualamphong (only practicable in the Pattaya to Don Muang direction).

U-Tapao

U-Tapao Airport (IATA: UTP | ICAO: VTBU | tel: +66-38245295) is sometimes incorrectly described as "Pattaya Airport" - it's actually at Sattahip, just off the main Sattahip - Chanthaburi (Sukhumvit) highway, 30km south of Pattaya. Primarily a military facility, it's the closest airport fielding commercial passenger flights, but only to a handful of destinations. There are no commercial passenger flights connecting U-Tapao directly with Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang.

Schedules (all daily, as at January 1st 2006):

Bangkok Airways (PG) flies to/from Ko Samui (USM) and Phuket (HKT) - UTP-USM & USM-UTP flights are usually slightly less expensive than BKK-USM & USM-BKK flights

- PG272 - UTP (12:10) to HKT (13:50)
- PG271 - HKT (14:20) to UTP (16:00)
- PG252 - HKT (09:20) via USM (10:40) to UTP (11:40)
- PG285 - USM (13:10) to UTP (14:10)
- PG286 - UTP (14:40) to USM (15:40)
- PG284 - UTP (16:30) to USM (17:30)

When booking flights to U-Tapao...
...consider pre-booking onward transport at the same time, as competitively priced door-to-door transfer services may not be available on arrival at U-Tapao on an ad-hoc basis.


The easiest way to transfer between U-Tapao and Pattaya is by direct door-to-door minibus - driving time is normally about 30 minutes (200-250 baht per person for pre-booked services).

If speed and convenience don't matter, the ad-hoc option is to hop on virtually any bus on Sukhumvit Road. Going south, if it's a bus that terminates at Sattahip you'll have to swap buses or finish the journey by songthaew; if it's going further east (eg Rayong, Chanthaburi or Trat) it'll drop you off at the airport entrance as it goes by. Going north, wait for a bus that's going further than Sattahip and then you won't need to transfer. Alternatively, the white songthaews that ply Sukhumvit Road between Pattaya and Sattahip charge just 20 baht.

Or to buck the trend big time, go by rail (3rd class, weekdays only) between Pattaya and Sattahip, get off just before or after the line crosses Highway 3, and connect with the airport by songthaew or bus. The fare for the 40-50 minute train ride is 6 (yes, six!) baht - depart Pattaya 10:18, arrive Sattahip 11:00; depart Sattahip 13:30, arrive Pattaya 14:21 - but don't forget, no trains on Saturdays or Sundays.

From Bangkok

First class bus

1st class buses from Bangkok to the North Pattaya Road bus station are air-con, almost always have an on-board toilet, are essentially direct (ie no stops), and provide a no fuss, no frills, hassle-free service. Departures from the Eastern (Ekamai) Terminal and Northern (Moh Chit) Terminal are frequent (every 20-40 minutes, depending on the time of day; more frequent still at public holiday weekends) and usually take 2-2.5 hours; those from the Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Bus Terminal are less frequent and take a little longer.

Departure times & fares (as at June 2006):

- Ekamai (East) to Pattaya - first 05:20, last 23:00 - 117 baht
- Pattaya to Ekamai (East) - first 05:20, last 21:00 - 117 baht
- Moh Chit (North) to Pattaya - first 05:00, last 20:00 - 117 baht (tollway route: 121 baht)
- Pattaya to Moh Chit (North) - first 05:20, last 20:00 - 113 baht (tollway route: 121 baht)
- Sai Tai Mai (South) to Pattaya - 05:30, 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:30 - 117 baht
- Pattaya to Sai Tai Mai (South) - 06:00, 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:00, 18:00 - 113 baht
- Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya - 09:00, 13:00, 17:00 - 106 baht
- Pattaya to Suvarnabhumi Airport - times to be confirmed - approx. 120 baht

Fares may vary slightly depending on the route taken - for example, at busy times when the Moh Chit service uses the elevated express tollway, a marginally higher fare applies - however exact prices are always clearly posted at the official ticket counters.

All 1st class direct services to/from Bangkok use the recently redeveloped bus station on North Pattaya Road. These buses are usually full when they depart, and must be boarded at the terminus. Tickets are sold at the bus station; it's not possible to pre-book these services more than an hour or so in advance. Usually, if the bus that's due to leave next is already full, there will be seats available on the next one. The longest queues are for the very early morning departures from Pattaya - to get a seat on the first bus of the day you need to be in the ticket queue at least 30-40 minutes early; however the bonus is that these pre-rush hour services can take as little as 90 minutes to get to Bangkok.

From the North Pattaya Road bus station songthaews (a cross between a pickup truck, a share-taxi, a local bus and two pews) depart when full (every few minutes). The fare to anywhere on Beach Road ("the beach") is 20 baht; press the buzzer button on the underside of the roof when you want to get off.

Pattaya to the Eastern (Ekamai) Terminal: if requested, this bus will stop at the On Nut Skytrain Station (station map) on Sukhumvit Road. Depending on your final destination and the traffic conditions, you may want to transfer to the Skytrain (system map) there; if so, wait until the bus departs Pattaya and then confirm with the crew that you want to be dropped off at "On Nut". NB: this bus does not stop to pick up passengers at On Nut (or anywhere else) on the outbound leg.

Pattaya from/to the Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Terminal: if the direct bus is fully booked, take the Eastern (Ekamai) Terminal bus instead, and use the #511 (air-con, every 30 minutes 24/7, 20 baht) bus to connect between Ekamai and Sai Tai Mai.

Pattaya from/to Suvarnabhumi Airport - this service runs from Suvarnabhumi Airport Transport Centre, which is connected to the main arrivals/departures terminals by a free shuttle bus service.

Second class bus

2nd class services (air-con, usually no on-board toilet) don't use the expressways, and make frequent (and sometimes lengthy) stops, hence they take considerably longer than their 1st class counterparts (which at worst will only halt momentarily once or twice to let passengers jump off on the final approaches to their destination). As at June 2006 the 2nd class fare is 100 baht, so the difference in price doesn't amount to much.

Many 2nd class buses from Bangkok continue on to Jomtien, so may be worth considering if that's your final destination and you're not in a hurry. For travel from Jomtien to Bangkok they have the advantage that they can be flagged down and boarded as they crawl along Jomtien's seafront road (Jomtien Beach Road - Thanon Hat Jomtien), avoiding the need for a preliminary trip to the bus station.

The terminus for 2nd class services to/from Bangkok and other short-haul destinations is on South Pattaya Road, but in practice these buses pick up and drop off the majority of their passengers en route. Tickets are sold both at the bus station (although advance booking may not be possible) and on the bus itself.

Minibus

  • Bangkok - minibuses run between Pattaya and Bangkok's hotels and Khao San Road, offering the convenience of a door-to-door service for around 400 baht/person. Departure times vary, but 09:00 / 12:00 / 17:30 are the most widely advertised. Driving time is about 2 hours, however it can take quite a bit longer overall (especially if you're the first to be collected and the last to be dropped off). One such service runs direct between Pattaya Dynasty Inn (Soi 13) and Bangkok Dynasty Inn (Soi Nana), and can be arranged through the Dynasty Inn reception desks.
  • U-Tapao Airport (near Sattahip) - about 30 minutes, 200-250 baht; departure times to suit flight schedules (pre-booking especially important when flying to U-Tapao)
  • Ban Phe (gateway to Ko Samet) - about 90 minutes, 150-200 baht; departures typically 07:30, 11:30, 15:00

It's also possible to travel by minibus to Hat Lek (for the southern-most border crossing between Thailand and Cambodia) but not every day of the week; this service may or may not go via Laem Ngop, depending on overall demand. As at January 2006: depart 07:30, arrive around 14:00, 700 baht, Tuesday and Friday only - but liable to change, so enquire locally for the latest schedule details.

Travel agencies (ubiquitous throughout Pattaya) plus many hotels/guesthouses sell minibus tickets, and tourist-oriented services such as these invariably include collection from your hotel/guesthouse/wherever (allow extra time for this - times quoted above are approximate transit times and make no allowance for the vagaries of the collection process).

By taxi

To Bangkok - widely advertised in Pattaya at 800 baht (the lower price is because it'll be a Bangkok cab returning home), and easily arranged through most travel agencies and hotels/guesthouses. Minibuses can also be chartered taxi-style from around 1800 baht.

From Bangkok - prices range from 1500 baht (the official meter-taxi rate) to 1000 baht; arranged car services will tend toward the higher end, but licenced meter-taxis should be negotiable to the lower end of the range. Allow about 90-120 minutes, depending on where in Bangkok you're coming from; more around rush hour.

From Suvarnabhumi Airport - the official meter-taxi price to Pattaya is 1050 baht (1100 baht to Jomtien) plus the 60 baht highway ("motorway" or "expressway") toll. Allow around 80-90 minutes in favourable conditions.

Scams to watch out for when headed for Bangkok by taxi include being told that the pre-paid price is fully inclusive, but then, on arrival at the first toll booth, being told that the expressway fees are extra.

Many of the more upmarket hotels can arrange (for an additional fee) to have you met at the airport gate by a personal driver with a limousine, thus avoiding the need to negotiate with taxi drivers.

By train

Provided it's a weekday, the most economical way to travel between Pattaya and Bangkok by public transport is by rail - the one-way fare is just 31 baht, and if you've never experienced a 3rd class Thai train, this is a good one to try.

From Monday to Friday, a single daily 3rd class (non-aircon) train departs Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station at 06:50 and arrives at the main Pattaya station at 10:18, before continuing on to Sattahip; it then returns via Pattaya at 14:21 and terminates back in Bangkok at 17:40 (on Saturdays and Sundays it turns back to Bangkok at Chachoengsao, so is of no practical use for getting to or from Pattaya at weekends). Regardless of direction, simply turn up and buy a ticket at the station - this train can't be pre-booked.

Pattaya has two train stations, both just east of Sukhumvit Road:

  • Pattaya Train Station (tel. +66-38429285) is the main stop, just north of the junction with Central Pattaya Road (from Sukhumvit Road, turn into Soi Pornprapanimit and then turn left immediately before the road crosses the railway line). A Baht Bus waits here for the train to arrive and charges a reasonable 30 baht/person to anywhere in the Pattaya Beach area; in the opposite direction, budget around 40-50 baht for a motorbike taxi from Beach Road. Facilities comprise a small snacks / chilled drinks counter, toilets, a solitary payphone, and the ticket office - which also sells maps of Pattaya.
  • Pattaya Tai Train Station is a small unmanned halt about 3 km further south, and hence closer to Jomtien, near the Sukhumvit / Thepprasit Road intersection.

At the main Pattaya Train Station, tickets must be bought before boarding and are only sold in the final 30 minutes prior to departure. The fare from/to Bangkok is 31 baht, from/to Sattahip 6 baht.

As the Pattaya Tai halt has no ticket office, passengers are permitted to board here without tickets and then pay on the train (32 baht to Bangkok).

The surcharge for transporting a bicycle (up to 20 kg) between any two points on this line (ie Bangkok-Sattahip) is 80 baht.

Tickets for other journeys can be purchased (up to a maximum of 60 days in advance) at the Pattaya Train Station ticket office between 08:00 and 16:00; the same tickets can also be arranged through Pattaya agencies, who will add on a 200-300 baht markup to cover their assistance and the cost of sending a moto-taxi to collect the tickets from the station.

From other regions

East

By road: Sukhumvit-route 2nd class aircon buses operate from Bangkok's Eastern (Ekamai) Bus Terminal and pick up and drop off on Sukhumvit at the Pattaya Nua / Pattaya Klang / Pattaya Tai traffic lights. Fares from/to Pattaya are Sattahip 20 baht, U-Tapao (Sukhumvit traffic lights, does not access the airport itself) 35 baht, Rayong (bus station) 50 baht, Ban Phe (Sukhumvit traffic lights, does not detour into the town) 60 baht, Chanthaburi (bus station) 115 baht, and Trat (bus station) 165 baht. Some terminate at Chanthaburi, however it's easy to transfer between there and Trat.

North-East

By road: for most (if not all) destinations in Isaan, it's not necessary to go via Bangkok. If a direct service isn't available, it's usually possible to connect via Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat).

Nakhonchai Air Co. (tel. +66-38427841 / +66-38424871) provides "VIP", 1st class, and non-aircon passenger services (plus parcel services) to Ubon Ratchathani (~11 hours) as follows:

  • VIP (32 seats, 540 baht) departures 17:15, 18:35, 20:15, 20:30, 20:45
  • 1st class (465 baht) departures 07:45, 17:45
  • non-aircon (3rd class, 255 baht) departures 16:45, 18:00, 19:45

Roong Reuang Coach operates five Isaan services from the bus station on North Pattaya Road (the 1st class Bangkok bus terminal), all of which are air-con and go via Aranyaprathet (1st class 209 baht / 2nd class 162 baht / ~5 hours) and then either Buriram and Roi Et or Surin and Yasothon, and then terminate at Mukdahan (~13 hours) as follows:

  • 2nd class via Surin & Yasothon (428 baht) departs 07:00
  • 1st class via Buriram & Roi Et (553 baht) departures 08:30, 19:00
  • 1st class via Surin & Yasothon (551 baht) departures 17:30, 19:30

By rail: it's possible to take the train from Pattaya to Chachoengsao (weekdays only) and switch there to a train to Aranyaprathet, or vice-versa, but either way the connection can only be made by spending the night in Chachoengsao. For trains to Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), Buriram, Surin, Si Saket, Ubon, etc, connect via Bangkok's Hualamphong station.

North

By road: it's possible to travel direct to/from numerous locations in Northern Thailand, however it's often quicker overall to go via the Northern (Moh Chit) Terminal in Bangkok. Much depends on final destination, time of travel, and available services; but if in doubt, the safest bet will usually be to stick with the 1st class buses and go via Moh Chit.

Nakhonchai Air Co. (tel. +66-38427841 / +66-38424871) provides "VIP", 1st class, and non-aircon passenger services (plus parcel services) to Chiang Mai and Mae Sai from premises on the southbound side of Sukhumvit Road (30/7 Moo 9), one block south of the junction with Central Pattaya Road.

To Chiang Mai (approx. 13.5 hours):

  • VIP (32 seats, 670 baht) departures 14:30, 17:25, 18:30, 19:00
  • 1st class (620 baht) departures 14:45, 18:15
  • non-aircon (3rd class, 345 baht) departs 06:15

To Mae Sai (approx. 15 hours):

  • VIP (32 seats, 770 baht) departures 15:00, 17:00
  • 1st class (720 baht) departs 15:15
  • non-aircon (3rd class, 390 baht) departs 12:15

It's always worth considering pre-booking long-haul bus tickets, however more often than not seats will still be available an hour or so prior to departure.

By rail: it may be possible to use the one daily (weekdays only) train to/from Pattaya to connect with a northern line overnight train at Bangkok's Hualamphong station (pre-booking is advised for berths on overnight trains; this can be arranged at or via Pattaya Train Station).

South

The options for Southern Thailand are to fly to U-Tapao (near Sattahip) direct to/from Ko Samui or Phuket, or else to go via Bangkok. Note that a direct bus service between Pattaya and the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok was introduced in 2005; also that it may be worth considering using the one daily (weekdays only) train to/from Pattaya and connecting with a southern line overnight train at Bangkok's Hualamphong station (pre-booking is advised for berths on overnight trains; this can be arranged at or via Pattaya Train Station).

Get around

By songthaew

Apart from a handful of privately operated examples, Pattaya has no tuk-tuks and most ad hoc local transport is undertaken by a flotilla of over 700 dark blue coloured songthaews - pickup trucks converted to buses, also called Baht Buses. The official "bus" fare is 5 baht for trips within Pattaya, however foreigners are universally expected to pay 10 baht. Having the correct change is by no means essential, but does keep the potential hassle factor to a minimum. Flat fares only apply when operating as a bus; beware the driver of an otherwise empty songthaew, especially one that's parked up at the roadside, who might presume (or decide on your behalf) that you want to charter - in which case expect a much higher fare of 100 baht or more, depending on your negotiating skills.

The busiest route is the beach circuit: from the junction of Second Road and South Pattaya Road, north along Second Road to the Dolphin Circle roundabout; then south along the full length of Beach Road; then briefly east along South Pattaya Road to complete the loop. Frequency is virtually non-stop, and even at the most unlikely hours, average waiting time is literally no more than a few seconds.

The routes sometimes vary - for example with a left turn (from Beach Road or Second Road) into Central Pattaya Road; or no left turn at the Dolphin Circle roundabout (where Second Road, Beach Road and North Pattaya Road meet) and going straight on to Naklua (or even a right turn towards the bus station and Sukhumvit). The only way to know the route for sure is to ask (but don't let the driver mistake your asking as a charter request). Sometimes the driver will just decide to turn down a random soi for no apparent reason, or because he's just been hired as a taxi, but you'll still be expected to pay your 10 baht if you've ridden for more than a soi or two - however surprises such as these are few and far between.

It's also easy to catch songthaews along South Pattaya Road, Central Pattaya Road, and North Pattaya Road; in the case of the latter, there's often a songthaew waiting at the Dolphin Circle roundabout (they depart from here at regular intervals, or when full, and the fare to the bus station is 10 baht) and there's also a free songthaew service to the Tesco-Lotus supermarket on North Pattaya Road.

For Jomtien, songthaews wait at the beginning of Pratamnak Road (the continuation of Second Road, from the South Pattaya Road crossroads), and charge 10 baht.

For Naklua, take a songthaew up Second Road to the Dolphin Roundabout. If the songthaew turns left or right at the roundabout (ie it's not one of the few that continue straight on to Naklua), disembark immediately and cross to the north side of the roundabout, and either walk or take a north-bound songthaew (10 baht) from there.

White coloured songthaews ply Sukhumvit Road, going as far as Si Racha and Sattahip (20 baht); full-size buses to destinations as far away as Trat and even Chiang Mai also stop and pick up passengers on Sukhumvit Road (at the South Pattaya Road, Central Pattaya Road, and North Pattaya Road junctions).

If you're overcharged by a songthaew driver, note the three digit vehicle number (top left corner of the windscreen, also stencilled on both sides and in the back) and report the problem to:

  • Pattaya City Manager: dial 038429216
  • Banglamung District Baht Bus Cooperative: dial 038221271 / 038423554

By local bus

After long delays, a government-subsidised public bus system charging 30 baht/trip, 90 baht/day, 180 baht/3-day and 900 baht/month was test-launched in August 2005. The long-term plan is for six routes (three clockwise, three anticlockwise - map), with three air-con 34-seat buses per route making scheduled stops from 06:00 to 02:00 at 20 minute intervals. The introduction of facilities for wheelchairs, and additional open-top sightseeing buses, have also been proposed.

As at mid-2006 the green line has been suspended, the frequency on the remaining routes has been extended to 30 minutes, and the one-trip fare reduced to 20 baht. How temporary or permanent these changes are is unclear, but in the meantime, be aware that Pattaya now has a lot of shiny new bus-stop signs which make no attempt to tell prospective passengers that they are not in use. Brochures with details of the routes/stops (but not times) are available from the bus drivers; for updates, try dialing 038757340 /1 or e-mail pbb_bus@yahoo.com.

By motorbike taxi

The quickest way to get around is by motorcycle (motosai). A moto-taxi will be less expensive than a songthaew charter, but arguably less safe. Roadside moto-taxi stands are scattered throughout town, and waiting drivers usually clap their hands or sometimes call out to attract the attention of potential passengers; alternatively just flag down the next available one that cruises by, as the drivers are easily identified by their coloured vests. Some will carry two (or more!) passengers - although this is illegal. Foreigners can expect to pay around 30-40 baht for trips around the inner parts of town.

By taxi

Meter-taxis are a common sight in and around Pattaya. All are from Bangkok; their drivers bring passengers from the capital, and then operate locally until a return fare becomes available. There are also some car services and non-metered taxis that operate on an on-call basis; minibuses can also be chartered. These services are suited primarily to longer trips outside the core of the town or to another city, and can be arranged through most travel agencies and many hotels/guesthouses. Expect to pay considerably more than the cost of a songthaew charter, probably in the order of a few hundred baht.

Rentals

If considering renting a vehicle, bear in mind that traffic in Pattaya can seem very erratic by Western standards, and that driving on the left can be confusing not only for those who have previously only ever driven on the right, but also for those unfamiliar with the common Thai practice (even the police do this) of motorcycling alongside the kerb on the "oncoming" side of the road, or the wrong way up one-way streets. The latter problem is especially prevalent in the Pattaya Bay area, where the majority of the roads in the main tourism zones are one-way; and the northern section of Second Road requires great care as some treat the right-hand "bus" lane as oncoming, while others do not.

Motorcycles and Scooters

Motorcycle rentals are a very popular way to get around, but not the safest, especially in the case of visitors with limited previous experience of motorcycling and Eastern traffic habits, and even more so in Pattaya given the large number of motorcycle-mounted holidaymakers who seem hell-bent on a Darwin Award. Also note that a motorcyclist carrying a shoulder bag, and anything placed in the front basket of a motorcycle, makes an especially easy target for bag-snatchers. Also beware the "No Parking" signs - fines are typically 400-500 baht.

Motorbikes can be rented without difficulty at countless locations in Pattaya, including many hotels and guesthouses, usually without having to produce a licence; however it's common for foreigners to be asked to deposit their passports as security (to avoid this, simply shop around until you find one of the many places that will accept a photocopy instead); cash deposits are also often required (1000 baht is not uncommon). Motorcycle rentals do not include insurance, and both motorcycling accidents and motorbike thefts are common.

  • Take It Easy, Pattaya New Plaza, Second Road, tel. +66-90077804. British management, open 09:00-19:00; sample prices:
- fully automatic 115cc scooter: 750 baht/4 days, 900 baht/week, 2900 baht/month
- Kawasaki KSR 115cc: 1100 baht/4 days, 1400 baht/week, 4400 baht/month
- Honda XR 250 trail/enduro: 2000 baht/4 days, 2900 baht/week, 10000 baht/month
  • Cheap Charlies, tel. +66-38720452, [1]. Assorted rentals from 100 baht/day, plus used motorcycle sales.
  • East Coast Choppers, tel. +66-38303113, [2]. Harley Davidson rentals.
  • Maipang Motorcycle Rentals, tel. +66-38361090 / +66-38303406, [3].
  • Jans, tel. +66-38373594. Advertises rates from 2000 baht/month for long-term rentals.

Noks Bike Rentals..at the "TAKE IT EASY BAR", Soi 7/8.. British managed, open 24hours, also sells European bike helmets.

Cars and jeeps

Cars can easily be rented, and are a good way to explore beyond the city limits, but they are not such a practicable way to get around the busiest central areas as traffic can be congested, and parking spaces can be difficult to find in the evening and weekend periods. However the major supermarkets offer free parking, and low-cost parking is available at the major shopping venues such as Royal Garden Plaza, Central Festival & Big C on Second Road.

Rentals without insurance start from around 800 baht/day for small cars, and from as little as 600 baht/day for open-top jeeps; cars with insurance start at just under 1000 baht/day, and come down to around 5600 baht/week or 18000 baht/month in low season. High season prices (from early November) are generally a few hundred baht more.

Getting the correct type of insurance cover on any rental car in Thailand is extremely important. Commerical "Car Rental Company" First Class Insurance provides the absolute full legal cover (as opposed to limited personal or third party only insurance cover. Request a copy of the policy document and check that it states "For Comercial Use".

  • Avis, tel. +66-38361627 (Dusit Resort) or +66-38428755 (Hard Rock Hotel), [4]
  • Budget, Beach Road, tel. +66-38710717, [5]
  • CCR Car Rent, Third Road, tel. +66-38489401 [6]
  • Chalee Car Rent, Third Road, tel. +66-38720413, [7]
  • Hertz, tel. +66-26542553 (Marriot Resort) / tel. +66-38716693 (Sukhumvit Road), [9]
  • Holiday Car Rentals, tel. +66-38723814 (Second Road) / tel. +66-38426303 (Third Road), [10]
  • National, Liabchayhard Rd, tel. +66-38416125 /6, [11]
  • Q Cars, Jomtien, tel. +66-38231694, [12]

ATVs

  • Imac ATV Centre, at the Beach Road end of Tipp Plaza, near Mike Shopping Mall - tel. +66-79532173 / +66-98884340 fax. +66-38227064, [13]. Has a small fleet of assorted models. Prices start at 1500 baht/day for a 4-stroke 150cc quad with road tyres that can carry two people; rates for larger models (some with off-road tyres) go as high as 3000 baht/day.

Bicycles

Bicycles could, until recently, be rented at Jomtien - however due to lack of demand the current options are to either bring your own, or buy one locally - see the Do | Sports | "cycling" section

See

Animals & zoos

  • Underwater World Pattaya, 22/22 Moo 11 Sukhumvit Road (15 minutes from town centre); tel. +66-38756879. Aquarium full of tropical creatures. Open 09:00-18:00, last admission 17:30, feeding times 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 14:00, 14:30, 15:00. Different prices for Thais (180 baht/adult, 120 baht/child) and foreigners (360 baht/adult, 180 baht/child).
  • Institute of Marine Science Aquarium & Museum, Burapha University, 169 Long-Hard Bangsaen Road, Bangsaen; tel. +66-38391671 /3 [14] is open 08:30-16:00 (feeding time 14:30), except public holidays (open 08:30-17:00, feeding times 10:30 + 14:30) and Mondays (closed); admission 20 baht/adult, 10 baht/child.
  • Oasis Seaworld, Paknam, Laemsing, Chanthaburi - full day guided trips including 45 minutes swimming with dolphins - approx. 2000 baht/adult 1500 baht/child - available via travel agencies.

There are two submarines (yellow ones, of course!) with tour operators in Pattaya:

  • Hynix of the Sea [15] - main ticket office at the Second Road end of Tipp Plaza (near Soi 10); tel. +66-38711059 /60
  • Vimantaitalay [16] contact any Pattaya travel agency; or tel. +66-38415234

Elephant shows & trekking offered by several operators, most located on Sukhumvit Road. These include Ban Chang Thai tel. +66-3870628 /91, Utthayan Chang tel. +66-38716379, Thin Chang Thai tel. +66-38756516 / +66-38756577, Suan Chang tel. +66-38756517, Farm Chang Thai tel. +66-38237825.

  • Elephant Village, 54/1 Moo 2, Tambol Nong Prue; tel+fax. +66-38249818, +66-38249853 [17] offers shows, elephant trekking and jungle tours (including a four-day/three-night tour in Phrae Province).
  • Monkey Training Centre, Soi Chaiyaphruk (off Highway #3) tel. +66-38756367 / +66-38756570. Features monkeys trained to harvest coconuts and undertake other tasks. Also stages cockfighting (a traditional Thai bloodsport) and a snake show. Open daily, shows 09:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 17:00 - admission 250 baht.
  • International Snake Show, Sukhumvit Road (39/4 Moo 5 - near the junction with North Pattaya Road) tel. +66-38731586 / snake_show@hotmail.com
  • Khao Kheow Open Zoo (35 km north of Pattaya) tel. +66-38298270 [18]. A huge zoo with about 8000 animals of 300 species. Open daily - 08:00-18:00, 50 baht/adult, 10-15 baht/child; Night Safari 19:00-20:00, 100 baht/adult, 50 baht/child.
  • Sriracha Tiger Zoo, 341 Moo 3, Nongkham, Si Racha (30 minutes from town centre); tel. +66-38296556 [19]. A zoo with various shows.

Gardens

  • Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, 163 Sukhumvit Road (15 minutes east of town centre); tel. +66-38429321 [20]. Beautiful gardens with waterfalls, elephant shows, "Cultural Extravaganza" performances 4 times a day, restaurants etc. - enough to fill an entire day. In Feb 2007 they had major construction ongoing. We did the whole place in 90 minutes. Disappointing. Yet another place in Pattaya that thinks it is acceptable to charge foreigners more than Thais .200 baht for locals, 400 baht for foreigners. This practice is illegal in Thailand but strangely nobody in authority is prepared to do something about it.
  • Saithip Butterfly Garden, 79/5 Moo 11 Bangpra-Khaokheow Road, Bangpra Sriracha; tel. +66-99365339. Open 08:00-17:00. Admission for foreigners: 100 baht/adult, 60 baht/child.

Museums

  • Bottle Art Museum, 79/15 Moo 9, Sukhumvit Road, Nongpler; tel. +66-38422957, +66-38415783 [21]. More than 300 miniatures in bottles, open 08:00-20:00.
  • Open Eyes, 2nd floor of Pattaya Bazaar, 266/52-53 North Pattaya Road; tel. +66-38362077. "The Great Experience Behind The Magical", a lot of technological magic and illusion shows. Open 15:00-23:00; show time 15:00-23:00; Spy Zone show time 15:00-22:00.
  • Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum (tel. +66-38710294 /8) is located on the third floor of Royal Garden Plaza. Access from both Second Road (you can't miss this side - there's a large aeroplane protruding from the upper floors) and from Beach Road. Different prices for Thais (280 baht/adult, 230 baht/child) and foreigners (380 baht/adult, 280 baht/child); at the same location there's also a "Haunted Experience" show, a 4D movie theatre and "Infinity Maze" game. Various combination tickets available, all dual-priced - for Thais (480 baht/adult, 380 baht/child) and foreigners (580 baht/adult, 480 baht/child) to enter all four. Open daily 11:00-23:00.

Sacred places

  • Buddha Hill (between Thappraya Road and Phratamnak Road; 5-10 minutes by songthaew) is one of the highest points in Pattaya. At the summit is the biggest Buddha statue in Pattaya, and nearby is a beautiful Chinese-style sacred area dedicated to Confucius and Lao-zi. The next hill, just across the Phratamnak Road, has the best Pattaya Bay coastline viewpoint and is also worth a visit, especially for sunset.
  • Sanctuary of Truth, 206/2 Moo 5, Soi 12, Naklua Road, Naklua; tel. +66-38225407 / +66-38367229 [22]. An unfinished project, but worth a visit even now. The main attraction is a huge ancient-style wooden temple; nearby is a small dolphinarium with dolphin shows at 11:30 and 15:30.

Theme parks

  • Gems Gallery, 555 Moo 6, North Pattaya Road; tel. +66-38371222. One of several "World's Biggest" jewelry stores, this one also has a theme park.
  • Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm (15 minute drive from central Pattaya) [23]. Features an exotic zoo, and crocodile, fire-swallowing and magic shows, as well as the garden and stone park. Open 08:00-18:30.
  • Mini Siam [24] is located on Sukhumvit Road, surrounded by Soi 33, and features miniature replicas of iconic structures from Thailand and all over the world.
  • Three Kingdoms Theme Park, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong; tel. +66-38421428 [25]. Adjacent to Horseshoe Point (20 minutes from Pattaya), this is a Chinese-style garden filled with pagodas, murals and figures from the Chinese epic San Guo Zhi, and more an expression of filial piety than a theme park. Perhaps worth a quick look on a slow day, but unlikely to offer much to visitors not familiar with the story. 60 baht/adult, 30 baht/child.

Do

Beaches

The three-kms. long, main Pattaya Beach, runs along the city centre. The beach is full of life with hotels, restaurants, shopping malls all along the road facing the beach. The street along the beach – Walking Street – comes alive with rock music as the night sets in. People throng the street to experience the night life, which is unique in all respects. There are hundreds of beer bars, go-go bars, discotheques around the area. Muay Thai, the Thai Boxing, an open arena in some of the beer bars are exciting to the hilt.

Another beach in Pattaya, Jomtien Beach, more popular among family vacationers, is on the Southern part of the city, and separated from the main Pattaya Bay by a hill. Jomtien is more calm and serene compared to the crowded Pattaya Beach and a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Jomtien is also popular for its amusement park and tower, to keep children entertained. The one-km. long, Wong Phrachan Beach, situated on the Northern part of the Pattaya Beach is a favourite among swimmers.

Pattaya's main beaches are popular and busy places. For the thrill-seekers, activities include banana-boat rides, jet-skiing, water-skiing, parasailing, windsurfing, and the like; and anyone who just wants to enjoy a simple swim or a good splash around with a frisbee or rented inner tube will always find themselves with plenty of company. However, while in and beyond the surf, a wary eye does need to be kept on the more frenetic elements of the passing traffic.

For those more interested in inactivities there are acres of sand jam-packed with recliners and umbrellas (usually with an "in-house" supply of drinks), serviced by an army of laid-back but tenacious hawkers offering anything and everything from food (especially seafood, fruit, ice cream) to massage, manicure/pedicure, tattoos, lottery tickets, newspapers, herbs, flowers, gems, perfumes, sunglasses, CDs, watches, lighters, clothes, toys, souvenirs, handycrafts (it's a bit like TV shopping - as soon as you've declined one offer, it's time to consider another) and so on. Eventually you buy a very dark pair of sunglasses, and after that you just pretend to be asleep.

Beware of dirty, unclean, unknown objects in the beaches and sand, and pay attention to your children. There have been some cases where needles and injections have been found at morning on beaches when the night before teenagers or adults have been intoxicating themselves. But most of the time beach cleaners will clean and sort out the beaches early at the morning. But still pay attention.

Pattaya Bay

Pattaya Beach (Hat Pattaya) is 2.9 km long and bordered by Beach Road. Due to its central location and extreme proximity to several hundred hotels, and because it's a relatively narrow strip of sand, it's crowded at the best of times (and even more so at high tide). Hefty fines for littering help keep the sand neat and tidy, however the sea is not so clean around here.

The northern end of Pattaya Bay (Ao Pattaya) is occupied by Wong Amat Beach, which is accessed from Naklua; and beyond the southern end, around the Buddha Hill headland that separates Pattaya Bay from Jomtien, are several more smaller beaches.

Jomtien

Jomtien ("Chom Thian", etc) Beach is a 10-15 minute (10 baht) songthaew ride south from the centre of Pattaya. Some 6 km long, it is especially popular with Thai families enjoying day outings. Places to eat and sleep line the opposite side of Jomtien Beach Road and the many sois that lead from it.

Dongtan Beach, at the northern end of Jomtien Bay, has a traffic-free promenade, and the area in front of the Avalon Beach Resort is popular with gay visitors.

Naklua

Naklua Bay is immediately north of Pattaya Bay, with Rachvate Cape separating the two. Naklua Beach, to the far north, is the main strip, with the smaller Crescent Moon Beach and then Palm Beach further south. Beyond them is Wong Amat Beach which occupies the northern end of Pattaya Bay, but is accessed from Naklua. All are generally cleaner and more suitable for quiet relaxation than Pattaya Beach.

Islands

  • Ko Laan (or Lan or Larn, or Coral Island) is 7.5 km west of Pattaya. It covers an area of 5.6 sq.km and has six popular beaches with a decidedly "touristic day-trip" flavour, offering banana boat rides, jet-skiing, parasailing, and the like. Also available from and around Ko Laan are various underwater activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, seabed walking and submarine rides; there are also numerous restaurants, some accommodation, and a shooting range. Regular ferries from Bali Hai Pier costs 20 baht and take 30-45 minutes - departure times: from Pattaya 07:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30, 17:00, 18:30; from Ko Laan 06:30, 07:30, 09:30, 12:00, 14:00, 17:00, 18:00. Alternatively speedboats can be chartered just about anywhere along the main beaches, typically for 1500-2500 baht; or you can book a day trip via an agency - expect to pay 500-600 baht for minibus collection from your hotel around 09:00, ferry from Bali Hai Pier direct to one of the main beaches (taking about half an hour), lunch, soft drinks, return ferry around 16:00, and minibus back to your hotel.
  • Ko Saak (or Sak), less than 1 km north of Ko Laan, is a small horseshoe-shaped island with two interconnected beaches. The northern beach is popular for swimming and snorkeling, and the southern beach is a good place to see coral.
  • Ko Khrok (or Krok), 2 km east of Ko Laan, is an isolated rocky islet with a single 100 metre stretch of sandy beach to the east, where visitors can see coral reefs.
  • Ko Phai (Bamboo Island) and other islands in the Ko Phai group - Ko Klung Badan (or Krung Badan), Ko Luam (or Leom), Ko Man Wichai and Ko Rin (or Lin) - are preferred destinations for scuba divers, and are also popular for general relaxation, fishing, swimming and snorkeling day trips. This area is controlled by the Royal Thai Navy, and overnight stays are not permitted. For a return speedboat charter from one of the mainland beaches or Bali Hai Pier (approx. 23 km / 2 hours), expect to pay 2500-4000 baht; possibly less from Ko Laan.

Entertainment

Cinemas in Thailand tend to be severely air conditioned - bring a long sleeve shirt, or jacket, or both! Otherwise, the two large mall cinemas in Pattaya are mostly up to Western standards. Some (but by no means all) Thai-language films are subtitled in English (check the billing at the theatre) and some films will have both subtitled and non-subtitled showings.

Cinema patrons must stand during the King's anthem; singing along is generally frowned upon.

  • SF Multiplex - Central Festival (Big-C) - tel. +66-38361500. Has six theatres with ticket prices around 90 baht, slightly more at weekends.
  • SF Multiplex - Royal Garden Plaza - tel. +66-38428057. Has two theatres, with prices 10-20 baht lower than the Central Festival location.
  • Major Cineplex - The Avenue Pattaya Second Rd and Soi 13


Video games are a popular pastime in Thailand, hence PlayStation and computer game shops are everywhere in Pattaya. The usual rate is 20 baht/hour, making for pretty cheap entertainment, but expect things to get very crowded and loud in the hours after school lets out. There's a big shop on Soi Chaiyaphum (right off Soi Buakhao across from Soi Diana Inn) that's open 24/7 and has more comfortable chairs.

Arcades can be found lurking behind the cinema at Central Festival (Big-C) and in the Tesco-Lotus complex on North Pattaya Road (but neither is worth getting excited about) and touch-screen amusement machines are scattered throughout the shopping malls.

Festivals & events

Songkran

Songkran is the Thai New Year, celebrated primarily by everyone throwing prodigious quantities of water at anything that moves. Pattaya officially celebrates Songkran on later dates (April 18-19) than most of the rest of the country (April 13-15) - but in reality the fun just starts early and keeps on going that much longer. During this period many hotels and guesthouses have high occupancy levels, and public transport services (especially buses to/from Bangkok) are very busy, with more frequent than normal departures but also with appreciable delays due to the general mayhem on the roads.

For more on Songkran in general, including the more traditional religious and spiritual aspects, see Thailand | Holidays

Songkran in Pattaya follows the same overall pattern as seen elsewhere in Thailand, but is especially vigorous in areas such as Soi 7 and Soi 8. Expect to get very wet indeed and you're unlikely to be disappointed - regardless of where you go or what else you actually plan to do. Although things calm down considerably after dusk, it's still worth keeping anything that could easily be damaged (especially cameras, mobile telephones, passports etc) in plastic bags.

As is the case throughout Thailand, Songkran is a particularly dangerous time on the roads, and especially for motorcyclists and moto-taxi passengers. It's also a bad time to get caught without protection for your luggage while travelling in a songthaew, so if arriving or departing during this period, either plan ahead (bin-liners are invaluable) or else take a taxi instead.

Note that the banks in Pattaya close for three days on the "national" Songkran dates (April 13-15) and are open as normal on the Pattaya-specific dates. Pattaya Immigration Office also closes on the "national" dates, and for the rest of the period hands back all passports pre-wrapped in plastic bags, without being asked.

Massage

Pattaya has an abundance of massage shops; some are strictly non-sexual, others are not. The most common types of massage include Thai massage, foot massage, oil massage and reflexology massage. Three large "soapy massage" parlors clustered on Second Road, near Big C, offer a combination of bathing with a girl, body-to-body soap massage and sex.

  • Spa View (at the Mark-Land Hotel, soi 1, tel. +66-38411203) One of the largest massage and spa complexes in Pattaya, offering aromatherapy oil massage, herbal steam sauna, skin whitening treatment, body treatment with aroe vera herbal, mineral water treatment, body treatment with milk & honey, milk bath treatment, physical massage, foot massage etc. Facial treatments: hair wash & care, nail care & treatment, hand & foot therapy by soaking with herbal water and wash and foot massage, facial massage/scrub/ozone/fruit skin treatment/lotion etc.

Sports

Pattaya can provide for an entire holiday of sports and activities.

Pattaya Sports Club [26] (tel. +66-38361167) is primarily an organisation for local sportsmen/women and has good online resources for those seeking to play golf or other sports while in the area.

Aerobics

  • A free open-air aerobics class is held alongside the beach next to the junction of Beach Road and Soi Yodsak (Soi 6) daily at 18:00.
  • Aqua-aerobics exercise classes are held at the Dusit Resort Sports & Fitness Club (next to the Dolphin Roundabout) tel. +66-38425611 ext.226

Badminton

  • Ambassador City Sports Center, 21/10 Moo 2, Sukhumvit Road - tel. +66-38231501 /4. good for badminton.
  • Pattaya Badminton Club, 390/10 Moo 10, Soi 17 (near Third Road, South Pattaya) tel. +66-38425397 / +66-38429532

Billiards / pool / snooker

  • Hot Tuna Pool Club, Walking Street (opposite Tony's Entertainment Complex) has 4 pool tables in an open-fronted non-aircon bar setting and charges 20 baht/table/game; open daily 18:00-04:00.
  • Match Room, P.S. Plaza (junction of Central Pattaya Road and Second Road) has 9 pool tables (80 baht/table/hour), 1 full-size snooker table (100 baht/table/hour), and air-con; open daily, 12:00-01:00.
  • Megabreak Pool Lounge [27] on Soi 13 (Soi Diana Inn), between Second Road and Soi Buakhao, advertises itself as the most expensive place to play pool in Pattaya. 11 9-ft pro-tournament tables, air-con & lounge area, open daily 12:00-01:00, 9-ball handicap competition on Sundays from 15:00; prices start at 120 baht/per person/hour, evening/weekend rates are even higher.
  • Tim Bar Beer [28] on Second Road (opposite Soi 12) has twelve tables and air-con and is open 12:00-01:00 or later - 75 baht/table/half-hour, 140 baht/table/hour.
  • There are three full-size tables at the very back of the cluster of outdoor beer bars on Soi Made In Thailand (next to the Made In Thailand Night Plazar, on Second Road) - 20 baht/table/game or 60 baht/table/hour.

Bowling

  • Bowling Plus (previously "Pattaya Bowl") is on Second Road, at the junction with Soi Regent Marina (North Pattaya); tel. +66-38429908 / +66-38429466 - 20 lanes, Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00 70 baht & 17:00-02:00 80 baht, Sat-Sun-holidays 10:00-02:00 90 baht (all prices per person per game); shoe rental 30 baht (largest size US14/48). Also has 6 pool tables plus 2 full-size snooker tables; air-con, open daily 10:00-02:00, 120 baht/table/hour.
  • O.D. Bowl is on Pratamnak Road (South Pattaya) - open daily 08:00-01:00.
  • P.S. Bowling [29], P.S. Plaza (junction of Central Pattaya Road and Second Road, above TOPS supermarket); tel. +66-38420965 /6 - 32 lanes, Mon-Fri 11:00-18:00 70 baht & 18:00-02:00 80 baht, Sat-Sun-holidays 11:00-02:00 90 baht (all prices per person per game); shoe rental 30 baht (largest size US14/48).

Bridge

  • Pattaya Bridge Club, tel. +66-38423108 /9 [30] meets at the Mercure Hotel, Soi 15, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 13:00.

Bungee jumping

  • Bungee Jump, 248/10 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38300608 - open 08:00-18:00.
  • Jungle Bungy Jump (15 minutes from town centre) tel. +66-78336655 [31]. Located in a beautiful tropical setting, 165 feet (50 metres) over a jungle lagoon. Will provide collect/return transport anywhere in Pattaya; open 09:00-18:00.

Cycling

  • Budget bicycles (from around 2000 baht for something basic but usable) plus a very limited selection of accessories.
  • LA Bicycle, 300/31-32 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38300606 / 953 - open 09:00-20:00 (mid-range selection)
  • Chaw Numchai [32] 474 Moo 4, Sukhumvit Road (opposite Siam Commercial Bank) tel. +66-38222018 - open daily 09:00-19:00 (NB: closed all day on the last Sunday of every month). Well-stocked bicycle retail/parts/repair shop.
  • S.V. Bike Shop, 62/1-3 Soi 8, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38300378 - open Mon-Sat 08:00-19:00 (2006 model Trek 4300 = 13500 baht; this costs around 10000 baht in Bangkok). Well-stocked bicycle retail/parts/repair shop.

Fishing

  • Deep Sea Fishing excursions by Nature Service Tour (tel. +66-38427660) leave Bali Hai Pier on Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 09:00, and return at 17:30. The 1220 baht/person price includes breakfast, lunch, a visit to a nearby island beach and swimming opportunities.
  • North Pattaya Fishing Park (pictures) also known as "Soi 3 Fishing Park" charges 100 baht/house rod, bait 20 baht/packet - and serves food and drink and has live music after dark.

Flying, paragliding & skydiving

  • Chonburi Flying Club [33] (CMT) airstrip is 5 km east of Bang Phra, on the Chonburi-Pattaya bypass road (Highway #7).
  • Eastern Flying Club [34] airstrip is 5 km east of Pattaya, off Sukhumvit Road Soi 87.
  • Pattaya Airpark [35] airstrip is 20 km south of Pattaya, adjacent to the Phoenix Golf Club.
  • Thai Flying Club [36] is based at Bang Phra Airport, just north of Si Racha, about 30 minutes drive from Pattaya. Their website is a good resource for further information on recreational aviation in Thailand.

Golfing

Golf is a speciality of the region, with more than 20 courses within an hour's drive (most within 30 minutes) of Pattaya, many designed by some of golf's most famous names, including Nick Faldo (Great Lakes), Jack Nicklaus (Laem Chabang), Gary Player (Sri Racha) and Robert Trent Jones (Eastern Star Resort and Country Club). All offer good facilities and value for money in the 500 baht (green & caddy fee) to 2500 baht range.

The International Pattaya Golf Club is non-profit organisation (membership 500 baht for 2 years, 1000 baht for 5 years) comprising five local golf societies, some of which rent clubs and footwear. One of these, The Pattaya Golf Society (PGS), has a website with useful general information and course guide pages. Membership is open to both long term residents and holidaymakers, and all are welcome, regardless of gender, age or handicap (bring proof of your current handicap with you).

For more information see the "Eastern region" section of the Golf in Thailand guide.

  • The Mini Golf Pub (Thappraya Road, Buddha Hill - on the left just past the flyover when headed to Jomtien) - 18 holes, refreshments available; 100 baht/person, open 10:00-23:00. Their cat sometimes acts as a self-propelled obstacle (no extra charge).
  • Pattaya City Golf [37] (at the Nova Lodge Hotel on Beach Road, next to the junction with Pattaya Central Road) - 18 holes, plus chipping, driving and putting areas for the more serious golfer; refreshments served at the waterfront bar; 140 baht/person, open 09:00-01:00. Caddy service available!

Driving ranges:

  • Diana Driving Range, Diana Garden Resort, 209/112 Moo 6, North Pattaya Road (open daily 06:30-23:00) tel. +66-38415212 /23
  • Harold's Golf Driving Range & Pro Golf Shop, Pratumnak Soi 4 [38] tel. +66-38250658
  • Green Way Driving Range, Sukhumvit Road - tel. +66-38232083
  • Pattaya Driving Range, Third Road - tel. +66-38370462 /3
  • Pride Driving Range, Sukhumvit Road (previously "Dono" - directly opposite Pattaya Central Road) tel. +66-38488349
  • Tommy Driving Range, Thepprasit Road - tel. +66-38251564

Fitness centres

  • Castra Praetoria Gym & Fitness. 61/17 M.10, Soi Khao Talo, East Pattaya, near Siam Royal View. info@thecastra.com [39]. Heavy weight gym, cardio, aerobics, yoga, circuit training, power pace, personal training, sauna, discount supplements. 4,999 baht/year.
  • Central Pattaya Gym, Pratamnak Road (next to Central Pattaya Hotel) tel. +66-38364573 /80. A small non-aircon weights-orientated gym, open daily 08:00-23:00; 60 baht/day, 250 baht/week, 700 baht/month (includes limited free use of swimming pool), 7000 baht/year (includes unlimited free use of swimming pool).
  • Sitpholek World Class Fitness Centre, 217/10 Sukhumvit Road (North Pattaya); tel. +66-99345001 (English) / +66-95055840 (Thai) / sitpholek_frank@hotmail.com - attached to a Muay Thai (Thai boxing) centre, friendly and helpful staff, air-con. Open daily 09:00-00:00; 120 baht/day, 400 baht/week, 600 baht/fortnight, 1000 baht/month, 1750 baht/2m, 2000 baht/3m, 4500 baht/6m, 8000 baht/year - or any 10 days for 750 baht (no expiry date).
  • Tony's Gym & Muay Thai Academy, Third Road (340/6 - two blocks north of the junction with Pattaya South Road); tel. +66-38414058 /9. Modern air-con gym oriented more towards the body-building brigade, also offers spa/sauna/steam room & "Japanese style" massage as well as Muay Thai training facilities. Open 24/7; prices 150 baht/visit, 790 baht/week, 1290 baht/2w, 1490 baht/3w, 1590 baht/month, 3990 baht/3m, 5990 baht/year, 18000 baht/life - or 1200 baht for 10 visits within one 30 day period. see also the "Muay Thai" section (below)
  • Tony's Tennis Club & Fitness Center, Third Road (313/5 Moo 10 - just south of the junction with Pattaya South Road); tel. +66-38488548 /9. Modern air-con gym and general keep-fit facility, also offers aerobics, yoga, tennis, swimming pool, spa/sauna/steam room & "Japanese style" massage, as well as tennis facilities. Personal trainers also available, from 500 baht/hour. Open 24/7, except for the swimming pool which is closed 23:00-06:00. Prices - gym: 180 baht/visit, 2000 baht/2w, 2200 baht/3w, 2400 baht/month, 6000 baht/3m, 7500 baht/6m, 12000 baht/year, 29900 baht/life - or 1600 baht for 10 visits within one 30 day period; aerobics: 950 baht/month; swimming: 180 baht/adult, 99 baht/child, swimming lessons 2200 baht/10hrs, 4000 baht/20hrs. see also the "Tennis" section (below)

Horseback riding

  • Horseshoe Point, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong; tel. +66-38735050 [40]. One of South-East Asia's largest and most respected riding schools, catering to all experience levels and offering private lessons for 1600 baht/hour (discounts available for groups of 5+ and multi-lesson packages).
  • Horse back riding, Highway #36 (near Bira International Circuit - about 18 km from Pattaya) [41] willinetzer@yahoo.com tel. +66-13020814
  • Pattaya Riding Club, 111/1 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38255888

Hot air ballooning

  • Funk's Ballonfahrten [42] offers a 4-5 hour hot air balloon experience including collection at around 05:00, refreshments, one hour baloon flight, champagne breakfast, certificate, and transport back to your hotel around 11:00 for 8500 baht. Daily from November through March.

Jet-skiing

  • jet-skiing rentals are available along all the popular beaches, with rates starting around 600 baht for 30 minutes. A common scam involves some operators attempting to collect surcharges for supposed damage - call the Tourist Police (1155) if necessary. World Club Jetski Competition is held at Jomtien.

Motorsports

  • Bira International Circuit (tel. +66-22803547 / +66-25221731 /8) is about 15 km from Pattaya on the Pattaya-Rayong Road (Highway #36) and hosts 2 and 4 wheel race events at weekends. Highside Tours offers one day (16000) and three day (60000 baht) motorcycle track-day packages at Bira - see their website for details.
  • A.N. ATVs & Motocross, Thepprasit Road (near Pattaya Kart Speedway); tel. +66-46778452 / +66-52227882. Small off-road circuit, open daily 09:00-18:00 (not floodlit).
  • K.R. Go-Kart, 62/125 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38300347 /9. Large tarmac circuit, refreshments available; open Mon-Fri 10:00-19:30, Sat/Sun & public holidays 09:00-20:00 (floodlit).
  • Pattaya Kart Speedway, 248/2 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38422044 [43]. "Beginner", "Professional", and "off-road" tracks; open daily 09:30-18:30 (not floodlit).
  • Siam Karting Circuit, 387 Moo 6, Sukhumvit Road (near Mini Siam) tel. +66-38727410 open daily 09:00-21:00.

Muay Thai (Thai boxing)

Thai boxing matches can be seen at numerous locations, including several of the beer bar complexes off Beach Road and one complex on Walking Street.

He won!
  • Fairtex Muay Thai Sportclub & Resort, 179/201 Moo 5, North Pattaya Road (just east of the Dolphin Roundabout); tel. +66-38488196 / +66-38488657 /8 [44] [45]
  • Pattaya Kombat Village (Muay Thai Training School), Khaotalo Soi 8, Sukhumvit Road (opposite Thepprasit Road); tel. +66-95433450 [46]
  • Sitpholek Boxing Centre, 217/10 Sukhumvit Road (North Pattaya); tel. +66-99345001 (English) / +66-95055840 (Thai) / sitpholek_frank@hotmail.com Mon-Sat 14:00-20:00 (the attached gym is open 09:00-00:00 seven days a week). 270 baht/day, 1100 baht/week, 2000 baht/fortnight, 3500 baht/month - or 2250 baht for any 10 days (no expiry date).
  • Tony's Gym & Muay Thai Academy, Third Road (see "gyms" section, above, for details) is open 14:30-20:30. Two prices for everything - the lower price if you're already paying to use the attached gym, otherwise the higher price: 180/280 baht/day, 950/1400 baht /week, 1500/2400 baht/fortnight, 2000/1490 baht/3w, 2800/3900 baht/month - or 1500/2300 baht for 10 visits (no expiry date).

Paintballing

  • Paintball Park, 248/10 Moo 12, Thepprasit Road; tel. +66-38300608 - open 08:00-18:00

Parasailing / parascending

  • Speedboat-towed parachute rides are available along the main beaches, and in Pattaya Bay from several large floating platforms with speedboats ferrying customers out from the shore - typically about 500 baht per flight.

Rugby

  • Pattaya Panthers Rugby club - c/o Jameson's The Irish Pub, 80/146 Moo 9 Soi Sukrudee (Soi A.R.) - tel. +66-38415304 /8

Running

Sailing

  • Blue Wave Watersports Asia (based at Ocean Marina Yacht Club) tel. +66-816229372 [47] Day sailing trips and boat charters.
  • Gulf Charters Thailand tel. +66-38237752 fax. +66-38237751 [48] manages a fleet of ten 32 foot to 70 foot catamaran and keelboat sailing yachts based at Ocean Marina (near Pattaya) and at Ko Chang. Bookings accepted direct and via travel agencies.
  • Ocean Marina Yacht Club, 274/1-9 Moo 4, Sukhumvit Road (Sattahip); tel. +66-237310 /23 fax. +66-38237325 [49]
  • Royal Varuna Yacht Club, 286 Moo 12, Pratamnak Road; tel. +66-38250116 / +66-38306290 fax. +66-38250115 [50]
  • YachtPro Sailing School tel. +66-816229372 (http://www.sailing-pattaya.com) ASA (American Sailing Association) Sailing Courses, based at Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

Scuba diving

Scuba dive training and trips for a wide range of ability levels and interests, certified by a number of different organisations, including both NAUI and PADI, are available through numerous dive shops. Dive sites

  • Adventure Divers and Watersports (Adventure Scuba) [51] tel. +66-38710899 (Soi Yamato (Soi 13/1)) / +66-38364453 (Tappraya Road)
  • Aquanauts [52] tel. +66-38361724 (Soi Yodsak (Soi 6)) / tel. +66-38710727 (Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3))
  • Aqua Relax - tel. +66-38710900 (Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2))
  • Dave's Divers Den - tel. +66-38420411 (Central Pattaya Road)
  • Dive South East Asia [53] tel. +66-38362300 (Nova Lodge Hotel, Central Road)
  • Mermaids Scuba Diving Centre [54] tel. +66-38232219 / 220 (Jomtien Beach Road)
  • Neptune Dive Centre [55] tel. +66-038-371141 (North Pattaya Road)
  • Paradise Scuba Divers [56] tel+fax. +66-38710567 (Soi 10) / tel+fax. +66-38303333 (Jomtien)
  • P J Scuba [57] tel. +66-18644490 (Jomtien Beach Road)
  • Seafari Dive Center [58] tel. +66-38429060 (Soi 5)
  • Siam Divers [59] tel. +66-38710329 (Beach Road)
  • Shark Diving - Underwater World Pattaya [60] tel. +66 38756977 (Sukhumvit Road)

Shooting

  • Pattaya Shooting Club and Fishing Park, 1/6 Moo 4, Soi Wat Huay-Yai, Sukhumvit Road (10 minutes from town centre) tel. +66-38255488.
  • Tiffany's Shooting Range, 464 Moo 9, Second Road (Tiffany's Show building, ground floor) tel. +66-38421700 /5 fax. +66-38421711 tiffany@tiffany-show.co.th. The only indoor shooting range in Pattaya - 19 lanes, minimum age 18, open daily 09:00-21:00.
  • Ko Laan has an outdoor shooting range located just north of Naban Pier that's open daily 07:30-17:00, with prices from 400 baht for six rounds with a handgun.
  • Bamrung Sport Club (Huai Sak Nok reservoir, off Sukhumvit Road - tel. +66-38249841) provides facilities for canoeing and kayaking, horse riding, paragliding, sailing (including catamarans), and windsurfing.

Swimming

  • Honey Inn (Soi Honey Inn, off Second Road) has a fairly quiet pool which is open 24/7. There's also a bar, a pool table, and an assortment of sun loungers. Non-guests: 50 baht/day.
  • Mike Shopping Mall has a large rooftop pool - take the elevator or stairs up to the 10th floor (the escalators don't go that far). There's a very small snacks counter and a good view of most of Pattaya Bay. Get there early to grab one of the sun loungers, and don't forget your swimming costume (shorts are not permitted). Open 11:00-19:00, 80 baht/adult, 60 baht/child, or 1600 baht for a one month pass.
  • Thai Garden Resort, 179/168 Moo 5, North Pattaya Road, has a 25 metre Olympic-size indoor swimming pool.

Tennis

  • Pattaya Tennis Association [61]
  • Tony's Tennis Club & Fitness Center, Third Road (see "gyms" section, above, for details) is open 24/7 and charges 120/220 baht/daytime, 210/310 baht/nighttime (the lower price if you're already paying to use the attached gym/pool/etc, otherwise the higher price); 50 baht for racket hire, 100 baht for locker/towel rental.

Waterskiing & wakeboarding

  • Air-Time Watersports Camp, Dok Krai Lakeside Resort, Dok Krai Reservoir (Rayong); tel. +66-18616736 [62]
  • Club Taco Water Cable Ski (kilometre 14, Bang Na Road) is open 12:00 until dark Mon-Fri, 10:00 until dark Sat-Sun; 200 baht/hour, 300 baht/2h, 400 baht/3h, 500 baht/day.
  • Lakeland Water Cable Ski (Highway #3 - tel. +66-38232690 /2) about 5 km from Pattaya has cable ski facilities on a large freshwater lake. Open daily 10:00-21:00.

Windsurfing & kiteboarding

  • Club Loong Chat Watersport Club [63] (on the beach by the Pinnacle Hotel)
  • Cuttlebone Kiteboarding School [64]

Volunteering

  • Care For Kids Charity Drive, [65]. A well established and respected group raising funds for worthwhile causes and having as much fun as possible while they're at it. Their events are always worth a visit - make contact through their website.
  • Fr. Ray Foundation, +66 3871 6628 (fax: +66 3871 6629), [66]. Manages several social projects in Pattaya and volunteers (both short and long term) are essential to their work. Donations and sponsorships are also welcome and appreciated
  • Pattaya Orphanage Trust, +66 3843 8717, [67]. Welcomes volunteers of all ages (but must speak fluent English and be prepared to stay 6 months or longer). Visits can be arranged.

Buy

You're in Thailand, so you know shopping is never far away. There are numerous large malls, small malls, supermarkets, bazaar-style markets, and thousands of other shops. Sadly, you'll be seeing a lot of the same stuff over and over again - there's no endless variety here.

Pattaya is not a good place to go shopping for hi-tech products such as cameras, computers, etc - as a very rough guide, expect to see prices around 50% higher than the best prices advertised in the west. For Pattaya's best selection of electronics under one roof, see the Tuk.Com (Com City, South Pattaya Road) listing below.

Foreign currency can easily be exchanged for Thai baht at the many exchange booths which can be found in all areas popular with tourists - there are even mobile exchanges/ATMs in specially adapted minivans that are set up as and when and where the need arises. Note that the majority of exchange booths will buy foreign currency but will not sell it - if you need to obtain USD (for example if you're going to Cambodia) use one of the larger branches of a major bank, such as the Bangkok Bank branch on Second Road (almost opposite Soi 6).

Beware of buying fake branded and designer goods, since these are likely to be confiscated by customs officers at the airport. Five tons of counterfeit designer perfume was crushed by a bulldozer in front of press cameras at the airport in 2007.

Malls

  • Central Festival Centre is a large mall on Second Road across from Soi 2. It includes the Big-C department store, and an IT Corner with mobile phones and accessories but no computers.
  • Mike Shopping Mall is on Beach Road between Soi 11 and Soi 12, with another entrance on Second Road, and opens 11:00-23:00. The ground floor has many small stalls selling clothing, tourist souvenirs and many other inexpensive items; above that there's a department store; on the 5th floor there's a food court; and up on the roof (10th floor) there's a public swimming pool.
  • P.S. Plaza is at the junction of Second Road and Central Pattaya Road - Tops supermarket occupies most of the ground floor; billiards, books, massage, and a handful of other shops on the first floor; and P.S. Bowling on the second floor.
  • Royal Garden Plaza is a large upscale mall adjacent to the Pattaya Marriott Hotel on Beach Road between Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2) and Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3), with another entrance on Second Road (just look for Ripley's aeroplane).
  • Tuk.Com (Com City) on South Pattaya Road is a new and predominantly IT mall. In the basement is a Tops supermarket, a food court, and various other (mostly clothes) shops as well as a spare parts department that sells a variety of electronic (e.g. transistors) and other parts (e.g. clothes washing machine lint filters), and the ground floor hosts an assortment of regular shops. However the upper floors are almost exclusively mobile phones (1st floor), computer software and MP3/video CDs (4th floor), and computers and handheld electronics (2nd/3rd/5th floors). Prices are significantly higher than in Bangkok.

Supermarkets

Pattaya has a veritable trolley-load of supermarkets, including:

  • Carrefour, Central Pattaya Road (between Third Road and Sukhumvit Road), [68]. 9am-midnight.
  • Big-C, South Pattaya Road (at the junction with Sukhumvit Road), [69]. 9am-midnight. Another branch at Central Festival Center (opposite Soi 2).
  • Foodland, Central Pattaya Road (near the junction with Sukhumvit Road). 24 hours.
  • Foodmart, Thaphraya Road (near the junction with Theprasit Road). 24 hours.
  • Friendship, South Pattaya Road. 7am-2am. The most westerner-oriented and has large selections of cheese, bread, wine etc.
  • Tesco-Lotus, North Pattaya Road (just east of the Dolphin Roundabout), [70]. 9am-11pm. Has another branch on Sukhumvit Road.
  • Tops, at the junction of Second Road and Central Pattaya Road, [71]. 24 hours.
  • Villa Market, The Avenue Shopping Mall, 2nd Road (right opposite soi 13), [72]. 24 hours.

Markets

There are many bazaar-style markets in Pattaya where you can haggle 'till you drop, including...

  • Thepprasit Market on Thepprasit Road near the junction with Sukhumvit Road - Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
  • Soi Buakhao Market on the corner of South Pattaya Road and Soi Buakhao, across from the Friendship supermarket - daytime, Tuesday and Friday; plus an evening market further along the same road.
  • Made In Thailand Night Plazar (sic) on Second Road near Soi 10 - daily 08:00-23:00 (despite the name).
  • The Market Pattaya on Second Road near Soi 5 is a little lonely but some evenings has students giving music or dance performances on a small stage.

...any many more, including one on Second Road near Soi 2, next to Tiffany's Show.

Shops

Books

  • Bookazine : Central Festival Centre; Royal Garden Plaza; plus Dongtan Road, Jomtien
  • Book Variety : Big C, South Pattaya Road; Carrefour, Central Pattaya Road; Tuk.Com (Com City)
  • D.K. Book Mart, corner of Beach Road and Central Pattaya Road; tel. +66-38429359 - medium-size bookshop with lots of English titles, including a sizeable cookery book section, and a worthwhile selection of second-hand paperbacks at 99 baht - open 09:00-00:00.
  • Jeremy's Bookshop, 383/111 Soi Chaiyaphum (which connects Soi Buakhao Road and Third Road); tel. +66-38411266 - an immaculate library-style English language paperback exchange, large selection, mostly priced ~100~250 baht. If you buy a book here and then return it in good condition, you'll get a credit of 50% of the original price towards your next purchase - open daily 09:00-22:00.
  • Pattaya Beach Books has two locations: 1st floor, P.S. Plaza (junction of Second Road and Central Pattaya Road); tel+fax. +66-38362175 / pattayabeachbooks@yahoo.com and also at 316/137 Moo 10 Soi Buakhao. Both shops are open daily 10:00-20:00 and have a huge selection of "pre-owned" English language books and magazines - mags ~50~60 baht, paperbacks ~140~160 baht, hardbacks ~180 baht plus. If you buy a book here and then return it in good condition, you'll get a credit of 50% of the original price towards your next purchase.
  • SE-ED [73] Big C, South Pattaya Road; Carrefour, Central Pattaya Road; Tesco-Lotus, North Pattaya Road; Tesco-Lotus, Sukhumvit Road
  • Swan Book Shop, 210/6 Soi Buakhao - large selection of second-hand foreign language paperbacks, mostly priced 100-180 baht - open Mon-Sat 09:00-21:00.

Convenience stores are everywhere, especially 7-Eleven and Family Mart shops (all open 24/7), plus countless independents. If you use the family run shops the prices aren't always marked but should be the same, or just a baht or two higher, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing your money isn't flowing back to the USA or Japan.

Gold shops abound, with concentrations around the market on South Pattaya Road and around Central Pattaya Road near Second Road, plus numerous jewelry shops towards the south end of Beach Road.

Art Galleries are also considered to be rising business in Pattaya, most of the places will offer variety works and services including custom orders and art reproductions. These galleries in Pattaya have reputations in affordable prices and fine quality artist skills. The best and biggest is KC Gallery, located on Walking Street. Also worth mentioning is Narai Art Gallery (local crafts) on Soi 6, Phratamnak Road, which doubles as a nice restaurant.

Tailor shops are everywhere, but quality is variable. Ideally, make sure you get two fittings before buying.

Eat

You're in Thailand, so you know food is never far away. There are heaps of restaurants, food carts, food courts, food markets, motorcyle-sidecar hotdog and meatball vendors, fruit sellers both mobile and stationary, even a roaming coffee peddling tuk-tuk. OK, so the germ theory of disease doesn't yet seem to be widely accepted but don't let that stop you from ordering the sushi.

Many (although not all) non-Thai-cuisine restaurants also have at least a limited menu of Thai favorites as well.

Budget

  • The noodle stall next to the entrance to the North Pattaya Road bus station does a passable ba mii moo daeng (egg noodles with red pork) for 25 baht.
  • Carrefour food court, Pattaya Klang (near Third Road). Has good food including excellent & cheap Isaan treats like som tam (papaya salad) and khao neow (sticky rice). The Carrefour stand, usually near the parking garage entrance, has inexpensive sandwiches.
  • Kiss Food & Drink serves cheap and cheerful Thai and Western favourites 24/7 at two semi-open-air locations - one on Second Road opposite Mike Shopping Mall, the other facing the Dolphin Roundabout.
  • Subway [74] now has four locations in Pattaya: South Pattaya Road, next-door-but-one to the entrance to Walking Street (24/7); Beach Road, at the front of Tipp Plaza (09:00-02:00); Second Road, opposite Soi 1 (10:00-02:00); Central Pattaya Road, on the ground floor of Carrefour (09:00-23:00) - or dial 038360083 for free delivery. From 49 baht for a Veggie Delite Deli Style Sandwich up to 2600 baht for a 6 foot Giant Sub!
  • The food court in the basement of Tuk.com (see the Buy | Malls section) has stalls with a wide range of cheap Thai dishes.
  • S&P Coffee Shops, various locations, has inexpensive sandwiches, like tuna sandwiches for 45 baht.
  • Food courts at all BIG C and TESCO Lotus locations have inexpensive food.

Mid-range

  • Apex Hotel on Second Road (adjacent to Soi 11) serves all-you-can-eat buffets - American breakfast from 07:00-13:00 (110 baht/adult, 60 baht/child) and dinner from 18:00-22:00 (180 baht/adult, 100 baht/child).
  • Bier-Kutsche German Restaurant in Walking Street between Soi BJ and Soi Lucky Star is a good German restaurant with moderate prices.
  • Cool Kitchen in the PS Bowl/Tops Supermarket complex (junction of Central Pattaya Road and Second Road) has good Western and Thai food including narm tok mu (spicy pork salad) and yum pla dook fu (crispy catfish salad), and is open 24/7.
  • Cool House (next to PS Bowl/Tops Supermarket) is Cool Kitchen's sister restaurant, with much the same menu but more ambiance.
  • Food Wave food court, top floor of Royal Garden Plaza, is an upscale food court with decent views of the ocean. There's even an Orange Julius nearby - Mmmmm!
  • Lek Hotel, Soi 13. Serves a large variety of Thai, Western and international favourites and is open to non-guests. The buffet breakfast (07:00-13:00, 110 baht/adult, 60 baht/child) is especially popular, and the buffet dinner (18:00-22:30, 180 baht/adult, 100 baht/child) also draws a crowd.
  • MK Restaurant has locations in various malls including Central Festival (Big-C). A chain of Suki restaurants whose jingle translates as "Eat what? Eat what? Eat what? Go eat MK!" (it loses something in the translation) and that's just what you should do. Here you'll get to boil raw ingredients right at your own table with your own utensils. And don't worry about putting those chopsticks in your mouth after touching that raw chicken - just dip them in the boiling water for a few moments.
  • Parsa Restaurant is a nice Iranian restaurant serving high quality modern and traditional Iranian food including kebab and khoresht .
  • Sher-e-Punjab Restaurant on Soi 11 Beach Road (near Subway) is an excellent Indian restaurant serving both veg and non-veg spicy Indian food at moderate prices.

Splurge

  • Benihana [75] international Japanese steakhouse chain has a location on the second floor of Royal Garden Plaza. Expect to pay around 1000 baht/person, excluding alcoholic drinks.
  • Bruno's Restaurant [76] on Thappraya Road is a fine dining restaurant serving both excellent European cuisine and some Thai dishes. Multi-course set menus from around 400 baht/person, à la carte also available.
  • The Green Bottle on the ground floor of the Diana Hotel has good steaks and other food.
  • Hard Rock Cafe [77] (in the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel resort on Beach Road) serves American food from essentially the same menu as elsewhere in the world, from 11:00 until 02:00. Starters 99-377 baht, salads 199-266 baht, mains 277-810 baht, deserts 111-222 baht, beer 122-255 baht/bottle.
  • Manhattan Steakhouse [78] near the junction of Thappraya & Pratamnak Roads is Pattaya's only "world-class" steakhouse. Expect to pay upwards of 2,000 baht/person.
  • Mantra Restaurant & Bar [79] near Amari Orchid Resort & Tower north Pattaya beach road. Asian and Mediterranean fusion food in a very stylish setting. Sunday brunch is unique. Expect to pay upwards of 1,500 baht/person.

Vegetarian

  • Five Star J. Restaurant ("jay"="vegetarian"), at the junction of South Pattaya Road and Third Road; tel. +66-38421105. A small inexpensive indoor place that's 100% vegetarian and has a vegetarian owner/manager who speaks good English; also caters for vegans - open 09:00-21:00.
  • Vegetarian Club of Pattaya meets at 18:00 on the second Tuesday of every month for an "international vegetarian adventure buffet" (99 baht, reservations required - tel. +66-38710805) at Café New Orleans, Soi Pattayaland 2 (Soi 13/4).
  • Thai Vegetarian Union website has news and information on vegetarianism and veganism in Thailand.

Drink

Pattaya is internationally known for its nightlife. Although it's infamous as a sex tourist destination, there are ample opportunities to dance, drink, and observe humanity even if paid sex is not of interest.

prices - a very rough guide: small Heineken (330ml) / Bacardi Breezer (275ml)

  • 7-11 (open 24/7 but alcohol only sold 11:00-14:00 + 17:00-00:00): 38 baht / 55 baht
  • small restaurants: ~50~55 baht / ~120 baht
  • beer bars: ~70~75 baht / ~120~130 baht
  • go-go bars: ~90~99 baht / ~150 baht
  • discos: ~150 baht / ~200 baht

In beer bars and go-go bars, drinks bought for employees - "lady drinks" - are (very roughly 50%) more expensive; the actual price is often posted on the wall and/or in the drinks menu.

Beer bars

Open-air beer bars on Beach Road

Pattaya is especially famous for its beer bars (also called bar-beer), staffed by "bar girls" who are "for hire" to the tourists and ex-pats who drink there. Popular beer bar pastimes include pool, connect-four and shut-the-box.

Open-air beer bars can be found all over Pattaya, with the biggest and best known concentrations being along and around Soi 7 / Soi 8 and Walking Street, at numerous points on Second Road, Beach Road, Soi Buakhao, and in smaller numbers just about everywhere else, including along the southern end of Naklua Road and at Jomtien. Although the staff of a typical beer bar will usually all be prostitutes, customers who have no intention of paying a "bar fine" (money paid to the bar so that the girl can leave with the customer) are generally very welcome and indeed make up the majority of the clientele.

Indoor beer bars can also be found all over Pattaya, the most notorious areas being Soi Yodsak (Soi 6) and parts of Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2). While some of these bars are much more "bar fine" oriented, in most cases customers who simply want to buy drinks are still welcome.

The official closing time in "entertainment zones" is 01:00 (in practice usually somewhere between 01:00 and 02:00, depending on the location) and 00:00 elsewhere - however "closing" is defined as switching off the music and non-essential lighting, and numerous beer bars remain open 24/7.

Go-go bars

Also called a-go-go bars, the main concentrations are along Walking Street and the three Pattayaland streets, with more dotted around the most popular beer bar areas; most come to life at around 20:00 and close between 01:00 and 02:00.

Sight-seeing tourists are welcome in go-go bars, however cameras are not. Signs prohibiting photography are widespread, and a minority of venues require patrons to deposit their cameras with security staff as they enter.

Popular bar venues

So, you're passing through Pattaya and you've set aside a few hours to check out the bar scene - but where to go? The most popular (and generally the most densely concentrated) beer bar and go-go bar locations (listed south to north) are:

  • Walking Street
WalkingStreet.jpg

Should have been named "Walking, Shopping, Eating, Drinking, Dancing and Ogling Street" as there's plenty of almost everything here - including around 100 beer bars and at least 30 go-go bars, plus many more in the side-sois that lead east towards Pratamnak Road. Worth a look in the daytime, but best visited in the evening, and has loads of restaurants if you're bridging the gap between the two. Gets really packed in places when the discos empty, so watch your pockets. If you're going to visit just one go-go, you could try "Super Baby" in Soi Diamond, whose reputation for having the most attractive girls (not a stretch mark as far as the eye could see) in its heyday a year or two back made it a mandatory stop for countless busloads of Asian tourists. While that's no longer quite the case, it's still a good bet as a hassle-free "middle of the road" place to see.

  • Pattayaland

Soi Pattayaland 2 (Soi 13/4) features on many a Pattaya postcard - when lit up at night, the go-go bar signs are a memorable and photogenic sight, although there are in fact only eight go-go bars here (two of which feature guys, not girls), plus a half-dozen bars and the Penthouse Hotel. Worth a look in the evening (it's almost a ghost town the rest of the time), but get there before 01:00 as that's when the lights go out.

Soi Pattayaland 3 ("Boyz Town" - no direct access from Beach Road, runs from the middle of Soi 13/4 to Second Road) features only male dancers and bars that cater for the gay crowd; Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3) has even more all-male go-gos (eight), but does have a couple of girlie-go-gos too. There is also a small lesbian scene in Pattaya, with local butch girls called "tom" girls and femme girls called "dee".

  • Soi 7 & Soi 8

There's always something going on here - in the evening and early hours, there are about 120 well-staffed beer bars to choose from, plus a handful of go-go bars; in the morning there are several places that serve breakfast; in the afternoon it's a popular place for those who like to get started early; and at Songkran (New Year) it's unmitigated mayhem. The "Night Out" complex (10 large outdoor bars, on a side-soi that connects Soi 7 and Pattaya Central Road) is about as family-orientated as these places ever get, and has live music from 20:00-01:00. There are several large hotels (light sleepers beware), and Soi 8 also has a few travel agencies, convenience stores, etc.

  • Soi Yodsak (Soi 6)

Imagine a kerb-crawlers paradise - and then pedestrianise it. Arguably Pattaya's most colourful street (as well as most notorious), Soi 6 has about 50 bars (mostly "short time" bars, with names such as "Butterfly", "Love Club", "Route 69" and "The Eager Beaver") which all get going at 13:00 and close pretty much on the dot at 01:00. It's not really a pedestrian-only street (but it is one-way), however walking - preferably in broad daylight - is undoubtedly the best and most popular way to experience it. Go in the middle of the afternoon and just wander from one end to the other (if coming from the south, walk from the Second Road end down to the Beach Road end if you want to get there and back by songthaew). It's much, much more "sex-tourist" than "tourism" oriented, but anyone and everyone is welcome everywhere provided they're buying a drink or three. The curiously named "Hi Boss! 2002 Pub" is where the ladyboys hang out, there's one go-go - "Mandarin" (dancing from 17:00 till 01:00), plus a couple of "pub" food possibilities; and neighbouring Soi 6/1 has a handful of "ordinary" outdoor beer bars.

  • Second Road - around the Soi 2 & Soi 3 junctions

On the west side of Second Road opposite the Central Festival Centre is a collection of about 35 very popular beer bars, which start to fill up from about 16:00, and several of which remain open long after the lights go out around 01:00-02:00. "Atlantic Bar", at the far end of the five-bar strip to the south of Soi 2, always draws a substantial crowd. The only go-go ("Classroom 2", 19:30-02:00) is a lively one, and while there's not much in the way of food in amongst the bars themselves, there are numerous eating options extremely close nearby (including outlets for most of the major fast-food chains directly opposite on the other side of Second Road).

10 assorted "same-same but different" bar styles

  • Casino Club at the Pratamnak Road end of Soi Diamond is an a-go-go with a difference - not only do the girls dance with their clothes on, but there are no chrome poles! - whatever will they think of next? Despite the name, it's not a casino; maybe it's a disc-o-go-go? The atmosphere is lively, the music is techno, the dancing is energetic, the hours are 21:00-04:00 (apparently able to close later than most due to the non-conformist format).
  • Boyz Town (the whole of Soi Pattayaland 3) is the place to head for to see the male go-go dancers, likewise Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3). Same applies for girls who want to ogle (exactly the same) guys. Pattayaland 1 is relatively dead in the daytime, but Pattayaland 3 has a handful of places to eat and drink that keep it ticking over in the afternoon.
  • Jenny Star Bar in Walking Street (below Peppermint Palace) is wall-to-wall transvestites - seeing is believing, especially late in the evening and in the small hours. It's an open-air bar that spills out onto the pavement, and there's often quite a crowd gawking intently from a safe distance - so mind your pockets.
  • Peppermint Palace on Walking Steet (go up the escalator next to Jenny Star Bar) is probably the largest go-go in Pattaya. Several stages with young women in various different states of attire. Always full of energy, and always packed (you may be turned away if it's full). Good value drinks-wise.
  • Club Boesché in Soi 16 (connects Walking Street to Pratamnak Road) is a brand new split-level lesbian go-go with a large Jacuzzi-style tub sunk into the floor in front of the bar, occupied in shifts by pairs of uninhibited young ladies non-stop from 20:00 until 01:00 (or later). "Normal" (for a go-go) priced drinks and no cover charge.
  • Tim Bar Beer on Second Road (opposite Soi 12) is an otherwise relatively run-off-the-mill go-go that plays nothing but DVDs, with a very strong bias towards live performances of rock'n'roll classics. Requests welcome - if in doubt, ask for Meatloaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light". Stage and screen come to life at 18:00 and keep going until at least 02:00 (closing hours not so strictly enforced here as it's not in amongst a bunch of other bars), but get there early as it's a popular place and their army of dancers thins out with prodigious speed.
  • Beach Inn Beer Garden on Walking Street (opposite the FLB Bar) can usually be found blindfold. Head through to the back and out into the bars that target visitors from the Middle-East, and feel the sound - some of the speaker systems here are bigger than a budget hotel room, and it's not difficult to position yourself so that you're being deafened by three or four of them (each one playing something different) all at the same time. (At the other extreme, there used to be a "Quiet Bar" on Second Road - but it closed not long after it opened, apparently due to lack of demand...)
  • Carousel Beer Bar is a pair of circular outdoor bars in the centre of Soi Diamond (directly off Walking Street) which spin from 17:00 until 03:00. A couple of drinks here and the world really will start to revolve around you.
  • Siren Bar Complex (Beach Road, just before the Walking Street entrance archway) is a crush of about 25 ancient open-air beer bars (open 16:00-03:00) surrounding a boxing ring (exhibition matches at various intervals between 20:00 and 01:00). Get there early in the evening and it looks like there must be a prize on offer for whoever is able to squeeze the greatest number of bar girls into the smallest beer bar. If you sit down here, don't forget to shake the cockroaches out of your clothes as you leave.
  • Beach Club (towards the Walking Street end of Soi 15) is not the only "table dance" format a-go-go in Pattaya, but it's probably the most popular. Patrons are seated around industrial-strength tables which have mirror tops, upward facing spotlights, and of course the obligatory chrome pole; the girls dance on each table in turn, wearing short skirts and...   - well if you can't guess the rest then you should probably steer well clear of any Pattaya establishment that mentions the words "table dancing" alongside its name.

Cabaret

Pattaya is well known for its katoey cabaret (aka ladyboy or transvestite) shows. Two of the best known (expect busloads of Asian tourists) are:

  • Alcazar, on Second Road (78/14 Moo 9 - across from Soi 5); tel. +66-38428746 / +66-38429212 fax. +66-38424939
  • Tiffany's Show [80] on Second Road near signless Soi Srinakhom (one soi north of Soi 1) has performances at 19:00, 20:30 and 22:00 (plus 17:30 high season) and in May hosts the annual Miss Tiffany's Universe Pageant [81] beauty queen competition, for contestants born as men. If you're got testosterone left over, visit the Shooting Range in the basement!

Clubs

Pattaya has various clubs, of which the "Pattaya City Expat Club" is the oldest ex-pat club in town. They meet 09:30-12:00 on Sunday mornings at the Henry J. Beans pub at the beginning of Beach Road. Their motto is "Expats helping Expats" and that is what they do. There are various breakfasts to chose from ranging from 65 baht for coffee and toast and up 185 baht for a combination Western/Thai breakfast. All are welcome.

Discotheques

Pattaya has two types of disco - those that are on or near Walking Street, and those that are not.

Those on Walking Street are more popular with Westerners accompanied by bar girls, and with bar girls looking for customers. The best known are:

  • Hammer (on Walking Street - same owner and similar style as Lucifer) - more an open air bar with lots of live music. You can't miss it, it's very loud. It's also pretty expensive.
  • Insomnia Disco - house music, European DJ (apparently the owner); as of mid 2007 "the place to go" (after 03:00). Reasonable pricing.
  • Lucifer - popular with young Thai people, although this is not a typical Thai discotheque. Only R'n'B, sometimes with special guest DJ's. A good place to go at about 02:00-03:00; extremely crowded after midnight. Free entry, expensive drinks.
  • Marine Disco (on Walking Street) - large dance floor and plays house music (it's the house music counterpart of Lucifer). Free entry, but drinks are expensive.
  • Marine 2 (just off Walking street) - the same music as Marine Disco; this was "the place to go" before Insomnia opened.
  • MIXX (at the end of Walking Street) - opened in late 2007 - has R'n'B and house rooms (two rooms in one disco). Drinks are expensive.
  • Tony's Entertainment Complex [82] (on Walking Street) has an attractive and stylish interior, great live music and service. Free entry, but incredibly expensive drinks - and a 5000 baht fine if you're caught bringing your own in!
  • Tony 2 - not as well known as Tony's Entertainment Complex, but also very pricey.

The ones further away from Walking Street are generally more typical Thai discotheques: no special area for dancing, but lots of shows and great atmosphere. Admission is usually around 300 baht and includes one free drink.

  • Chivas Palace (formerly Palladium, on Second Road)
  • Hollywood Disco (recently moved to a new location in North Pattaya)
  • Star Dice Entertainment on Naklua Road (not Star Dice Beach on Beach Road) - one of the few discos in Pattaya that doesn't dual-price foreigners.
  • Xzyte Entertainment (Third Road)

Live Music

Live music - especially popular rock oldies - can be heard at several open-air venues along Walking Street, and at various bars elsewhere.

  • Blues Factory on Soi Lucky Star (just off Walking Street) features the former Lam Morrison Band. Lam Morrison himself has a new band and location next on Marine Plaza.
  • Hard Rock Cafe [83] (in the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel resort on Beach Road) has great live music and dancing in the evenings.

Sleep

Pattaya has an extensive selection of inexpensive mid-range accommodation, and a good variety of more upmarket options. Very cheap (under 400 baht) accommodation can also be found, and generally there's no need to book in advance. Standard rooms (double bed, air-con, cable TV, refrigerator, hot shower) start from 400 baht/day (6000 baht/month), and rates are invariably per room, not per person. For families or small groups, three bedroom bungalows from 30000 baht/month can be found at Jomtien. For better rates for longer stays, enquire at real estate offices.

Unless otherwise noted, prices quoted here are low season. Like all resort areas in Thailand, hotel pricing is highly seasonal. High season dates vary from hotel to hotel, but typically prices go up considerably during the Christmas-New Years period (which co-incides neatly with the season of best weather), and are lower between February and October/November. In addition to higher rates during the holiday period, guests staying over Christmas and New Year's Eve will often be required to pay for "Compulsory Gala Dinners" which can substantially increase the cost of the room. In recent years some hotels have started to insist that March is also covered by 'high season' prices - presumably because professional western men are usually most free to visit during a long Easter holiday break from work, and are happy to do so despite the worsening weather.

With the exception of large resorts or international chains such as the Hard Rock and Marriott, the lowest rates available from abroad are typically those available from the hotels directly. Except for the least expensive, many will handle reservations via email or a web form. Many will expect a deposit, usually by credit card or bank transfer.

While some hotels do not allow prostitutes to accompany guests to their rooms, this is uncommon in budget and mid-range hotels in Pattaya. Some "upmarket" hotels may charge a "joiner fee" for unregistered visitors, and a few may discourage visitors altogether. In all hotels, hotel security will check the ID of visitors in order to prevent girls aged under 20 from entering the hotel.

For visitors who simply want to sleep soundly, a box of high-grade foam earplugs is often a wise investement when staying at many Pattaya hotels.

Budget

  • Apex Hotel, Second Road (adjacent to Soi 11) tel. +66-38428281 / +66-38429233 fax. +66-38421184 [84]. All rooms have air-con, cable TV, 'fridge/minibar, hot shower, security box and telephone. There's also a pool (guests only) and buffet breakfasts/dinners (guests & non-guests welcome) and competitively priced laundry (8 baht for a T-shirt) and motorcycle rental (150 baht/day for a 125cc) services. There are 9 "first come first served" rooms at 450 baht (which are clean and functional, but rather well worn) and 100 more recently renovated rooms at 500 baht.
  • Cheap Charlies, 383/64 Moo 9, Soi Chaiyaphum (which connects Soi Buakhao Road and Third Road); tel. +66-38720452 [85]. Fan rooms with or without balcony from 150 baht.
  • Day & Night Hotel, South Pattaya Road, Soi Day & Night, offers air-con rooms at 500 baht (low season) / 850 baht (high season). Day & Night II Hotel further down the same soi has slightly bigger rooms (same rates). Monthly rates from 3800 baht.
  • Ice Inn Hotel, M.10 Pattaya 2nd Road tel. +66-38720671 / +66-38720672 [86]. All rooms have air-con, cable TV, 'fridge/minibar, hot shower, and telephone. Very nice and clean rooms, and helpful staff. From 440 baht.
  • Metro Apartments, Soi LK Metro, off Soi Buakhao; tel. +66-38425874 info@metro-apartments-pattaya.com [87] has excellent air-con rooms with hot shower, TV/DVD, and in-room safe & WiFi. The 3 pool tables in the bar (open until 03:00) are free for guests, as is Internet access; also small book/DVD library, next day laundry service. Low season rates 650 baht/night, 600 baht/night for stays over a week, 14000 baht/month; high season rates 900 baht/night, 850 baht/night for stays over a week, 21600 baht/month.
  • One For You Guesthouse, Soi 3; tel. +66-38720584 (info@ebonth.com )[88]. Rooms newly renovated autumn 2006, all rooms have; air con, fan television, DVD Player, refrigerator, kettle, safe. Minutes from walking street with quite location and cafe/bar. Rooms 500-700 baht per night or 8500-12500 baht per month.
  • Queen Victoria Inn, Soi Yodsak (Soi 6); tel. +66-38425418 [89] has rooms ranging from 500 to 800 baht, and a single penthouse suite for 2100 baht. Free Wi-Fi.


  • Thailand Holiday Homes, tel. +66-0814053016 [90]. Luxury 3, 4 and 5 bedroom villas and bungalows with private pools, free car hire, internet and maid service from £57 per night.
  • Wonderful Bar tel. +66-38425640 on the corner of Second Road and Soi Yamoto (Soi 13/1) has very basic rooms with air-con, TV, hot shower. Clean and tidy but old and well worn, and not so quiet in the evenings - but nevertheless often fully booked. Small rooms 300-350 baht, larger rooms 350-400 baht - pay upfront for a few days in advance to get the lower rates.

Mid-range

  • Dynasty Inn group [91] has two locations in Pattaya: Dynasty Inn, Soi 13, South Pattaya; tel. +66-38415941 and Dynasty Resort, Buddha Hill (map); tel. +66-38250721. Free minibus transfers between the Pattaya locations and Dynasty Inn Bangkok (Sukhumvit, Soi Nana) for guests. Dynasty Inn was built in 2003, and is located in the central shopping area, close to the main nightlife areas; Dynasty Resort is further south, a short songthaew ride from the main tourist areas. Both have a single class of room for 1200 baht (as at January 2005).
  • Flipper House Hotel, Soi 7 [92] and Flipper Lodge Hotel, Soi 8 [93]. Located in the heart of the best known cluster of beer bars in Pattaya, with rooms starting at 1000 baht.
  • Lek Hotel, 284/5 Soi 13, Pattaya Road; tel. +66-38425550 (lek_hotel@hotmail.com). Has a pool (guests only) and serves buffet breakfasts/dinners (guests & non-guests welcome). Standard rooms in the semi-hi-rise new building cost 1200 baht and rooms in the old building are 750 baht.
  • Pattaya Centre Hotel, Soi 11 [94]. This high-rise hotel is popular with Chinese tour groups, and conveniently located for the central shopping areas. While furnishings are on the older side, rooms are spacious, and those on the higher floors have very nice views.
  • Penthouse Hotel, Soi Pattayaland 2 (Soi 13/4); tel. +66-95441430 [95]. Marketed as an "adult fantasy" hotel featuring "theme rooms" and located right in very centre of the main go-go district (and directly attached to a go-go bar), it's an older property that's somewhat the worse for wear. Rooms from 700 baht, suites from 2300 baht.
  • The Residence Garden [96]. This is a popular out-of-the-way location, a short walk from the intersection of South Pattaya Road and Pattaya Second Road, and is a good choice for those looking for somewhere quieter. It has relatively new facilities, with 1 and 2 bedroom suites from 1600 baht directly; discounted lower rates are sometimes available through other sources.
  • Sabai Group operates a pair of hotels on opposite sides of Soi 2, the Sabai Lodge [97] and the Sabai Inn [98], both of which offer a wide range of room classes between 700 and 3000 baht.
  • Sandy Spring Hotel, Soi 13, [99]. This is a new moderate priced hotel, located in the central shopping area, close to the main nightlife areas.

Splurge

  • Amari Orchid Resort & Tower, 240 Moo 5, Pattaya-Naklua Road; tel. +66-38418418 [100]. The new Deluxe Ocean Tower at the Northern end of the Pattaya bay, 5 minutes from entertainment areas, one lap pool and one free form, large rooms with LCD TVs and open bathroom concept. Expect to pay upwards of 5,000 baht/ night.
  • Club Aviva, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong (20 minutes inland from Pattaya, free pickup on request); tel. +66-38735050 [101]. Part of Horseshoe Point and intended primarily for riders; also has a tennis court, swimming pool and basic spa. The buildings and grounds are charmingly decorated in a faux-Spanish style with all expected facilities, including two decent restaurants. Doubles with breakfast from 2300 baht.
  • Hard Rock Hotel, 429 Moo 9, Pattaya Beach Resort; +66-38428755 [102]. Located between Central Pattaya Road and Beach Road, just south of Soi Yodsak (Soi 6), it has extensive private grounds, a 2000 square metre outdoor pool with an imitation beach, and an outdoor rock climbing wall. Direct rates from around 5000 baht/night, but discount rates may be available through travel agencies.
  • Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa, 218/2-4 Moo 10, Beach Road; tel. +66-38412120 [103]. Directly adjacent to Royal Garden Plaza, in the heart of the central shopping district, and very convenient for the entertainment areas.

Contact

Telephone

Most telephone numbers in this article are shown in "international" format. To dial these numbers locally, replace the +66 with a zero, thus:

  • international: tel. +66-38428750
  • from a Thai 'phone: dial 038428750

Overseas calls can be made from many agencies and Internet shops, as well as guesthouses/hotels and the like - most advertise a rate of 10 baht/minute (or 20 baht/minute to mobile 'phones).

Pattaya Telecommunications Centre (183/44 Soi Post Office - opposite side to the Post Office, about 6 shops east) is open Mon-Sat 10:00-18:00. Outside, in the 24/7 payphones booth, there's an International Operator Direct Connection (IODC / Home Country Direct) service 'phone which provides one button press connections (suitable for making collect calls) to operators in: Australia; Canada; Denmark; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; Netherlands; New Zealand; Philippines (Philcom + PLDT); Singapore; Sweden; Taiwan; UK; USA (AT&T + MCI + Sprint).

  • Chonburi (including Pattaya & Jomtien) area code - from a Thai 'phone: 038 (from abroad: +66-38)
  • directory enquiries: dial 183 or 1113 (6 baht/minute)
  • overseas operator: dial 100

Internet

Internet access is very widely available, and speed and reliability of connection is generally good; however, as is the case throughout Thailand, some websites are blocked by Thai ISPs - notably gambling sites (as part of the government's tough line on all gambling), pornography portals, and anonymous proxy services.

The majority of Internet shops tend to open late and close late, but many are open 24/7; prices range from 120 baht/hour down to 20 baht/hour. One baht per minute is typical for predominantly tourist-oriented shops, many of which also offer lower rates for pre-paid blocks of time. It's not difficult to find well-equipped, quiet, air-con Internet cafés that charge 30 baht/hour if you shop around a little; likewise shops that can accommodate users who want to hook up their own laptops can easily be found. Printing (black/white) is usually 10 baht/page (30 baht/page for colour).

Many Internet cafés and photo-processing shops have facilities for off-loading digital photos from memory cards and burning them to CD, for which the going rate is 100 baht per CD. As always, carefully verify the integrity of the images on the CD before re-formatting the memory card, and consider having two copies burned to CD - one CD to send home by mail, the other CD to take home in your luggage as a backup.

Post

Pattaya has several post offices, the most central of which can be found (believe it or not) halfway along Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2). As well as the usual postal services, it handles Western Union transactions and hosts a large number of post/security boxes. On weekdays (except public holidays) it's open 08:30-16:30, and on Saturday and Sunday and public holidays it's open 09:00-12:00; tel. +66-38429340 /1

Jomtien Post Office is at Jomtien Beach Road Soi 5 - tel. +66-38231944

One-stop-shops that handle DHL, EMS, FedEx, TNT, UPS etc are relatively common. Try:

  • Pattaya Postal Service, Soi Buakhao (524/26 Moo 10); tel. +66-38720418 - open 10:30-18:00 (closed Sundays).
  • PAWS Post Service, Pattaya New Plaza (329/10 Moo 9 - off Second Road); tel. +66-38720957 - open 10:30-18:00 (closed Sundays).

Stay healthy

Hospitals

  • Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Sukhumvit Road (immediately north-west of the North Pattaya Road traffic lights), +66 3825 9999 (), [105]. Emergency: +66 3825 9911. Pattaya's largest hospital (210 beds) and generally regarded as having the best facilities and highest standards; a bit more expensive than the rest, but still much lower prices than in the West. Many travel insurance policies will cover in-patient care here directly.
  • Banglamung Hospital, Sawang Fah Road, Naklua, +66 3842 9244/5. This is the least foreigner-oriented of the major hospitals in Pattaya, and most likely to have the lowest prices.
  • Pattaya International Hospital, Soi 4 (between Pattaya Beach Road and Second Road, North Pattaya), +66 3842 8374/5 (), [106].
  • Pattaya Memorial Hospital, Central Pattaya Road, +66 3842 9422/4. Has the most central location, but not as good a reputation as Bangkok Pattaya Hospital or Pattaya International Hospital.

Dentists

"Dental Tourism" is a popular reason for choosing to visit Thailand, and like other major tourist destinations such as Bangkok and Phuket, Pattaya has many dentists who advertise in English and are accustomed to treating foreigners.

  • Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, Sukhumvit Road (North Pattaya); tel. +66-38259944 dentalbph@bgh.co.th


  • Modern Smile Dental Clinic, 418/9 Central Pattaya Road (Central Pattaya) [107] tel. +66-38720820
  • Doctor Smile Dentist, 111/72 South Pattaya Road (Opposite TukCom Building) [109] tel. +66-38723733
  • Central Pattaya Dental Center, 418/19-20 Central Pattaya Road [110] tel. +66-38720747
  • Pattaya Dental Clinic [111] info@pdclinic.com has three locations - Buddha Hill: 308/79 Moo 10, Thappraya Road (opposite Soi 11) tel: +66-38252670-1 fax: +66-38252671 North Pattaya: 102/4 Moo 9, Beach Road Soi 3 (opposite Big C) tel: +66-38362374 fax: +66-38252671 South Pattaya: 363/24 Moo 10, Beach Road Soi 16 (beside Marine Plaza Hotel) tel: +66-38429206 tel+fax: +66-38421156

Pharmacies

Pharmacies are plentiful and for most medications a prescription is not required (but when a prescription is required, it must be issued by a Thai doctor - a prescription from abroad won't do). Viagra (etc.) is available from most. The international Boots and Watsons chains each have locations at Central Festival (Big-C) and Royal Garden Plaza malls (Boots also have a store in Walking Street, open 12:00-02:00), and their pharmacists tend to have above-average English skills.

  • Fascino, North Pattaya Road [112] is a huge store and a good place to try if you're having trouble finding what you need; also stocks some medical equipment (e.g. wheelchairs & walkers).

Stay safe

Emergency contacts

  • Fire: dial 199
  • Pattaya International Hospital (Soi 4, between Beach Road and Second Road, North Pattaya) 24-hour ambulance/emergency service - dial 038428374 or 038428375
  • Police: dial 191
  • Tourist Police: dial 1155 (this supersedes the old "1699" number)
  • Highway Police: dial 193 (or 038392001 / 038425440)
  • Marine Police: dial 038423666 or 038321422
  • Pattaya Sea Rescue Centre: dial 038488134

Accidents

For most people, the most hazardous aspect of visiting Pattaya is the traffic. The top three accident black spots are:

  • Dolphin Roundabout (intersection of Beach Road, Second Road, North Pattaya Road and Naklua Road)
  • junction of Beach Road and Central Pattaya Road
  • junction of Beach Road / Walking Street and South Pattaya Road

Most accidents in Pattaya involve motorbikes, and are especially common late at night and in the early hours of the morning, when drink-driving is a significant problem. Be careful on the roads, even if you're just crossing one on foot (and be equally careful both on and off pedestrian crossings, as Thai drivers generally ignore them, and many foreigners seem to approach them with the hope of scoring double points); be careful on the pavements too - obstacles apparently purpose-engineered to trip up as many people as possible are commonplace, and motorcyclists use footpaths as short cuts with impunity. When riding in the back of an otherwise empty songthaew, it's probably safest to sit directly behind the cab.

In the event of an accident, the injured are usually bundled into the back of the next available songthaew or pickup truck or even onto the back of a motorbike (now you know why Pattaya has so many songthaews, why Thailand is the world's biggest pickup truck market, and why so many Thais ride motorbikes).

A completely different genre of traffic-related accident was highlighted by a fatality in January 2006 when a surfacing diver was hit by a speedboat propeller near Ko Laan. Unfortunately, the popularity of Pattaya's beaches combined with a relatively relaxed attitude to safety concerns in general means that swimmers and divers (and even sunbathers on the beach!) being struck by speedboats and jetskis is not such a rare occurrence.

Some potential visitors might usefully seek medical advice about possible heart attacks before visiting Pattaya. A combination of lack of fitness, stressful long-haul air travel, humidity and heat, the stress of negotiating one's way through a vibrant street life, drinking too much on unfamilar food, indulgence in viagra and frequent over-exertion in the bedroom, can all lead to heart attacks among men of a certain age.

Police

The main police station is on Beach Road (at the corner of Soi 9); dial 191, or 038420802 /5. For Banglamung Police Station dial 038221331 or 038221800.

The Tourist Police relocated from Second Road to new purpose-built offices on Pratamnak Road in June 2006 - they are now located next door to the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) Information Office, exactly 1 km south of the junction of Second Road and South Pattaya Road - proceed along Pratamnak Road, continue straight up the hill, and where the road bears sharp right part way up, turn sharp left into the small side-soi. Alternatively, their mobile minivan office which sets up every evening at the junction of Walking Street / South Pattaya Road / Beach Road is much easier to reach. Their e-mail address is tourist@police.gov.th - or simply dial 1155

Pattaya Tourist Police advise that in theory foreigners should carry their passports with them at all times, however they also suggest that in practice a good photocopy (personal details page, visa and entry stamp pages, and TM card) is acceptable.

Crime

Like most of Thailand, Pattaya is generally safe for tourists and violent crime such as mugging or robbery is unusual, with the exception of jewellery and bag snatching (usually with the thieves on motorcycles, and often with the victims on motorcycles too) which is endemic.

Swindles and pickpocketing are more commonly encountered by tourists - it is very inadvisable to tell anyone that it is your first visit to Thailand, since you will then be marked down as an 'easy touch'.

The nightlife/entertainment areas have a lot of activity and are generally very safe - however pickpockets are a problem, especially on Walking Street when it's crowded, despite the official Tourist Police patrolling the area at night. For this reason, a visitor should not carry a passport and/or credit card with them, especially at night - these should be left in the safe at your hotel along with the bulk of your cash, or if they must be carried then they should be securely concealed. If you have been pick pocketed and then you actually spot the likely pickpocket departing, do not follow. You could be mistaken, and you almost certainly will be accused of being mistaken. Just put it down to experience, and leave the immediate area.

Never ever 'pick a fight' in any circumstance, no matter how much you have had to drink. Never try to intervene, even verbally, in an argument between two or more Thai people.

No matter how much you are being pestered, just smile and walk on. In cash payments, disputes over the value of notes and the amount of change can be avoided by carrying smaller notes and trying to give near enough the exact amount.

The beach side of Beach Road used to be worth avoiding late at night, however the entire length of both the promenade and beach are now floodlit, and although it's still a popular haunt for "freelance" prostitutes, it's now much busier from dusk through until dawn and by no means a "no-go" area.

Visitors should not visit entertainment venues that do not display a long-standing fixed sign outside, or which appear to be very poorly lit inside. Also; one or two of the hundreds of seemingly bright and established venues may actually be operating as a 'clip joint', offering free admission and then refusing to allow visitors to leave until they have settled a faked bill for non-existent drinks. Again; it is wisest simply pay up, leave and put it down to experience.

As always, travellers should take extra care in all poorly lit or more remote areas, and very late at night. This is especially the case if one has had too much to drink.

Drugs - as with all of Thailand, the penalties for possession and/or distribution of drugs are harsh.

Gambling - is illegal in Thailand, and the local press reports Pattaya Police as having a "zero tolerance" policy for gambling offences.

Drinking

The legal minimum age for customers in drinking establishments and discos is 20. In Pattaya this is rarely enforced for foreigners, but is frequently enforced for Thais, including those accompanying foreigners. Pattaya police conduct raids to check for underage employees (especially in "indoor" and go-go bars) and patrons (especially in discos) from time to time, and less frequently to enforce closing times. Foreign tourists are not the targets of these raids and are usually asked to produce ID (photocopy of photo/ID page of passport will normally suffice) and then allowed to leave, but are sometimes tested for drugs via an on-the-spot urine sample.

Cope

Airline offices

  • Bangkok Airways, 75/8 Moo 9, Second Road, +66 3841 2382, +66 3836 1542 (, fax: +66 3841 1965), [113]. 8AM-12PM, 1-5:30PM (ticketing closes at 5PM.
  • Thai Airways International, Dusit Resort Hotel, 240/2 Beach Road (near the Dolphin Roundabout), +66 3842 0995/97 (, fax: +66 3842 0998), [114]. M-Sa 9AM-5PM.

Various online and print resources give Pattaya addresses for Kuwait Airways (Marriott Resort), Orient Thai / Orient Express / One-Two-Go (116/7 Moo 9, Central Pattaya Road) and Thai Russian Air Service (Soi Town in Town) - however all these offices have now closed.

Embassies & consulates

  • British - honorary consul (Barry Kenyon): dial 0817827363
  • French - honorary consul (Pierre de Brugerolle de Fraissinette): Espace Francophone La Fontaine, 280/3 Beach Road, South Pattaya (southern end of Walking Street); Wed+Fri 14:00-16:00 dial 038710800 /2 [116]
  • Hungarian - consulate: 42/15 Sabaijai Village, Sukhumvit Road; dial 038373056
  • Irish - contact British honorary consul, see above
  • Norwegian - honorary consul for Chonburi, Chantaburi, Rayong and Trat (Stig Vagt Andersen): 75/128-29, Moo 12, Jomtien Beach Road; Mon-Fri 09.00-11.30 dial 038231630 [117]
  • Swedish - honorary consul (Dr. Sunya Viravaydia): 391/69 Moo 10, Tabphya Road; Mon-Fri 09:00-15:00 dial 038364485 sugarhut@cnet.net.th [118]

Immigration

Pattaya Immigration Office is now housed in new premises near the inland end of Soi 5, Jomtien Beach Road (most maps show the old Soi 8, Pattaya Beach Road location, which closed in December 2005). Opening hours are 08:30-16:30 weekdays, 08:30-12:00 (extentions/notifications only) on Saturdays (tel. +66-38252750 / fax. +66-38252751-111 / e-mail pattaya_imm@hotmail.com); casual but smart attire is OK, however entry in swimwear or without a shirt is not permitted.

Entry permit extensions are processed on a same day (if applied for before noon - collect after 15:00) or next working day (if applied for after noon) basis. On Saturdays, previous applications can be collected, and new applications can be submitted (for collection next working day). For most nationalities, a 30 day entry permit stamp will usually be extended to 45 days (whereas in Bangkok only an additional 10 days will be given) and a 60 day entry permit stamp will usually be extended to 90 days (further extensions beyond 90 days are also possible). In all cases, the entry permit extension fee is 1900 baht, and two passport photos must be supplied. Photocopies (5 baht) and photos (100 baht for two) are available from a shop inside the immigration office compound (these prices are about four times as much as can easily be found elsewhere). Note that entry permit extensions are discretionary, and must be applied for in person. Shorter extensions are likely to be issued to nationalities who do not qualify for "Visa Free" entry; longer extensions are issued in certain circumstances, such as bereavement, ill health (unable to travel), and for hospital patients (both inpatients and outpatients).

Pattaya Immigration staff also operate a temporary office at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital (on Sukhumvit Road) from 13:00-14:00 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month, which can be used by foreigners who meet certain requirements (essentially, for inpatients and outpatients and their immediate families and/or carers).

Laundry

Laundry is the least of your worries in Pattaya - small laundry services abound, charging something like 5 baht/underwear, 8 baht/shirt, 10 baht/pants, 15 baht/jeans. All hotels and guesthouses worth their salt also cater for this, although prices tend to be higher (often about double the above, although if you stay somewhere such as the Hilton or Marriot you'll pay just as much as you would in California). In smaller and more informally managed accommodation, the maid who cleans your room will probably welcome the opportunity to boost her meagre salary and do your laundry (by hand), typically for a few baht more than an outside laundry service. Usually it's a next day service, but might take a little longer if it rains.

Get out

Pattaya's countless travel agencies advertise endless lists of "same day" trips and longer tours that include accommodation elsewhere before returning to Pattaya. The most popular destination for overnight stays is Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai - prices vary, but whirlwind tours are around 3000 baht/person for a 2 day / 1 night package, 4500 baht/person for a 3 day / 2 night package. Shop around the agencies for details and the best deals for this and for alternatives too numerous to mention.

Islands

Ko Samet (Samet or Samed Island) in Rayong Province is about 90 minutes away by direct minibus to Ban Phe (150-200 baht) and then a further 30-40 minutes by ferry (50 baht, frequent departures until dusk). It's a fairly small island (most of which belongs to Khao Laem Ya - Mu Ko Samet National Park) with great beaches and copious accommodation - however pre-booking is virtually essential on Thai public holiday dates.

Ko Chang (Chang Island) in Trat Province is about three hours away by direct minibus to Laem Ngop (400-500 baht), plus 30 minutes for the ferry crossing and then another 20-30 minutes to get to the west coast beaches. It's a relatively large island (Thailand's third biggest) with numerous beaches and lots of places to stay. Parts of Ko Chang, and several smaller nearby islands which also have accommodation, belong to Ko Chang National Park. It's now more developed than Ko Samet, but budget accommodation can still be found.

Ko Si Chang (Si Chang Island) is a 25 minute ferry ride from Si Racha. It's similar to Ko Samet in size, but not a beach destination and much less focussed on tourism.

Phuket and Ko Samui (Thailand's largest and second largest islands respectively) are both popular onward destinations from Pattaya since Bangkok Airways offers direct flights from U-Tapao.

Cambodia

Visa runs

Day trips to the border with Cambodia (invariably for the purposes of leaving and then immediately re-entering Thailand - so called "visa runs", although it's a new "entry permit stamp" that is issued, not a visa) are big business in Pattaya.

Travel agencies sell tickets for daily guided same-day-return trips, and for longer trips to Phnom Penh if you actually need to visit a Thai embassy and apply for a Thai visa but don't want to do so independently.

The same-day "entry permit stamp" trips usually include the price of the visa for Cambodia in the package (the operator will use a border crossing where an "arrangement" has been negotiated with the Cambodian immigration officials stationed there) and come in various flavours - sardine-style minibus, luxury "armchair" minibus, big bus, depart when the bars close and arrive at the border when it opens, depart late and return in the evening, smoking, non-smoking, breakfast included, and so on. Prices vary to suit, typically between 1700 and 2500 baht - cruise along Soi Buakhao and you'll see many signs quoting prices for these services. Confirm that you're eligible to enter Thailand "Visa Free" before attempting this (most Western passports qualify), as it's not possible to get a Visa-on-Arrival for Thailand when entering (or re-entering) overland from Cambodia.

Border crossings

The nearest border crossing to Pattaya is Pakkard / Prum, but the closest with daily direct public bus transport is Aranyaprathet / Poipet. All border crossings between Thailand and Cambodia open at 07:00 and close at 20:00.

From Pattaya, the most direct routes are:-

For Koh Kong and Sihanoukville (see also the Get In | Minibus section)

  • Hat Lek / Koh Kong border crossing - 2nd class bus from Sukhumvit Road to Trat (4-5 hours) and minibus from there (1.5-2 hours, every 45 minutes from 06:00-18:00, 110 baht); then by sea (4-5 hours) or unsealed road (variable) to Sihanoukville; good sealed road from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh (4-5 hours)

For Siem Reap and Angkor (it's also possible to fly direct from U-Tapao to Siem Reap)

  • Pakkard / Prum border crossing - 2nd class bus from Sukhumvit Road to Chanthaburi (3-4 hours to Chanthaburi; 1-2 hours from Chanthaburi to Pakkard); then by unsealed road to Pailin (30 minutes by share taxi or motorbike), unsealed road to Battambang (about 2 hours by share taxi), good sealed road to Sisophon (one hour), unsealed road to Siem Reap (about two hours by share taxi) - or by boat direct from Battambang to Siem Reap (variable)

For Phnom Penh (or Battambang)

  • Pakkard / Prum border crossing - as described above to Pailin; share taxi direct to final destination from there
  • Aranyaprathet / Poipet border crossing - 1st or 2nd class bus from the bus station on North Pattaya Road direct to Aranyaprathet (~5 hours - see Get in | By region | North-East); then by unsealed road to Sisophon (1-2 hours); then good sealed road to Battambang (1 hour) and Phnom Penh (another 4-5 hours)








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