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Pattaya

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Revision as of 08:27, 22 December 2005 by 203.155.1.246 (talk) (Sports)
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Pattaya

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View of Pattaya Bay from Soi 12

Pattaya (พัทยา) is a popular coastal resort city in Eastern Thailand.

Understand

Pattaya is famous for its go-go and beer bars and massage parlors, but it's also one of Thailand's best spots for practically any sport imaginable from golf and horseback riding to watersports such as jet-skiing and windsurfing, not to mention bungee jumping, karting, shooting, and a whole lot more.

Once a sleepy fishing town, Pattaya boomed as an R&R spot during the Vietnam War and has been a sex tourism destination trying to improve its image ever since. Some of the beaches are dirty and lackluster (by Thailand's high standards) and rampant overdevelopment has long since destroyed any natural charms it once had, but its plethora of hotels and guesthouses and convenient location with easy access from Bangkok make it a popular weekend getaway. With over a million tourists packing in yearly Pattaya also offers an excellent range of eating choices, as well as myriad things to do and see.

Orientation

Map of major roads in Pattaya (not to scale)

Central Pattaya is easy to get around. Beach Road runs north-south alongside the beach, and is parallelled by Pattaya Second Road, Pattaya Third Road, and the main Sukhumvit highway, each one a few hundred metres from the next. Running east-west, there are three major roads - North Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Nua), Central Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Klang) and South Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Tai) - and between them a large number of smaller streets (sois).

The numbered sois run from 1 to 16, from north to south; there are also quite a few unnumbered sois. Sois 1-6 are between North Pattaya Road and Central Pattaya Road; sois 7-13 are between Central and South Pattaya Road (along with the Pattayaland sois just north of South Pattaya Road); and sois 14-16 are south of South Pattaya Road.

Beach Road south of South Pattaya Road is closed to vehicles in the evenings, and is also called Walking Street; it's a major tourist area, both for nightlife and shopping. Other major tourist areas include the section of Second Road between sois 1-4, and the sois immediately north of South Pattaya Road.

Jomtien Beach and Naklua Beach flank the city centre. Jomtien, to the south, is considerably more sedate and family-oriented, and the beach itself is in better shape too; Naklua, to the north, is also quieter than central Pattaya, but is not as well known for its beach as Jomtien.

Get in

Pattaya is well connected to Bangkok, 147 km away.

By plane

U-Tapao Airport (formerly a US airbase and largely responsible for Pattaya's initial transformation) fields only a few flights a day to Ko Samui and Phuket (Bangkok Airways) and Siem Reap (PMTair), although there are expansion plans. Most visitors arrive via Bangkok, and Pattaya will be even better connected when Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi Airport, some 40 km closer, opens in June 2006 (if the date does not slip further).

By bus

First class

1st class buses (all air-con, and almost always with toilet) from Bangkok's Eastern, Northern, and Southern bus terminals to the North Pattaya Road terminal cost 110 baht. Services from the Eastern and Northern terminals are frequent (every 20-40 minutes, depending on the time of day) and take about 2-2.5 hours; those from the Southern terminal are less frequent and take a little longer.

Departure times:

  • Ekamai (East) to Pattaya - first 05:20, last 23:00
  • Pattaya to Ekamai (East) - first 05:20, last 21:00
  • Moh Chit (North) to Pattaya - first 05:00, last 20:00
  • Pattaya to Moh Chit (North) - first 05:20, last 20:00
  • Sai Tai Mai (South) to Pattaya - 05:30, 08:30, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:30
  • Pattaya to Sai Tai Mai (South) - 06:00, 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 15:00, 18:00

From the North Pattaya Road terminal, songthaews depart when full (every few minutes). The fare to anywhere on Beach Road ("the beach") is 20 baht.

Second class

2nd class buses (air-con, no toilet) take considerably longer than 1st class buses, and there's not a huge saving to be made - the fare is 73 baht. Although they depart more frequently, you'll still arrive sooner if you wait for the next 1st class bus.

Minibus

There are also direct minibus services from Don Muang (every few hours) - expect to pay around 300 baht, including delivery to a nominated hotel. The trip takes around two hours in good traffic, but factor in some buffer during rush hour.

These bus services appear to have ceased in mid to late 2004. An exhaustive search in March 2005 was unsuccessful in finding anyone that knew about any current bus services from the airport to Pattaya. The standard response was "finished".

Bus terminals

Confusingly, Pattaya itself has no less than 3 major bus terminals. Bangkok-bound 1st-class buses (only) use the busy little terminal on North Pattaya Road, while non-AC buses to Bangkok and other short-haul destinations use the more centrally located South Pattaya Road terminal. Services to the north and north-east use a third cluster of terminals near the end of Central Pattaya Road.

By taxi

Taxis from Bangkok (or directly from Don Muang Airport) cost between 1000-1500 baht. Licensed taxi-meter cab prices should be negotiable to the lower end of the range; arranged car services will tend to the higher end. The trip should take around 90 minutes, except around rush hour.

By train

Provided it's a weekday, the most economical way to get from Bangkok to Pattaya by public transport is by rail - the one-way fare is just 31 baht.

From Monday to Friday, one 3rd class train a day departs Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station at 06:55 and arrives in Pattaya at 10:18, before continuing on to Sattahip; the same train returns via Pattaya at 14:21 and terminates back in Bangkok at 17:40.

Pattaya Train Station is located a little to the east of Sukhumvit, just north of the South Pattaya Road intersection - from Beach Road budget around 40-50 baht for a motorbike taxi.

Get around

By songthaew

Hundreds of songthaews (pickup trucks converted to buses, also called baht buses or simply taxis) cruise the streets of Pattaya offering rides. The official price is 5 baht for trips within Pattaya but foreigners are expected to pay 10 baht, and on rare occasions a driver will demand even more. Longer trips to Jomtien might cost two to three times that amount. Flat fares only apply when operating as a bus: a stationary songthaew, especially an empty one, might assume you want to charter - in which case expect a much higher fare of 100 baht or more depending on your negotiating skills.

The most common route is the beach loop: south along Beach Road, east on South Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Tai), north on Second Road, and east on North Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Nua). But the routes often vary, with a left turn (from Beach Road or Second Road) into Central Pattaya Road (Thanon Pattaya Klang); or no turn at the dolphin circle and going straight on to Naklua (or even a right turn to the bus station). 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.

It's also fairly easy to catch a songtheaw going either direction on Central Pattaya Road and South Pattaya Road. North Pattaya Road usually has a songtheaw waiting at Dolphin Circle. From Naklua you can catch the white songthaew out to Sukhumvit and on to Si Racha.

If you're heading south, Jomtien bound songthaews wait on Pratamnak Road (the continuation of Second Road) at the corner with South Pattaya Road.

On Sukhumvit Road you can catch songtheaws that go as far as Si Racha and Sattahip (marked by color); it's also possible to catch a ride with one of the many full-size buses, to destinations as far away as Trat and even Chiang Mai.

By local bus

Pattaya has finally introduced a long-delayed public bus system, featuring air conditioning and running along set routes (map). The 13 km Green Line and 30 km Red Line routes are already in operation, while the 19 km Yellow Line route will be running soon. Each service will run from 06:00 to 02:00, with scheduled stops along the way. Single tickets cost 30 baht, while a one-day ticket is 90 baht and a monthly pass is 900 baht.

By motorbike taxi

The quickest way around for a single traveller is usually by motorbike taxi (motosai). These are less expensive than using a songthaew as a taxi, but arguably less safe. Some drivers are willing to take two or more passengers. Motorbike taxis can be recognized by their drivers wearing colored vests, and will often call out "Taxi, Sir?" to travellers walking by. Motorbike taxi stands can be found throughout town, and in front of most major tourist areas and nightlife spots. Expect to pay around 30 baht for trips around the inner part of town.

By taxi

The only metered taxis of the sort found in Bangkok will be a handful who have dropped off passengers from that city. There are also some car services and conventional taxis on an on-call basis; these can also often arrange a private minibus. These are suited primarily for longer trips to destinations outside of the core of the town or to another city, and can be arranged through most hotels or any of the innumerable small travel agencies in town. Expect to pay considerably more than the cost of a songthaew hire, probably in the order of a few hundred baht.

By rental car or bike

Motorbikes and scooters can be rented at countless locations in and around Pattaya, with rates starting around 150 baht/day. It's a popular way to get around for some visitors, but not the safest, especially in the case of visitors with limited previous experience of motorcycling and Thai traffic habits.

Car rentals are also readily available, although generally this isn't such a practicable way to get around as in the busiest areas traffic is often congested and parking space limited.

See

Theme parks and museums

  • Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm [1] is a 15 minute drive from central Pattaya. It features an exotic zoo, and crocodile, fire-swallowing and magic shows, as well as the garden and stone park. Open daily 08:00-18:30.
  • Pattaya Park [2] on Dong Tarn Beach includes an attractive tower, monorail and other entertainment facilities - good for families with children.
  • Three Kingdoms Theme Park, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong; tel. +66 (0) 38421428 [3]. 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. Adults 60 baht, children 30 baht.
  • Mini Siam, located on Sukhumvit Road, surrounded by Soi 33, features miniature replicas of various famous buildings from Thailand and all over the world.
  • Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum is located on the third floor of the Royal Garden Plaza mall. 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.
  • Bottle Art Museum, 79/15 Moo 9, Sukhumvit Road, Nongpler; tel. +66 (0) 38422957, +66 (0) 38415783 [4]. More than 300 miniatures in bottles. Open daily 08:00-20:00.
  • Gems Gallery, 555 Moo 6, North Pattaya Road; tel. +66 (0) 38371222. One of several "World's Biggest" jewelry stores, this one also has a theme park.

Zoos and nature

  • Elephant Village, 54/1 Moo 2, Tambol Nong Prue; tel+fax. +66 (0) 38249818, +66 (0) 38249853, +66 (0) 38249174 [5]. Offers elephant trekking, show, jungle tour and can organize a three-night jungle tour in Phrae Province.
  • Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, 163 Sukhumvit Road (just 15 minutes east of Pattaya); tel. +66 (0) 38429321 [6]. Beautiful gardens with waterfalls, elephant shows and "Cultural Extravaganza" performances 4 times a day. One can easily spend a whole day; restaurants etc.
  • Sriracha Tiger Zoo, 341 Moo 3, Nongkham, Si Racha (30 minutes drive from Pattaya); tel. +66 (0) 38296556 [7]. A zoo with various shows.
  • Underwater World Pattaya, 22/22 Moo 11 Sukhumvit Road (about 15 minutes from the beach by taxi); tel. +66 (0) 38756879. Aquarium full of tropical creatures. Open daily 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 (adults 180 baht, children 120 baht) and foreigners (adults 360 baht, children 180 baht).
  • Submarines

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

  • Hynix of the Sea [8] - ticket office in Tipp Plaza on Second Road near Soi 10.
  • Vimantaitalay - contact almost any travel shop in Pattaya.
  • Deep Sea Fishing - organized by Nature Service Tour, tel. +66 (0) 38427660. Fishing and swimming, 1220 baht per person, incl breakfast and lunch. Fishing boat is available for the whole group. Leave New Pier (Balihai) every Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday at 09:00, return at 17:30.

Sacred places

  • Buddha Hill (between Thappraya Road and Phratamnak Road), one of the highest points in Pattaya, is worth to visit. At the summit is the biggest Buddha statue in Pattaya, and nearby one can find a beautiful Chinese-style sacred area dedicated to Confucius and Lao-zi. The next hill, just across the Phratamnak Road, has the best view point over the sea and Pattaya bay and is also worth a visit, especially for sunset. 5-10 minutes by songthaew.
  • Sanctuary of Truth, 206/2 Moo 5 Naklua 12 Naklua Rd; tel. +66 (0) 38225407 / +66 (0) 38367229 [9]. An unfinished project, but worth a visit even now. The main attraction is a huge ancient-style wooden temple. Nearby is a small dophinarium with dolphin shows at 11:30 and 15:30.

Do

Beaches

Pattaya beaches are for relaxing and for various activities on day-time only. One can have chairs and umbrellas and enjoy the service: food, drinks etc. A lot of additional services will be offered by local people around: jet-skiing, parasailing, riding on rubber dolphins, etc. An endless stream of hawkers offer massage, manicure/pedicure, tattoos, ice cream, lottery tickets, newspapers, seafood, fruits, herbs, flowers, gems, perfumes, sunglasses, CDs, watches, lighters, clothes, toys, souvenirs, handycrafts and, believe it or not, even more...

Jomtien

Jomtien Beach is the main (and longest) beach in south Pattaya, with countless places to eat, shop, and stay just a few steps away.

Pattaya

This is the "central" beach, bordered by Beach Road. It's a narrow and often crowded strip of sand at the best of times, and even more so at high tide. The sea is not very clean around here.

Naklua

Naklua is cleaner and more suitable for relaxing, and comprises:

  • Crescent Moon Beach
  • Naklua Beach
  • Palm Beach
  • Wong Amat Beach

Dong Tarn

Dong Tarn Beach and several other small beaches are located around the Buddha Hill.

Ko Laan

Laan (or Lan or Larn or Coral) Island, 7.5 km west of Pattaya, is a very small but decidedly "touristic day-trip" island that has several beaches with minimal development and pollution, likewise two neighbouring islets, Ko Sak and Ko Khrok. Ferries take about 45 minutes and charge 20 baht. Faster speedboats are much more expensive but can be chartered just about anywhere on Pattaya's main beaches.

Sports

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

  • archery
  • badminton
  • beach volleyball
  • bowling:
  • PS Bowl, tel +66 (0) 38420965 / +66 (0) 38420966, [10] has two locations - one is above the Tops Supermarket at Central Pattaya Road and Second Road, the other is on Second Road near Soi Zero.
  • O.D. Bowling is on Pratamnak Road in South Pattaya.
  • bungy jumping:
  • Jungle Bungy Jump - tel. +66 (0) 78336655 [11]. Located in a beautiful tropical setting, 165 feet (50 metres) over a jungle lagoon. Will organise pick up and return transport from anywhere in Pattaya, or 15 minutes from the centre of Pattaya by songthaew. Open daily 09:00-18:00.
  • climbing
  • croquet
  • flying
  • football
  • golf:
  • Pattaya Sports Club [12] is primarily an organization for local sportsmen/women but has significant resources online for those seeking to play golf or other sports while in the area.
  • horse riding:
  • Horseshoe Point, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong; tel. +66 (0) 38735050 [13]. 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).
  • jogging and walking around Pattaya is a mostly unpleasant affair: crazy, smokey traffic; non-existent sidewalks or loose pavements; low-hanging electric wires and awnings; and dogs are just a few of the hazards you'll encounter. Naklua might offer your best bet with less crowded beaches, wider streets, less traffic and even a few trees — although take care as it's poorly lit at night. There's a new walkway around the ocean side of the Dusit Resort that connects the beaches north and south.
  • motor racing (including ATV racing & karting)
  • mountain biking
  • Muay Thai (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.
  • Pattaya Kombat Village (Muay Thai Training School), Darapan 3 93/123 Moo 12, Soi 8 Khoatalo Nongprue Banglamung, tel +66 (0) 95433450. For everyone to learn and practice Thai Boxing. Certified courses.
  • paint-balling
  • para-gliding & para-sailing
  • sailing
  • Siam Sailing, 668/10 Naklua Road, tel. +66 (0) 38427269. Offers a number of packages incl full/half day trips, beach and island trips, sunset dinner cruises and private charter.
  • Scuba dive training and trips for a wide range of ability levels and interests, certified by a number of different organizations, including both NAUI and PADI, are available through numerous dive shops.
  • shooting
  • Pattaya Shooting Club and Fishing Park, 1/6 Moo 4 Soi Wat Huay-Yai, Sukhumvit Road (10 minutes from town centre) tel. +66 (0) 38255488.
  • Tiffany's Shooting Range, 464 Moo 9, Second Road (Tiffany's Show building, ground floor) tel. +66 (0) 384217005. The only indoor shooting range in Pattaya City.
  • squash & tennis
  • watersports too numerous to mention - but including jet skiing, kitesurfing, swimming, wakeboarding, water skiing & windsurfing.

Entertainment

Cabaret

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

  • Alcazar, on Second Road across from Soi 5
  • Tiffany's Show, on Second Road near signless Soi Srinakhom (one soi north of Soi 1) [14]. The Miss Tiffany's Universe [15] pageant is held annually. If you're got testosterone left over, visit the Shooting Range in the basement!

Cinema

Cinemas in Thailand tend to be air conditioned very heavily; you may wish to bring a jacket or long sleeve shirt. Projection and sound reliability varies significantly, as does the price and selection of snacks and beverages for sale, but the two large mall cinemas in Pattaya are mostly up to western standards. Thai-language films are often, but not always, subtitled in English; usually the billing at the theater will indicate this, and some theaters 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 Department Store - tel. +66 (0) 38361500 (movie showtimes). Has six theatres with ticket prices around 90 baht, slightly more expensive on the weekends. The unripe mango for sale here are generally quite tasty.
  • SF Multiplex - Royal Garden Center - tel. +66 (0) 38428057 (movie showtimes). Has two theatres with tickets 10 or 20 baht cheaper than the Central Festival location.

Disco

  • Chivas Palace (formerly Palladium, on Second Road), Hollywood Disco (South Road) and Xzyte Entertainment (Third Road). Typical Thai discotheques: no special place for dancing, but lot of shows and great atmosphere. Entry fee (some 300 baht) includes one free drink.
  • Lucifer, Marine Disco and Tony's Entertainment Complex (all on walking Street). Not typical Thai discos, have no special shows. For dancing suitable only the Marine Disco after midnight. The most attractive is Tony's. Enter free, but drinks are very expensive.
  • Hard Rock Cafe, Beach road, near Soi 6, [16]. While not technically a disco, does have live music and dancing in the evenings.
  • Star Dice Entertainment on Naklua Road (not Star Dice Beach on Beach Road) is one of the few discos in Pattaya that doesn't dual-price foreigners.

Karaoke

Many of the Karaoke places you might see are a little seedy.

  • Rugby Karajuku Karaoke off of Dolphin Circle (down the Soi to the right of the Dusit Resort) has non-seedy communal and private-room karaoke.

Music

  • Live music - there are some open-air live music performances in Walking Street, playing popular rock oldies.
  • The Blues Factory with Lam Morrison Band has truly the best live music in Pattaya. Located in Soi Lucky Star off Walking Street.

Massage

There are plenty of massage parlors in Pattaya. The most common types of massage include Thai massage, foot massage, oil massage and reflexology massage. Body massage parlors are non-sexual, although sometimes they may ask, "does he like massage?". Three soapy massage parlors can be found on the Second Road, near Big C. The service includes bathing with a girl, soapy massage and sex.

Video games

There are PlayStation shops all over Pattaya (and all over Thailand). The usual rate is 20 baht per hour making for pretty cheap entertainment. There's a big shop on Soi Chaiyapoon (right off Soi Buakaow across from Soi Diana Inn) that's open 24/7 and has more comfortable chairs. There are also lots of computer game shops. Expect both to be very crowded and loud in the hours after school lets out. There are also plenty of touch-screen machines throughout the shopping malls.

There are a couple of arcades in town: one is behind the cinema in Central Festival Center (the Big-C shopping mall), and the other is in the Tesco Lotus complex on North Pattaya Road. Neither is worth getting excited about.

Buy

You're in Thailand, so you know shopping is never far away. There are a number of large malls, smaller malls, markets and hundreds if not thousands of other shops. Sadly, you'll be seeing a lot of the same products over and over again — there's no endless variety here.

Shopping malls and supermarkets

  • Royal Garden Plaza is a large upscale mall adjacent to the Pattaya Marriott Hotel on Beach Road between Soi Post Office and Soi Pattayaland One with another entrance on Second Road.
  • Central Festival Centre (commonly Big C) 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. The ground floor has many small stalls selling clothing, tourist souvenirs and many other inexpensive items. Above that is a department store. There's even a public roof-top swimming pool.
  • Tuk Com on South Pattaya Road is a new and predominantly IT Mall with many vendors selling computers and handheld electronics, mobile phones, computer software and MP3 compilation CDs. In the basement is a food court and more (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).
  • Outlet Mall at the corner of Thepprasit Road and Sukhumvit Road. The prices aren't any cheaper but it has great air conditioning! You'll also find some soft drink vending machines — a rarity in Thailand. The weekend Thepprasit Market is nearby.
  • There are lots of supermarkets including the ones at Carrefour, Big-C (Pattaya Sai 2), Big-C (South Pattaya), Tesco-Lotus, Tops, Best, Foodland on Central Pattaya Road near Sukhumvit and Friendship on South Pattaya Road just west of Third Road. Friendship is the one mostly oriented for westerners, have large choice of cheese, bread, wine etc.

Markets

There are many bazaar-style markets in Pattaya including:

  • Thepprasit Market on Thepprasit Road near 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 - day-time, Tuesdays and Fridays
  • one more on Soi Buakhao in the evenings
  • one on Second Road near Soi 2 next to Tiffany's Show
  • Made in Thailand Market on Second Road near Soi 10, daily
  • 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 near Second Road
  • any many, many more

Pharmacies, gold shops, tailor shops etc

Pharmacies are everywhere and for most medications a prescription is not required. Viagra and the other tools of trade of the sex tourist are widely available from almost all pharmacists. The international chains Boots and Watsons each have locations at the Festival Center and Royal Garden Plaza Malls, and tend to have pharmacists with stronger-than-average English skills.

  • Fascino, North Pattaya Road, [17]. A huge store and a good place to try if you're having trouble finding what you need. Also has also some medical equipment (e.g. wheelchairs & walkers).

Gold shops are everywhere but some are concentrated around the market on South Pattaya Road and around Central Pattaya Road near Second Road. There is a concentration of jewelry shops towards the south end of Beach Road.

7-Eleven and Family Mart and smaller, family run convenience stores are everywhere. If you shop in the family run shops the prices aren't usually marked but should be the same, or just a baht or 2 higher, than the big chains. Plus you'll have the satisfaction of knowing your money isn't flowing back to the USA or Japan.

Tailor shops are everywhere. Are there any good ones?

Eat

You're in Thailand so you know food is never far away. There are heaps of restaurants, hot food markets, food carts and courts, 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 will also have at least a limited menu of Thai favorites as well.

Budget

  • The noodle stall next to the entrance to the air-con bus terminal does a passable ba mii moo daeng (egg noodles with red pork) for 25 baht.
  • The food court in the Carrefour on Pattaya Klang (near Third Road) has good food including excellent & cheap Isaan treats like som tam (papaya salad) and khao neow (sticky rice).

Mid-range

  • 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, 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 complex, is Cool Kitchen's sister restaurant, with much the same menu but more ambiance.
  • Lek Hotel, Soi 13, serves a large variety of Thai and western/international favorites and is open to non-hotel-guests; the 95 baht buffet breakfast is very popular, although the 160 baht buffet dinner also draws a crowd.
  • MK Restaurant [18] has locations in various malls including Central Festival Center. 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.
  • Nachrichtentreff, 157/128 Moo 5, Pattaya-Naklua Road; tel. +66 (0) 38370173. Serves pretty good Austrian food.
  • 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!

Splurge

  • Benihana, the international Japanese steakhouse chain, has a location on the second floor of the Royal Garden Plaza Mall. Expect to pay around 1000 baht per person, excluding alcoholic drinks.
  • Bruno's Restaurant, Thappraya Road [19]. A fine dining restaurant serving both excellent European cuisine and some Thai dishes. Multi-course set menus from around 400 baht per person, ala carte also available.
  • Hard Rock Cafe, on the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel and Resort, just off Beach Road between Soi 6 and Central Pattaya Road [20]. Serves American food from essentially the same menu as elsewhere in the world. Expect to pay between 600 and 800 baht per person, not including alcoholic drinks.
  • The Green Bottle, ground floor of the Diana Hotel, has good steaks and other food.
  • Art Cafe, Pattaya Naklua Road Soi 16; tel. +66 (0) 38367652 [21]. Housed in a colonial-style house set in its own gardens, and the "...ambience of the good old days combined with the comfort of the new era".

Drink

Bars

Bars on Beach Road

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.

Pattaya is especially famous for its open-air beer bars, staffed by bar girls who are for sale to the tourists and ex-pats who drink there. Clusters of these bars can be found all over the city, with the biggest and best known concentration around Soi 7 and Soi 8.

There are also numerous Bangkok-style go-go bars, predominantly concentrated along Walking Street and the three Pattayaland streets. Soi Pattayaland 3 also has male dancers and a focus on gay customers. Note that cameras are not welcome in go-go bars, and signs prohibiting photography are common.

Sleep

Pattaya has a huge selection of inexpensive midrange accommodation, and a variety of more expensive options. Budget (less than 400 baht) accommodation can also be found, away from the main tourist zones.

Like other resort areas in Thailand, hotel pricing in Pattaya is highly seasonal. The exact high season dates will vary from hotel to hotel, but typically prices go up considerably during the Christmas-New Years period, and are lower between February and October/November. In addition to higher rates during the holiday period, guests staying over Christmas and New Years Eve will often be required to pay for "Compulsory Gala Dinners" which can substantially increase the cost of the room. Unless otherwise noted, prices below are low season.

With the exception of large resorts or international chains such as the Hard Rock and the 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.

While some hotels do not allow prostitutes to accompany guests to their rooms, this is uncommon in budget and midrange hotels in Pattaya. Some "upmarket" hotels may charge a "joiner fee" for unregistered visitors.

Budget

  • Queen Victoria Inn, Soi 6, [22], has rooms from 550 baht.

Mid-range

  • Dynasty Inn group [23] has two locations in Pattaya: Dynasty Inn, Soi 13; tel. +66 (0) 38415941 and Dynasty Resort, South Pattaya; tel. +66 (0) 38250721. Free minibus transfers between the Pattaya locations and Dynasty Inn Bangkok (Sukhumvit, Soi Nana) for guests. The Dynasty Inn on Soi 13 was built in 2003, and is located in the Central Pattaya shopping area which is close to the Soi Pattayaland and Walking Street entertainment areas. The Dynasty Resort is south of the main tourist area of Pattaya, which is a short songthaew ride from Walking Street or elsewhere in Pattaya along 2nd road. Both have a single class of room for 1200 baht (as at January 2005).
  • Flipper House Hotel, Soi 7 [24] and Flipper Lodge Hotel, Soi 8 [25]. 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 (0) 38425550 (mailto:[email protected]). Standard rooms in the semi-hi-rise new building cost 1200 baht while rooms in the old building cost 750 baht.
  • Pattaya Centre Hotel, Soi 11, [26]. This is a highrise hotel, popular with Chinese tour groups. Rooms on the higher floors have a very nice view. While furnishings are on the older side, rooms are spacious, and the location on Soi 11 is very convenient to the Central Pattaya shopping areas.
  • Penthouse Hotel, Soi Pattayaland 2; tel. +66 (0) 95441430 [27]. Located directly in the middle of the Soi Pattayaland go-go district (and directly attached to a go-go bar), this hotel features theme rooms and markets itself aggressively as an "adult fantasy" hotel. Other than the location and the theme rooms, it's a fairly typical low-midrange hotel and an older property that's somewhat the worse for wear. Rooms range between 850-2000 baht, plus suites from 2300 baht.
  • The Residence Garden, South Pattaya, [28]. This is a popular out-of-the-way location, located a short walk from the intersection of South Pattaya Road and Pattaya Second Road. It has relatively new facilities, with 1 and 2 bedroom suites, and is a good choice for those looking for a quieter location. Suites from 1600 baht directly, although discounted lower rates are sometimes available through other sites.
  • Sabai Group operates a pair of hotels in North Pattaya on opposite sides of Soi 2, the Sabai Lodge [29] and the Sabai Inn [30]. Both offer a wide range of room classes between 700 and 3000 baht.
  • Sandy Spring Hotel, Soi 13, [31]. This is a new moderate priced hotel, located in the Central Pattaya shopping area as well as being very close to both the Soi Pattayaland and Walking Street entertainment areas.

Splurge

  • Club Aviva, 100 Moo 9, Tambon Pong; tel. +66 (0) 38735050 [32]. Part of Horseshoe Point (see Do | Sports | horse riding | "Horseshoe Point") and intended largely for riders, it 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. Located 20 minutes inland from Pattaya, free pickup on request. Doubles with breakfast from 2300 baht.
  • Hard Rock Hotel, 429 Moo 9, Pattaya Beach Resort, [33]. Located between Central Pattaya Road and Soi 6, it has extensive private grounds, a 2000 square metre pool including an imitation beach, and a rock climbing wall. Direct rates from US$125 per night, but discount rates may be available from travel agencies.
  • Pattaya Marriott Resort and Spa, 218/2-4 Moo 10, Beach Road, Pattaya City; tel. +66 (0) 38412120 [34]. Directly adjacent to the Royal Garden Plaza mall, in the heart of the Central Pattaya shopping district, and very convenient for the South Pattaya entertainment areas.

Contact

Stay safe

Like most of Thailand, Pattaya is very safe, and violent crime such as mugging or robbery is unusual. However, as with most tourist districts, Pattaya does have more than its fair share of touting and scams. Also, as with all of Thailand, penalties for drug possession and distribution are very harsh.

Single individuals are normally safe in the active nightlife/entertainment areas of Pattaya even quite late at night, at least up until the bars close. At night, visitors should stick to the inland side of Beach Road except where organized events are occurring - the beach side is frequented by "freelance" prostitutes, many of whom are notorious pickpockets. As always, travellers should take extra care in more remote or less well lit areas.

Drinking

The legal drinking age and minimum age for customers in a drinking establishment or disco is 20. This is rarely enforced for foreigners, but is frequently enforced for locals, including those accompanying foreigners. Raids to enforce closing times and/or check for drugs and underage patrons or employees occasionally occur, usually close to or at the the 01:00 closing time. Foreigners are generally not the subject of these raids and are almost always allowed to leave quickly, but will be asked to show ID (a photocopy of the photo ID page of your passport is usually considered adequate). There is a small chance that foreigners will be tested for drugs along with the staff.

Driving

If considering renting a vehicle, bear in mind that traffic in Thailand can seem very erratic by Western standards, and driving on the left can be confusing for those who have previously only ever driven on the right.

When renting a motorbike, a safety helmet will be included. Wearing a helmet is mandatory, and the police in Pattaya do enforce this. Also bear in mind that motorbike theft is common, and that motorbike rentals do not include insurance.

Prostitution

The age of consent is 15 [35] but a higher minimum age of 18 applies in the case of prostitutes [36]. The penalties for sex with minors are harsh.

All adult Thais must carry an identity card, which will state that they were born in 2529 or earlier if they are over the age of 18 in 2005 (in the Thai calendar, AD 2005 is the year 2548). Many hotels retain the ID cards of prostitutes for the duration of their visit.

Some prostitutes are "freelancers", but most are employed by bars or similar businesses. Petty theft and other problems are more common with "freelancers".

Technically, some aspects of prostitution are illegal (eg soliciting, pimping), however enforcement is liberal and brothels are commonplace. It's not illegal to pay for sex or to pay a "barfine".

Cope

For any kind of trouble, do not hesitate call 1155 for Tourist Police.

Get out

Bangkok

The best rates for taxis from Pattaya to Bangkok are typically found with Bangkok taxi-meter cabs returning home; hotels and travel agents can arrange this. The widely advertised asking price is 800 baht (about 200-300 baht less than in the opposite direction). When negotiating the price, confirm that it already includes all the highway ("motorway") taxes. The trip should take around 90 minutes, except around rush hour.

Numerous minibus services (300-400 baht) run to Bangkok hotels / Bangkok airport, but take longer due to multiple pick-ups and drop-offs. One such minibus runs between the Pattaya Dynasty Inn and the Bangkok Dynasty Inn on Soi Nana; arrange through the hotel directly.

For buses to Bangkok, head to the North Pattaya Road Bus Terminal. From here there are direct 1st class services to the Eastern, Northern, and Southern bus terminals in Bangkok (all 110 baht). It takes about 2-2.5 hours to get to the Eastern and Northern Terminals, more for the Southern Terminal - see Get in | Bus | First Class for departure times.

The Eastern Terminal (Ekamai) bound bus will stop at the On Nut Skytrain Station (map) on Sukhumvit if requested. Depending on your final destination and traffic conditions, you may want to transfer to the Skytrain here. If so, wait until the bus departs from Pattaya and then confirm with the crew that you want to be dropped off at "On Nut".

If you're going to Don Muang Airport, take the Northern Terminal (Moh Chit) bus; a taxi from there direct to the departure concourse doors should be less than 100 baht by meter.

Islands

  • Ko Samet (Samet or Samed Island) in Rayong Province is less than two hours away by direct minibus to Ban Phe (150 baht) and then a further 30-40 minutes by ferry (50 baht, frequent departures until dusk). It's a fairly small island with great beaches and copious accommodation (however pre-booking is virtually essential on Thai public holiday dates). Most of it belongs to a National Park.
  • Ko Chang (Chang Island) in Trat Province is about three hours away by direct minibus to Laem Ngop, plus the 30 minute ferry crossing. It's a relatively large island with numerous beaches and lots of places to stay. Parts of Ko Chang, and several smaller nearby islands which also have accommodation, belong to a 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 inbetween Ko Samet and Ko Chang in size, but not a beach destination and much less focussed on tourism.

see also Do | Beaches | Ko LaanTemplate:Guide