Pattaya is always switched on and fun. This vibrant coastal city shot to fame in early 1980s, and stayed there. From sunrise to sunset, Pattaya’s beaches are constantly brimming with life, as water sports lovers and sun worshippers take to the waters. After dark, the action shifts to the streets, as revellers explore its electrified nightlife scene, where drinking and partying continue until dawn.
Apart from water sports and nightlife, Pattaya offers endless possibilities when it comes to accommodation and entertainment. It has outgrown its image as a seedy beach town to a destination for a wider audience; whether couples, families or business travellers, Pattaya has something for everyone. Only 147km from Bangkok, Pattaya is the closest of Thailand's major beach resorts to the capital city. Not convinced yet? See our 10 Must See and Do list.
Picking the right hotel in the right part of Pattaya could prove to be the most important decision when it comes to planning your next holiday. The atmospheres of Naklua, Pattaya and Jomtien are completely different: Naklua is quiet and ‘more Thai’ but has the best beaches, Jomtien has a relaxed and easygoing pace, while Pattaya thoroughly deserves its reputation as a party destination. Depending on what kind of a holiday you’re looking for, there is sure to be a perfect place for you.
Pattaya is known for its lively party atmosphere, but that’s not all there is to this famous coastal city. Stretching along Thailand’s eastern seaboard, Pattaya is split into three main areas – Naklua, Pattaya Beach and Jomtien – with a few other districts within easy reach. Each has its own unique atmosphere and attractions, with some parts being more traditionally Thai and others which are packed with high-end resorts.
There are plenty of things to do in Pattaya, ensuring that you are never likely to be bored, no matter what your interests include. The city is home to many unique attractions and sights, from one-of-a-kind water parks to giant Buddha images to weird and wonderful museums and galleries which completely defy expectation. It is not unusual to find places boasting that they are Thailand’s first, Asia’s biggest or the world’s only example of their kind, as well as other considerable claims to fame. In particular, the beautiful Sanctuary of Truth is among the best attractions in Pattaya and is quite unlike any temple in Thailand.
Pattaya is known as a party city and it is a reputation it justly deserves. The town is littered with great nightlife hotspots, catering to very varied tastes. Aside from the world-renowned Walking Street, the city is also home to several first-class cabaret shows, beach clubs, Muay Thai boxing stadiums and a seemingly endless variety of beer bars offering extremely cheap beverages. Walking Street itself is the most popular place to go at night. It is a full kilometre of nightlife, including over 80 go-go bars, several restaurants, live music, nightclubs and huge number of bars, each with a unique character.
Pattaya is notorious for its naughty nightlife and we can’t deny that parts of the city are dedicated almost exclusively to ‘that kind of thing’. Walking Street is only a small part of this, with some of the less well-known parts of the city offering even more illicit experiences. Soi LK Metro is a lot like Walking Street, only without the distraction of restaurants, shops and nightclubs – just the go-go bars. The infamous Soi 6 is even more direct in its naughtiness, though it becomes increasingly important to be able to tell the girlie bars from the ladyboy bars!
10 Best Ladyboy Bars
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5 Go-Go Bars in Pattaya
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10 Ways to Spot a Ladyboy in Pattaya
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Pattaya Walking Street Bars
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Walking Street Go-Go Bars A-Z !
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Pattaya may not be a shopper’s paradise in the same class as Bangkok, but that doesn’t stop it from having quite an impressive choice of malls, markets and boutique stores. You can find anything from high-end fashion to simple souvenirs along a price range from bank-busting to practically free. In some cases, the shops are not even the star attractions, with noteworthy places like Pattaya Floating Market or Mimosa offering a great day out as well, making them attractions in their own right. At the other end of the spectrum, the city has many local markets with a huge range of wares available.
Being the biggest and most popular resort town near to Bangkok, Pattaya has a huge amount of variety in terms of what you can see and do. There are plenty of great sights to see and an organised tour can help you to see as many of them as possible and to learn more about each than you would if you tried to see them all on your own. For those who like their sports and activities, Pattaya has first-class facilities for golfing, sailing, scuba diving and plenty more. There is certainly no reason why you should ever get bored.
The sheer range of choice available to diners in Pattaya is amazing, ranging from high-end haute cuisine to budget street snacks and covering everything in between. At each level, you can find Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian, British, American, French, German, Arabic, Russian and many more national styles represented. You don’t have to dine at hotel restaurants to find the finest local and imported ingredients prepared by skilled and experienced chefs, with a great choice of reasonably-priced independent eateries to choose from. Even for the fussiest of palates, there is a place in Pattaya that’s perfect for you.
Pattaya is quite a big place, with a lot of variety available from one end to the other. There are certain things it is all but essential to know before you visit, such as how to get there from Bangkok, how to get around, what kind of weather you should expect, what special events you should look out for and what tricks and scams you need to avoid. We’re ready to arm you with all of that knowledge and more so that you can get around the city with all the confidence of a native.