Getting around Pattaya
Most of Pattaya Beach’s hotels, clubs, bars and shops are condensed into an area that spans little more than a few kilometres, so it’s perfectly possible to get around entirely on foot. However, the transport facilities here are so regular, reliable and affordable that you’ll probably see little point. Getting to anyone of the nearby beach areas, like Jomtien or Naklua, is also a cinch.
Motorbike and Car Rentals
The more adventurous - some would say foolhardy - transport themselves on a motorbike for B150 to B200 baht a day for a 100/125 cc model. If you're a frustrated 'biker', a 750cc or 1000 bike can be rented for B500 to B2500 a day.
Renters are expected to have a valid driver's license. This means either a Thai license or an international license. The rental agency won't check for the license, but the police might and if you don't have one it will cost B200. Helmets are mandatory and the fastest way to get stopped by the police is to not wear one. Thai law requires motorbikes to be operated with the headlight on and Thai spec bikes have them permanently illuminated. Accidents are common in Pattaya; driving defensively is the only way to survive and if you have never used a motorbike previously, it is best to learn elsewhere.
Car rentals are available from both local and international companies like Budget +66 (03) 871-0717, Hertz +66 (03) 871-6693, Avis +66 (03) 836-1627, National +66 (03) 841-125 /6. The most popular rental vehicle is a Suzuki jeep. They rent for about B1000 from locals and more if using one of the international big guys. As with a motorbike you will need a valid license although local companies rarely ask for them. On the other hand, if you are in an accident, they will tell you your insurance is invalid because you didn't have a license.
Pattaya is chocablok with easy to identify motorbike taxis. The operators wear colourful vests and can be flagged down as the cruise the streets or camp on street corners chatting and playing checkers.
The tariff is usually between B30 and B40 for trips within Pattaya, an amount that cheaper than chartering a songthaew. On the other hand, a songthaew is safer as there is a wall of metal between you and oblivion.
The most common form of transport in Pattaya is a songthaew, a dark blue pick-up truck with two benches in the back and a cover on top. Called 'baht buses' by most people, the official fare within Pattaya is B5, but foreigners are expected to pay B10. Although two tier pricing irritates many people, fighting the system probably isn't worth the effort. The fixed fare only applies when the songthaew is following a set route like a bus. If you want it to take you somewhere off its route, you'll have to negotiate a price.
The most frequently used route is a circular one along Beach Road, then left on South Pattaya Road to Second Road where it again turns left and travels parallel to Beach Road. When it reaches the Dolphin Circle roundabout, it travels back to Beach Road and begins the journey again. At Dolphin Circle some songthaews head to Naklua Beach and others up North Pattaya Road to the a/c bus terminal and Sukhumvit Road. Songthaews from the North Pattaya Road bus station to points along Beach Front and Second Road are B20. Songthaews to Jomtien can be boarded at the intersection of South Pattaya and Second Road.
For trips up and down Sukhumvit Road (the main highway to Bangkok) including trips to and from the airport at U-Taphao, the songthaew are white and cost B20. Songthaew from the North Pattaya Road bus station to points along Beach Front and Second Road are B20.
Since Pattaya is a frequent destination for taxis from Bangkok, cabbies will often take fares in Pattaya until they find someone heading back to the Big Mango. Taxis are particularly useful if you are travelling more than a couple of blocks, but you'll have to negotiate a price. There are also cars and mini-vans available in Pattaya for longer trips into surrounding areas.