Pattaya Guide for First Timers

view of pattaya beach and city
Sleepy looking city by day, Pattaya is a party town at night.

There are many guides with essential tips for first-time visitors to Pattaya, Thailand. This will serve as an overview and a place to start.

Who is Pattaya For? or What is Pattaya?

“If you can dream of it, Pattaya has it!” or “Pattaya is whatever you want it to be.”

These quotes may sound trite but are generally true.

Whether you are looking to come here for your next holiday or vacation, to retire, or inadvertently end up raising a family here, there is something for everyone.

There is a “normal” every day Thai side to this city outside of the main tourist areas and there is what many men (and women) come looking for: partying, the beach, international foods, and of course companionship.

Pattaya is a Popular Seaside Resort City in Thailand

People from all over the world come to Pattaya for their holiday vacation because it’s a city by the sea.

It does not have the best beaches or water in the country, but you can tan or relax in the shade while sipping out of a coconut.

A short boat ride will take you to the small island of Koh Larn which is popular with snorkelers and scuba divers who don’t have time or care to travel further afield.

Out of all the seaside destinations in Thailand, Pattaya is the largest city with shopping, nightlife, and international dining. From international chains inside the shopping malls to local restaurants run by expatriates, there’s a lot of choice for food.

Some people can’t or choose not to eat Thai food.

No problem! Italian, Japanese, Swiss, Indian, American, English, German, French. These are only some of the food choices you will come across.

This is well traveled city with a beach. You will find attractions like Hard Rock Cafe, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Tussaud’s Wax Museum, and others found in the hottest tourist spots worldwide. The beach has ample places to hire parasailing, jet ski, or banana boats.

Pattaya is a Popular Nightlife and Sex Tourism Spot

While Pattaya will never be known as #1 for shopping, dining, or its beach, there is an uncontested #1 position for Pattaya’s nightlife.

It’s a dense 24-hour party with hundreds of thousands of ladies, ladyboys, and some men selling companionship.

If getting your rocks off is your number one priority and everything else is nice to have, then look no further. You will be spoiled for choice, convenience, and variety.

It’s not only clubs and all-night parties. There are laid-back beer bars, sports bars, restaurants and pubs, discos, go-go dancers, and full-service massage parlors.

There’s plenty to do besides eat, drink and get laid in this city by the sea but a lot of visitors are content to not do much else.

Getting to Pattaya

It’s a short 90-minute taxi ride from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport which makes it easy to get to.

The easiest way to get here is by booking a taxi. You can do it at the airport on your arrival, but the savvy traveler will book ahead a few days with a company.

This eliminates queuing at the taxi stand, overpaying, and it’s nice to have the driver waiting for you at the meeting point to help you with your luggage and guide you to his car.

From Bangkok city or further afield, you’ll also find buses, vans, and taxis that serve Pattaya at affordable rates.

It’s much harder to leave Pattaya than it is to get here!

Don’t worry, the transportation logistics are equally abundant for leaving, it’s just one of those cities that has a strong pull on people, like Las Vegas or Miami.

Getting Around Pattaya

The cheapest way is by the baht bus.

These are pick-up trucks with covered bench seating in the bed. They run on fixed routes.

A single trip is less than $1.

Motorcycle taxis are everywhere and they can also zoom you directly to your next destination. These are typically $2-3 depending on negotiation and distance.

If you prefer, you can use meter taxis or the popular GrabTaxi app on your phone.

Many of the smaller streets or sois that run perpendicular to the sea are easily walked. The main roads, heading north/south, have scores of vehicles for hire.

Staying In Pattaya

The price of accommodation in Pattaya is relatively cheap with a high standard of quality.

Choose from hotels, resorts, guest houses, private houses, and apartments.

You can find rooms from around US$12 to $300+ at luxury resorts.

There is a happy medium, and a sizeable portion of the market, priced between $35 to $80 per night.

Pro Tip: Whether you indulge in drinks or not, carry a business card from your hotel. It’s easy to forget where you are staying especially if you go out in the day and come back at night.

While you don’t need to book your hotel room in advance, doing so will get you the best deals and in high season may be the only way to get a room at the most popular hotels.

Speaking of the high season, it runs from November to May.

This time of year is mostly dry. The mercury climbs quickly after March, but at least there’s a sea breeze to help keep you cool.

Peak season would be December through January when temperatures are the coolest they’ll get, but still warm, and there’s nary a chance of rain.

Final Thoughts

This is just a brief look at what this place is. We have a backlog of information to share with you. Our editorial team is working on new content to keep you excited and informed.


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