For a busy bar scene not far from Bangkok, Pattaya is your answer. This Pattaya Travel Guide covers everything you need to know before visiting.
Known for its beaches, bar and fairly niche expat community, Pattaya is often overlooked by younger travellers exploring Thailand. But look beyond the GoGo bars and Pattaya becomes a haven to escape to after a busy bustling time in Bangkok.
Because of the tourism flooding to Pattaya, there is a growing number of museums, attractions, bars and restaurants to suit all needs and budgets. Personally, we prefer to explore some of Pattaya’s older attractions such as the Sanctuary of Truth or Wat Phra Yai Temple.
Budget: 350 – 750฿ for a dorm bed or around 1000฿ for a private room.
Midrange: 800 – 1600฿ for a private room in a hotel, even on a beach location.
Luxury: 5-star hotels start at around 1750฿ per night but expect to pay around 2200- 3000+.
Transport: Renting a motorbike costs 150-200฿ depending on the vendor, motorbike taxis are around 30฿ whilst songthaew are common and cost 5฿ but expect to pay 10฿ if you’re a foreigner.
Taxis are available but can often refuse to use a meter – instead, we chose to use Grab (similar to Uber) which can give you the price of a journey before booking the car.
Average cost of food:
As with most places in Thailand, street food and local food are readily available for a very low price.
With street food, expect to pay between 20 – 60฿ for a Pad Thai or some meat skewers.
Sit down local restaurants will cost around 100-200฿ per person.
Local beer costs anywhere between 65฿ – 120฿ depending where you are drinking whilst Western food will cost between 500 – 1000฿.
Best time to visit Pattaya
Pattaya is warm all year round but it does experience monsoon season.
The best time to visit Pattaya is from November to February, when the weather is pleasant and there isn’t too much rain. It is peak season but you can still get great deals in Pattaya because there are so many resorts and hotels to choose from. However, make sure to book transport and accommodation in advance to get the best deal.
March to May are warmer months but are still popular, this is the time to avoid visiting Pattaya.
June to October is monsoon season, so expect heavy rainfall, particularly in the late afternoon or evening. Pattaya is at its quietest at this time so if you are looking to experience the city at it’s quietest, this is a great option.
Where to stay in Pattaya
Fun Dee Hostel is a small, fun hostel near Pattaya Park and not far from Jomtien Beach, with dorm beds starting at 204 THB. If you are looking for a cheap private room, check out PJ Inn Pattaya in the heart of Beach Road – private rooms start at 750฿.
We enjoyed staying at the Nautical Inn on our first trip to Pattaya, spacious private rooms started at 1400฿ and the hotel is on the beach and within a few steps from all the bars and restaurants.
If you are looking for a quieter area, V Residence Pattaya is a popular choice, with rooms starting at 678฿.
My all-time favourite hotel in Pattaya has to be the Garden Cliff Resort & Spa. This is a luxurious 5-star hotel with a private beach, beautiful bars and restaurant area and with private rooms starting at only 1700฿.
For a real splurge, check out Centara Grand Mirage Beach with rooms starting at 512฿.
Save money in Pattaya
Pattaya is an affordable place to visit in Thailand and there are many ways to save money here.
- Eat local – One of the biggest expenses in Thailand could be the food, if you stick to western dishes. Street Food in Phuket is super cheap and tasty so don’t be afraid to try it. If you aren’t sure about eating food from a street vendor, head to one of the local restaurants. We have a guide to Vegetarian Food in Thailand too.
- Local markets – Shop at the local markets to save money on souvenirs, fashion and electronics but note that branded goods are highly likely to be fake.
- Grocery stores – Pattaya has many 7/11’s and Family Marts with most offering some type of warm food. Pick up breakfast and lunch from these stores to avoid eating out too often.
- Book in advance – For the best value, book your accommodation in advance. Compare prices on Agoda and if you are splurging on a nice hotel, check the hotel website directly; often they will have special offers which include breakfast.
- Shoulder Season – April to June and September to October offers smaller crowds and warm weather but hotel prices are also cheaper. However, you can experience rainy showers during this time too.
- Barter – A rule in Thai markets; if the price is listed, it is a set price. If it is not, you have plenty of scope to barter. Start at 10% of whatever price is offered and don’t pay more than 50%.
- Use Grab – If you do want to take a taxi, you can flag one and ask for the meter but, when in a touristy area, drivers can be quite resistant. Instead, order a Grab to help with communication and avoid being overcharged.
Best things to do in Pattaya
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Wat Phra Khao Yai
Sanctuary of Truth
Tiffany Cabaret Show
Pattaya Floating Market
Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark
Coral Island (Koh Larn)
Art in Paradise
Ripley’s Believe it or not
Flight of the Gibbon
Anek Kusala Sala
Mum Aroi Restaurant
Ban Amphur Beach
How to get to Pattaya
Fly – Most people with fly into Bangkok and then travel the two hours down to Pattaya however it is possible to fly to U-Tapao – an air force base that is used for limited international and domestic flights and is based around an hour away from Bangkok.
From Bangkok – We wrote a full guide on the different ways you can travel from Bangkok to Pattayabut to summarise, you can take a bus, train or taxi/Lift. At the time of our visit, Uber was still active in Thailand, so we opted for this because it was easier although more expensive than all other routes.
How to get around Pattaya
The main bars and restaurants along Beach Road are all fairly walkable, especially if you have opted for a hotel near Walking Street.
For attractions outside of the city centre, you can take a Songthaew like a small open bus) or opt for a taxi or Grab (similar to Uber).
Personally, we choose to avoid taxis in Pattaya as much as possible because they rarely use the meter, therefore using an app like Grab felt much easier.