Pattaya is one of the best known tourist destinations in Thailand. My guess is that most first time visitors to Thailand visit Pattaya in addition to Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Pattaya is famous or infamous, depending on how you look at it, for its nightlife. And the nightlife here is “special”, making Pattaya a “solo man’s paradise”. Now all this does not mean that family tourists do not go to Pattaya. There is a fair number of attractions in Pattaya that can keep a couple or a even kids engaged for 2-3 days. And that many days may be enough too for this place. Pattaya is not worth more if you are not a solo male staying in Pattaya for an extended period of special fun.
Must Read: Best Money Exchange Rates in Pattaya
Nightlife scene in Pattaya is concentrated at a few places. Walking Street at the Bali Hai Pier end of Beach Road is the epicenter of it all. Its called Walking Street because no vehicles are allowed on this street after 6.00pm. Other places where Walking Street type of nightlife can be found in Pattaya are a few streets close to Walking street that connect Beach Road with Second Road, and Soi Buakhao, particularly Soi Metro / Soi Diana.
Beach Road has Pattaya’s biggest shopping malls like Central Festival, Royal Garden Plaza, and Mike Shopping Mall. All the shopping malls on Beach Road can also be accessed from the Second Road. Royal Garden Plaza is home to Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, Madame Tussaud’s and a few other attractions that appeal to family tourists. There are a number of other attractions like Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens, Mini Siam, Sanctuary of Truth, a few cabaret shows (family friendly) like Alcazar and Tiffany’s. And then there is the best of them all – Coral Island.
Bangkok to Pattaya Travel
If your trip to Thailand includes both Bangkok and Pattaya, it is better to go to Pattaya first, preferably directly from the airport. Later you can return to Bangkok where you will not only do sightseeing but also a lot of shopping before leaving Thailand. These articles of mine will help you in travelling between Bangkok and Pattaya:
- Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya Bus
- Don Mueang Airport to Pattaya
- Bangkok to Pattaya Bus Route
- Bangkok – Pattaya Van Service
- Bus from Pattaya to Bangkok
Two / Three Day Itinerary
Pattaya’s best attractions can be seen in two days provided you arrive in the city early in the morning, otherwise, it is better to spare three days. The activity that will take your maximum time in Pattaya is a trip to Coral Island. Now that can be a half day or a full day trip depending on the time you have at your disposal.
Your first day in Pattaya better be spent in and around the Beach Road because there is not going to be enough time for an out of town excursion. Keep in mind that hotels in Pattaya usually allow check-in at 2.00pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed unless you have already confirmed it with the hotel. Start your Pattaya trip with a lunch in a Pattaya restaurant. If you are looking for vegetarian or vegan food, you may have it at Pattaya’s best veg / vegan restaurant called Five Star J. The food court in the basement of Central Festival Mall can also be a great lunch venue. After lunch, the best strategy to spend the afternoon is inside one of Beach Road’s shopping malls. if you have kids with you, Royal Garden Plaza will be a better choice because of Ripley’s / Madame Tussaud’s.
You can escape the heat and at the same time do some window shopping. Do not rush into buying something because later you will almost certainly find a better bargain somewhere for that item you liked. When the sun cools a little, step out on the Beach Road for a walk or rent a sun bed on the beach to relax. Just do not rent a jet ski because that will probably be a scam.
When it begins to get dark, you have options. At first you may like to head into a restaurant for a snack. Later, if you so desire, you may watch one of Pattaya’s lady-boy shows – Tiffany’s or Alcazar. Advance booking is recommended and you may get the required info in these articles – Tiffany’s Pattaya / Alcazar Pattaya.
If you are not going to the show, better spend the time before dinner at a massage shop. There are massage shops everywhere in Pattaya. A foot or full body Thai massage costs 200 THB per hour in most shops. An oil massage costs 300 THB.
A stroll on the Pattaya’s most famous street, Walking Street maybe your final sightseeing for the day before dinner. Though it is recommended for adults only, I have seen Chinese and Japanese tourists even take their kids along. You will find a few stalls selling Turkish ice cream, and there is a McDonald’s too, apart from the stuff Walking Street is famous for.
Your second day in Pattaya must include a speed-boat trip to Coral Island, though it can be a full day or a half day trip. A half day trip will end with you returning to your hotel in Pattaya before lunch. Some travel agents offer a half day trip that does not include lunch at the island but rather they give you a packed lunch that you may eat on the boat while returning. A full day trip includes a lunch at the island plus a chance to do some parasailing, under-sea walk, and/or snorkeling. A full day trip ends at around 4.30 and includes a transfer back to your hotel. I have been on a full day trip and booked with Pattaya Sea King Tour. You may read my article on that here. If you are not interested in parasailing, etc., a cheaper option will be to book with hotels2thailand website. At the time of writing this article, I saw prices on hotels2thailand website as under 500 THB for Indian lunch and under 800 THB for seafood lunch. Hotels2thailand trip starts with a pickup from your hotel at 9.00am and ends with a drop to your hotel at 3.30pm. A word or caution here – do not book this trip from a guy walking on the street and selling Coral Island tour. That will most likely be a scam. Do carry and use a lot of sunscreen because otherwise, you may return with a serious sunburn. Do expect to get a tan all over your exposed skin even if you are using sunscreen.
After returning from Coral Island, you may need to rest for a while in your hotel room before heading out again. If you did not see a Cabaret show the previous night and are interested, you may do so. Otherwise, I will recommended another massage followed by a nice dinner. Also try some street shopping on the Second Road in the area between Royal Garden Plaza and Central Festival Mall.
If you are in Pattaya for the 3rd day too, you have a lot of choice to spend it. There are several options depending on your budget and interests. I will recommend Nong Nooch Botanical Garden which is an attraction for the whole family. Other options include The Sancuary of Truth, Mini Siam, and Flight of the Gibbon. Avoid the Pattaya Floating Market because if you are interested in going to a floating market, go to the one in Bangkok – Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. You may also like to explore Pattaya’s shopping malls – Central Festival, Royal Garden Plaza, or Mike.
Also Read: Three Day Itinerary for Bangkok