Pattaya is renowned as one of Thailand’s premier beach resorts and honeymoon destinations – the perfect setting for a romantic getaway or honeymoon.
This once sleepy fishing village offers more than 15km of sandy coastline backed by a huge range of entertainment and accommodation options to suit all tastes.
In Pattaya, it’s really a matter of deciding what you want to do during the day (and night), then choosing your beach locale accordingly.
The best beaches in and around Pattaya, include…
This 3km-long crescent of yellow sand is edged by a palm-fringed promenade. Just across the road and in nearby sois (narrow lanes) lie numerous hotels, shops, restaurants and countless go-go bars, discos, cabarets, pubs and live music spots.
The beach is divided into three main areas: the more sedate North Pattaya Beach (the best of the three beaches) is a yellow-sand beach that is home to well-established quality resorts (main photo); central and South Pattaya beaches are lively at any time of the day and night and are lined with restaurants, bars, shops and department stores.
Central Pattaya Beach (photo) is the place to go for watersports, while the southern end of Pattaya Beach is the epicentre of the entertainment hub. Here, in a 500m-long lane, adults can choose from numerous clubs, discotheques and go-go bars.
During the day, the north and central beach areas are a good place to unwind with a traditional Thai massage in the shade of a beach umbrella, to snack on freshly grilled shrimps or to indulge in some water skiing, wind surfing, parasailing.
You can then head off on a snorkelling or diving excursion to one of the nearby offshore islands. This area is mainly popular with singles and some couples.
Located over the headland from South Pattaya Beach and just a 10-minute drive from central Pattaya, this 6km-long golden-sand beach offers a quiet and less-crowded alternative to Pattaya’s raucous 24/7 entertainment strip.
Here you can enjoy a huge range of watersport activities as well as accommodation and restaurants to suit all budgets.
This is Pattaya’s best beach for families, with much cleaner water and softer sand for kids to build sandcastles.
The northern end of this pine tree-fringed beach hosts Pattaya Park, a large amusement playground, as well as various watersport activities including jet skiing, sea kayaking, paragliding and wind surfing.
The southern stretch, known as Jomtien-Sattahip Beach, is more remote, less crowded and home to an upmarket marina and several beachfront resorts.
This gently curving 3km-long beach is located at the far northern end of the Pattaya Bay and is another good alternative for families.
Sunbathe on the beach, go swimming, savour a fresh seafood lunch at an open-air local restaurant and choose from several upmarket hotels that overlook the beach. On the promontory stands the Sancturay of Truth.
This idyllic 1km stretch of golden sand is hidden away on the northern side of Pattaya Bay and is accessed from a narrow lane, just a short walk from any of the beachfront resorts.
The Garden Sea View Resort sits directly infront of the beach.
The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and enjoying a quiet picnic. There are no vendors, watersport activities or shops on this beach.
Located just north of Wong Amat, Nacula is a quiet alternative to Pattaya Beach as it’s located in a residential neighbourhood.
Here you can relax and sunbathe on the beach, go windsurfing and enjoy a tasty seafood lunch at one of the beachside restaurants.
Mainly free from beach vendors, Nacula offers watersport activities and a glimpse of traditional local life. It’s also home to the five-star Garden Cliff Resort and Spa Resort.
(Coral Island) – For an alternative to bustling Pattaya, take the 45-minute boat ride to the idyllic island of Ko Larn, located just 7.5km offshore.
Here you can swim from a choice of white-sand beaches, view coral through glass-bottom boats or go snorkelling and diving.
Try 750m-long Haad Ta Waen beach, located in the northwest of the island. With its crystal clear water and fine white sand lined with colourful beach chairs, shops and restaurants it is most popular beach of Koh Lan.
Nearby lies small Sungwal beach, only 150m long and without shops or restaurants, offering a quiet place to sunbathe and relax.
Beach hopping is easy by motorbike taxi. On the west coast sits Tian beach, a scenic 500m-long beach that lies in a cove with good snorkelling, sports activities and beachside restaurants.
If the beach seems crowded, walk to the nearby Samae and Ta Yai beaches, offering soft white sand, a scattering of shops and a few restaurants.
If you’re still feeling adventurous, take a further snorkelling excursion to the nearby islands of Ko Phai and Ko Sak.
Although well-known for its notorious go-go bars and raucous nightlife, Pattaya also offers couples a relaxing, fun-filled holiday with a wide range of theme and water parks, cultural attractions and inexpensive land- and water-based activities.
Go windsurfing, waterskiing, jet skiing, parasailing and strap on a mask for a snorkelling or diving trip out to one of the nearby offshore islands, such as Koh Larn (photo).
On land, go elephant trekking or tee-off from a choice of several golf courses all located within a 15-minute drive of the town centre.
And if bustling Pattaya Beach is not to your liking then try neighbouring Jomtien, Wong Amat and Naklua beaches – quieter and popular alternatives and long-time favourites of Thai and expat families.
Pattaya is a good place to learn to scuba dive, with good year-round underwater visibility, an average water temperature of around 28°C (82°F) and various dive sites located around the offshore islands in Pattaya Bay.
Some of those include: Ko Sak, ideal for beginners, with a shallow sheltered bay that’s home to coral and numerous small tropical fish; Ko Larn, the place to see sharks, turtles, cuttlefish and soft coral; Ko Krok, which is perfect for drift diving; and Samae San, with some of the best diving in the region, including a wreck dive on a freighter sunk in 1943.
A number of reputable dive centres offer both PADI- and NAUI-certified dive courses.
The green hills around Pattaya boast a number of international golf courses, including the scenic Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole Laem Chabang International Country Club and the challenging Siam Country Club.
Hook up a charter and chase sailfish, queen fish, barracuda, marlin, cobia and shark. Freshwater fishing in Pattaya is also good – fish for tilapia, catfish and carp. November is considered the best time of the year to go fishing.
Pattaya offers a fabulous range of shops and markets for all tastes, and more popular shopping items include local handicrafts, designer clothes, Thai silk, precious gems and the ever-present fake Rolex watches, among others. South and Central Pattaya generally have the best shopping.
Pattaya offers several sightseeing attractions for inquisitive couples celebrating a honeymoon, including the following…
Experience panoramic vistas from this small temple complex located high above Pattaya as you admire the 10m-high gold Buddha (photo), which serenely surveys the Gulf of Thailand.
Don’t miss Thailand’s version of Barcelona's Sagrada Familia. This stunning teakwood palace is constructed to reflect the ancient vision of earth, knowledge and eastern philosophy according to ancient Thai ingenuity. This astonishing landmark is located in Naklua.
Discover a spectacular state-of-the-art entertainment complex featuring a 70m-long show-stage, gigantic movie screens and a 30m-long water track for water performances.
Here you can watch impressive cultural and musical shows that incorporate scenes from historical Thai events such as elephant battles.
This family friendly, not-for-profit elephant sanctuary offers a choice of one-hour or day-long elephant treks through the forest, spectacular shows that re-enact ancient ceremonies and insights into elephant training techniques.
You can also combine an elephant trek with hiking or a 30-minute rafting trip. This is a perfect excursion for children.
Encompassing 2km², this beautifully landscaped botanical garden features a wide range of native plants including orchids as well as an elephant park where you can watch elephants perform and take in Thai dancing and boxing shows.
Have lots of fun on the gigantic slides, whirlpools and large swimming pool for kids at this water park located on Jomtien Beach and adjacent to the Pattaya Park Beach Resort.
Considered a landmark of Pattaya, this large resort is home to a 240m-high tower with three revolving restaurants and several amusement options including dodgem cars, carousels and roller coasters in the adjacent amusement park.
Enjoy panoramic views from the restaurants and ride the 170m-high cable car.
From the entrance of white-sand beaches and shallow rock pools to the underground 100m-long plexiglass tunnel with views of sharks and stingrays, Thailand’s largest ocean aquarium will enthral the whole family.
Here you may see more than 4000 local and overseas marine animals, including the rare shovelnose ray – a hybrid between a shark and a stingray.
This unusual museum displays an array of glass bottles containing miniature replicas of world famous buildings and monuments, including temples, churches and palaces.
Stroll through a fascinating garden complete with amazing collections of plants, flowers and rocks. And don’t miss the zoo, with rare species including albino bears and other animals such as elephants, horses, tigers, lions and crocodiles.
As you’d expect, this bizarre exhibit features a collection of oddities and strange artefacts from all over the world, including a mask made from human skin and an African voodoo doll. The kids will also love the 4-D simulator, maze and haunted house adventure.
Watch elephants playing basketball, women wresting with crocodiles and see more than 200 Bengal tigers. You can also see several other animals such as ostriches, Peruvian guinea pigs and camels.
Pattaya offers an excellent choice of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following…
Royal Wing Suites & Spa by Royal Cliff Hotels Group
Location: South Pattaya
Ave nightly price: AUD362 per room
Description: Royal Wing Suites & Spa features free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Along with an outdoor pool, the hotel has 3 dining options and free public parking on site. Along with a hot tub, each spacious air-conditioned room features a flat-screen cable TV, a safe, a fridge and a minibar. The rooms also have a sofa, a DVD player and ironing facilities. Its private bathroom includes shower facilities, a bathtub and free toiletries. For extra convenience, there is a 24-hour front desk. Guests can swim, relax at the spa or simply take a walk on the grounds. Laundry services and meeting facilities are provided. Guests can sample a wide range of European dishes at Caprice, or chose international cuisine at The Terrace. La Ronde - Pool Sensation serves a selection of snacks and afternoon tea. This property is a 5-minute walk from the beach, a 10-minute drive from Pattaya Beach and half a kilometer from Wat Khao Phra Bat. Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a 1.15-hour drive from the property.
InterContinental Pattaya Resort
Location: South Pattaya
Ave nightly price: AUD319 per room
Description: A beachfront resort, InterContinental Pattaya Resort boasts 3 outdoor pools, a large spa, and a 24-hour fitness centre. Located in south Pattaya, it features lovely views of the Gulf of Siam. Combining traditional Asian décor with modern amenities, the large rooms come with a flat-screen TV, a DVD player, and tea/coffee making facilities. Garden or ocean views can be enjoyed from the spacious private balcony. Offering indoor, outdoor and beachfront seating, Infiniti Restaurant features a wood-fired oven and grilled specialities. Elements Restaurant serves international dishes, including Thai and Asian favourites. Room service is available 24 hours a day. InterContinental Pattaya Resort offers free shuttles to downtown Pattaya. The resort is 3.2 km from Jomtien Beach, and 8.1 km from Koh Larn (Coral Island). Driving from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The Monttra Pattaya
Location: South Pattaya
Ave nightly price: AUD161 per room
Description: The Monttra Pattaya offers accommodations in Pattaya South. The resort has an outdoor pool and barbecue, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site. Each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV, coffee machine and a private bathroom. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. Pattaya Walking Street is 2.1 km from The Monttra Pattaya, and Bali Hai Pier is 1.4 km away. The nearest airport is Utapao-Rayong-Pataya International Airport, 30.6 km from the property.
Royal Cliff Grand Hotel
Location: South Pattaya
Ave nightly price: AUD154 per room
Description: Featuring sea views, each elegant room at Grand Royal Cliff comes with air conditioning, a flat-screen cable TV and a seating area. A safety deposit box, a desk a minibar are supplied in all units. En suite bathroom are equipped with a bathtub, a hairdryer and free toiletries. Royal Cliff Grand Hotel offers an outdoor pool, a fitness centre as well as free WiFi. Guests can take advantage of relaxing massage treatments, a sauna and a wellness centre with a 5-star service. Guests can enjoy tennis, table tennis and billiards on site. The in-house restaurant specializes in Thai and international cuisines. Guests can sample special cocktails and drinks at the lively bar. Within a short drive, guests can find Tiffany Show (4.2 km), Art In Paradise (4.2 km) and Jomtien Beach (4.6 km). Royal Cliff Grand Hotel is located in Pattaya South, 1.5 km from Walking Street Pattaya and about 800 m from Bali Hai Pier. Suvarnabhumi Airport can be reached under 86 km from the property.
Pullman Pattaya Hotel G
Location: North Pattaya
Ave nightly price: AUD136 per room
Description: Combining traditional Thai architecture and modern decor, the luxurious Pullman Pattaya Hotel G features a private section along Wong-Amart Beach and beautiful sea views. Pampering spa treatments, yoga classes and a 2 large outdoor pools await guests. Equipped with a flat-screen TV, rooms are bright with natural light streaming in from large windows. Free bottled water, free Wi-Fi and a minibar are included. The private bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower. Aisawan Spa provides relaxing massage either in private rooms or in outdoor pavilions surrounded by lotus ponds. Guests can also take part in traditional batik-painting classes. The Restaurant at the Beach Club serves international dishes and premium wine, either buffet or an extensive dining menu. Accompanied by sunset views, refreshing drinks can be enjoyed at the hotel's 3 bars. Pullman Pattaya Hotel G is about half a kilometer from the Sanctuary of Truth Temple. This tropical beach retreat is a 1-hour, 30-minute drive from Bangkok.
Anytime, but Pattaya is probably best visited during the hot, dry season between November and February.
Pattaya is located in a region of Thailand that is hot year-round, with three distinct seasons:
• hot and dry – November through February, average high 31°C (87°F);
• hot and humid – March through April, average high 33°C (91°F); and
• hot and wet – May through October, average high 32°C (89°F).
For more climate info: Pattaya Weather Guide…
Pattaya is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, 147km (91mi) southeast of Bangkok – around 1 hour, 30 minutes drive or less from Bangkok.
The most convenient route to Pattaya is by air to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), followed by a shuttle bus to Pattaya and taxi to your resort; or taxi directly from the airport to your hotel.
By bus, Roong Rueang Coach offer a frequent 2-hour daily service from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Central and South Pattaya intersection drop-off locations, as well as North Pattaya bus station for the 9pm and 10pm buses.
Tickets cost about THB130 (US$4) and can be bought online or at the 'Suvarnabhumi Airport – Pattaya' counter on Level 1 near Gate No 8 in the airport arrivals hall.
There is also a free transfer bus between Suvarnabhumi and Don Muaeng Airport,
Or you can fly to U-Tapao International Airport, 45-minutes east of the resort town. Resorts can provide transport for quests if prearranged.
Note: the limo fare from U-Tapao Airport is around the same as a taxi fare from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, roughly THB1500 (AUD45, NZ$57, US$50, £30) or less depending on your negotiation skills.
Alternatively, numerous air-conditioned (and inexpensive) buses depart Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road daily for Pattaya; allow 3 hours for travel time.
More information on how to get to Pattaya…
Latest update: Pattaya, Thailand: 17 June, 2022