Pattaya city seen from an overlook.
Jomthien beach is large but totally lacking in charm.
The main beach is small, the sand is coarse and the water is murky and unattractive, though reasonably clean. A much bigger beach, Jomtien, is farther south and will require a very long walk or a taxi/bike ride to reach. It’s a primo windsurfing spot but the sand is still coarse, the water unattractive (probably polluted?) and high-rises line the shore. Gays line the north end of Jomtien as well as parts of the town.
Pattaya town is still an overdeveloped jumble of pink-lit girlie/boy bars, half finished construction and monster hotels.
This is not a serious beach destination, but does offer easy access from Bangkok and a variety of family attractions. If you want great beaches nearby head for Koh Samet (island)
Love, or something
Pattaya is a surprisingly inoffensive haven for the love-dispossessed – wrinklies, plug uglies and handicapped guys mix it with arabs, US military personnel from U-Tapao just 30 kms down the road. In fact this Vietnam-era American base was responsible for initiating all the sex/R ‘n’ R in Pattaya.
These stressed love refugees have three things in common: they have money to spend, they are hot for sleek Asians and they have all the fashion sense of a third-degree burn.
Interestingly Thai men mostly don’t seem bothered that many of their prettiest girls/boys are running around with butt-ugly foreigners.
The hired hands too appear relaxed and tolerant and often spend a couple of weeks traveling around Thailand – especially to proper beach resorts such as Koh Samet – with men who treat them like princesses and pay enough to support their families for a year.
Love and/or marriage are not uncommon results of these liaisons.
Things to do in Pattaya and nearby
Million Years Stone Park, photo by TrapperFrank
• Pattaya Park, amusements (originally Funnyland) and water park, an extensive entertainment facility with rides, tower jumps, revolving restaurants and much more. 5 kms/2 miles outside Pattaya.
• Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm actually includes a lot more animals and birds including white tigers, giraffes, elephants, bears, parrots as well as crocodiles. Good for children and good general facilities, an easy taxi ride from Pattaya.
• Underwater World Aquarium, good family viewing experience, large selection of species, possible to swim with sharks and more. . .
• Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. In addition to the museum there is a haunted mansion, a wax museum, and a popular Infinity Maze. Quite pricey and staff occasionally prefer to play with their smart phones than jump our and scare the bejesus out of visitors so Ripley’shaunted mansion is a bit iffy, believe it or not.
• Elephant village where an hour’s trekon elephant back and a dip in a lake is the main action but they also do forest walks and the art of silk making. The village is about 25 minttes drive from Pattaya but they will do a pick-up if requested.
• Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Sri Racha town on the outskirts of Pattaya. The big attraction is seeing a tiger feeding piglets, or a sow feeding tigers, or perhaps you prefer to see a cute Thai girl covered with black scorpions? They also do elephant rides and croc feeding, just like the neighbours! It’s a dog-eat-dog world out here in Thailand.
• Mini Siam model village including models of famous world landmarks but really of minor interest and quite dilapidated.
• Vimantaitalay tourist submarine runs 30 minute trips underwater to see corals and marine life offshore.
If you book a trip expect to be under the water for 45 minutes though transfers out to the sub and the surface sub journey also take about 40 minutes so total time is 2-3 hours.
• Golf on one of 21 courses nearby
• Visiting varied Thai temples
• Visit a nearby island via ferry, such as Koh Samet
Nong Nooch Botanical Garden, near Pattaya
Evenings in Pattaya
But nighttime is when Pattaya comes alive. . . the main street and girl zone.
‘Transwomen’ in Pattaya, also know as Kathoey or Transexuals. Photo by Ohconfucius.
An open air beer-bar with Thai boxers warming up in the background and hostesses nattering to dispossessed romantics.
The best season extends from December to March when rainfall is very low and temperatures pretty warm but not humid. Average highs in the period are 30C ( 86F) and lows are 23C (73F).
The worst months are hot and oppressively humid April, May.
OK months if you don’t mind some rain/cloud/rough seas/mosquitoes are June to November. Temperatures change little year round with highs in the low 30sC and lows in the early 20sC. The key factor to observe is humidity.