Pattaya City is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand and less than two hours’ drive from Bangkok. Pattaya’s climate is warm all year round making it a popular beach destination for Bangkok locals and international tourists. It has a notorious reputation for adult entertainment but beyond that, it remains one of the most popular destinations in Thailand with a wide range of recreational activities, cultural, museums, sight-seeing and natural attractions for family-friendly fun.
Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Anek Kusala Sala
Frost Magical Ice of Siam
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
Khao Pattaya View Point
Its beaches are the main drawcard with the 4 km Pattaya Beach being the busiest followed by the less-crowded and more peaceful Jomtien beach which is a great spot for watersports. There is a large assortment of hotels in Pattaya and the surrounding beach areas.
The beach of Pattaya Wong Amat, located next to northern Pattaya Beach remains a favourite among families. Tien Beach is a tranquil beach and considered one of the cleaner beaches in the area. Its clear waters and white sand makes this the perfect choice for a laidback day swimming and sunbathing. Ban Amphur Beach features white sand and clear seas just right for paddling, along with a playground for children. Bamboo Beach is a pretty and calm beach with a rocky backdrop perfect for a secluded day sun lounging and swimming. Tawaen Beach has stunning green mountainous surrounds and clear water is popular for water sports such as banana boating and jet-skiing.
Bang Saray Beach is best known for scuba diving because it houses a WWII shipwreck which divers love to explore. Naklua Beach is a more local rustic-style beach and busy fishing area in Pattaya. There are no water sports here so its a nice place to relax and enjoy watching locals go about their daily business. Dongtan beach is quiet and long beach has plenty of space for so it never feels too crowded. A section of the beach especially caters to the LGBTQ+ community.
Bang Saen Beach is one of the most romantic beaches popular with couples and honeymooners and lined with palm trees. Another popular choice for couples is the charming Koh Larn island which is an only 15-minute ferry ride away and boasts some beautiful beaches. A good day trip option is Samae Beach located on the nearby Coral Island, which is only a short ferry trip from the Pattaya mainland.
Four Regions floating market is Pattaya’s version of the floating markets in Bangkok. Here you will find hawkers trading and selling all types of produce from their boats and canoes. It’s a fun way to see local daily life and try your hand at bargaining for some goods.
Pattaya also has several impressive temples. At Wat Phra Khao Yai in south Pattaya, visitors can climb the “Big Buddha Hill”, a spot 100 metres above sea level which features an 18-metre tall Buddha statue. Other popular temples include Wat Yan Temple, Wat Khao Phra Bat Temple, and Wat Pa Pradu. In addition, other sites worth a look include an area dedicated to the sages Confucius and Laozi, Chaloemphrakiat Park, the Sanctuary of Truth, and Wat Yanasangwararam.
For flora and fauna enthusiasts, Pattaya is also home to Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, featuring 500 acres of orchids, garden displays inspired by European designs, and local wildlife. You can visit the Pattaya Elephant Village, which is a wildlife sanctuary for rescued elephants and the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, where a large number of tigers and crocodiles make their home. You also have the option of visiting Underwater World, the area’s largest aquarium.
Art in Paradise: a quirky interactive art museum in Central Pattaya where visitors can become part of the artwork too, with more than 100 3D wall paintings.
Flight of the Gibbon: Zip-lining through the rain forest canopies navigating the routes of Gibbon monkeys.
Underwater World: Kids will marvel at the rich aquatic life on display.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden: Explore this huge garden by bicycle. Ride around to discover the flora, Thai-style houses, swimming pools, restaurants and traditional dance performances.
Mini Siam: A gigantic park with miniature versions of famous Thai landmarks.
Frost Magical Ice of Siam: Kids will love ice sculptures, waterslides and the adventurous ice walks in this winter wonderland.
Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark: The only cartoon network themed park in the world is bound to bring smiles to your kid’s face.
Pattaya Kart Speedway: Family-friendly fun kart racing.
Tuxedo Illusion Hall: Catch a magic show
Which a nickname of “sin city”, you can guess that Pattaya city located on the east coastline of the Gulf of Thailand, is a destination for partying, adult entertainment and decadence. But the area has much more to offer than that. Pattaya bay and beaches are great for swimming, there are lots of shopping and eating options and many family-friendly attractions.
As long as you avoid Pattaya nightlife in the red-light districts which are not family-friendly, Pattaya is a relatively safe destination for families. There are a plethora of attractions aimed at families so kids and adults can have a fun time together.
Pattaya beaches are a drawcard. Outside of typical beachside attractions, the city features several different golf courses within its vicinity. The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, featuring 500 acres of orchids, garden displays inspired by European designs, and the local wildlife is worth visiting. Animal lovers will enjoy the Pattaya Elephant Village, a wildlife sanctuary for rescued elephants, as well as the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, where a large number of tigers and crocodiles make their home. You also have the option of visiting Underwater World, the area’s largest aquarium.
If you are time-limited and want to see beaches and party after dark, then Pattaya is the best option. Being an island, Phuket has better and cleaner beaches with 30 beaches bordering its waters. So no matter where you are in Phuket a strip of golden sand and blue water is never far away. Plus it has more variety for nearby island hopping.
Avoid the notorious red-light districts which are aimed at singles rather than families. There are over 1000 adult bars in this district where pickpocketing is common and assaults do occur. Also, operate caution when hiring a jet-ski. A well-known jet-ski scam is for operators to extort money from renters for causing ‘fake’ damage to the jet ski.
Bag snatchers driving motorcycles are common so be careful with your personal belongings in public areas. Wear your bag across your body rather than over your shoulder and don’t wear your best jewellery.
Top attractions include the Walking Street, the Sanctuary of Truth, Tiffany’s Cabaret Show, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, the Pattaya Floating Market, the temples Wat Phra Khao Yai, the various water parks, Khao Pattaya View Point, Koh Larn, Art in Paradise, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Pattaya, Khao Chi Chan, Jomtien Beach, Wat Yansang wararam, Mini Siam, and Underwater World Pattaya.
You can visit Pattaya’s beaches or offshore islands of Ko Larn, Ko Krok, and Ko Sak which are great spots for scuba diving and snorkelling. Splash about with hours of fun at the local waterparks like Rama Yana and the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark. Visit the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden featuring 500 acres of orchids, garden displays inspired by European designs, and local wildlife or the miniature world of Mini Siam. Or venture to the Pattaya Elephant Village, a wildlife sanctuary for rescued elephants, as well as the Sriracha Tiger Zoo.
Visiting the Big Buddha Temple, seeing the Pattaya City Sign and amazing city viewpoint, hanging out at the Royal Garden Plaza, and checking out Jomtien Beach Night Market or enjoying the festivities at Central Marina in the evenings.
Keep in mind that it is easier to get from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya because it is 40km. closer than Don Muang Airport, and conveniently you don’t need to travel through downtown Bangkok saving time being stuck in traffic. So if you are going straight from the airport you can take a taxi or even self-drive with a rental car.
A common way to get from Bangkok to Pattaya is by bus or minivan with the trip taking about 2 hours depending on traffic.
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