A coastal city known for its buzzing nightlife, there’s more to Pattaya than intoxicating parties. Stay away from the iffy after-hour services and you’ll be able to explore all this city can offer without breaking your wallet!
Before getting on the flight to Pattaya, it’s much easier and cheaper to get travel SIM card while you’re still home. Online stores like hello1010, for example, offers a 3GB data package for as low as MYR30, which more often than not, is cheaper than a local SIM card or roaming charges.
Day 1: City Exploration and Street Food
The Sanctuary of Truth
Perhaps the most iconic structure in Pattaya, the Sanctuary of Truth is intricately carved entirely from teak wood. The construction, which started in 1981, never ends because none of the wood is treated or protected from the elements – highlighting the fact that nothing lasts forever. Nestled on a beach’s edge, the sanctuary is the perfect place to enjoy some tranquility before starting your adventures in Pattaya.
Entrance fees: Adult THB500; Children THB250
Opening hours: 8am till 5pm
Pattaya Park Tower
What better way to understand the lay of the land than getting a bird’s eye view of the city? The observation deck of Pattaya Park Tower, on the 55th floor, treats visitors with sweeping views of the city. If you’re struck with hunger pangs, the tower features three revolving restaurants. But before stuffing yourself silly with mouth-watering Thai food, the tower also offers an activity you can cross off from the Bucket List – Tower Jump. At only THB200, a steal for such a thrilling ride, you can zipline from the 56th floor of the building to the ground. Just … crazy.
Entrance fees: THB200 (entrance + Tower Jump); THB300 (entrance + four activities of your choice at Pattaya Park)
Opening hours: 10am till 7pm
Thepprasit Night Market
After a full day of exploring, visit this market to hunt for some finger-licking street food. Divided into two zones, the market also sells fake goods from handbags to watches, if you’re into that kind of thing. Going back to food, there are at least 80 stalls selling noodles, barbecued meats, kerabu salads, among other great-tasting Thai dishes.
Opening hours: 5pm till 11pm, Friday – Sunday
Tiffany’s Cabaret Show
Skipping the red-light district doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Pattaya’s nightlife. The hour-long Tiffany’s Cabaret Show features a massive cast of transgender dancers who performexciting shows that feature intricate Thai history to energetic Bollywood scenes and some slapstick burlesque. Pure entertainment!
Entrance fees: Between THB650 and THB1,050
Showtimes: 6pm; 7.30pm; 9pm
Day 2: Sun, Sea and Sand
Pattaya and Jomtien beaches
These are the two most popular beaches in the city. Only downside is that if you’re looking for that deserted, Cast Away-like surroundings, these beaches aren’t for you. Being a stone’s throw away from the city, these beaches are always full of locals and tourists alike. The waters are still beautiful, but the crowds can get overwhelming. Don’t worry, there’s a cheap alternative…
Translated as Coral Island, the beautiful Koh Larn is located seven kilometres from the city. Rest assured, the number of visitors are a lot less than the ones mentioned above. Other than your usual beach watersports like banana boats, jet skis, parasailing, the island is also perfect for snorkeling and ‘underwater walking’. To get to Koh Larn, just hop on a ferry at Bali Hai Pier. The 45-minute ride to the island’s Naban Pier or Twaen Beach only costs THB30 one way. If you pick Naban Pier as a drop-off point, you can rent a scooter at THB200 so you can explore the island’s five beaches without breaking a sweat.
Once back at the mainland, complement your perfect day on the island with some good ol’ Thai massage.
Day 3: Mountain and River
What was once a site that supplied construction materials was transformed into a spiritual complex to commemorate the late King of Thailand’s golden jubilee in 1996. The 109-metre-tall and 70-metre-wide image of Buddha was designed using computer software and then carved into the rock using a laser. Admission is free. The 30-minute taxi ride from the city shouldn’t cost more than THB500.
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Pattaya Floating Market
Covering a whopping 100,000 square metres, Pattaya Floating Market is divided into four sections that highlight different cultures, items and food from the four different regions of Thailand. The market has over 114 food vendors, so choices are more than plenty. Cultural shows and boat rides are also available.
Entrance fee: THB200
Opening hours: 9am till 8pm
Getting Around in Pattaya
If you’re afraid of getting scammed by taxi drivers who refuse to use the meter, or tuk-tuk operators simply asking too much money, you can rent a motorcycle from THB150 a day. Alternatively, use ride-hailing service Grab so you won’t have to haggle all the time. You can use the same app to book rides anywhere Grab operates.
WHERE TO STAY:
GETTING THERE: AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Pattaya. Book your seats now at airasia.com