This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 02:27 pm
Pattaya is a typical sun, sea, and beach holiday destination! That is the feeling that the city stands for and wants to stand for. Travelers don’t come here for the culture, but for the nice weather and the good parties. History, culture or tradition; you will not find much of it here. Party scene, massage salons, go-go bars, and parties all the more. Fair is fair; it must be your thing. Some come here to party for two weeks; others prefer to stay as far away as possible from this special city.
The Unique Pattaya
Unique, that’s for sure. But by that we do not mean as unique as the temples in Bagan or the Mayan ruins in Guatemala, just to mention something. It is such a typical “hate it or love it” place. It is one of the largest and most famous beach resorts in Thailand.
For example, the restaurant scene here is of a particularly high standard, the beaches are very cozy, and the nightlife is also very famous! The city is built around Ao Pattaya, a wide crescent-shaped bay. Less than 50 years ago the city was no more than a small fishing village, but that soon changed when the Americans discovered Pattaya.
It didn’t take long before it became one of the first beach cities in Thailand together with Hua Hin. The city changed from a small fishing village to one of the most important cities of Thailand. This also brought more tourism and more and more of Pattaya turned into a party town.
However, it is not as negative as many people believe. If you look beyond the famous party bars and go-go bars, there is plenty to discover!
7 Fun Things to Do in Pattaya
Most people come here for the beach and for the famous parties and pleasant evenings. Yet there is much more to do in Pattaya. For those who are here and want something other than beaches and parties, we have listed a number of things.
1. Visit the Floating Market
Bangkok is not the only city with a Floating Market. You can also visit such a market in Pattaya. The Floating Market of Pattaya is known as the “Four Regions Floating Market” and is a nice place to visit.
Some people find this market better than the one in Bangkok.
As the name suggests, it is a floating market where you can buy anything. Women in narrow canoes and floating stores sell souvenirs, fruit, food, art, crafts, postcards, and clothing.
You will also find a huge number of floating houses that you can walk or sail past.
TIP – The market is held every day on Sukhumvit Road, just outside of Pattaya. A day trip often costs no more than a few tenners.
2. Go to the Sanctuary of Truth
The Sanctuary of Truth is the most famous structure of Pattaya. This huge wooden temple, located near Wongamat Beach, is definitely worth a visit. What is special about this temple is that it is not devoted to religion.
It was built by a businessman as an appreciation for philosophy and art.
It is special to see what people are capable of with wood. Especially when you consider that the temple is still standing without the wood being treated to prevent it from decaying. The temple is over 100 meters high and as beautiful inside as outside!
TIP – The entrance is 500 baht (US $16.20) and it is open every day.
3. Have a Drink at Walking Street
The street is called Walking Street because no cars are allowed here after 6 p.m.
When the sun goes down this street turns into a big madhouse. Parties, bars, restaurants, live music, street food; anything crazy you can think of, they probably have it here. You need at least a week to try all the bars, if you can even manage it all.
After a day at the beach or touring around, this is a great place to let off some steam!
4. Walk to the Viewpoint
Pattaya is in a beautiful area; a crescent-shaped bay surrounded by beautiful beaches. It would be a shame if you only see the city and bars while there is so much more to see. At the viewpoint, officially the Khao Pattaya View Point, you have a magnificent view of Pattaya Bay.
It is one of the most famous places in the city and, therefore, one of the busiest. So don’t expect that you can watch the sunset all alone with your picnic basket, there are a lot of tourists here.
Yet it is worth waiting for them to go back to the city because the view is impressive.
TIP – You can come here from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can check out its location in Google Maps or on the Maps.me app, just search for “Phra Tamnak Mountain (Phrabat Mountain)”.
5. Visit One of the Many Temples
You will find a lot of temples in Thailand, and also in Pattaya. They are not the most impressive temples of Thailand, but definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Two of the best known temples are Wat Phra Khao Yai and the Viharnra Sien Temple.
Wat Phra Khao Yai
This temple is also called the Big Buddha because of the 18 meter large Buddha statue that you will find here. The temple is located on Phratamnak Hill and overlooks Pattaya far. The temple complex is very important for the locals in the region.
In addition to the large Buddha, you will also find smaller statues.
TIP – Admission is free.
Viharnra Sien Temple
The Viharnra Sien Temple is a Chinese temple as well as a museum. You immediately see the difference in building style and according to many this is one of the best Chinese museums outside of China. You will find some art pieces from China and even a few Terracotta fighters.
6. Explore the Gardens of Nong Nooch
One of the most famous sights of the city is the botanical gardens of Nong Nooch. It is known as one of the most beautiful gardens in the country and attracts a huge number of visitors every year.
The gardens are well kept and they are pretty impressive.
This garden has even won international awards for its design several times, including the 17th-century French-style garden award. In addition to special creations, you will also find many special trees, flowers, and plants here. Nong Nooch is also often the setting for Thai dancing, Thai boxing competitions, and other preludes.
TIP – It is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs 500 baht (US $16.20) or 800 baht (US $25.90) if there are shows.
7. Visit Buddha Mountain
The Buddha Mountain is a bit of a conflicting attraction. You expect a mountain with a beautiful large Buddha statue, but that is not entirely the case. Buddha Mountain, also known as Khao Chi Chan, is a special place.
It was founded in 1996 in honor of the king of Thailand. The image of a Buddha (109 meters by 70 meters) is carved into the mountain. It has been a lot of work to make it and from a distance it certainly looks impressive.
Fair is fair. Pattaya is primarily known as a party town. It is certainly not our thing. Lately more and more locals know how to find the city as a weekend get-away. Don’t expect a backpack scene or cozy family outings here.
Most people are here to party and laze, or they are looking for love; paid or unpaid. The city is a special mix of strip clubs, fancy restaurants, a red-light district and sun, sea and beach.
Pattaya: To Go or Not to Go?
Above you can read about everything there is to do in this city.
In addition, the beach is nice if you like a party. On the beach you will find everything from shops to discos. If you are looking for a quieter beach you better go to Jomtien Beach in the south of Pattaya.
Should Pattaya be on your to-do list of Thailand? Frankly not, but if you were in Bangkok and were looking for a wild nightlife and a special city on the beach; then Pattaya might be the right outcome.
Best Places to Stay in Pattaya
Pattaya is one of the most famous beach resorts in the country and so there is no lack of accommodation. The problem is that you can just be in the “wrong” neighborhood. Families do not want to spend the night in the party area and backpackers don’t want to stray too far from all the activities.
Pattaya Beach is the best-known place. This is actually where everything happens. Here you will find the parties, the restaurants, and most travelers. There is a good nightlife and there is plenty to do. You will also find all types of accommodation. Downside is the busy beach and the 18+ parties.
Jomtien Beach is the place for families and travelers who don’t like the crowds. It is much quieter here and you will find slightly nicer accommodations. In addition, the beach is quieter and more beautiful. There are really no disadvantages.
Best Time to Visit Pattaya
The best time to visit Pattaya is from November to March/April. In this period it is not too hot or cold and there is little rain. This is also the peak season for tourists so keep in mind that prices will be higher and accommodations are full quickly.
In the summer months (June to September) it can not only get quite warm here, there is also a lot of rain. The rain usually falls in the morning or afternoon, but the weather is often good in between showers.