The legendary nightlife draws many visitors to this Thai seaside resort. It also has plenty to offer families, although you have be well organised to avoid Pattaya’s seedy side completely. High-quality and great value Thai food is on offer all over the town, along with plenty of international and western options. The dazzling malls and abundance of amenities ensure you will never be bored, but this is not the place to come for deserted, tranquil beaches. It is a popular destination, and has been ever since American soldiers first began to choose it for a break in the 1960s.
The main beach is on the bay of Ao Pattaya, around which the city is built. There is plenty to do, and many watersports to keep you entertained if you get bored with sunbathing. A popular day trip for people on holiday in Pattaya is the 7km boat ride across to the island of Ko Lan. The turquoise seas and pristine beaches are ideal for swimming and snorkelling, and intrepid explorers will delight in discovering the small island’s jungle interior.
If you are seeking a serene beach experience during your Pattaya holiday, head outside the main resort to the island of Ko Samae San or the beaches at Hat Nang Ram. The gay-friendly beach at the relaxed resort of Jomtien is also worth the journey away from central Pattaya.
There are two distinct regions in Pattaya. The north of the city is upmarket and family-friendly, while Pattaya South is the hub of the nightlife and entertainment scene. South of Pattaya is a small, forested hill crowned by a massive golden Buddha. Schedule your climb to the top at either sunrise or sunset; the views are spectacular and you’ll avoid the midday heat.
For a unique Pattaya experience, visit the Sanctuary of Truth. This structure is part art installation, part religious monument, and it uses architecture and carvings to unite both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. No less unique, but somewhat less serene, is Tiffany’s Cabaret Show. This was the first transvestite cabaret in South-east Asia and it is a truly magnificent spectacle.
For some of the best Thai food in town, be sure to check out Mum Aroi at least once during your holiday in Pattaya. This restaurant is something of a Pattayan institution and the seafood they serve is fresh and tasty. Further into the town there is a noisy market, where you can jostle with locals to buy vegetables and other fresh produce. Next to the market is a great-value spot called Mae Sai Tong which is famous for its ripe mango with sticky rice.
Pattaya is not short of drinking establishments, most of which can be found in the southern half of the city. Beer flows every night and live music keeps each bar hopping. The Hopf Brew House is ideal for both, and it is especially popular at weekends.
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