Going to Pattaya when you’re already planning a trip to Thailand is an easy day trip or multi-day stay. While it’s known as a party spot, increasingly this bustling city along the eastern side of the Gulf coast is being upgraded to welcome families looking for an affordable place by the sea. Let’s learn a bit more about taking a family outing to Pattaya once in Bangkok.
Getting to Pattaya
The ideal starting point to get to Pattaya is Bangkok because it’s just a taxi or scheduled bus ride down to this coastal city. When already staying in Bangkok, every hotel will happily make the arrangements for you for an additional fee.
An air-conditioned taxi service costs around £25 (1,050 Thai Baht) including the toll fee. It is important to agree a price before travelling if the driver is not using a meter, otherwise technically the driver can ask for any amount upon arrival.
The journey to Pattaya is around 94 miles. The travel time takes about two and a half hours when traveling off-peak, but longer when trying to get out of the Big Mango (a nickname for Bangkok) during rush hour. Many Thai people head over to Pattaya after they finish work on a Friday for an enjoyable family weekend away, so travelling any other day is preferable if you’re on holiday to avoid traffic congestion.
Getting a bus to Pattaya is trickier because there are various bus companies and places to get one from. The costs vary from a VIP bus or First Class, to Second Class which is very basic and does not have air-conditioning. The first two options have fewer stops and typically take 2.5-3 hours depending on traffic; the latter stops more frequently and usually takes at least 3 hours. The costs can be as low as £4 (150 Thai Baht), making transport very affordable.
Staying in a Family-friendly Hotel
There are many hotels in Pattaya Beach Road to take in the sight of the beach during the daytime and the harbour lights in the evening too. When staying in a family-oriented hotel, there’s usually a pool, perhaps a spa, and quite often planned events for the children to keep them occupied.
Organised international hotels chains are the best ones to opt for because they maintain certain established standards including attention to safety. Nevertheless, if you plan on using the swimming pool at the hotel, take care of your little ones as there aren’t necessarily focused lifeguards on staff.
There are plenty of shopping options for people who like to find some familiar high street names along with international ones.
The Central Festival Pattaya Beach is a popular location to go for shopping and the comfortable air-conditioning. There are over 300 shops with brands like Zara, Marks & Spencer, and H&M along with plenty of electronics stores too. Each floor has a separate focus on different types of goods being sold which makes for easier navigation around the shopping centre.
There are also plenty of excellent restaurants at Central offering Thai, Japanese, Italian and Western cuisines. The food court near the top floor is popular with locals and foreigners looking for affordable, authentic food, if you’re on a budget. There are also English movies shown at the movie theatre on the top floor.
Beyond the Central shopping centre, there are virtually endless shops to browse and fill up your luggage before the trip back to Bangkok. There are also plenty of street vendors selling anything and everything you could think of.
Pattaya continues to go upmarket with improvements to the beach areas and the addition of upscale shops. It’s a busy city that is expanding outwards, yet it’s easier to manage a visit there than Bangkok. The local taxis and buses provide easy transport, or a motorbike can be rented for the day with a passport and appropriate driving license. Given that it’s only a handful of hours by road out of Bangkok, it’s certainly worth the visit.