A couple of hours’ drive from Bangkok, Pattaya is a stunning beach resort town in Chonburi Province. Unfortunately, due to its colourful reputation, it is often bypassed by tourists, especially those travelling with families, in favour of other beach destinations in Thailand.
Those who think Pattaya is a one-dimensional beach destination couldn’t be more wrong, because it abounds in lovely places to visit and exciting things to do. In fact, what most people don’t know is that other than being a place to get your much-needed dose of sun, surf, and sand, it is fast-becoming a family-friendly tourist destination, a far cry from the “sin city” it once was.
And because it has more than enough attractions for everyone, whether you’re interested in sightseeing, shopping, dining, nightlife, island hopping, or lazing on the beach for the ultimate R&R, you’ll definitely enjoy your holiday in Thailand’s largest resort town.
If you’re travelling to the Thai capital anytime soon, consider a day or weekend trip to Pattaya if you’ve never been. Below are reasons why you should not miss visiting Pattaya when travelling in Bangkok.
Big Buddha Hill
Thailand is famous for its religious attractions, and Pattaya certainIy isn’t lacking when it comes to sacred places to visit. Not to be missed during your trip is the Big Buddha Hill, featuring a colossal image of Buddha, the largest in the province. Perched on top of Pratamnak Hill, the 18-m tall statue, painted in gold, is a sight to behold.
Another attraction worth visiting in Pattaya is the Sanctuary of Truth. The ornate all-wood religious attraction features stunning Khmer architecture as well as intricate Buddhist and Hindu-inspired sculptures. A work of Thai businessman Lek Viriyaphant, Sanctuary of Truth is still a work in progress and set to be completed in 2050. Lek Viriyaphant is the same Thai patron of culture who commissioned the construction of the Ancient City and the Erawan Museum in Bangkok.
Nong Nooch Botanical Garden
The Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is one of the first places you should visit in Pattaya. Featuring sprawling themed gardens, a zoo, cultural and animal shows, and a landscaped park, Nong Nooch is a fun attraction for the young and young at heart.
The Walking Street
While not exactly a family destination, The Walking Street is a must-visit when in Pattaya. Teeming with bars, pubs, clubs, hotels, massage places, cabaret shows, and restaurants, this world famous attraction is a clear favourite among expats, tourists, and locals alike.
Central Festival Mall
One of the major shopping destinations in Pattaya, the Central Festival Mall offers beachfront shopping like no other. Catering to customers of all budgets, the multi-storey modern shopping and entertainment complex has 3D and 4D cinemas, restaurants offering local and international fare, cafés, and a bowling alley, in addition to numerous local brands and international designer labels.
Pattaya Floating Market
If you’re looking for a local shopping experience and at the same time have a glimpse of Thai riverside life, head to the Pattaya Floating Market, the largest market of its kind in Eastern Thailand. Divided in four sections, the tourist attraction, spanning 100,000sqm, houses more than a hundred souvenir shops, galleries, and fruit stalls. The floating market also offers various dining options so don’t miss the opportunity to sample the traditional Thai dishes and desserts sold at food stalls and by the water vendors. Must-trys are pad thai and coconut pancakes.
For those needing to recharge their batteries after a day of sightseeing and shopping, the floating market is a great place for getting a full-on traditional Thai massage.
There are a handful of beaches in Pattaya, each with its own charm and offering different activities, but if you want to be somewhere away from the city centre, head to Jomtien Beach, just a few kilometres south of Pattaya Beach.
Featuring a long stretch of gorgeous palm-fringed coastline, Jomtien or Chom Tian provides for numerous fun activities such as parasailing and windsurfing.
Pattaya Water Park
For those travelling with kids in tow, a can’t-miss attraction in Chonburi Province is the Pattaya Water Park. Featuring water slides, adrenalin-pumping rides, and a 240-metre high seaside tower with a revolving restaurant, the Pattaya Water Park is a great bonding venue for your entire brood.
Underwater World Pattaya
Another well-loved family destination in the city is the Underwater World Pattaya. It is Thailand’s first modern indoor aquarium and features fun recreational activities such as marine life encounters, diving, snorkelling.
Looking for beach destinations near Bangkok? Head to Pattaya for a fun-filled day of sun, surf, and sand!
By: Brendelyn Balaga