Whenever people think of Pattaya they immediately think of ladyboys, risqué shows and drunk tourists. This does not even begin to touch upon the many things that this city in Thailand has to offer. Pattaya is a place that has beautiful temples and beaches but it also has so many activities to get involved in that it is impossible to get bored.
There are a large number of expats living in Pattaya which has led to the city changing over the years, but this has only led to an increase in wealth being brought into the city, with the increased wealth business men have seen an opportunity to create attractions that appeal to holiday makers which is why Pattaya is one of the enjoyable places to stop at for a few days.
With so much to do let’s get started to the top things to do in Pattaya:
1. Party The Night Away In Walking Street
When it comes to the sights and the sounds that you experience in Walking Street you will be amazed, no other street in Thailand even comes close (despite what the tourist guides may tell you.) Walking Street is 500m long and as the name suggests there are no vehicles allowed in the street after 6pm. The street as well as many side streets are full of bars, nightclubs, go-go bars, restaurants and beer bars. During the day the road is almost deserted but when darkness falls the neon lights, loud music and an army of girls hit the streets.
2. Relax Yourself At Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
If you are interested in flowers, trees and landscaped gardens this is a great place to spend a peaceful afternoon. The garden covers a space of 2.4 Square kilometers and have some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. The gardens have won many awards for their designs and will continue to do so because of the excellent condition the garden is kept in. It is not just flowers and trees though, there are also over 670 species of orchid and even an elephant talent show.
3. Experience The Pattaya Floating Market
There are various floating markets In Thailand but this one in Pattaya has something different about it. The actual name of the market is the ‘Four Regions Floating Market’ the reason for this is that the market is split into the four regions of Thailand, The north, northeast, south and central. Each section of the market sells products that represent that part of the country. Not all of the stalls are floating, some are in boats which move around the canals and some are stilted properties that stand at the sides on the banks. To experience the best of the market you should hire a small boat and discover all that is on offer.
4. Become Part Of The Art At Art In Paradise
This is no ordinary art gallery, instead this gallery takes the normal art gallery concept and turns it on its head. At Art in Paradise you become part of the artwork by a series of optical illusions and other clever tricks. The gallery is set up perfectly so you can take pictures in such a way that it looks like you are crossing an old bridge or flying over the dessert on a magic carpet. The building is split into ten sections and houses over one hundred pieces of art. It is great fun for children as well as adults and should be on any to-do list.
5. Amaze Yourself At Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
For those not in the know Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a chain of museums that show the visitor strange facts about the world we live In, most of these facts you would have no idea existed. This museum in Pattaya is home to over 300 items split over ten different subject areas. You will find a 1937 Jaguar that doubles as a motorboat as well as a replica of the Titanic made from a million matches. There is so much to do that it will take you an entire day, especially if you get lost for hours in the infinity maze. When you are finished with the museum and maze you still have the Tussauds Wax Works and the 4D Moving Theater to explore.
6. Climb The Hill At Wat Phra Khao Yai
Wat Phra Khao Yai is also known as Big Buddha Hill, it is referred to as this because it is the biggest Buddha in the region, it stands at 18 meters tall and sits about 100 meters above sea level. When you get to the top of the hill and stand next to the Buddha you can see Pattaya beneath you and Jomtien Beach if you look outwards. As well as the Buddha there is a temple complex as well which has incense burning all day long as well many bells. The temple is still used to this day so expect to see monks and praying locals.
7. Go Ziplining At Flight Of The Gibbon
Not strictly in Pattaya but half way between there and Bangkok sits Flight of the Gibbon, a complete adventure for the whole family. An excellent opportunity to have a lot of fun whilst taking in some beautiful views of the jungle. The course is three kilometers long and consists of twenty two zip-lines as well as two abseiling stations. With an impeccable safety record this is the one place in Thailand where you should feel completely safe whilst doing something you would not do back at home.
Suggested tour: Zip Line Eco Adventure from Pattaya with Lunch
8. See The Buddha Engraving At Khao Chi Chan
Khao Chi Chan or Buddha Mountain as English speakers refer to it is the biggest engraving of Buddha in the world. The Limestone hill that has the Buddha engraved on it used to be an active site for the construction industry before it was closed down. In 1996 a laser was used to etch the carving into the rock as part of a celebration for His Majesty the King of Thailand’s 50th year on the throne.
9. Go Back In Time At Anek Kusala Sala
Originally built to build friendships between the Chinese and the Thai’s Khao Chi Chan is a museum showing over 300 pieces of Chinese artwork, most of the pieces are brass and bronze statues of historical figures from various deities including Buddhist and Taoist. Split over the two floors the second floor has some much larger statues, the most noticeable being the Shaolin monks that have been created to depict various martial art poses. You can see statues of dress makers, fortune tellers and liquor sellers which tourists often place one baht coins on.
10. Have some lunch at Mum Aroi
In the fishing village of Naklua sits a rather delightful restaurant called Mum Aroi, the restaurant itself sits right beside the sea and serves up a fantastic variety of seafood. As you eat your dinner in this busy restaurant you can gaze out over the water and watch the old fishing boats bob up and down on the waves. Popular with expats and locals the restaurant is quite large and normally very full in the evenings. For a relaxing evening with a glass of wine and a gentle sea breeze few places can live up to Mum Aroi.
11. Take A Trip To Khao Phra Tamnak
Sitting at the top of a forested hill between South Pattaya and Jomtien is a giant Buddha statue known as Wat Phra Yai, The statue has its origins at a time when Pattaya was just a small fishing village, and a long way away from the world Pattaya finds itself in now. From the top of the hill you have panoramic views over Pattaya City and Bay.
12. Volunteer At Pattaya Orphanage
Founded nearly fifty years ago Pattaya Orphanage has continued to do good works for the less fortunate. The orphanage was founded by a priest called Father Ray in the 1970’s when a local gave their child to Father Ray as they were unable to look after the child themselves. Word soon spread among the people and so the orphanage had its beginnings. Originally the children were ones born as a result of the US military being in the area during the Vietnam War, now the children are from misfortunate mothers who suffer from drug abuse, poverty or HIV/Aids. You can either sponsor meals at the orphanage or completely give up your time and volunteer for extended time periods.
13. Spend A Day At Koh Larn
Sitting seven kilometers away from Pattaya is the island of Ko Larn, boats leave Pattaya several times a day for the island and are always full of tourists eager to explore somewhere new. The island is only small (4km long and 2km wide) but there are six different beaches to see, each beach having its own unique personality. If you wish to stay a few nights there are various resorts and hotels on the island but due to the islands size they fill up quickly.
14. Be Amazed At Tiffany’s Cabaret
Taking place each evening, Tiffany’s Cabaret entertains over two thousand people and has been doing so for over thirty years. The performance usually lasts for an hour and the show is non-stop excitement from start to finish, the entertainers perform scenes that represent every part of the world, including Indian, Korean Thai and many more. The ladyboys are all dressed in exquisite costumers and perform with such finesse that it is hard to spot that they are not real ladies. The raunchiness of the show has been toned down for what you might expect to get in Pattaya ensuring that the show is also suitable for children.
Book online: Pattaya: Tiffany’s Show Admission Ticket
15. Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
Every major place in Thailand has tourist attractions including elephant. Some of these are really cruel, like those that offer you to ride on an elephant. So make sure you make an ethical choice like the Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.
Recommended tour: Pattaya’s Ethical Choice: Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary
16. Feast at Leng Kee
Leng Kee is a Chinese restaurant in Pattaya, it opens twenty four hours a day and is the only restaurant that serves Seafood and Chinese, Established for many years it is a favorite among the expats and Chinese locals. The restaurant sits in the thriving Chinatown part of the city and all year long it serves its main menu, the exception being Chinese New Year when it turns vegetarian and serves up a speciality known as ‘Golden Good Luck Noodles’.
17. Swim And Then Dine At Pattaya park
Situated at a beach resort Pattaya Park is the only water park in Pattaya, you can spend your days here having fun on the various different water slides and flumes. Children will love it but there is also some rides that will get the adults off their sunbeds as well. Once you have finished at the waterpark it is time to dress yourself up and head up the Pattaya Park Tower, it is the highest seaside tower and revolving restaurant in Thailand, from the 55th Floor you can look out over Jomtien Bay or Pattaya City.
18. Sunbathe At Ban Amphur Beach
Ban Amphur is a quiet fishing village that happens to have a beautiful beach with gorgeous sand and lots of palm trees. The beach is quiet and uncrowded with ample parking unlike many of the other beaches in Pattaya, because it is a fishing village the various seafood restaurants that are located in the fishing harbor sell the most delicious and fresh fish imaginable. Tourism has not yet caught up here as much as so many places so prices are still quite low and the area uncrowded.
19. Have Mango Sticky Rice At Mae Sai Thong
You can get mango sticky rice all over Thailand and it is hugely popular with tourists and locals, not many places selling just that one item make it onto Lonely Planet though. Mai Sai Thong is the exception to this and is said to be the best place in Pattaya to eat mango sticky rice. Mango’s ripen in the hot-dry season but this little food stand next to the day market has managed to find suppliers of ripe mango all year round ensuring a steady to supply to their many happy customers.
20. Take Time To Reflect At The Sanctuary Of Truth
Rising 105 meters into the sky and made from teak wood which has been carved in the most intricate wat The Sanctuary of Truth is a beautiful sight to behold. This is not a Buddhist temple as you may expect, it was designed by a business owner as a place to go and reflect on oneself. Every part of the building both inside and out has incredibly detailed carvings that need to be seen to be believed, the building itself is still a work in progress which some say will never be finished. There are so many beautiful buildings across Thailand but this one has to come near the very top of the list.
21. Chill Out For A Weekend At The International Music Festival
Each year in March Pattaya holds an annual music festival, musicians from all over Asia fly in for the event which lasts three days and is set over several different stages. The festival is set up along the Pattaya Beach Road which is closed off to cars during the event. You will get a chance to witness a very wide range of music from hip-hop to rock, with both local and international artists getting involved. The event has been free to enter in the past and is expected to continue in the same vein.
22. Shop Till You Drop At Central Festival
The biggest and most important shopping destination in Pattaya is called Central Festival, you will not find any cheap stalls selling tat here, instead you have a range of designer shops to choose from, Armani, Calvin Klein and French Connection are just some of the famous brands tol have shops here. Split over many floors and housing hundreds of outlets you can spend many hours moving between the floors. There is a ten screen cinema as well as a bowling alley to play in if the shopping becomes too much. Hungry? There is a large number of restaurants with every cuisine possible to choose from, thus making sure there is something for every taste bud.
23. Stop for Margaritas at Tequila Reef
When in Pattaya it may not be the first thing that crosses your mind to go for a Mexican, but you might feel the need for a margarita after a long day in the Sun, The margaritas at Tequila Reef are famous throughout the city and people crowd in for the ‘hand shaken’ Specialties. There are many varieties and styles available and drinks can be ordered by the glass, pitcher or Grande glass.
24. See Things In Miniature At Mini Siam And Mini Europe
Located just outside Pattaya City is Mini Siam and Mini Europe where you can wander endlessly around the gardens looking at statues from all over Thailand and Europe, however they now have the statue of liberty so perhaps a name change is on order soon. The statues have been crafted at a scale of 1:25 and if you go In the evening they are all lit up which makes for some great photographs.
25. Take A Cooking Class
Now that you have been to Thailand and eaten original and authentic Thai cooking maybe you will want to learn how to do it for yourself at home. With supermarkets everywhere selling ingredients from Thailand you just need to learn the basics and you are on your way. Pattaya plays host to many cooking schools each taking the time to show you how to make the Thai classics such as Green Curry and Pad Thai. Normally set over a half day slot the classes allow you to sit down for lunch or dinner afterwards and relax with a drink and the food you have just created.