Travel Guide
Pattaya Travel Guide
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Travel Guide

Monarchy: Thailand is a monarchy, and as such, there are strict rules that protect the name and reputation of the royal family. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, you need to be careful not to say anything negative about the royal family, not even just in jest, for fear of imprisonment or fines.

Religion: The main religion in Pattaya is Buddhism, though the result of westernization has resulted in many Christians in the city. There are a few Muslims and Hindus and Confucians as well, plus a few Chinese minorities.

Culture: Tourists perceive that Pattaya does not reflect the traditional Thai culture. This is true to a large extent, as Pattaya is very westernized. However, behind Pattaya’s western front are the subtle characteristics of traditional Thailand culture. You can notice the intrinsic Thai culture through the following symbols:

  • Thai Spirit Houses: Spirit houses are usually on display at most households and businesses. The Thais revere the spirits of their dead; Animism (spirit worship) is a deep-rooted aspect of Thai culture and lifestyle.
  • Sacred Fig Trees: Fig trees are sacred because Lord Buddha found enlightenment while sitting under one in India. The Thais believe that the sacred fig tree houses holy spirits. They place broken artifacts under the two prominent sacred fig trees to placate the spirits.
  • A Wide Array of Temples and Buddha Statues: Pattaya has its share of temples and Buddha statues everywhere, free to visit. Of note are the Wat Yansangwararam, Buddha Hill and Buddha Mountain.
  • Distinct Difference Between Night And Day: During the day, Pattaya resembles any western city with kids with their ears plugged listening to music on their smartphones and iPods. However, in the early morning, Buddhist monks take to the street begging for alms, in stark contrast to the vibrant, dynamic nights.

Currency: The official currency of Thailand is the baht (THB, ฿), which is valued at 0.030 USD. The Thai prefer to spend 20s and 100s in notes as it is hard to obtain small change. Business people and service providers prefer to be paid off in notes and it’s fine if you don’t press for change. Don’t proffer 1000-baht notes, as people are leery of accepting them owing to the counterfeit problem.

Important Notes
  • Opt to obtain your exchange from an ATM instead of using a money exchange counter; you’ll get a much better exchange rate.
  • Most large businesses accept credit cards; you should do fine at your hotel, but small businesses frown on credit cards. They prefer cash.
  • Call your bank before using your card at a not-so-well-known establishment in order to prevent credit card fraud.
  • Keep your credit card covered so no one gets a look.
  • Also use a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) protected wallet so people cannot use technology to steal your credit card information.

Economy: Pattaya’s economy has evolved and shifted from fishing and agriculture into sectors such as tourism, shopping, property and health care.

  • Tourism: Presently, tourism is Pattaya’s backbone. Pattaya teems with hotels, roadside stalls, entertainment hubs, restaurants and bars catering to tourist needs.
  • Shopping: The huge influx of shoppers means that even small spending mean big bucks for shopkeepers in Pattaya. Pattaya has supermarkets selling almost everything, plus well known shopping malls such as Mike, Royal Garden Plaza and the Avenue. There are several night markets that are held in various parts of the town as well.
  • Real Estate: Owing to the booming economy, real estate prices have gone up and several big property names are investing in Pattaya. The city is seeing new residential and commercial complexes coming up in prime locations.
  • Health Care: The growing number of well-equipped hospitals has made Pattaya very popular as a health-tourism center. People from the west arrive here for their surgeries and health treatments as they are economically viable.

The Beginnings: Pattaya was a sleepy little fishing village barely 50 years ago. The city had only one thing to its fame, the fact that during the 13th century, King Taksin chose to spend the night in the village of Thap Phraya (as Pattaya was then known). The wind was blowing from the south west, and the king referred to the place he spent the night in as the village where the wind blew from the south west. That’s how the city got its name – Pattaya – the place where the wind blows from the south-west. One of the greatest beach resort cities of our time got its name from a single night of royal bivouacking.

American Intrusion: During the Vietnam War, the American troops flooded Pattaya and suddenly the people realized that the thousands of Americans required rest and recreation. Soon, a few souls decided to develop Pattaya into a tourist destination and built beach bars and restaurants. In June 1959, several dozen Americans arrived in Pattaya on leave from their base. They stayed in rented houses in what’s known today as the ‘strip’ at the southern end of Pattaya Beach. The Americans found Pattaya beautiful with its crystal waters, great diving and fabulous beaches. The marines stayed for a week but wrote to all their friends boasting about the wonderful beaches and the waters of Pattaya.

The Beginnings Of Development: After this, a new group of marines would arrive every now and then, and Pattaya was born as a tourist resort. The growth of Pattaya occurred at such a rate that the local government’s administration just didn’t cut it anymore. The neighboring city of Na Klua merged its administration and infrastructure with Pattaya in 1976. The Pattaya City Act in 1978 formed the fiftieth local government municipality in Thailand, creating a new city by combing Na Klua and Pattaya village. This was the birth of Pattaya City as we know it today.

People know Pattaya as that vibrant and dynamic westernized city in Thailand with the crystal clear waters and long sandy beaches. Here are several known and yet not-so-well-known facts about Pattaya that might surprise you.

  • Beer City: Pattaya has more than 2000 beer bars scattered from one end to the other. If you visit just one bar a day, it would take you more than 4 years to visit them all.
  • 3th Tallest Building: This beach city is home to the third-tallest building in Thailand. It’s the Reflection Jomtien Beach Oceanfront Tower that towers over the long beach of Jomtien at a height of 234 meters. You can see as far as Sri Racha and Sattahip, neighboring towns, from that height.
  • Golf City: Pattaya, apart from being beach city, is also golf city. Here are about 23 golf clubs and courses in Pattaya, and the count is still increasing. Here you can swing your club merrily on green, challenging fairways. These golf courses range from a very acceptable above-average standard, to high-level, international class. The Laem Chabang Country Club and the Siam Country Club are known worldwide as classy golf courses. The world’s leading golf association, IAGTO, has voted Pattaya as a top golfing destination, based on the incredible number of international-quality golf courses that are here, within 50km of the city. The voting is based on easy standards, access, transport and value for money.
  • 100,000 Citizens: Pattaya, despite its size, has more than 100,000 people living in it officially. This is only the count of the citizens and not the expats who work there or the tourists.
  • Millions Of Tourists: Pattaya alone in Thailand sees more than 10 million visitors each year.
  • Darkside: There was a time when most of the action was in Central Pattaya and the eastern side would go quiet during the evenings. The expat community affectionately dubbed East Pattaya as the ‘Darkside’, just because the people there didn’t party as hard as did the people of Central Pattaya.

The weather in Pattaya is warm and dry from November to February, and hot and humid from March to May. It rains from May to October. The city enjoys a tropical weather; for the most part, the city is hot and humid, even during the rains. Foreign tourists find it hard to walk around at peak summer even with sunscreen.

Summer: March, April and May are the hottest months in Pattaya, with temperatures averaging 33 degrees Celsius (91.4F) and lows of 25 to 27 (77 to 80.6). During the daytime, it is scorching hot and sticky; quite unpleasantly so at times. There’s always a breeze coming in from the sea but the humidity is also very high, and the breezes don’t help much. Sometimes summer thunderstorms occur and they clear the air, especially toward the end of April and into May.

Monsoon: Rainfall is heavy in Pattaya though the season itself is short. You’ll experience sudden torrents that don’t last more than an hour or two, and on rare occasions, throughout the day or night. Swimming deep into the sea or scuba diving during heavy rains or thunderstorms can be dangerous. It might become tough to return to the coast in such conditions.Therefore the tourism board recommends that tourists avoid visiting Pattaya during the monsoons. There’s not much to do in Pattaya other than hang in bars, enjoy the ocean and the golf courses, and during the monsoon, you can only enjoy the bars. Even shopping is not a possibility because the roads get clogged due to flooding. Most shopkeepers visit their native places during the rains so there’s really no point in visiting Pattaya during the rains at all.

Winter: The warm dry climate during November to February is the best time for tourism in Pattaya. Temperatures range between 28°C (82°F) to 30°C (84°F) from November to February.

Pattaya has an international airport, but other than chartered airplanes from a few European countries including Moscow, there’s not much air traffic. The ideal route plan would be to land in Bangkok and travel to Pattaya by plane or by train, or via road.

By Plane: The U-Tapao International Airport is located a short distance from Pattaya. As of 2017, Thai AirAsia and Bangkok Airways fly to various spots including Chiang Mai, Udon Thani and Ubon Tatchathani in the north. In the south, you can arrive in Pattaya from Hat Yai, Ko Samui, and Phuket. Internationally, the Pattaya International Airport services Kuala Lumpur Sanya, Shanghai, Macau and Nanchang. U-Tapao International Airport is one of Thailand’s eight major international airports. You’ll find immigration and VAT refund counters at this airport as well.When you book a flight to U-Tapao, be sure to book your onward transport at the same time, as you may not find the same prices for onward travel or return trips when you land in Pattaya.

By Road: You can get to Pattaya from Bangkok, Phuket, and other cities by road. You can either rent a car, or take one of the public tour buses that ply the route between Phuket and Pattaya and Bangkok and Pattaya.

By Taxi: You can grab a taxi at the airport if you like. There are plenty of taxi booths inside the airport terminal, just outside the baggage claim area. Be wary of the fact that you cannot trust unlicensed taxis. They can charge you an arm and a leg. Always check that the taxi you choose is licensed, as the far they charge would be fairly reasonable.

By Train: You can arrive in Pattaya from Bangkok by train on weekdays, by 3rd class. A single daily train runs the route between Bangkok and Pattaya. You cannot pre-book your seats on this train; you’ll have to be present at the station and book your tickets in person.

We at Rayna Tours facilitate visa processing for all UAE residents applying for a Thailand visa. So if you’re a UAE resident, go on and book your tickets for your tourist or business visit to Thailand. Leave the visa formalities to us. We will help you avail a single or multiple-entry Thai visa, valid for 90 days, within 7 business days. You can get your visa extended by another 30 days once you’re in Thailand, by approaching the Thai Immigration Bureau. If you are planning to travel to Thailand just once within the visa validity period of 90 days, a single entry visa is sufficient for your purpose. If, however, you want to enter Thailand multiple times during the visa’s validity period, it’s best for you to opt for a multiple-entry Thai visa.

Supporting Documents

  • You’ll need a valid passport, valid for at least 6 months post your Thailand trip. Keep a couple of blank pages for entry and exit stamps.
  • Provide a detailed travel itinerary, including Thai hotel accommodations. You will need to include the names of your family members, if you’re applying for their visas as well.
  • If you’re staying at someone’s home instead of at a hotel, provide your prospective host’s name, postal address and phone number.
  • A copy of your airline tickets for verification
  • Bank statements covering the last 3 months that show you can support yourself and your family while in Thailand. You need to show balance of THB 10,000 (for a single individual) and THB 20,000 for your family.
  • Letter of invite from a Thai individual or business to support the purpose of your visit.
  • Embassy Fee in cash, credit card or check. This fee will not be refunded if your visa is rejected.
  • Clip two visa photographs against white background to the form
  • Copy of international credit card and the latest statement.
  • Applying For Thai Visa

    Submit your visa application form and all supporting documents to your Rayna Tours representative. We will submit your application and do the necessary follow-up and hand your passport and visa to you within 7 business days. Contact us at intvisas@raynatours.com or call us on our toll free number: 80072962 or WhatsApp us on +971 561147879 to know more about Thai visa and your application’s status.

When you visit Pattaya, it’s a good idea to check out the other three prominent cities in Thailand that are known for their beauty and attractions. Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket – these three cities offer totally different tourist experiences.

Bangkok: Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations. Check out the Grand Palace and the thousands of colorful carved temples. Don’t miss visiting the Wat Pho temple with the enormous Reclining Buddha. Bangkok is also Thailand’s shopping central, with weekend markets and night markets (don’t miss the Chatuchak Weekend Market) that sell everything from fabulous fashions to hand-carved jade items. The city is a great place to explore the Thai cuisine and add a few new flavors to your food repertoires. Don’t miss a visit to Khao San Road for its night fun, with several bars, music dens, clubs, pubs and houses of joy. Bangkok is famous for its ladyboys, transgenders who dress so beautifully and stand behind glass windows exhibiting their wares.

Chiang Mai: Chiang Mai is a natural reservation. Do visit this city to experience the local flora and fauna via a night safari. You’ll see exotic white porcupines and raccoons and giraffes and much more. It’s a fun experience, with baby hogs chasing after the safari bus looking for treats. Check out the tigers in the Tiger Kingdom, and the elephants in an elephant sanctuary, unbound by fences or gates. You can spend the time with these majestic creatures, playing with them and giving them baths.

Phuket: Phuket is the perfect island for beach bums, swimmers, snorkelers and scuba divers. The island is known for its high vibe and party life. The year’s end parties in Phuket are especially well known. Bangla Road is the scene of most of the parties, with music streaming from every door on this road. This is where night-clubbers come alive and booze flows freely. Don’t miss a visit to Ko Phi Phi Island in Phuket, with its incredibly blue waters and exotic and colorful marine life and plants.

Family meals consist of a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, a curry or some stir-fried dishes and a soup. They aren’t exactly elaborate, but meals usually consist of multiple options. The Thai believe in eating well, and including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits into their diets.

Signature Cooking Style and Presentation: The Thai are famous for shredding meat into long bits and mixing it with similarly-shredded fruit and vegetables. The idea is to achieve symmetry and beauty. The Thai also use a lot of herbs like lemon grass and coriander leaves in their food. These are used for their flavor and for their color. The Thai also use flavoring agents such as Kapi (shrimp paste), Nam Pla (fish sauce), Java root, and chilies.

Tipping at Restaurants and Hotels: You don’t have to tip at a Thai restaurant. However, if you round up the bill and leave a few baht on top of your check, it is still acceptable. A very generous tip will shock the waiters, so refrain from doing that. Bangkok and Pattaya are both very westernized and the tipping custom is understood. Do not tip when you’re outside of these two cities.

Eating Habits: The Thais tend to linger at their food, trying out morsels and appreciating each bit. Dining, therefore, can be a long and boisterous affair. Do not rush or hurry them with prior appointments.

Drinking Habits: The Thai love to drink. Pattaya is literally called ‘The City of Thousand’ bars. One of the prime tourist cities, Pattaya’s bars are known for their beer. Local beer and rice whiskey usually accompany family meals as well, but they’re not strictly alcoholic. The Thais are fond of drinking iced melon juice, citrus banana punch, iced coffee with rice balls, iced condensed milk, lemon soda, mango syrup, coconut juice, yoghurt soda, tamarind drink and citrus banana punch.

Pattaya has several festivals and annual events, a few of which are celebrated nationwide while a few are local. No matter what the festival, the Thai people celebrate it with great joy and aplomb. The Thai people revere their king and queen, and any festival to do with the royal family is cause for nationwide celebration.

  • Chakri Memorial Day: It is a day on which the Thais revere the ruling Chakri dynasty.
  • Chinese Lunar New Year: The date changes according to the lunar calendar, but the Chinese New Year falls during January/February
  • Pattaya Bike Week: This fabulous event takes place mid-February. It is literally one of the biggest gatherings of motorbike enthusiasts in South-east Asia
  • National Elephant Day: This is a fun festival when Thailand’s elephants are washed, anointed with oil and dressed in flowers and flowers and paraded.
  • Pattaya International Music Festival: Sometime in mid-to-late March, Pattaya invites international musicians to gather and perform in the city.
  • Songkran Thai New Year Water Festival: This is a nationwide public holiday and festival, which occurs somewhere from 13th to 15th of April. Songkran is the traditional New Year at Thailand. This festival is known for its fun water fights.
  • Buffalo Racing Festival: Held in Chonburi which is close by, between October and November.
  • Loy Krathong: This is a beautiful festival of lights celebrated in November. During this festival, the locals float tiny banana leaf offerings with lit candles in them (krathongs) on lakes, rivers and ponds. It’s great, watching these illuminated messages sent in worship.
  • Vesak: The holiest of Buddhist religious festivals that marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. Many ceremonies are held at temples and processions of the Buddha are taken out.
  • Queen’s Birthday: This is an important function which falls August 12. Queen Sikrit’s birthday is celebrated as the National Mother’s Day – that is the extent of respect in which the subjects hold their queen.

Pattaya’s nightlife is about more than just hitting the bars and clubs and watching the ladyboys. Pattaya has theatres, music halls and cabarets and much more. Pattaya’s vibrant nightlife is just perfect for the tourists who spend their days exploring the beaches and the nearby islands.

  • Alangkarn Theatre: This is a state-of-the-art theatre where you can experience the hottest cultural extravaganzas. A trio of international-class performers and directors offer power-packed performances enhanced by modern light & sound systems.
  • Alcazar Cabaret Show: This is one of Thailand's premiere ladyboy cabarets, a true feast for the eyes. It’s been operating for more than 20 years now. The Alcazar Show is performed by hundreds of stunning looking, extremely talented artists and entertainers. They do impersonations, comic shows and dramatic numbers. The Alcazar Theatre has a high-tech light & sound system that backs up the excellent performances.
  • Bars and Clubs: Pattaya houses more than 3000 bars and pubs that serve various drinks to their patrons. Most of these bars are located within town in Walking Street and 3rd Road. Bars and clubs offer live music and performing bands in places.
  • Discotheques: Discos are mostly located in South Pattaya, in Walking Street and 3rd Road. These discos attract an eclectic crowd – pretty gay men, businessmen, ladyboys and working girls.
  • Tiffany Show: This is the most extravagant cabaret show in South East Asia, put up by transvestites (all men). Millions of visitors from all over the world have enjoyed this show. Tiffany’s performers are talented and beautiful and have earned accolades from everyone who’s seen the show. Tiffany’s Show is one of the reasons for Pattaya’s popularity apart from water activities. It has brought international fame to Pattaya plus been a draw for international visitors. It’s a great show for a night out on the town.

Shopping is a favorite activity for both the locals and the tourists. Open-air markets brim with food, fashion, souvenirs and much more. Bargaining is allowed at the night markets and outside stalls, though a bit frowned up at some of the classier places. Even in regular shops, you are free to bargain, as the locals enjoy bargaining.

Department Stores: These are local Pattaya that offer food items, fresh groceries and a few other things people need on a regular basis. You can pick up clothing and other necessities here if you want, but the variety is not great. These stores will do in a pinch, though.

Shopping Malls: Shopping malls brim with branded products in every category. Most shopping malls open early in the morning and close late at night, in order to be available to tourists who might be enjoying beach activities, golf, or taking in some evening entertainment. Check out the Royal Garden, Carrefour, Mariott, Big C, Mike, and the Avenue shopping malls. You can buy branded clothing, mobile phones, handicrafts, cameras and all kinds of electronics.

Street Markets: Twice a week, street markets are held within walking distance of the so-called 'Walking Street'. There’s another night market at Central Pattaya which is known for its cheap clothing and hawker food stalls. Also try Naklua market, a bit off Pattaya, for souvenirs and for some cool time-pass checking out all the goods. Walking Street is where people set up dates to meet each other at night. During the day it’s a day market, with a few expensive boutiques here and several economy shops. There are also some upmarket establishments offering exquisitely-carved jade Buddha statues, plus high-class jewelers and delicate wooden ship models. The perfect souvenir to pick up from Pattaya would be a beautifully-carved jade Buddha as a pendant.

Pattaya caters to every visitor’s taste, and there are several things to see and enjoy while you’re in the city. Check out the following:

  • Bottle Art Museum: This is a unique and popular tourist attraction, where works of art have been encapsulated within empty glass bottles. There are over 300 pieces of artwork contained in glass bottles; you can see palaces, temples, churches, ships, and many major tourist attractions within Thailand and other countries.
  • Ripley Museum: This museum houses Ripley’s collection of curious objects curated from around the world. There’s a Motion Master Theatre with Laser Trek flight simulation technology, where you can do battle against other space creations in a futuristic arena.
  • Siriporn Orchid Farm: Feast your eyes on incredible colors and smell the wonderful fragrances of catteleyas, vandas, daedrovium, escosanda and pompadours and many others. You can purchase plants here and grow them at your place.
  • Bhira International Circuit Race Course: This race course holds races on weekends, when motor enthusiasts congregate and enjoy motorcycle racing.
  • Nong Nooch Village: The village park has a magnificent orchid garden, a fun zoo, plus plenty of regular events such as Thai boxing matches, cockfights, and elephant shows.
  • Jomtien Beach: Jomtien Beach is the beach for you if you love water sports. So get your water sports togs on and go parasailing, jetskiing, parasailing, windsurfing and more. Hungry? Plenty of beach-front stalls selling fresh seafood, so no worries.
  • Sanctuary of Truth: This incredible building is a study in Thai architecture. The wooden carvings that decorate the entire building are mesmerizing in their detail.
  • Wat Yansangwararam: This Wat is rife with Thai design and architectural elements. There’s a lake to the right of the temple with attractive Chinese pavilions and other buildings. You need to climb 299 steps lined with naga snakes to reach Wat Yansangwararam's shrine on a hill.

One of the best ways to enjoy everything that Pattaya and nearby areas have to offer is to sign up for tours and excursions. Check out the following curated list of tours in Pattaya:

  • Chantathen Waterfall: Chantathen Waterfall is a 5-level waterfall, each level at the distance of a kilometer from the one previous. It’s an impressive waterfall, especially during the monsoons. You can walk up and down the rock when it’s not raining via two pathways. The first pathway is along the waterfall itself, along the different levels of rocks.
  • Khao Kheow Open Zoo: Khao Kheow Open Zoo is located on Bangkok Highway; it’s a few hours trip from Pattaya. It’s the Queen’s favorite zoo with a bird aviary that is the second largest in Asia. The zoo houses giraffes, elephants, tigers, lions, chimpanzees, camels and various species of monkeys. The zoo allows visitors to get up close to the animals and feed them. The zoo stretches for more than 400 acres, so it’s best to use the tour bus to drive around to see the different attractions.
  • Koh Samet Island: Koh Samet is an island that offers a good excursion from Pattaya. The sand here is the best in all of Thailand – white, smooth as silk and sugar white. It’s a beach-lover’s dream come true. This tropical paradise is what inspires paintings – sugar white sands backed by green trees. You can swim, snorkel, go scuba diving and enjoy various water sports at Koh Samet’s many beaches.
  • Saithip Butterfly Gardens: This is the largest butterfly garden in Asia and a great excursion from Pattaya. This farm has a bee museum and an orchid farm, and a huge butterfly enclosure. There’s also a small lake that’s surrounded by flowering plants. Saithip Butterfly Garden covers an area of 15 acres, and houses more than a thousand species of butterflies.

Pattaya’s main tourist season begins in November, when the weather is dry and warm. It’s mild enough for people who come from colder climes to enjoy a warm vacation in Pattaya. The waters are very warm and perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. There’s not much sightseeing to do in Pattaya, and tourists arrive here in hordes just for the beaches and the waters. With 6 to 8 hours of sunshine every day, November to February is warm and inviting for tourism. It does rain at times during the dry season, but not enough to make a difference to beach life.

Best Selling Pattaya Tours

  • Pattaya Dolphin Show
  • Coral Island Tour
  • Underwater World Pattaya
  • Alcazar Cabaret Show
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