The Other Side Of Pattaya, Thailand

25 May 2016

As the closest coastal resort town to Bangkok, Pattaya can offer couples and families some beachside respite from the big-city mayhem.

In comparison to popular Thai beach getaways Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi, Pattaya does not have a reputation for being as family-friendly. But Pattaya city stretches along more than 10 kilometres of coastline, ensuring there are myriad areas to choose from.

Many families, both Thai and tourist, make the two-hour trip down the coast from Bangkok to enjoy Pattaya’s beaches, resorts, spas, golf courses, seafood restaurants, upmarket nightlife, and array of adventure activities and attractions for children.

Here is your guide to the other side of Pattaya.

Sunset over the ocean at Pattaya Pattaya’s sunsets are wonderfully picturesque (Image: Ronan O'Connell)

Pattaya For Kids

Thailand’s relentless heat undoubtedly will have your children keen to cool off in the water, whether that be the ocean or a swimming pool.

Pattaya has some lovely stretches of sand, particularly in the northern part of Pattaya Bay, while Jomtien Beach, directly to the south of the city, is very clean and uncrowded.

To give the kids a little more excitement, visit one of Pattaya’s three impressive water parks. The newest of those, Ramayana, opened this year as the largest water park in Thailand with 50 different slides.

Cartoon Network’s Amazone water park has 30 water rides, as well as a huge playground. The most unusual of these water parks is Splashdown, which has a range of water-based obstacle courses seemingly inspired by those featured in the international TV game show, Wipeout.

Jet skis on the water in Pattaya Tourists should hire jet skis only through their hotel to ensure safety (Image: Ronan O'Connell)

If you don’t feel like having to leave your hotel, you can stay at North Pattaya’s massive Centara Grand Mirage resort, which has its own water park to go with a private beach and multiple swimming pools.

Once you’ve hauled the kids out of the water you could take them to the Pattaya Sheep Farm, with its petting zoo, donkey rides and small amusement park.

Another option is Mini Siam and Mini Europe – an amusing attraction with miniature recreations of famous landmarks from across Thailand and the rest of the world. Then there’s Nong Nooch, a huge complex with impressive landscaped gardens, cultural shows and restaurants.

Any adventure-loving child will be excited to get behind the wheel of a go-kart at one of Pattaya’s two main tracks – Easy Kart in South Pattaya, and Pattaya Kart Speedway near Jomtien Beach.

Children racing go-karts around a track Pattaya’s two large go-kart facilities offer fun for kids and adults (Image: Ronan O'Connell)

More Thailand holiday inspiration

Thailand: Where Haven't You Been?

Beyond Phuket: Thailand's Other Provinces


Pattaya For Couples

A sunset meal and drinks is high on the agenda for couples who travel to Thailand, and Pattaya has some great rooftop bars and restaurants with stunning views along the coast.

Horizon Bar and Restaurant on the roof of the Hilton hotel is a huge and very chic establishment with panoramic vistas. The Roof Skybar on top of the Siam@Siam Design hotel has equally incredible views, with the added bonus of a rooftop pool.

If you’re nursing a morning headache after your rooftop revelry, book into one of Pattaya’s renowned spas. Healthland Spa and Massage in North Pattaya is highly recommended. The biggest massage chain in Thailand, Healthland’s masseurs are strong and well trained, while the prices for massages and spa treatments are very reasonable.

Shoppers in a street market stall in Pattaya There are generous shopping options day and night in Pattaya (Image: Ronan O'Connell)

Relaxed after a massage, tap into your spiritual side and visit one of Pattaya’s temples. By the ocean in North Pattaya, the Sanctuary of Truth is a touristy temple. But this enormous structure was made entirely from wood and showcases extraordinary craftsmanship.

At the opposite end of Pattaya, Wat Phra Yai Temple is an authentic Buddhist place of worship, centred around an 18-metre-tall golden Buddha. Its lofty hilltop location also offers some of the best views in the region, stretching from North Pattaya all the way down past Jomtien.

At the bottom of this hill is the Pattaya Paintball Club, which is one of the many adventure activities available in the area, also including off-road motorbiking, ATV adventures and cable skiing.

Stairs leading up to a giant golden Buddha The giant Golden Buddha of Wat Phra Yai Temple (Image: Ronan O'Connell)

From Wat Phra Yai you can almost see Koh Larn island, which sits only five kilometres off the coast of Pattaya.

Despite being so close to this major tourist city, it's still under-developed. Particularly on weekdays or in off-peak periods, there are quiet spaces on Koh Larn’s beaches for couples to cuddle up and enjoy their privacy.


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Ronan O'Connell

Ronan has been a journalist for 12 years, including nine years at daily newspapers in Australia, and now is a freelance travel photojournalist. As a freelancer he has contributed to almost 20 different magazines and newspapers across Europe, Australia, Asia and New Zealand, including The BBC, The Guardian, Travel Talk Magazine, For the Love of Travel Magazine, The Australian Financial Review and The South East Asia Globe.