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Car rental in Pattaya
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Car Rental in Pattaya: Beach Resort famous for its Nightlife
Pattaya mixes the idyllic beauty of white beaches and palm tree leaves lazily swaying in the breeze with a very busy party scene. One of Thailand’s first internationally renowned beach resorts, Pattaya made it onto the map in the 1960s due to its popularity with American GIs. While busy South Pattaya is crammed full of nightlife opportunities, North Pattaya is in the process of climbing the social scale. But wherever you head in Pattaya, you’re likely to find bars, shops, and accommodation that offer excellent service – they’ve had practice, as over 5,000,000 people visit the area every year. Rent a car to thoroughly explore Pattaya, as well as to get off the beaten path and visit, for example, Hat Nahng Ram, 35 kilometers south of the city.
The most popular time to visit Thailand is during the cooler season, November to February, though this dry season extends into May in the north. Particularly in southern Thailand, monsoon season extends from May through October.
Thai is the official language of Thailand. Since 2011, English has become increasingly compulsory in schools, meaning that the younger generations are likely to have some proficiency in English. Road signs are also typically in both Thai and English.
Economic exchange takes place in the Thai baht. To avoid having to make multiple withdrawals from ATMs charging high prices, head to any TMB bank ATMs, where you can withdraw a total of 30,000 baht in one transaction.
Most visitors to Pattaya arrive by car, as Bangkok is an easy 2-hour drive to the north. However, you can also fly directly to Pattaya via the U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, located just 30 kilometers from the city. As this is primarily a military airport, there are no rental car services located in its vicinity, but consider asking a rental company to deliver a car to you when you land. Car rental services are available throughout Pattaya, particularly along Thappraya Road. Alternatively, fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport, located about 110 km north of Pattaya near Bangkok, which has numerous rental car options!
The inhabitants of over 60 nations are permitted to visit Thailand visa-free for between 14 and 90 days, depending on your country of origin. Double-check which category you belong to before you book your hotel or hire your car.
Driving in Pattaya
Road conditions are significantly better in Thailand than in neighboring countries, but it will still be necessary to drive defensively in and around Pattaya. There’s a lot to see, both in Pattaya and just outside of it, so hire an automobile today to make the most of your visit to this exciting city.
- Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road, though you may find that many rental cars are right-hand drive.
- Accidents occur often on Pattaya’s roadways. Be particularly careful at the Dolphin Roundabout, which forms the intersection of Beach Road, Second Road, North Pattaya Road and Naklua Road, as well as at the junction of Beach Road and Central Pattaya Road, and at the junction of Beach Road / Walking Street and South Pattaya Road. Each of these intersections is particularly dangerous.
- On motorways: 120 km/h.
- On highways: between 80 and 90 km/h.
- In towns: 50 to 60 km/h.
- Pattaya is a very popular spot for weekend getaways from Bangkok, so to avoid doubling your travel time to and in the city, travel off of peak hours. If you must visit the city on the weekend, try to leave Bangkok after morning rush hour on Friday, rather than waiting until later in the day, when the roadways will be quite full.
- Parking in downtown Pattaya is a challenge, particularly on evenings and weekends, so consider booking a hotel that includes off-street parking. Major supermarkets do offer free parking, however, and low-price parking is available near major shopping areas, such as at the Royal Garden Plaza and Central Festival.
- An international driver’s license is required, as many rental agencies won’t lease a car unless you have one, and your insurance will be invalidated without one. You can drive on an international driver’s license in Thailand for a full six months.
- It is mandatory to carry both your driver’s license and passport with you whenever driving.
- Drive defensively in Thailand. Be alert, and use your side and rearview mirrors to keep a good sense of your surroundings, particularly in city traffic.
- Driving at night, particularly cross-country, is not recommended. Ask for a copy of the insurance policy provided for you by the rental company and ensure that it states that the policy is “for commercial use”; otherwise you may be paying rental insurance fees for nothing!