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.
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.