You’ll find that people have a range of opinions when it comes to Pattaya. Some think of it as a paradise filled with beaches, food, and entertainment. Others think of it as a city of sin with its night entertainment venues. However, one thing is for certain. It is Thailand’s most lively city and some choose to make it their home.
This city has it all. There are beachfront promenades, golf courses, a sports club, and much more. If you are a scuba diving enthusiast, you can do that both north and south of the city. They even have a lighted green for bowling.
Pattaya is also known for its high density of foreigners (called “farangs”) and bars. In fact, it is estimated that Pattaya has the most of these in Thailand per square kilometer than any other area in the country. It is a popular tourist destination bringing visitors from the entire world throughout the year.
Location and Infrastructure
Pattaya is located about 150 km to the southeast of Bangkok. Its shores lie on the Gulf of Thailand. If going there by taxi from Bangkok, look to pay anywhere from 900 to 1,200 THB for the journey. The highway is a toll road so be ready to pay those fares (fares are included in the high estimate of price). Driving takes about 80 minutes. You can go by nice air-conditioned buses from the Eastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok (located near Ekamai BTS Station) and the buses run continually. It takes 90 minutes by bus. Don’t go by train unless you want to make a long journey of it.
Pattaya’s airport is Utapao. It services mostly flights within the country between it and Phuket and Chiang Mai. It also services international flights from Russia and China.
The city has several hospitals that have modern medical care and many nurses, doctors, and support personnel speak English. Pattaya International Hospital is one example.
Traffic in Pattaya
The traffic in Pattaya is much the same as any other city in Thailand. It is congested and insane any time of the day or night with all the hazards of driving in this country. For example, Thai people like to flash their headlights at crossings to tell you they are not turning but going straight. Then, you must watch out for the motorcycles because oftentimes the drivers have a mobile phone pressed to their ear while navigating their vehicle. Traffic here is by no means safe.
Banks in Pattaya
If you are a foreign retiree in Pattaya and using the money on deposit route to secure your visa, you will need a Thai bank account. There are plenty of banks and opening an account is straightforward. There are also ATM machines all over and you can always find one of these at a 7-11 or other convenience store.
Organizations Geared Toward Expats
As an expat in Pattaya, it is good to get acquainted with others living here away from their home country. There are a number of groups that cater to expats.
Do a Google search for “expat clubs Pattaya” and one of the first will be the Pattaya Expat’s Club. This one is probably the most prominent in the area. They meet every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. if you would like to have breakfast and they have a guest speaker at 11:30 A.M. This club also has a 600 THB lifetime membership. One of the perks of this membership is that you get a free VIP membership at the Pattaya Memorial Hospital.
Shopping, Dining, and Golf
There is a variety of dining venues in Pattaya for you to choose from. These range from sidewalk food stands to fancy restaurants with their choice of fine wines. Thai-style eateries with their open-front building style and noodle shops have every Thai dish you can think of and some even have foreign cuisine.
Shopping in Pattaya has everything from locally manufactured products to imported western goods. It also has malls such as the Pattaya Mall which has numerous stores where you can find just about anything. There are also the big name superstores Lotus and Big C that you will find in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Then you can find your favorite western and Thai grocery products at Foodland and Tops.
As far as golf is concerned, Pattaya has 17 courses that are said to be the best yet least expensive in the world. They are open year-round with some just a half-hour away from the main city. The farthest are only about a 40-minute drive from downtown.
Pattaya has every type of hotel and guest house you can think of. There are the low-priced simple types as well as the luxurious. Plus, they are all over the city. You can get some good prices on hotel rooms because there are so many which makes the market competitive.
If you are making your home in Pattaya, there are many apartments that are furnished and full-serviced. Some well-known names that have reasonable rental prices include:
• View Talay Condo at Jomtien Beach (studios start at 10,000 THB/month)
• Diana Estates Condo, Soi Buakow (single apartments start at 10,000 THB month)
• Jomtien Condotel at Jomtien Beach (studios start at 10,000 THB/month)
• Siam Garden Court, Jomtien Beach (studios start at 6,000 THB/month)
There are many more. Check their websites for current availability and pricing. If looking to purchase property, contact a real estate agent. Make sure you contact a reputable agent because foreign ownership of property in Thailand can be confusing and tricky.
Pattaya has a vibrant nightlife but there are some places where trouble abounds. The transgender “kathoeys”, also known as “ladyboys”, have been known to cause problems such as pick pocketing. There are several touts and con artists that are looking to lighten a foreigner’s wallet of its cash as well. Other than the seedy entertainment districts, Pattaya is safe. Just be aware of where you are at and other surroundings.
The Pattaya Mail is one of the local English-language newspapers and has classified ads as well as informative news. It’s a great place to live or just visit. Check out all that this beachfront city has to offer when you come to Thailand.