During my first trip to Thailand, I spent more time on the beach than I did in the city. As a California girl, there is just something about the ocean that calms me. I was looking for a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to an island. But most of the islands in Thailand are an expensive flight away from Bangkok. All except Pattaya.
Pattaya is on the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand and about three hours away from Bangkok by bus. But Pattaya also has a seedy reputation as a place ripe with strip clubs, sex workers, and littered beaches. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good strip club and pass zero judgments when it comes to sex work. But I just wasn’t sure if Pattaya was the perfect place for a beach vacay.
Getting To Pattaya
After doing some research, I discovered it would cost less than $10 round trip for transportation from Bangkok to Pattaya, I was sold. That’s less than I spend on a Thai massage! And even if I hated it, getting a chance to see a new city and dip my toes in the bright blue water would be worth it. Right?
I booked my bus ticket through 12Go Asia leaving from Mo Chit. I now realize that I should’ve departed from the Ekkamai Station because the BTS Skytrain takes you directly to the bus terminal. Unlike the Mo Chit bus terminal where you have to hire a taxi from the Mo Chit BTS Station.
Once I found my ticket counter at the bus terminal I noticed that if you buy tickets there you can save 30 baht. I went in the middle of the week when the bus and roads are less crowded. So if you plan on going during the week purchase your ticket at the terminal to save a few bucks.
There’s also a new weekend train available until September 30th, 2018 that will take you from Bangkok to Pattaya in two hours for 170 baht.
Pattaya Bus Terminal
Where To Stay
Picking the right area to stay in Pattaya is essential to enjoying your trip. Are you looking for a quiet romantic getaway or would you rather dance the night away and make it rain? Pattaya has something for everyone, here are a few tips on which area to stay in.
Sunbathing at Sunset
South Pattaya Beach is where you go to party. This area is more chaotic and city-like compared to other areas in Pattaya. The beachfront isn’t as beautiful as others in the area and known to be dirty and overcrowded. This area does have Walking Street which has a Vegas feel. The blocks are lined with bars, strip clubs, and nightclubs. The street is closed to traffic from 7 pm to midnight because as we know, the freaks come out at night!
I decided to stay in the more mellow Jomtien Beach area. This is a great place to stay if you want to get away from the city and enjoy a nice clean beach. It’s also quite budget and family friendly. I made sure to book an apartment with a lot of amenities that was walking distance to the beach. There was a pool, a garden, a gym and a sundeck all for $30 a night.
The only downside of staying in Jomtien is that it is about twenty minutes away from Pattaya Beach and the taxis, tuk tuks, and songthaews often overcharge to take you from one place to the other. After being quoted 300 and 150 baht to get from my apartment to Walking Street. I found a songthaew that took me there for 20 baht.
I found that Pattaya has more songthaews than tuk tuks or taxis. The difference is the songthaew picks up many people along the way which means more stops. It also means it’s less expensive than a taxi of tuk tuk. On the way back home from Walking Street I had difficulty finding a songthaew that would take me from Pattaya to Jomtien. So instead of hiring a hot tuk tuk, I paid the same price (300 baht) for a taxi with air conditioning.
Wong Amat is the epitome of picturesque Pattaya. Head here if you’re a luxury traveler looking for five-star accommodations with pristine and secluded beaches.
The Nakula area was once a fishing community and is where you can still find some of the traditional Thai touches.
There were many reasons I needed a beach getaway. One of them was to debut my newest Swimsuits For All swimwear! Because if you don’t turn everyday activities into an extravaganza..are you really a blogger? LOL! And to add an extra side of EXTRA, I decided to take a trip to the nearby island of Koh Larn.
Getting to Koh Larn was as easy as taking a fifteen-minute ferry. As soon as you get to Pattaya Beach you will be solicited by every Tom, Dick, and Harry asking if you want to take a private boat to Koh Larn for 300 baht. I opted for the 30 baht ferry instead.
To get to Bali Hai Pier, you have to walk down the infamous Walking Street then make a right when you see the water. You pay at the ferry, so just keep walking to the end of the pier until you see the big boats.
Once you get to the Koh Larn the next decision is which beach to bathe on. You will again be solicited, but this time by Moto-Taxi Drivers. There’s a big map that details where each beach is and it’s about 40 baht to get to any of them from the pier. You can also rent your own moto to explore the island at your own pace.
If you’re with a group or prefer to take a songthaew, make a left pass the moto-taxis and keep walking until you see a parking look full of songthaews. This will cost around the same price as a moto-taxi and be a bit more comfortable. Keep in mind that some of the more remote beaches won’t have a songthaew waiting for your return trip.
Ta Yai Beach, Koh Larn
Ta Yai beach is where I ended up because I wanted a place that wasn’t too populated and had just enough beautiful blue water to act as my co-star in my latest Spring Swimwear Lookbook.
My two-day beach vacay was EVERYTHING! Pattaya is turn-up town, but there are ways to have a more relaxing stay if that’s what you’re looking for. I would say the day trip to Koh Larn was the highlight. And would put it high on my list for one of the most beautiful islands I’ve visited.