Pattaya is a resort city that lies on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It is about 62 miles southeast of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Pattaya was once a small fishing village. During the Vietnam War, the American soldiers positioned in Thailand visited Pattaya for rest and relaxation. Their enthusiasm about the town spread among other soldiers. Soon it became popular as an R&R destination and a great alternative to Bangkok. Now, it is a thriving tourist destination within Thailand.
According to a recent survey, 11 percent of all medical tourists that visit Thailand have chosen Pattaya as their destination for Treatments and procedures. Pattaya hospitals offer high-quality services at an affordable cost and they provide a range of medical facilities such as health checks, dentistry, cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries, Breast Augmentation procedures, and even cardiac bypass surgeries. The doctors and senior medical team are highly skilled, and they communicate in English with foreign patients.
The hospitals offer attractive packages for medical tourists that include treatment cost, aftercare, and modern private rooms. Some of the best hospitals for medical tourism include the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, the Pattaya Memorial Hospital, Pattaya International Hospital, and the Pattaya City Hospital.
Popular Areas in Pattaya City
Pattaya is the second most-visited city in Thailand next to Bangkok. Divided into four, the North, South, East and Central Pattaya, it is home to about 390,000 inhabitants. Central Pattaya is lively with bars and shopping areas. North Pattaya houses many high-end hotels and is an upmarket area. South Pattaya, with the Walking Street, is a nightlife center. Pratumnak Hills, called the Beverly Hills of Pattaya, is the cleanest and green area, offering the best view of the city. It is also home to the Big Golden Buddha.
This beautiful island city is an ideal location for beach and adventure lovers, and party enthusiasts. It has many exotic beaches, water-theme parks, beautiful nature, religious temples, and exhilarating nightlife.
Some popular areas of tourist interest in Pattaya are –
Beaches – The beaches are the most popular places in Pattaya and have plenty of beach activities such as parasailing, jet-skiing, snorkeling, and more. Pattaya Beach, Jomtien Beach and Koh LarnBeach are the most visited beaches of the City.
Sanctuary of Truth –With a height of 105 meters, the Sanctuary of Truth is a place of peace and reflection. Made of teakwood with intricate wooden carvings, the monument built by a millionaire has four wings, each of which is dedicated to the Thai, Chinese, Khmer and Indian religious idols.
Koh Larn – Located 4 miles from the Pattaya coast, Koh Larn is a beautiful island with six beautiful and unique beaches with plenty of water activities. Boats from Pattaya operate several times every day to this island.
Khao Phra Tamnak – This is a viewpoint on top of the hill that separates Jomtien Beach from South Pattaya. Wat Phra Yai, the iconic Golden Buddha statue, is atop the mountain. The viewpoint offers a sweeping and scenic view of Pattaya City, and the Bay.
Walking Street – is a 500-meter stretch and is a busy and trendy street. It is a popular attraction for entertainment and nightlife and is known for its bright and big neon signages. The side streets are lined with bars, nightclubs, live bands, go-go bars, restaurants, and discotheques.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden –is spread over a 500-acre park with a scenic landscape and has the feeling of a theme park with cultural shows, restaurants. The garden has won many awards for its landscapes and you will see many exotic flowers and unique species.
Floating Market –The Four Regions Floating Market is different from other floating markets of Thailand. The market is divided into four regions, north, northeast, south and central. Each division of the market sells products from a particular region. The shops or stalls are in boats that move around the canals.
Other interesting attractions include the Elephant Village, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Cartoon Network Amazone, Million Years Stone Park, Art in Paradise, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, Anek Kusala Sala, and various different theme parks.
Weather and Climate in Pattaya City
Pattaya experiences a tropical wet and dry climate. Temperature is always on the higher side. The average maximum temperature is 91.4°F. Due to the humidity, you will feel that the City is much hotter than its actual temperature. The city has three distinct seasons –
Cool Season - Is from November to February and the temperature is moderate, and the weather is dry.
Hot Season - March to May is the hottest time of year and day temperatures are unbearably hot and humid. The weather starts hotting up by mid-March, and peaks during April and May.
Wet Season – June to October are the wet months. Temperatures start to moderate from the end of May. September and October are the wettest months and local flooding is normal in Pattaya during this season.
Getting Around in Pattaya City
U-Tapao Pattaya Airport is about 18 miles, and at a 45-minute drive from Pattaya. The airport operates a small number of daily domestic and international flights. The best way to reach Pattaya by air would be via Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport which is 75 miles away from Pattaya. It is just an hour and a half drive by road from Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi Airport is well-connected to many international cities and from Suvarnabhumi Airport, you can take a Grab Taxi, or a metered taxi to reach Pattaya. You can also take the train from Bangkok, which will take about 4 hours, and cost you about 35 THB.
Another easy, and convenient option is to use the bus service at a cost of about 115 THB. There are hourly departures from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal to Pattaya, between 5 am and 11 pm.
For moving around within Pattaya, you have the popular songthaews, tuk-tuks, rental cars, Grab Taxi, motorbike taxis, and car/motorbike rentals for self-driving. Songthaews are dark blue pick-up trucks converted into passenger transport. The fare is very cheap at 5 THB for locals, and 10 THB for foreigners. Though taxis are expensive in comparison, they are useful if you are traveling a long distance.
Tourist Visas in Pattaya City
Visa Exemption or Visa Waiver Entry – Under a bilateral agreement, Thailand exempts nationals from 55 countries including the UK, USA, and many European countries from obtaining a tourist visa. The only condition is that tourists must have a passport that is valid for at least six months. They can get an arrival stamp on their passports, and stay in the country for a period of 30 days. They need not pay any visa fees, as it is not a visa on arrival rather just an entry stamp.
Visa on Arrival – Nationals from 24 countries like China and India with a valid Passport not expiring before six months, can get a visa on arrival at the airport. The visa permits them a stay of 15 days. There are designated immigration counters at the airport for issuing the visa.
The local currency of Pattaya is the Thai Baht (THB). One US dollar is worth 31.90 THB. You will need to have Thai Baht currency for street shopping as most retailers don’t accept cards.
ATMs are available everywhere and accept all major debit and credit cards. Though street vendors accept only cash, most retailers in malls accept card payments.
The official language of Thailand, including Pattaya, is Central Thai. Locals understand and speak English in the tourist areas.
Buddhism is the major religion of Pattaya. Many practice Daoism along with Buddhism. Hinduism and Islam are the other major religions practiced in Thailand.
While visiting Buddhist temples, it is best you wear conventional clothes and remove your footwear before entering the temple.
Chinese New Year (Feb 5), Makha Bucha Day (Feb 19), Songkran Festival (April 12-16), Asahina Bucha and Buddhist Lent Day (July 16 & 17), and Constitution Day Dec 10) are a few important holidays in Pattaya.