There are several good reasons to head east from Bangkok, and the coast running from Pattaya southeast to the Cambodian border has some lovely islands and areas. Eastern Thailand is less visited than the south, but offers some good coastal destinations that are unique in character.
Pattaya City is only an hour and a half from Bangkok, making it a popular weekend playground that is characterised by naughty nightlife, rampant development and a general Las Vegas atmosphere. People either love it or hate it, but there are good offshore islands to escape to, great hotels and restaurants plus more than a dozen golf courses.
The liveliest and, dare we say it, naughtiest of Thailand’s beach resorts is still a popular draw card since its R&R heyday of the Vietnam War era. Dance the night away with new friends…more
If you can’t make it all the way south, try this small and sweet trip from Bangkok with stunning beaches and a nice chilled atmosphere. Busy at weekends, Koh Samet offers pure relaxation…more
Thailand’s eco-island boasts rugged landscapes, lovely beaches and a tropical feel that comes without the tourism brass rubbing; ideal for an adventure or escape from the city…more
Khao Yai National Park
The oldest and best of Thailand’s national parks and an easy trip from Bangkok, experience Southeast Asian jungle landscape on a camping trip with waterfalls and diverse wildlife…more
Eastern Thailand guide – islands, beaches and nightlife
The two island attractions of the east are towards the south, with tiny Koh Samet being the most popular and convenient excursion from Bangkok. It’s glaring white sands are popular at weekends with locals, but if you have the time to venture even farther afield you’ll be pleased with Koh Chang. This so-called eco-friendly island features hilly landscapes, nice unspoilt beaches and plenty of adventure.
Although islands are the most popular destinations on this stretch of coast, the hinterland is also lovely, even when driving through en-route. The Chantaburi hills yield plenty of fruit, but to see the best bits you need to head north to Khao Yai National Park to truly experience Thailand’s natural beauty.
Pattaya might be dismissed as a flesh pit by many, but it does have its respectable side and the whole seaboard in this area is rapidly developing into the country’s most buoyant property market. Rayong, Sri Racha and other seaside towns draw Bangkok crowds at weekends. Pattaya also offers all sorts of family orientated themed parks, along with its numerous golf courses, as well as some quite nice beaches.