Pattaya tourist attractions and activities

Pattaya's sliver of banana boat-laden beach life

Although most people know Pattaya for its notorious nightlife scene, this ‘sin city’ is not only all about smoky-eyed go-go girls or spectacular transsexual shows. An array of attractions dots the city, depicting Pattaya’s excellent tourist infrastructure, which is usually hidden behind its scandalous and seedy side. More on Pattaya activities.

A variety of tourist venues are in fact well worth exploring, with notable destinations including several interesting museums, impressive temples and a fantastic aquarium.

Recommended Pattaya attractions

Sun loungers will be happy to find that Pattaya is home to many beaches. Pattaya Beach is usually very busy and probably the most popular among tourists with a wide range of facilities and water sports. Jomtien Beach is cleaner and quieter, with better quality water. It’s also here where you can find a number of sailing clubs and it is also the only gay beach in Pattaya.

Those looking for ultimately clean beaches, head to Koh Lan, located within a short ferry ride away from Pattaya, with sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.

Suggested hotels near Koh Lan

If you travel with children, do not miss Underwater World (22/22 Moo 11, Sukhumvit Rd., www.underwaterworldpattaya.com), located near Tescos on Sukhumvit Road, while the quirky Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum (218 Royal Garden Plaza, www.ripleysthailand.com) will excite your little ones with a variety of exhibits.

Another noteworthy museum is the Museum of Bottle Art (Open: 11:00-20:00, admission 100 baht., Kingston Park, Sukhumvit Rd., tel: (038) 422 957, mobile: 088 299 0759), boasting fascinating collections of miniature pieces including Thai temples and Dutch windmills, all marking their territory inside glass bottles.

Journey to the Jungle at Khao Kheow Open Zoo boasts most animals you would expect to see in the wild - such as tigers and monkeys - roaming relatively free. There is also a petting zoo where children can handle safe and friendly animals and a Flight of the Gibbon canopy tour. Open: 08:00-18:00, 235 Moo 7, Tumbom Bang Phra, Umphur Sri Racha in Chon Buri Province, tel: (02) 363 6663, email: contact@journeytothejungle.com.

The all-wood Sanctuary of Truth Temple, Pattaya

More on beaches in Pattaya.

The beautiful Sanctuary of Truth (206/2 Moo5, Naklua 12 Naklua Rd, tel: (038) 367 229-30, www.sanctuaryoftruth.comin Naklua soi 12 was built to reflect the grandeur of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, while Mini Siam (Open: 07:00-22:00; 387 Moo 6, Naklua, tel: (038) 727 666, www.minisiam.comon Sukhumvit Road boasts a plethora of mini-sized tourist venues including the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon and New York's Statue of Liberty.

Pattaya activities

A convenient getaway for Bangkokians and foreigners who want to hit the beach or take a peek at the starry-eyed go-go girls, Pattaya is a thriving oasis of activities both for thrill-seekers and the lazy lot.

Water activities are also aplenty in Pattaya, most of which are operated by tour companies or agents located in Walking Street or along the waterfront. Opportunities to have fun in Pattaya are endless. Here’s the lowdown on what’s on the offer in this electrifying city.

Amusement parks: Pattaya has the best selection of theme parks in Thailand, ranging from a ‘mini Siam’ to water parks, an aquarium and even a tiger zoo. This makes Pattaya a surprisingly good destination for families. More details on various parks attractions.

Bungy-jumping: a favourite activity among tourists, the city’s 50-metre bungy jump is located next to a small lake in busy Jomtien. International jump masters are there to give advice and assist first-timers. There’s a small bar providing drinks and snacks to onlookers.

Cycling: is an ideal way to explore Pattaya at your own pace. Along the waterfront are many bike ranks where you can rent a wide range of bicycles including BMX, ladies’ and mountain bikes.

Go-karting: the Pattaya Kart Speedway in Jomtien offers three tracks for exciting go-karting experiences for both newbies and karting professionals.

Golfing: Pattaya is a golfing paradise, boasting more than 20 courses of international standard where you can practice a Tiger Woods swing on holiday. The fees range from 500 baht to 2,500 baht for international venues; caddies and golf carts extra.

Take the family to the Pattaya Park Beach Resort

Horseback-riding: is a fun activity for both kids and adults. Stables can be found at Horseshoe Point Riding Academy and trekking is on offer near the Bira Circuit. Optionally, you can choose to whoop it up hi-so style at the International Polo Ground, right outside Pattaya.

Kids activities: the ultimate area for kids in Pattaya is probably the Royal Garden Pattaya, where you can find a wide range of activities including bumper cars, a simulator, small rides and a variety of video games. Ripley’s Believe It or Not is also located here.

Motor biking: is ubiquitous in Pattaya and there are several places along Beach Road soi 2, 8 and 13/1 where you can rent bikes. Cool and tough as it may seem, this activity can be very dangerous as daredevil bikers tend to drive very fast and neglect the road rules. Expect to pay about 1,500 to 2,000 baht a day for a big motorbike.

Nightlife: Pattaya isn’t known for being the naughtiest city in Thailand without good cause! The most famous area is Walking street in south Pattaya, which is home to countless girly bars and discos.

Parasailing: enjoy your 15 expensive minutes flying like a bird with this exciting sport which takes place offshore. A pick-up is normally arranged from the New Pier or from Pattaya Beach.

Tiffany shows: while it’s nothing compared to Broadway, Tiffany shows will spice up your evenings. Enjoy a wide range of first-class musical performances put on by skilled Thai drag queens. Show times: 18:00, 19:30 and 21:00; 464 Moo 9, Pattaya 2nd Rd., tel: (038) 421 700-5, email: res@tiffany-show.co.thwebsite: www.tiffany-show.co.th.

Water parks: have a family day out with your children at Pattaya Park, a popular water park in Jomtien. Have a splash in one of its many whirlpools or risk having a heart attack on one of the exciting water slides. Open: 10:00-19:00; 345 Jomtien Beach, tel: (038) 251 201-8, email: reservation@pattayapark.comwebsite: www.pattayapark.com.

Water sports: something you will be obliged to do in any resort city. Enjoy a bumpy ride on a banana boat dragged by a speedboat or experience Pattaya’s underwater wonders with one of the ubiquitous diving companies. Jet-skiing is also a favourite with tourists, but are best avoided due to unscrupulous operators.

Recommended Pattaya activities operators

Pattaya Dive Centre: a five-star IDC operation in Central Pattaya, with fast catamaran dive boat. 219/3 Tipp Plaza, Beach Road, tel: (038) 422 133, email: enquires@divepattaya.com, website: www.divecentrepattaya.com.

More information on activities in Pattaya.

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