A thriving oasis of rip-roaring activities and ultimate revelry, Pattaya never fails to impress tourists looking for a party. Also famous for fine dining, Pattaya features all kinds of cuisines and styles from street vendors selling BBQ sticks to high-end European eateries. It might seem a little at odds with the city’s somewhat sleazy reputation, but there are some excellent hotels with fine Pattaya restaurants inside.
Nightlife in Pattaya is second only to Bangkok, with ubiquitous pink-neon girly go-go bars dominating the scene. Discos and other decent hotel bars in Pattaya also attract punters, while the world-renowned transsexual cabaret shows will definitely spice up your evening.
Wining and dining
One of the most crowded destinations in Thailand, Pattaya has a dizzying number of restaurants to please every tourist’s palate. From seafood BBQ sticks with hellishly spicy sauce and Mediterranean-inspired grilled lobster to American prime rib, a bowl of scrumptious tom yum kung or cheesy French onion soup, this is a town of food-a-plenty and no tourist will go hungry in Pattaya.
A number of al fresco dining areas are located throughout Pattaya, so you can feast from spacious courtyards at the same time as gawking at people in their skimpy sundresses or surfer shorts. At local venues, one dish of rice and Thai curry costs from 40 baht, while a kilo of grilled prawns should set you back around 300 baht.
Hotels usually have their own Pattaya restaurants, but they are often nothing compared to street stalls’ fresh seafood and all kinds of 10 baht BBQ grilled sticks. It’s better to explore Pattaya restaurants outside the your hotel building unless you are stuck inside curing a hangover.
It’s more about seafood and international cuisine in this city. Some Pattaya restaurants also offer live jazz or reggae bands to please Western crowds. Authentic, delicate Thai dishes with elaborate decorations are quite hard to find in Pattaya unless you want to go upscale. Bowls of tom yam kung are, however, served in any local restaurant and are very cheap and amazingly tasty. For more information about sumptuous Thai cuisine, visit our dedicated Thai food section.
Since Pattaya supports a large community of retired expats, you’ll find it far less authentically Thai, which means there are plenty of places serving bratworst or fish ‘n’ chips, and this town caters the crowd who come on holiday and can’t do without their home favourites. These kind of eateries are found mainly along Beach or Sukhumwit roads, and the lanes sandwiched between.
It is a Herculean task to list all the restaurants in Pattaya, but check out our list of recommended Pattaya restaurants.
Pattaya bar and nightlife scene
Known as Thailand’s naughtiest city, Pattaya is world famous for its dodgy hanky-panky business. T-shirts that say ‘good men go to heaven, bad men go to Pattaya’ aren’t scattered around the world for nothing.
Nightlife in Pattaya is undoubtedly electrifying and a bit on the seedy side. However, whether or not you are bewitched by the starry-eyed girls in go-go shows, the Pattaya nightlife scene guarantees good fun and is certainly eye-opening. More on Pattaya bars.
The main Pattaya nightlife area is Walking street in the resort’s south, which is closed to vehicles from evening to early morning. The atmosphere here is vibrant and exciting, with hundreds of go-go bars in Pattaya featuring ‘come-hither’ girls in school uniforms or skimpy, diamond-studded bikinis. Shady business aside, Walking street is also home to some Irish pubs serving authentic European beer. Whether you approve or not, it’s fairly harmless and good for people watching.
Central Pattaya is also flooded with a number of bars and cafés. Although not as raunchy as the south, central Pattaya attracts a large number of foreigners who roam around the heart of the city for some good drinking and chatting. There are several sois (lanes) off Beach Road that are filled with nothing but ‘beer bars’ (girlie bars). These are relaxed open-air places full of ladies happy to keep you company for the evening. For many, this is the main attraction in Pattaya and it’s a fairly festive, friendly scene.
North Pattaya is more subdued and features a variety of Pattaya bars and restaurants with live bands playing and local singers crooning Thai and Western songs. Many of the package tours end up in hotels here and it has evening options whether you prefer a quiet beer, nice meal, or noisy bar. It’s also here in north Pattaya where you can find the renowned Alcazar Cabaret and the Tiffany Cabaret, which offer musical extravaganzas performed by glamorously dressed transsexuals.
Just like any other places in Thailand, Pattaya is very gay-friendly. In fact, there are certain zones dedicated to the gay Pattaya nightlife scene, such as the Boyz Town complex. You can find many hip and trendy places for gays to hang out, which are fun to watch and observe even if you aren’t gay.
Don’t worry; local gays will get the vibe if you are straight and just there for a fun night out.
The aforementioned Boyz Town, the most renowned gay area, is located around soi Pattayaland 1 and 3. This lively venue is home to oodles of gay go-go bars in Pattaya plus ubiquitous beer bars exclusively for the gay community. A more discreet zone is around Sunee Plaza, which is relatively quieter than the famous and racy Boyz Town, while Jomtien is also a well-known meeting point for gay groups.
Local gay boys are generally gentle and more in touch with their soft side than foreign gays. It is relatively easy to chat up Thai gay boys if you feel the spark. However, keep in mind that some are only there for money, not friendship or a relationship. More on the gay scene in Pattaya.