A convenient resort getaway for city-dwellers and tourists alike, Pattaya is around 120kms to the east of Bangkok. Travelling to Pattaya is easy, with a wide range of transport options to choose from. And with the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok’s southeast, Pattaya has become even easier to get to from abroad.
Buses leave regularly from Bangkok, while taking a taxi from Bangkok is also popular and inexpensive. There’s a train that leaves for Pattaya on the scenic trip from Bangkok everyday, but the service is not very efficient. Pattaya is blessed with its own airport, U-Tapao, which operates regular flights to the southern islands in Thailand and even a few international destinations.
Airports for Pattaya
Located roughly 30kms southeast of the city centre, U-Tapao Airport operates a number of Bangkok Airways flights daily to the southern islands of Phuket and Samui, though it’s a small airport with limited facilities. A few international flights also fly from here from Siem Riep (Cambodia), Moscow (Russia) and Incheon (South Korea), as well as from some European cities.
U-Tapao Airport features a simple terminal with average facilities including drink and snack bars, bureau de change and an information desk. From the airport, you can find a number of taxis in front of the terminal to take you to your hotel. There are no other transport options available. The journey from the airport to the city centre normally costs about 300 baht. More on getting to Pattaya.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport is Bangkok’s shiny gateway located southeast of the city centre, just an hour from Pattaya. Buses leave directly from the airport hourly and a private transfer is affordable (around 2,000 baht). It’s a modern, well equipped airport receiving flights from all over the world and offering far more options than U-Tapao. More on Suvarnabhumi.
Pattaya car and bus transportation
Travelling from Bangkok to Pattaya by car is a simple task. It usually takes from 90 minutes to two hours to get to the heart of the city. Ekkamai Bus Station in Bangkok operates a number of services to Pattaya daily. The station is located just outside the BTS Ekkamai Station, hence it is very easy to find. The first bus departs early in the morning (about 04:30), while the last bus leaves around 23:00. The service is quite good and efficient for such a small fee (around 120 baht), and buses leave hourly.
There are also minibuses from the Victory Monument food court area, as well as private services with hotel pick up or departing from Khao San Road, which your concierge can help you arrange. These are more comfortable and generally quicker, costing not much more than the bus.
Once in Pattaya, driving to nearby towns is very easy. Notable destinations include Rayong with its pristine beaches, Sattahip with a variety of royal ships or Trat where you can get a connection to Koh Chang. Whether you want to hire a car to drive around in Pattaya, hop on a regional minibus or take a taxi to visit other interesting venues, exploring Pattaya by car is relatively easy and safe. More on driving safety in Pattaya.
Public transportation in Pattaya
There is a wide range of transport to get you around Pattaya. Pattaya’s bus service has three routes around the city and travels to Sukumvit Road and Jomtien. However, bus services are not very frequent and you should have general knowledge on bus routes in Pattaya to avoid getting lost. Taxis or songthaews are a better option for clueless tourists.
Proper taxis with air-conditioning can be flagged down anywhere in the city. The drivers normally don’t use the meter, so you will have to bargain for your fare. More popular and much cheaper are local songthaews, which are blue pick-up trucks with a hard top and a bench in the back on each side. A songthaews can be hired to go to any destination. They are known locally as ‘baht buses’ and ply set routes along the busy streets. If they are empty, you can usually negotiate to be delivered directly to your destination.
Again, put your bargaining hat on and try negotiating for the best fare. If you want to go along any of the main routes, just hop on and pay a small fee of 10 baht. You can go anywhere locally as long as you know where you want to get off. Around five metres before your desired dropping-off point, ring the bell on the ceiling to signal the driver to stop. More on public transportation in Pattaya.
The most popular means of public transport in Pattaya is motorbike-taxis. These magical vehicles can go anywhere imaginable and run 24 hours. This option, however, is not for the faint-hearted as the drivers tend to be reckless. Remember to always ask the driver for a helmet. Both drivers and passengers must wear helmets at all times to avoid being injured and being stopped by the police.
Bike and car hire in Pattaya
It is very practical to hire a motorbike in Pattaya, allowing you to explore this thriving city at your own pace without getting frustrated over the traffic. A motorbike can be rented for around 150 baht per day, while larger motorbikes are also available but are more expensive. For first-timers, it is a good idea to try scooter-bikes as they are easy to operate.
Cars can also be hired in Pattaya, but you will have to keep in mind that the traffic in Pattaya can be very hectic with a number of schools, markets and companies in the city.
Those planning to stray off the beaten track should go for a four-wheel drive, which also come in handy in the rainy season. The price ranges from 800 baht to about 2,000 baht per day, depending on the car. We recommend online booking in advance.