Knowing that I’ll be travelling mostly inland during my Indochina solo backpacking trip, I made it a point that I’ll see the sea. At least once. It was kinda difficult finding a way to put Pattaya on the route to Cambodia without going back to Bangkok. There was little information about transportation from there to the border town of Aranyaprathet. The backpacker instinct in me though said there must be some form of transport going from there to the border. So I said, heck yeah I’ll just wing it!
How To Get To Pattaya From Bangkok
To get to Pattaya, you need to find your selves at Mo Chit bus station to take a bus all the way to Pattaya. Getting to the Mo Chit Bus station can be a bit tricky as it is not connected to any train station. So if you are not taking the train, the next best thing is get a cab or book a grab specially if you have luggage.
By train get off at the Mo Chit BTS station or the Kamphaeng Phet station if you are using the subway. From there it is advisable to take a motorbike taxi or a cab if you are press for time and it should not cost more than 120 Baht.
At the Mo Chit find the counter for your destination, Pattaya. Fare from Mo Chit to Pattaya is just about $4.50. Alternatively you can also conveniently book online.
Bus travel from Mo Chit bus station to Pattay takes 3 to 4 hours via public bus. You will alight at the Pattaya bus and van station. From there you can get another Motorbike Taxi or a local cab to your hostel.
Where To Stay In Pattaya
I wish I can recommend you the hostel I stayed at but unfortunately they’re closed now. To give you some ideas though, most of the cheap hostels are off of the down town area which is dominated by big hotels. If you are someone who doesn’t like crowds that’s good new for you. Most of the cheap accommodations are located nearer to Jomtien beach rather than Pattaya’s main beach. But that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Pattaya’s main downdown area’s draw is mostly for its night life so staying for the day near a better beach is actually a good thing! Compared to Pattaya beach, Jomtien actually has a better shoreline.
There are a few beaches in Pattaya where you can hang out. One word of caution though, they are crowded. Mostly of middle aged Russian tourists. Having so little time and energy to convince my self to go out and explore the nearby islands, I found my self mostly hanging out at Jomitiem Beach. I think this is the quieter side of Pattaya. The water though is not that great compared to most Philippine beaches (not sure about southern Thailand beaches, I haven’t been), so do not expect much.
There are better beaches though at nearby islands. These islands can be reached by public ferry but you should go early. It can be a bit pricey for backpackers too as there are no public transports in the island. But if you want to see better beaches and you don’t have time to go south, you might want to spend a bit more on renting scooters to get around the island.
But then if you just want to look at the sea and just chill, I think that Jomitien will work for you. I soak at the warm waters which was a perfect contrast to the cool breeze blowing that day. You can rent one of the beach lounge chairs and buy drinks at the care taker of the chairs. Just keep in mind though that it’s gonna be on a premium price so better to bring your own drinks. Jomtien beach is a public beach so you can just bring your own umbrella, food and picnic cloth to lie down to.
The water was warm at the time of my visit (November). The sand was okay nothing special, but it does give you that sense of having a break or vacation being far away from the bustling city of Bangkok. There are numerous cheap restaurants around the area
My time in Pattaya was cut short mainly because I messed up my itinerary and stayed a day longer in Bangkok. But it felt that it was time well spent. The people in The Five-O hostel (don’t search, they’ve closed) was awesome from the staff, the owner even fellow travelers I met there. Personally, I would love to spend more time in Pattaya as it seem to be an exciting part of Thailand with its beaches, parks and night life. If you plan to visit Pattaya give it about 2 days or more before you cross to Cambodia to truly enjoy it.