While planning a trip to Thailand, most people usually plan to visit the capital, Bangkok, and one or two of beach destinations – Ko Samui, Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi islands to name a few. Thailand has so much to offer for all kinds of weekend, 3 day, 7 day and 2 week itineraries.
If you are already travelling to Bangkok, and trying to pack in some beach vacation time, Pattaya is definitely recommended. It takes less than 2 hours by car to reach Pattaya using the highway from Bangkok. This post will give some tips on what you should do in Bangkok (focused on shopping, night life and food) and what you should leave for Pattaya (beach, spa and more food).
Shop at Central World
One of the biggest shopping plazas in Southeast Asia, you can easily spend half a day exploring the different lifestyle shops. Make sure to stop for lunch/dinner at Nara and try their blended coconut drink – healthy and refreshing.
Shop at Terminal 21
Bangkok could easily be a yearly destination for an only-shopping trip. Designed to feature the world’s best-known shopping streets, each floor in Terminal 21 is based on a city theme bringing together fashion from Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, and San Francisco.
Explore nightlife at Sukhumvit Soi 4
There are several streets for exploring nightlife in Bangkok, especially along Sukhumvit. Soi 4 has a concentration of the most popular clubs and bars for all tastes and interests.
Experience Thai cuisine
Thailand is food heaven, from fresh tropical fruits, coconut water, to staple dishes – pad thai, thai curry, and mango sticky rice for dessert. If you are looking for a relaxed brunch option, try Erawan; for a more continental option, try The Coffee Club, an Australian all-day cafe.
Enjoy a spa at Healthland
A chain of health and wellness spas in Bangkok and Pattaya, Healthland offers a variety of spa and massages from classic Thai massage to facials, back pain treatments, aromatherapy, and full body scrubs. Reservations can be made by phone a day in advance. Although there are several spa and massage parlors all over Pattaya, I recommend Healthland because of their professional service, pampering, and reasonable prices. Their own shops in the lobby sell home spa products perfect for travel souvenirs. Be aware that there is a tipping system for masseuses, typically 5-10%.
Relax at Pattaya beach
The number one reason for visiting this resort city is the beach. You can get foot massages at the beach, drink fresh coconut water, and do some water sports – diving, snorkeling, sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, banana boating, parasailing, and yachting. In case you are interested in a Thai fine dining option after a day at the beach, visit Flare.
Do some last minute shopping at Central Festival
Shopping is a bit cheaper in Pattaya than Bangkok, but also limited options. If you have time and want to do some last-minute travel shopping, visit the Central Festival mall right next to the beach.
There are several accommodation options in Pattaya. For a beach resort, Royal Cliff is perfect with its own private beach, and several options for in-resort dining and activities. Major hotel chains are located more central close to the Pattaya beach. For transport, the best option is Grab for tourists – it is the Uber equivalent, and much cheaper than the local taxis. Many taxi drivers do not speak English, so Grab is really the best bet to get to your destination on time.
The final tip for your visit to Pattaya is to always carry cash. While some hotels accept major foreign currencies, taxis and many restaurants do not keep card machines.
Hope these tips convince you to include Pattaya is your next trip to Thailand. Happy travels!!