Pattaya is a beach city in Chonburi Province, about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya is famous for its bars and night clubs, though the city also promotes itself as a family destination.
Pattaya is the quickest beach break from Bangkok. Its proximity to Bangkok guarantees a steady stream of visitors who are looking for a beach break without flying. It is like the beach of Bangkok.
This guide outlines the best areas to stay if you are visiting Pattaya. If it’s your first time, you have probably already heard that Pattaya is not the best beach in Thailand. The beach is has been widened with imported sand, so it is not a natural beach. If you are looking for a better beach experience, then check out my Thai island guide.
Here are the best areas to stay in Pattaya for visitors.
Where to stay in Pattaya guide
Map of Pattaya hotels
Best areas to stay in Pattaya
Pattaya Beach (The main beach and where the action is)
Jomtein Beach (Quieter beach area in the southern half of Pattaya)
Pattaya Hill (Residential area with some big resorts)
Wong Amat Beach (Smaller beach north of Pattaya Beach)
How to get to Pattaya
Map of Pattaya hotels
Hotels mentioned in this article are pinned on this map.
[View map of Pattaya hotels.]
Best areas to stay in Pattaya
If you want to stay by the beach and be in the most central part of the city, then stay in Pattaya Beach.
If you prefer to be away from the nightlife that Pattaya is famous for, then consider Jomtein Beach.
[Beach Road Pattaya.]
Pattaya Beach is the main point of interest of Pattaya City, and the best area for visitors is contained within two roads. Beach Road is a one-way street going north to south, while Pattaya Second Road is the next major road inland, and that goes south to north.
[Area between Beach Road and Pattaya Second Road.]
The northern end of the beach is anchored by the Dusit Thani Hotel, while at the southern end is the Walking Street area and Bali Hai Pier. The beach is better in the northern half, and at the southern end near Walking Street is the main red light district of Pattaya. This area is wall-to-wall nightclubs and girlie bars, so keep that in mind if that is not your thing.
Pattaya follows the rules of any beach resort destination, where the big hotels are by the beach and the cheaper hotels are further inland. The cheapest hotels are on the other side of Pattaya Second Road, though there are also guesthouses among the bar streets off the beach road. Go further inland and Pattaya resembles a typical urban area of a Thai provincial city.
There isn’t a Khao San Road equivalent in Pattaya, so if you are just looking for the cheapest room then set your search filters accordingly. Pattayasaisong 12 is an alley that has some cheap guesthouses if you are walking around looking for a cheap room. A cheap hotel here is The Siam Guest House.
[Pattayasaisong 12 has some cheap guesthouses.]
If you are in Pattaya for the Walking Street nightlife, then you would be better to be near Walking Street and not actually on it. P.72 Hotel is one of the few hotels on Walking Street, so I have pinned it on the map to place where Walking Street is.
[Yes, Walking Street is the proper name for this street.]
There are bars everywhere around Pattaya Beach, but there is another big girlie bar area around Soi Phatthayasaisong 9 (marked on the Google Map). A typical budget hotel near here is the Sweet Pound Hotel.
Some apartment rental options include Pattaya Blue Sky on Pattaya Beach Road Soi 5, and The Base Central Pattaya on Pattaya Second Road.
[The Base Central Pattaya.]
Ibis Pattaya is a mid-range hotel near the northern end of the beach, and it is close to Terminal 21 and Central Marina shopping mall.
Also near the top end of the beach is the Holiday Inn Pattaya.
[Holiday Inn Pattaya.]
A more memorable hotel experience can be had at the Wave Hotel. This hotel is designed in the Art Deco style and it channels South Beach Miami vibes with its pastel paint job.
Siam @ Siam Design Hotel Pattaya is a design hotel on Pattaya Sai 2 Road. This is the same hotel group as Siam@Siam in Siam Bangkok.
[Siam @ Siam Design Hotel Pattaya.]
Luxury hotels on Pattaya Beach
Hilton Pattaya is the landmark building of Pattaya Beach. It’s midway along the beach and part of the Central Pattaya Mall complex, so it is literally and figuratively in a central location. According to the mall website, Central Pattaya is Asia’s largest natural beachfront shopping complex.
Dusit Thani is a famous luxury hotel brand from Thailand. The Dusit Thani Pattaya overlooks the northern corner of Pattaya Beach.
[Dusit Thani Pattaya.]
[Jomtein Pattaya Beach.]
Jomtein Beach is south of Pattaya Beach, separated by Pattaya Hill. This long and narrow stretch of beach is popular with retirees, and it doesn’t have the same bar scene that is associated with Pattaya Beach. The beach had a reputation for being a bit sleepy, especially with so many retired folk here, but it has become more lively in recent years with more cafe and restaurant options.
Halfway down the coast is the border of Pattaya and Sattahip District, though there are still properties with Pattaya in their name. Like Pattaya Beach, Jomtein has had issues with erosion, and most of the sand has been added to widen the beach. As I mentioned before, don’t come here expecting amazing beaches that Thailand is famous for.
Coming from Pattaya Beach via Pattaya Hill, the Jomtein area starts around Thappraya Rd. This leads to the main beach road (Jomtiensaineung Rd) where there are hotels and apartments all the way down the coast. The busiest section of Jomtein at the northern half of Jomtein Beach between Thappraya Rd and the Jomtien Night Market.
There is a songthaew service (pick-up trucks converted into passenger vehicles) that goes up and down the beach road. This “Baht Bus” (which costs 10 baht) will get you from Jomtein Beach to Pattaya Beach.
Cheap hostels and guesthouses can be found down the sois (alleys) that run off Jomtiensaineung Rd. Cleaper places are a bit further down, but the baht buses are frequent make getting around easy. Jomtien Hostel is such a place that is at the southern end of Jomtein. This hostel has dorm rooms and private rooms.
Jomtien is a popular area for long-termers, so there are apartment options such as the NEO condo PATTAYA.
[NEO condo PATTAYA.]
On Soi 5 is Fifth Jomtien Pattaya. This is a 4-star hotel that has a garden and pool setting.
[Fifth Jomtien Pattaya.]
Pattaya Hill (Khao Phra Tamnak) separates Pattaya Beach from Jomtein Beach, and it is where the “Pattaya City” sign is located. As the name would suggest, the area is hilly, and it is not the best area for first timers.
I have stayed at a hotel on the main road that crosses the hill, and it was a bit far from either beach to be a comfortable walk. Some of the big apartment developments in Pattaya are in this area, but it is more suited to residents who have their own transport.
[Pattaya City sign on Pattaya Hill.]
The InterContinental Pattaya Resort is located on the hill, overlooking the sea.
Wong Amat Beach
Wong Amat Beach is the beach to the north of Pattaya Beach. This is a smaller beach and is more residential. The last time I was here it was overwhelmingly patronised by Russian families. There are some big apartment towers going up here, which are making their mark on the city skyline.
Midway along the beach is the Pullman Pattaya Hotel G.
Anchoring the southern end of the beach is the 5-star Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya.
[Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya]
How to get to Pattaya
The main transport hub is the North Pattaya Bus Terminal. There are songthaews that go from the bus station to Beach Road.
Search for Bangkok to Pattaya tickets.
Pattaya also has a train station, but the trains are slow and infrequent. Here is my review on getting the train from Bangkok to Pattaya. There is a plan to build a high-speed railway from Bangkok to Pattaya, but that is years away from happening.
The nearest airport is U-Tapao International Airport, branded as U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport. Flights are not frequent and public transport is limited. Most people fly to Bangkok and make their way from there.