Pattaya points of interest

by Guest

Pattaya lies 150 kilometres or so south of the capital Bangkok along the Gulf of Thailand. Once a little fishing village up until the 1960s, it boomed in the last 40 years a vacation destination for both weekenders from Bangkok and international tourists alike. Over the years, the city has grown with luxury hotels, high rise condos, shopping malls, and some of the craziest nightlife in the country. There is more to it that seedy go go bars however. Look a little deeper and you'll find wealth of Pattaya points of interest, from exquisite temples to floating markets, and cabaret shows to elephant parks. Here's a rundown of the most interesting places to visit during your vacation in Pattaya.

Also read about: Getting from Phuket to Koh Phi Phi

Amble along Walking Street in all its neon glory

Ok, so we said that there is more to Pattaya than the nightlife, and there is, but we can't make a list of the most interesting places without mentioning Walking Street. The gaudy neon stripe is legendary for its live music venues, go go bars, seafood restaurants, nightclubs, and drunken tourists. Even if this doesn't sound like your scene, it's well worth a visit just as a spectator alone. Grab a cold beer, pull up a pew on the vehicle free street and watch the action, in ones its neon glory. We don't recommend staying in a hotel along Walking Street, unless of course you don't mind the sound of thumping bass and drunken shouting all night.

Pattaya Beach

Work on your tan on Jomtien Beach

Arguably one of the best beaches in Pattaya is Jomtien Beach. Along the large stretch of white sandy, you can work on your tan, take refreshing dips in the sea, take part in the many water sports from jet skiing to parasailing and windsurfing, or just read a good book while you nurse last night's hangover. Nearby, you'll find plenty of excellent seafood restaurants where you can either eat, or get take out to enjoy on the beach.

Also read about: The best beach in Pattaya

See the giant golden Buddha at Wat Phra Khao Yai

There is nothing that makes you feel quite like you are in South East Asia than the sight of a huge golden Buddha. Outside the city adorning the top of the hill is the spectacular Wat Phra Khao Yai temple and on the grounds the huge 18 metre high Buddha that looks down over Pattaya and the coastline from its towering position. It's simply awe-inspiring to see close up. The easiest way to get to the temple is jumping in a taxi which shouldn't cost you more than a few dollars. It's always worth remembering that this isn't a tourist attraction, but a place of worship. Be sure to dress appropriately, take off your shoes when you enter, and always act respectfully.

Pattaya Buddha

Also read about: Pattaya Nightlife

Gorge on the best mango and sticky rice in Thailand

You know that somewhere is good when all they do is one thing. Mai Sai Thong offers nothing more than the famous mango and sticky rice dessert, and they do it very well. They pick the best of the best mangoes from around the country and serve them with a heap of sticky rice covered in warm coconut sweetened with a little sugar and balanced with a pinch of salt. Trust us. When you've had one, you'll be going back for more. Customers have been returning to this tiny street vendor for years. If you haven't had mango and sticky rice at Mai Sai Thong, you haven't really been to Pattaya.

See the largest Buddha engraving in the world

The Khao Chi Chan is something really special. Located on what's called Buddha Mountain lies the largest Buddha engraving in the world. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is an ancient site, but it was actually only created 20 years ago or so to celebrate the King of Thailand's 50th anniversary of the throne. It was created using lasers to carve in the design onto the side of the limestone cliffs and is simply astounding to see. Well worth the trip outside of Pattaya to see it. The best way to get there is on an organized tour or by taking a taxi.

Also read about: How to Go From Krabi to Koh Lanta?

See Chinese culture at Anek Kusala Sala

Thailand has one of the largest and most integrated populations of Chinese immigrants in the world. Chinese culture has permeated all parts of Thai culture from the temples to the food. Anek Kusala Sala is a temple and museum that houses hundreds of works of Chinese art from statues to paintings. The artwork is split across two floors. Look out for shaolin monks and beautiful bronze Buddha sculptures. Again, this is a temple, so respect should be shown at all times.

See the spectacular carvings in The Sanctuary of Truth

Though this structure located in Pattaya might look like a temple, it was actually created by a private investor looking for a clam sanctuary. It's a beautiful structure created from teak wood and towers over 100 metres up. Inside, it's even more spectacular with intricate carvings running along almost every wall, pillar, and across the roof. At night, the outside is lit up, so it can be seen from quite a distance. They say that the building isn't complete, and perhaps like the Sagrada Familia in Spain, it might never be. If you're going to visit one place in Pattaya, make it this one.

Pattaya gardens

This architectural marvel that started construction in 1981 is expected to be completed in 2050. This structure is built using traditional Thai woodworking methods (no metal nails), and is carved all over with intricate motifs related to both the main faiths of the Thai people: Hinduism and Buddhism. Photo by LJ

Watch the colourful Tiffany's Show

The colourful cabaret performance has been a Pattaya point of interest for more than 30 years. Every night, over 200 people crowd into the theatre to watch the hour long performance where entertainment and dancing from many parts of Asia. Almost all the performers are ladyboys who wear colourful dresses and costumes and the set design is exquisite. It's quite a spectacle, and something that the whole family can enjoy, so feel free to bring the kids. The show runs year round and tickets cost around US $25 per person, but it's well worth the money to see.

See everything smaller at Mini Siam

What started out as a project in the mid 1980s has turned into a large scale mini world . Spread across 45,000 square metres of outdoor space, the museum park has created hundreds of replicas of famous sites across Thailand, as well as Europe and America. It's all in 1:25 scale so you can travel around the world in much less than 80 days! It's located just outside the city centre behind the Pattaya Boxing World Stadium and will keep kids busy for the afternoon. If you go after dark, all the structures are lit up, just like they are in real life.

Glide through Pattaya Floating Market on a boat

Thailand is not short on floating markets, and at least one should be visited during your vacation. The floating market in Pattaya is particularly interesting as it's split into different areas which sell products from varying parts of the country. Like many of the floating markets, it's quite an attraction so don't expect to be the only tourist here, but it's interesting nonetheless. The best way to experience the market is to hire a little boat and glide through, buying fruit and snacks from the others boats as you go. If you take a guide, of your boatman speaks good English, they will be able to explain the different parts of the market, its history, the Thai dishes and their ingredients. A wonderful experience.

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See the gentle giants at Elephant Village

You'll find most parts of Thailand have an elephant sanctuaries that look after abandoned or rescued animals. The Pattaya Elephant Village has more than 25 animals which they keep in a large tract of land outside the city centre. They employ a vast number of staff which help to care for the gentle giants, and tourists are welcome to come to see them or volunteer for the day. It's a particularly rewarding experience helping to feed and bathe these majestic creatures and you can get some fantastic snaps to show your friends and family back home. To reach the elephant sanctuary in Pattaya, take a taxi or join an organized tour where they will pick you up and drop you off at the park.

Pattaya gardens

Wander through the staggeringly beautiful botanical gardens

The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens in another wonderful Pattaya point of interest. The beautifully manicured gardens cover a few acres of land and teem with exotic plants, trees and colourful flowers. It was created by Mrs Nongnooch Tanscha in the mid 50s after buying the strip of land outside of Pattaya and being inspired by the botanical gardens' abroad. Opened to the public in the 1980s, the Nongnooch Botanical Gardens have a Thai cultural show and an elephant show, but the real draw is the gardens themselves which have be considered by many as one of the most beautiful in the world. A staggering 5,000 visitors come to the gardens every day to see the attraction and the hundreds of colourful orchids. A must do place to visit on your travels in Thailand.

Cool off and have fun at the Pattaya Water Park

If you plan to bring kids (or you're a big kid yourself), head out to the Pattaya Water Park which houses numerous water slides. It's a great way to keep children occupied for an afternoon, as well as cooling off in the midday Thai heat. We guarantee that most adults will be jumping down the slides themselves when they arrive! It's located just outside the city centre and is easy to reach by taxi. Ask your hotel to book you one.

Spend a night or two on Koh Larn

If you'd like a little island life, consider visiting Koh Larn that lies just a few kilometres off the mainland coast, but is a world away in terms of atmosphere. Quiet, secluded and largely tourist free, the little island has some fantastic stretches of sandy beach, crystal clear waters, and some excellent seafood restaurants where you can try local cuisine. There are several hotels on the island should you want to stay the night or two. Alternatively, you can take the ferry which departs numerous times throughout the day. Just be sure to check when the last one departs back to the mainland or you'll be stuck on the island of the night (not the worst thing in the world!).

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