The sin cities of Asia, Bangkok and Pattaya are apparently the most famous party hotspot among travelers. But this popularity is not just limited to its notorious night-life and parties rambling through colourful street markets but also accredited to its Palaces and Temples introducing you with rich cultural heritage of Thailand. This ultimate travel guide will help you explore the all aspects of Bangkok and Pattaya with our hand-crafted itinerary.
When should you visit Bangkok and Pattaya?
The Beach town of Pattaya and Business Capital Bangkok offers you to experience a different aspect to it round-the-year. However, if you want to avoid yourself from getting burned in sun, then best months to visit are from November to February otherwise March to August is also a good time to explore. Rains may drench your plans in September and October. Clouds were in our favour when we visited in September. Those kept playing hide and seek with Sun causing intermittent rain, keeping the weather pleasant.
How much time you require to Explore?
We were in Bangkok and Pattaya for 4 days and comfortably covered most of the places listed on our itinerary. Majority of these places of interest can be easily visited with two days in hand for each city. But in case you got more or less from this, then you can adjust this plan according to your choice.
How to get Thailand Visa?
You’d need a tourist visa when visiting Thailand for sight-seeing and tourism. This visa can be obtained either through Thai embassy in your home country or directly at airport in Thailand upon your arrival. Thai tourist visa will allow you to explore Thailand for a period of 15 or 30 days.
As of now, tourists from 64 countries are exempted from Thai visa for a stay up to 30 days. The list of these countries can be found on Thai Embassy site. A USD $30 visa fee per entry is currently levied unless exempted for your country. Since India was not exempted from visa but from visa fee at the time of our visit, we obtained it upon our arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
Make sure to carry your single 4×6 cms photograph, round-trip tickets and hotel/hostel stay booking confirmation along with your passport. We’d recommend carrying pre-filled visa application form to avoid hassle at airport. It can be easily found on internet. Also, it’s preferred to carry at least 10k THB each person if asked to prove your financial means.
Nevertheless, it is a good practice to check with Thai Embassy (online or offline) to validate all this information for any recent updates before flying off to Thailand.
Which City to Begin with?
We landed at Bangkok and proceeded to Pattaya after 2 days of sightseeing based on our itinerary. We’d recommend the same as it gives you time to revitalize from travel fatigue. Also, if you’re arriving in Bangkok on weekend, you will have more vibrant experience as compared to weekdays. Nevertheless, you can twist this itinerary to start from Pattaya as well which is just 2 hours comfy drive from Bangkok.
How to commute?
The best way to travel between Bangkok and Pattaya is by a government Bus. It is direct, air-conditioned, comfortable and reasonably costing just 120 THB. You can board it from several spots in Bangkok such as Suvarnabhumi Airport, Ekkamai or Sai Mai Tai Bus Terminal. In Pattaya, you can board it from Pattaya Bus Terminal. Private operator bus is a more luxurious option costing nearly 300 THB. Avoid taking mini-vans as those will take numerous stops during the ride taking almost 3 hours to reach.
Commuting within city boundaries of Bangkok should not be a hassle as you’ve got multiple modes of transportation including even ferries! If you’re in a group, then the faster and economical way is to use App based Taxi platform such as Uber or GRAB. We extensively used Grab Cars which are easily available anywhere and anytime in Bangkok. Also, these taxi services are better options if you don’t have great bargain skills to deal with local taxi drivers or the Famous Tuk-Tuk. At some points when you want to avoid heavy traffic Jams in city you can try Bangkok Metro called as MRT. However, MRT is bit expensive making it a feeble choice especially for shorter distances. On some routes, you can enjoy ferry rides as well.
In Pattaya, you’ll miss metros, ferries and even Tuk-Tuk. But you should conveniently get Baht Bus and GRAB taxi anytime.
Where to Stay?
If you like partying, then we’d recommend planning your stay near Khao San Road in Bangkok. This place is popular as Backpackers’ hub due to myriad of hostels and hotels providing budget accommodation making it ideal for Backpackers. This way you will not only explore the nightlife of Khao San Road but also Chinatown and Chao Phraya Riverfronts without commuting much.
We stayed in private room of the famous Mad Monkey Hostel in Khao San. Mad Monkey is apparently the best hostel in Bangkok providing dormitory accommodations as well. They organize various daily events including the popular pub crawl!
Lub D Hostel, Slumber Party Hostel, Bed Station and NapPark Hostel are also popular choices among travellers’ list. You can check the amazing site of HostelWorld to get the latest availability and prices of all the hostels in Bangkok as well as Pattaya.
Many family tourists prefer to stay near Sukhumvit Road and Si Lom due to its proximity with major shopping malls, night markets and premium hotel stays. All this makes this region relatively costlier for accommodation.
In Pattaya, there isn’t a diverse choice of hostels to stay and few popular ones are Fun Dee Hostel, The Bedrooms Hostel, Happy Hostel and 18 Coins Cafe & Hostel. Another cool place providing capsule suite for stay is Nonze Hostel which we’d recommend trying, if you’re looking for a different sort of stay experience.
We planned to stay in a hotel during our time in Pattaya and found an amazing suite at Aster Hotel and Residence in central Pattaya. We grabbed a wonderful deal for this superb hotel with all amenities at nice peaceful locality. You can find wide choice of hotels in Pattaya from premium sea facing, beach side apartments to affordable budget rooms. We’d recommend choosing your hotel between North and South Pattaya roads alongside 2nd or 3rd beach roads for a reasonable and peaceful stay with just a walking distance to major places of interest.
Few hotels which we had shortlisted are Ibis Pattaya, Centara Pattaya, Golden Beach hotel, Arden Hotel and Residence, Adelphi Pattaya, Bella Express and Pattaya Sunshine Hotel & Residence.
Where and What to Eat?
Thailand offers lot of diverse food options especially if you’re a sea-food enthusiast. Not just that, you can also spot bizarre street food like scorpions, Tarantula spiders and even crocodiles at many places, chiefly at Khao San Road in Bangkok. To indulge in fine-dining of multi cuisines in riverside restaurants, head to Asiatique Riverfront. The huge Food Court at MBK Center Mall is another place to eat cuisines of worldwide origins at very reasonable prices.
Floating markets are the best place for fresh-sea food being cooked and served from long-tail boats. So, make sure you visit any one floating market in Bangkok to experience this. Also, the surrounding market of pier near Wat Pho is a nice place to indulge in diverse street food, you gotta try this if you’re going to Wat Arun on a ferry.
Two dishes which you can’t miss during your trip to Thailand are Pad Thai and Banana Roti. Both are super delicious and easily available at street food joints. Also, you must try two local fruits – Mangosteen and Rambutan, which can be seen being sold at most of the fruit shops. And how can we forget to tell you about the mouth-watering fresh coconut ice cream, especially in Chatuchak Market.
When in Pattaya, you’ll find a popular dish everywhere, which is Mango Sticky Rice. And if you’ve got affinity with it, then you must try it at Mae Sai Thong on Central Pattaya Road. For your Indian food cravings, the same road is heaven. It is populated with many Indian restaurants including even pure vegetarians. Central Festival Mall is home for some fine dining eateries. While the Pattaya Avenue and nearby streets are the place to grab either some street food or eat at popular chains like McDonalds, Subway etc.
A store which you’ll find everywhere in Thailand is the popular chain of 7-11 stores. You should definitely buy packaged food items, water bottles or any other things from these stores because these sell huge variety of products at super cheap rates. You can also purchase alcohol and other beverages at much lower price than other stores.
Where to get the Famous Thai Massage?
The first thing which might pop-up in your mind when you’re planning your trip to Thailand, is to get an authentic Thai Massage. No matter which part of Thailand you’re in, you’ll find massage parlours everywhere.
If you’re visiting Wat Pho temple of reclining Buddha in Bangkok, then you should visit the School of Traditional Thai Massage located within temple arena. Here you can get authentic massage from massage practitioners in a communal open-pavilion at competitive prices. In case you didn’t get a chance to get massage here, then you can also comfort yourself in Massage Parlours located in Khao San Road.
We’d suggest holding on your impulse to Massage until you visit Pattaya during this itinerary, because this is the place where you can get a massage at much better rates than Bangkok. As you’ll walk through its streets, masseuses sitting outside parlours will greet you with a chorus of “Massssagggggeeeee”. You can choose any of those as per your choice.
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