Pattaya is one of Asia’s largest seaside resorts and the second most visited city in Thailand, after Bangkok. Located on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand, about 150 km from Bangkok, Pattaya is famous for its nightlife, go-go bars and cabaret entertainment.
In recent years, local authorities have made significant improvements to Pattaya and made it a cleaner, more family-oriented destination. There is a now an excellent range of restaurants, fabulous resorts and plenty of other activities to enjoy.
The city of Pattaya is divided into these major areas:
North Pattaya – This quieter section is located to the northern end of Pattaya Beach and extends inland to North Pattaya Road. Location of the Sanctuary of Truth (see picture below).
Central Pattaya – This busy section is adjacent to the middle of Pattaya Beach and extends inland to Central Pattaya Road. Often described as ‘Beach Road’, the area is home to shops, entertainment and nightlife including the gay “BoyzTown”.
South Pattaya – This popular section starts from the southern end of Pattaya Beach and extends inland to South Pattaya Road. The area includes Pattayaland and The Walking Street. The famous Jomtien area that includes the Dongtan gay beach and Jomtien Complex is located just next to South Pattaya.
The gay scene in Pattaya is centered around Jomtien area, next to South Pattaya. A section of Jomtien Beach (also known as “Dongtan Beach“) is Pattaya’s gay beach. You’ll see a rainbow flag and large numbers of gay tourists, both locals and expats. There are sun loungers for hire and many stalls selling food and drinks.
Jomtien is home to a range of gay-owned, gay-friendly and exclusively gay hotels and guesthouses.
In the evening there are numerous gay bars and some gay dance clubs in and aroun around the Jomtien Complex, BoyzTown and Sunee Plaza for drinks and live entertainment at go-go bars or drag queen cabaret shows. There are also a number of popular gay massage spas in Pattaya.
Pattaya is less than 2 hours’ drive from Bangkok via the Motorway (Highway No. 7) or the Bangna-Trat Highway (Highway No. 7). Driving directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport takes about 1½ hours.
A daily service runs from the HuaLamphong Railway Station in Bangkok.
Frequent bus services operate between Bangkok’s Northern (MoChit) and Eastern (Ekamai) bus terminals and Pattaya.
Some metered taxis will be happy to drive you from Bangkok to Pattaya for an agreed fixed rates. Minivans services area also available and a great option if you travel with a group.
Pick-up vehicle or “songthaew”
These are dark blue coloured pickup trucks converted to buses, also called “Baht Buses”. The fare is 10 baht for trips within (and between) Pattaya and Jomtien. If the vehicle is empty, beware that the driver might presume that you want to charter a taxi, in which case you have to pay a much higher fare.
The busiest route is the beach route, which offers an almost nonstop service. For Jomtien, songthaews wait at the beginning of Pratamnak Road (the continuation of Second Road from the South Pattaya Road).
A local bus line called “Beach Bus” runs a circular route around Pattaya popular attractions. A ticket costs 30 baht.
This is the quickest way to get around Pattaya. Motorbikes taxi’s are cheaper than pickup trucks but are less safe, so only hire one when you’re not going very far.
Metered taxis are readily available in Pattaya, but very few will use the metre. Always negotiate the fare in advance and expect to pay considerably more than the cost of a ‘songthaew’ charter, probably in the order of a few hundred baht.
Hotels in South Pattaya, near Jomtien Beach and Jomtien Complex are most popular amongst gay visitors.
Pattaya has a really great choice of gay-friendly (some gay-owned) mid-range & budget hotels and guesthouses. If you prefer more privacy and comfort, opt for a luxury hotel – many of which can be found in the northern part of the city.
It’s not all about go-go bars and beaches. There are plenty of cultural activities and excursions for gay visitors to explore. Click here for a roundup of Pattaya attractions.