Pattaya, an alternative to Bangkok
There is so much more to Thailand than Bangkok. Pattaya may only be a stone’s throw away from Bangkok, but it remains an unknown destination to most young Singaporeans. This beachside resort town is a hotbed of activity both in the daytime and night – offering travellers who love Thailand a completely different experience.
Pattaya is great for groups of friends to visit for the sheer variety of activities that you can engage in all day long! Think snorkelling, jet-skiing and parasailing, but also relaxing Thai massages and strolling down picturesque private beaches. And the good news is, from November 27th, AirAsia flies directly from Singapore to Pattaya from as low as SGD $10* one-way! Here’s what we got up to when we were there!
This list of 15 exciting activities in Pattaya will inspire your next holiday with your best pals.
1. Unleash your crazy side at Splashdown Water Park
Thailand’s first adventure waterpark offers exciting stations sure to get your heart pumping including the tallest waterslide in the world and an obstacle course with big red inflatable balls reminiscent of the popular American reality show Wipeout!
Splashdown even has a Zorb mountain that promises an exhilarating ride down a hill whilst trapped inside a squishy transparent ball. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but thrill-seekers will jump at the opportunity to experience the life of a hamster.
Price: 1500 baht (SGD60.00) for persons over 120cm | 200 baht (SGD8.00) for non-players | FREE for persons below 120cm
Address: 105/2, M00 2, Tambon Pong, Amphur Banglamung, Pattaya 20150
2. Chill out at your own private island
For just 1875 Baht (SGD75.00) per person you can charter a private speedboat for half a day and island-hop, fish and snorkel your day away! You can easily book a tour through your hotel and enjoy discounted rates at the same time.
Pattaya is surrounded by many small islands, some more populated than others. If you’re lucky, your skipper might just know of an isolated beach that he can bring you and your friends to. Do note you’ll probably have to bring your own lunch as only some of the major islands offer food for sale. We bought a variety of snacks from the local supermarket for a picnic on our own private island.
The good thing about private tours is that you won’t have to jostle with the throngs of other tourists or worry about rushing off to the next destination. The day is yours to do as you wish, and the skippers are very happy to accommodate your requests. If you’re looking for a laidback day out at sea, a private boat charter is just the thing you need. A small price to pay for your private paradise.
Price: SGD $70 per pax for a full day boating tour with snorkeling + fishing
3. Fly through the canopy with Pattaya’s Flight Of The Gibbon
This high elements eco-adventure park offers the highest zipline in Thailand and stretches for 3 kilometres! With 24 sky platforms, 2 hanging bridges and 2 rappel descents, you and your friends will definitely have a fun time challenging yourselves on the course.
Everyone can participate and no prior experience is necessary! There will also be safety instructors along the way to guide you through the course so you know you’ll be in safe hands.
Prices start from 3,599 Baht (SGD143.96) per person.
Price: Starting from SGD $143 per pax
Address: Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chonburi 20110
4. Visit a market with a twist
The Floating Market is truly a unique experience visitors to Pattaya. Admission fees start at 200 Baht (SGD8.00) but I highly recommend purchasing the package with a boat ride at 800 baht (SGD32.00) to make the most of your experience.
The boat package entitles you to a ride round the market on a traditional narrow boat complete with fisherman hats for those photo opportunities. A group of 4 friends will be able to fit comfortably into one vessel.
You’ll be able to buy food like grilled scallops and noodles off the passing boats, including this magical concoction of sea coconut and sugarcane juice in this hollowed-out bamboo tube for just 40 Baht (SGD1.60). And you don’t have to hop into the boats to purchase them!
There are also performances like magic shows and water fighting that you can catch throughout the day.
Price: SGD $32 for entrance fee + boat ride
Address: 451/304, Moo 12, Talatnam 4 Phak, Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Nong Prue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20150
Opening Hours: Daily 10am to 11pm
5. Have lots of fun in the sun
Every beach holiday will have its fair share of water activities, but the best part about Pattaya is that you can do ALL of them in just one day!
Your tour ticket is a handwritten code on the back of your hand
From parasailing to banana boating, jet-skiing to sea walking, multiple tour operators conduct half day tours to Coral Island and surrounding places where visitors can participate in an array of different activities. We booked a tour through our hotel for 2,000 Baht (SGD80.00) per person for all activities and lunch.
Parasailing is conducted off a pontoon by a really efficient crew. From one person landing to another taking-off, I counted a mere 30 seconds in turnover time.
The tour will also bring you to an island for lunch, banana boating, jet-skiing and snorkelling. If you aren’t in the mood for these activities you can also choose to chill out on a deck chair or take a dip in the water to soak up some Vitamin D.
Price: SGD$70 per pax (includes parasailing, snorkeling, sea-walking, lunch, banana-boating and jet-skiing
6. Conquer your fears with this special delicacy
The squeamish may wish to skip this point but I assure you bugs really don’t taste as bad as they look.
Once dubbed the ‘potato chips’ of Thailand, bugs are sold widely from push carts on the streets. You essentially pick your poison from the buffet of bugs (and sometimes even lizards or frogs) available, watch the vendor deep fry them in some spices, then eat them hot and fresh from a paper bag for about 380 baht (SGD15.00).
Personally the grasshoppers and small frogs tasted the best out of the lot – both tasted like the ikan bilis you get with your nasi lemak. What I didn’t like though were the juicy fat larvae-like bugs that I really should have just left alone.
Price: SGD$15 per bag
7. Bask in Pattaya’s vibrant nightlife
Walking Street is the heart of Pattaya’s nightlife with an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and pubs. Get ready to be entertained with the weird and wonderful the moment you step into the street.
Luminous neon signs dot the street advertising numerous seafood restaurants and drinking places. Hint: food here is naturally more expensive than other eateries you find elsewhere in Pattaya considering this is a tourist hotspot.
Even if you’re not much of a drinker, Walking Street is still worth the visit just for the sights. Locals also go there to show off their craft – we saw groups of b-boys strutting their stuff and boy were they good.
Address: Walking Street Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chonburi 20150
8. Enjoy drinks in sub-zero temperatures
In a country that’s known for its humidity and heat most of the year, when we encountered this ice bar along the Walking Street we were more than willing to check it out, especially since there was a polar bear waving at us from the glass window.
At V20 Ice Bar Pattaya, visitors can enter a room with temperatures as low as 15 degrees below zero! The bar also offers sweaters on loan for guests who wish to enter this room, but if you’re feeling particularly lucky that day I dare you to enter as you are!
The bar offers shots and beer inside the cold room at approximately 150 Baht (SGD6.00) each. if you ask me, I’d definitely pick the shots over the beer because there’s no way one will be able to stay in the cold room to finish an entire pint of beer!
Address: Soi 15 Corner, Walking Street Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chonburi 20150
9. Be amazed at Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden covers an area of a whopping 600 acres and is home to a large number of plant species, structures and interestingly, thousands of animal statues.
You can see the numerous white tigers, lemurs and zebras in the background that make this park a truly unusual one!
The gardens are arranged by themes, including a Pottery Garden, Ant Tower and one specially devoted to cacti of all shapes and sizes!
Apart from the extensive variety of plants found in the grounds, Nong Nooch is also home to cultural shows and elephant shows happening multiple times a day.
Feast your eyes on the elaborate costumes and thrilling choreography as you watch warriors from yesteryear battle it out on the backs of elephants, no less!
As the sheer size of the park might make it a bit of a challenge for some to navigate on foot, visitors can opt to hop onto a tour tram. For just 100 baht (SGD4.00), the tram will bring you around the park and will stop at two attractions for photo-taking opportunities.
Price: SGD20 per pax
Address: 34/1 Moo 7 Najomtien District Sattahip, Pattaya 20250
10. Enjoy a sunset dinner at Mum Aroi
Located just by the sea, Mum Aroi promises a meal with a view. Specializing in seafood, this is one of Pattaya’s most popular restaurants. Reservations are a must after 6pm, especially on weekends. This restaurant is open-air, though there are private air-conditioned rooms for VIP diners.
We ordered a variety of seafood including scallops, sea bass and the must-have tom yum kung. The seafood was unbelievably fresh!
The rock lobster was also relatively cheap at approximately 380 Baht (SGD15.00) for half a kilo.
A hearty seafood dinner is one of the best ways to end an activity-packed day and Mum Aroi is probably one of the best restaurants in Pattaya to do just that! For a simple spread of Tom Yam Soup, Steamed Fish, Rock Lobsters, Scallops and more we only paid SGD $90. Leverage on the strong SIN dollar at this popular delectable seafood joint!
Price: Approx SGD $90 for 4 pax
Address: Soi Naklua 4 Pattaya, Pattaya 20150
11. Marvel at a temple made entirely out of wood
This awe-inspiring structure is made entirely out of wood! What’s even more interesting is that it contains both Buddhist and Hindu motifs and was also constructed as a means to recreate a vision of heaven on earth.
There are stipulated entry times so be sure to check them out on the website before heading down.
As the site is a sacred one, visitors are expected to cover up, but don’t worry too much if you’re in shorts. Sarongs can be rented out for a deposit that will be returned after your visit.
The temple houses some Buddha relics and more information on the symbolism of the temple. Visitors will also get the opportunity to don traditional Thai dress for a photo opportunity.
Price: SGD $20 per pax
Address: 206/2 Moo 5, Soi Naklua 12, Naklua, Bang Lamung District, Chonburi 20150
12. Enjoy total relaxation with a traditional Thai massage
Friends who have fun together also relax together and there’s no better way to wind down than with a traditional Thai massage.
The ubiquitous massage parlour can be found everywhere in Thailand but Thai Massage Home stood out for its open concept parlour with glass windows and homely decor. The masseuses were also all very matronly and would wave to us everytime we walked past their shop.
You can opt for a full body or foot massage, or if you want something more exotic you can try the milk massage or aromatherapy massage. Starting at just 200 Baht (SGD8.00) for a 1 hour massage, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t visit. We did, every single day.
Price: Starting from SGD $8 per pax
Contact No.: 086-358-1539, 081-860-5699
13. Indulge in local street food for just SGD2.00
One of the best ways to experience a new food culture is definitely to have whatever the locals are having, and in Pattaya it usually means food from a mobile cart like this one!
This particular stall along Pattaya Soi 4 had their own little menu complete with English dish names and pictures so they must encounter their fair share of tourists too.
Selling popular classic Thai dishes like omelette with minced meat (kai jeow moo sab ไข่เจียวหมูสับ) and garlic pork (moo tod kratiem หมูกระเทียม) at just 50 Baht (SGD2.00) per dish, you’ll be sure to find a cheap and satisfying meal here.
You can have your food to-go, or, for a truly authentic local experience, you can also choose to have your meal at one of the makeshift tables next to the food cart. It’s best to order a number of dishes to share amongst your friends. Also, go easy on the Thai chillies – they’re a lot more potent than they seem.
14. Be wowed at the splendour of Tiffany’s Show
I had never seen anything quite like what I witnessed at Tiffany’s Show. Glittering sets, oustanding costumes and girls in sky-high stilettos prancing around on stage in ways I never thought was humanly possible.
The catch though, is that all these girls were born male!
Tiffany’s Show has won multiple Thai tourism awards and for good reason. The music, song and dance will keep even the sleepiest audience member entertained. Now in its 40th year, this cabaret show with a twist even has a reputation of being one of the best ten shows to see in the world.
This is truly something you have to see to believe! The stars of the show will all be available for a photo-taking session after the performance for a minimum token fee of 40 Baht (SGD1.60) per artist.
Visit their website here for showtimes and bookings.
Price: SGD $40 for VIP ticket | SGD $34 for Regular ticket
Address: 464 Moo 9, Pattaya 2nd Road, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20260
15. Go around in a songthaew for just SGD0.40
There aren’t many regular taxis in Pattaya. Instead, modified trucks that look like souped-up versions of the Thai tuk tuk serve as local taxis in the area. These are the songthaew and if you don’t see a local on a motorcycle, you’ll probably see them riding in one of these.
It’s easy to hail a songthaew from any main road. Simply tell the driver your destination and hop in the back. Each trip should only cost 10 Baht (SGD0.40), though if you need to get somewhere urgently and there are few songthaews in sight, be prepared to pay up to 25 Baht (SGD1.00) per person.
Each songthaew can carry up to 8 people, so be prepared for your driver to pick up other passengers along the way. Personally, one of the best ways to experience Pattaya’s sights and sounds has got to be in the back of a songthaew.
Bonus: Experience Thai hospitality at its best at Hotel Vista
We chose to stay at Hotel Vista and what a great decision it was! Ana from Guest Relations (left) was there to receive us when we arrived late at around 9pm and even sat down with us to help plan our itinerary!
Aside from making the necessary bookings and arrangements, Ana was also extremely helpful with directions and tips, including rebooking tickets for the Tiffany Show for us when there was a timing mix-up.
Apart from the service, the hotel was modern and cosy and fully fitted with all the amenities every traveller could possibly want. They even have a swanky bar downstairs with decor that I would want in my future home. All this starting at just SGD71.00 a night*.
Thank you Ana and Hotel Vista for the exceptional service and for going out of your way to make our stay such a comfortable and enjoyable one!
Address: 196 Pattaya Soi 4, Pattaya 20150
Fly direct to Pattaya with AirAsia from 27 Nov!
From 27 November 2015, AirAsia will be the only airline to fly direct from Singapore to Pattaya. Pamper yourself by opting for AirAsia’s Hot Seats with extra legroom!
Passengers can also indulge in some of AirAsia’s delicious inflight meals. The exotic mango with sticky rice was hands down our favourite dish and came with a generous portion of fresh mango. There are different food options available for each flight so you know you’ll always be spoilt for choice when you travel with AirAsia!
Fares start from as low as SGD10 one way, excluding taxes. Be fast because the promo ends on 22 Nov!
This post was brought to you by AirAsia.