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Best things to do in Pattaya in 2024 (beyond the bars!)

Best things to do in Pattaya in 2024 (beyond the bars!)

Even with all the time I have spent in Thailand over the past 20 or so years, it took me years until I made it to Pattaya.

The problem was its reputation – as a hub for sex tourism and everything that brought with it.

Of course, there are many more things to do in Pattaya that don’t involve the red light districts or the ‘companions’ that many foreign visitors pick up for their stay. But are they worth the visit?

Well, I’m about to give you some suggestions for what to do in Pattaya, and some of them are interesting and fun.

But I have to be honest right at the top here – I wouldn’t really recommend visiting Pattaya. It’s just not one of the best places in Thailand.

If you want great beaches, you’re better off in popular destinations like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, or quieter islands like Koh Lanta or Koh Lipe.

If you want nightlife, you’re going to find much better options in Phuket, or even Bangkok.

And if you’re looking for good food or interesting culture, head to Chiang Mai or Ayutthaya.

Really, the best thing going for Pattaya is its convenience – and certainly a two-hour bus ride from Bangkok for about 150 baht (US$4) is a great deal and a much easier way to leave the capital for a few nights than fly to a different part of the country.

What to do in Pattaya: Big Buddha

But the problem is that most of the things to do in Pattaya are just tacky tourist attractions that have been created solely to entertain the hordes of visitors, rather than anything that actually has any meaning or authenticity.

Did you really come all the way to Thailand to see a generic aquarium, a random Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum, or (worst of all) an abused elephant or tiger?

Is Pattaya really that bad?

In my opinion, the notoriety that Pattaya has for seediness is justified – but it’s also just one part of the city.

Pattaya’s Walking Street is as much a red light district as a nightlife district, but it’s not an area you need to go through.

The other sois (streets) that are lined with bars full of beckoning ladies (or men) are likewise… avoidable.

And even if you can’t avoid the shadowy figures under trees at night offering their services, or the older Western men with their young Thai friend across from you in a restaurant, you can quite easily ignore them.

Things to do in Pattaya: Nightlife

I think the biggest problem with Pattaya is not the sex tourism, but just that it’s not a particularly nice place to spend your time.

The city is enormous, full of busy streets, meaning it feels…

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