Pattaya is one of the most well-known cities in Thailand, known for its vibrant nightlife and many beaches. It is just a short drive away from Bangkok, making it a popular weekend getaway destination for locals and expats alike, not to mention tourists. That being said, there’s more to do in Pattaya other than tan all day and drink all night. Whether you choose to explore a vineyard, visit a theme park, or go go-cart riding, you’ll need a way to get around. Here are some ways to get around Pattaya:
You can see songthaews all over Thailand, but they’ll be particularly prominent in this city. Songthaews are trucks with benches in the back, with poles that locals often stand and cling to when there’s no room to sit. They follow a fixed route around the area. There are constantly trucks on duty, making it a pretty cheap and easy way to travel. If you want to get around Beach Road, Walking Street, Pattaya 2, or even around Jomtien and Naklua, songthaews are probably the most efficient way. The price you pay will vary depending on the distance, but generally, you shouldn’t have to pay more than fifty baht. Try to pay the exact amount - don’t expect change for your thousand baht bills here.
To wave a songthaew down, just reach out your arm and wave. People get on and get off anywhere along the route - there are no bus stations involved. When you’re nearing your destination, simply press the buzzer button in the back.
Local buses are a popular way to get around Bangkok, but they aren’t as common in Pattaya. There certainly are buses, but routes are sometimes changed and cancellations aren’t infrequent. Before opting to travel by bus, consider asking a local for a recommendation on the best way to get somewhere. You may get a route map and timetable, or you may get a recommendation to travel via another form of transportation instead. Local buses are cheap, but oftentimes you’ll find that songthaews are easier to use when getting around.
There aren’t too many metered taxis in Pattaya, but you’ll probably be able to find private-hire taxis throughout the city. A lot of them are drivers who have brought someone in from Bangkok and are just getting in some short rides in the area or looking for a return passenger headed in the same direction. You could try asking them to use the meter, but chances are you’ll have to negotiate a fare that you can both agree on. If you’re grabbing a taxi from Second Road, however, expect them to use a meter - these are local taxis.
Pattaya is filled with private taxi companies that are great options for a day of getting around. Be sure to negotiate a fee that you are okay with before accepting the ride. It would be a good idea to ask your hotel or guesthouse to grab you a taxi - they often have connections and can have one headed your way in a jiffy.
As with everywhere else in Thailand, motorcycle taxis are abundant. They are a quick and easy way to get around, especially if you’re traveling alone. For short distances, they are probably the most efficient as well. You won’t have any trouble spotting them, as drivers wear bright vests and can easily be found near main roads or big attractions. Ask for the price ahead of time as to not be blindsided. Most importantly, put your feet on the footrests, grip the bar behind you, wear a helmet, and have fun!
If you’re traveling in a group or have a full day’s excursion ahead, you may want to rent a car. This is particularly a good idea if you’re traveling with a family and don’t want to lug the kids’ bags on public transportation. That being said, do note that you’ll have to be okay with a more flexible schedule, as you may end up stuck in traffic or have trouble finding a place to park.
If you want a more authentic way of getting around, consider renting a scooter or a motorbike. This allows you to go where you want and roam around the nooks and crannies of the city. Make sure you’ve got a license and some experience before taking the road and always remember to wear your helmet!
If you are choosing to rent a vehicle, take special care during the rental process. Don’t leave your passport behind as collateral - ask if they’ll take a photocopy instead. Take photos of any defects ahead of time as well, so you won’t be as susceptible to being scammed.
Pattaya is certainly a fantastic city, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t roam around a little. Use these transportation tips to get around on your next visit, and you’re sure to have a good time!