Although it is still known as the sex tourism capital of the world, Pattaya is trying to develop some family friendly image to attract more diversified segments of tourists. In a sense, Pattaya is quite there already: many families flock to Pattaya from capital Bangkok for a weekend holiday and we see increasing number of tourists going to Pattaya for its sun, beaches and activities. But even if you are not into red light districts and their workers, the `trade` is quite obviously done out in the streets and clubs. So if you will not be able to stomach the `scene` it may still be better to not visit Pattaya. On the other hand, if you are going to Pattaya to bang, it will be a paradise for you.
Pattaya's city center is quite straight forward. The city lies in the north-south direction, parallel to the sea. Between the sea and the city, there is Pattaya Beach and Beach Road running parallel to the sea and the beach. In the south, Beach Road becomes Walking Street, the infamous Red Light District of Pattaya. Inside Pattaya, Second Road runs parallel to Beach Road and these 2 are connected to each other with 3 main roads and many narrow sois (see the map below).
Pattaya is indeed offering a lot of fun other than its naughty night life. It is a heaven for water sports lovers and the city also offers golf, horse riding, bungee jumping, swimming and etc.
Where you should stay in Pattaya depends on why you are in Pattaya. If you are in for the `trade` you would like to stay near Walking Street. If not, Jomtien Beach will be a more family oriented and tranquil place to stay.
Most hotels will allow you to bring your "hourly" or "nightly" friend to the hotel. This means some do not, so if you are planning to bring in someone, then you should be sure that you can do it. Some luxury hotels will charge extra "joiner fee" to discourage you to bring in new "friends" so this is also something to check. Security will keep the identity card of your new friend for your safety. If this new friend is younger than 20, many hotels will not accept her/him.
Another thing to know about Pattaya hotels is the smoking free room issue. Many do not have it. Most of the hotels with smoke free rooms will have a limited number of them. If you have an issue with tobacco and its smell, stick to hotel chains and luxury hotels.
Pattaya map and its main streets
South Pattaya - Pattaya Walking Street
South Pattaya is in fact is not the southern most area in the city (to the south you have Buddha Hill and Jomtien Beach). Pattayaland and Walking Street are here in South Pattaya. Walking Street is the main tourist attraction in the city and is the red light district. There are many beer bars, go-go bars, brothels and small stalls selling many things you can buy and eat. This 20th century Gomara is worth to visit even if you are not into the trade here.
Pattayaland is the poster child of Pattaya with its neon filled space. The place is in fact nothing compared to Walking Street (only 8 and so go-go bars here).
There are many hotels in South Pattaya. Cheaper ones tend to be on bars or other establishments and may be very noisy. For the hotels, their room prices and customer reviews refer to South Pattaya hotels, and Walking Street hotels pages.
Pattaya Walking Street
Soi Buakhao, Soi LK Metro and Soi Honey
You can find cheap hotels, hostels and guest houses in Soi Buakhao, Soi LK Metro and Soi Honey. Very noisy and many hotels here does not have online booking but you can just show up in the reception and book a hotel.
Jomtien Beach is seperated from Pattaya Proper by Buddha Hill and is quite quite and clean compared to Pattaya city center. The beach is a heaven for water sports lovers and kids will find it entertaining in amusement and water tower.
If you want to be a little away from the circus in the south Pattaya, this is a very nice place to stay. For Pattaya hotels here go to Pattaya Jomtien Beach hotels.
Pattaya Jomtien Beach
Islands Near Pattaya
For many, islands near Pattaya means a daily tour but you can indeed stay in some of them. Ko Lan is the most famous and largest one offering many hotels and resorts.