Getting Around Pattaya
Pattaya’s main tourist area spans little more than a few kilometres, so getting around Pattaya on foot is very feasible (but be wary of the humidity). Many of the shopping malls, hotels, bars, restaurants and nightlife hot spots are all within walking distance of one another making it easy to explore the city during the day and at night. It’s worth remembering though that Pattaya can get extremely hot during the day and unless you are exceptionally fit you may find walking much more than 200 meters an effort at times. Fortunately, Pattaya has some fantastic public transport options if you would prefer to give your feet a rest, including the Baht Bus, which are cheap, regular and reliable.
Unlike much of Thailand, there are no Tuk-Tuks in Pattaya, instead people tend to get around using the baht buses and/or motorbike taxis. A baht bus is basically a pick-up truck with a hard canopy top and a bench either side. Baht buses are everywhere in Pattaya – you’ll never have to wait more than a few minutes for one to pass you, if you’re on one of the main routes. Simply flag one down and hop on the back.
Baht buses operate along all the most popular routes but you can ask them to make a detour to a specific address if needed. Just be sure to agree on a price with the driver before you hop on the bus. One of the main routes runs from the junction of South Pattaya Road with Second Road, all along Second Road to the Dolphin Roundabout and then back down Beach Road or continuing up to Naklua Road.
There’s another popular baht bus route which starts from the South Pattaya Road junction with Soi Buakhow, continues along Soi Buakhow until it meets with Central Pattaya Road. From here drivers will either head back down Beach Road, or continue further north. If you’re looking to head out of central Pattaya to places such as Jomtien, you can normally find baht buses parked up on the corner of South Pattaya Road and Pratamnak Road. The short journey should only cost you 20 baht – your cheapest option, unless you fancy the walk instead of course.
As a general rule of thumb, the standard fee for anywhere on the route is 10 baht, for both Thais and foreigners. If you are looking to travel a little further then check the fare prices displayed in the back of every baht bus.
Motorbike taxis offer a quick and convenient way of getting around Pattaya, especially during busy periods. The taxis are easy to find as the drivers can be found gathered on nearly every street and operate 24 hours, 7 days a week. It’s worth noting though that hopping on a motorbike taxi is not for the faint-hearted and can be dangerous. It’s another ridiculously cheap way of getting around Pattaya, but if you’re a poor backseat driver then you may find the Thai way of driving difficult to get your head around.
To get a motorbike taxi, simply walk down the street and raise an arm at the next passing taxi bike – it’s as easy as that. It’s always a good idea to agree a fare with the taxi rider before you begin the journey and always remember to wear a helmet. Riders will always have a spare one for you to use. Just like in many other countries, it is illegal in Thailand to drive the wrong way down a one-way street, jump red lights, exceed the speed limit and undertake other road users. However, you may find that these road laws all go out the window when you ride on the back of a taxi bike.
Car & Bike Hire
Another option for getting around Pattaya is to hire a scooter or car. Although it’s a practical way of travelling around the city it’s not hugely popular with tourists because the baht bus and taxi bikes are just an easier alternative. Hiring a 100cc or 125cc scooter will cost you approx. 150-200 baht per day and if you hire for a longer period it’s likely you’ll receive a cheaper daily rate. Note that you drive on the LEFT in Thailand (the same as the UK). Although you will see Thais driving without wearing a motorbike helmet it is illegal not to wear one and the police will quickly stop a tourist and fine them 200 baht for such an infraction. Most hotels have scooters for rent and their are also hire shops scattered across the city with various different makes and models to choose from. Both automatic and semi- automatic scooters are available, ideal for those who are not familiar with riding a bike.
You will see various 600cc to 1000cc motorbikes for rent by Beach Road – DO NOT rent these unless you are an experienced motorbike rider – we have read of too many bravado tourists who felt invincible whilst on holiday ending under a bus on these large motorbikes.
It’s also possible to hire a car in Pattaya, although unless you are planning to explore beyond the city there really is little point as you’ll only end up spending hours stuck in traffic. Again, there are many hire shops scattered across the city with prices ranging from 800 – 1,200 baht a day depending on the age and model of the vehicle.
The main point about driving anywhere in Thailand is not to think that the rules which seems to govern how Thais drive will be allowed by tourists. Drive sensibly and comply with the law and you should be safe.