Nakhon Nayok (นครนายก) is a city in the Chao Phraya Basin region of Thailand.
Nakhon Nayok is a tourism destination not far from Bangkok. The city and surrounding province come alive during the holidays with tourists. Nakhon Nayok is renowned for its refreshing waterfalls and abundant varieties of fruit.
Historically, it is believed that the area of Ban Dong Lakhon, to the south of Nakhon Nayok town, was a Dvaravati settlement, dating back for more than a thousand years. As for the name of “Nakhon Nayok”, records going back to the Ayutthaya’s period indicated that it was an eastern frontier town during the reign of King U-Thong. In 1894, under the royal command of King Rama V, Nakhon Nayok was designated as a part of Prachin Buri Province. Eventually, it became a separate province.
In the past, Nakhon Nayok was called “Ban Na” (village of the rice field). From hearsay, during Ayutthaya period, Nakhon Nayok was just forested highland, on which farming or planting was fruitful. Jungle fever was everywhere, thus the townspeople migrated elsewhere, leaving the place deserted. News of the plight of people reached the king. Subsequently, the king commanded that paddy field taxes be lifted to encourage the people to stay on, which worked, and also enticed the people around the area to migrate to the town. After that, it became a large community and the town was renowned as “Mueang Nayok” (the town where the paddy tax was lifted).
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The city is a less than a two hours drive from Bangkok. It can be reached in two ways:
- Drive Hwy 305, along Rangsit canal passing Ongkharak. This route is about 107 km.
- Take Hwy 1, take a right turn at Hin Gong, and then drive along Suwannason Road (Hwy 33). This route is about 137 km.
The Transport Co., Ltd. (“baw kaw saw”) operates daily non-air conditioned and air conditioned buses from the Northern Bus Terminal on Kamphaengphet 2 Road.
There are two routes: Bangkok-Hin Kong-Nakhon Nayok and Bangkok–Rangsit-Ongkharak-Nakhon Nayok. For more information, contact Phone: +66 2 5378055 or +66 2 9362841. Additionally, there are specially-run second-class air conditioned buses from Bangkok-Ongkharak-Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (by-passing Nakhon Nayok town) available.
There are tuk-tuks available for chartering around Nakhon Nayok town. They can mostly be found at the town bus terminal. For more information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nakhon Nayok office, in city hall.
San Lak Mueang (City Pillar Shrine) (ศาลหลักเมือง) at one time it was a shrine housing a one metre wooden column topped with a carving in the form of a lotus bud, near the old city wall. Later the shrine was rebuilt into an elegant four-cornered pavilion. Today, City Pillar Shrine is the most revered shrine of the townspeople.
Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (โรงเรียนนายร้อยพระจุลจอมเกล้า) A training centre for Thai military cadets.
Attractions in the Chulachomkloa Royal Military Academy include:
- King Rama V Monument (พระบรมราชานุเสาวรีย์พระบาทสมเด็จพระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว) It was built in honour of and reverence to King Chulachomkloa (King Rama V) who was the founder of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.
- Circular Pavilion (ศาลาวงกลม), historically, under the command of Field Marshal Crown Prince Pitsanulok Prachanat, the circular pavilion was built as a recreation area for cadets. It enshrines a statue of King Rama V.
- 100 Year Royal Military Academy Museum (อาคารพิพิธภัณฑ์โรงเรียนนายร้อย จปร. 100 ปี) exhibits biographies of the graduates who performed public services and also displays history of wars, weapons that were used in wars in the past, various uniforms of soldiers of all forces as well as a wax sculpture of King Rama V.
- Shrine of Chao Pho Khun Dan (ศาลเจ้าพ่อขุนด่าน) is a revered shrine of the Thais. Historically, Khun Dan was a commander in Nakhon Nayok during the Ayutthaya period. His heroic deed was the expulsion of the Khmer rebels in the year 1587, during the reign of King Naresuan Maharat.
- Phra Phutthachai or Wat Phra Chai (พระพุทธฉายหรือวัดพระฉาย) was formerly named “Wat Khao Cha-ngok”. In 1942, the army’s map department built a marble quarry at the foot of the hill and restored and enhanced the Buddha images. Phra Phutthachai is sacred to the townspeople.
Luang Pho Sian Nakhon (หลวงพ่อเศียรนคร) the revered Buddha image of the townspeople is enshrined at Bunnak Rakkitaram temple (Wat Tam). It is assumed that this sacred Buddha image dates back to Phra Ruang Era of the Sukhothai period.
Buddha’s Footprint Replica at Khao Nang Buat (รอยพระพุทธบาทจำลองเขานางบวช), housed in a square structure with four arches and a pyramidal roof (mondop) on top of Nang Buat hill. The festivity to worship the Buddha’s Footprint Replica at Khao Nang Buat is held annually in the middle of the fifth month of the lunar calendar.
Ban Dong Lakhon Archeological Site (แหล่งโบราณคดีบ้านดงละคร) It is the site of the old town during the Khmer period. Artefacts discovered here include; an elaborate gold head of a Buddha image about the size of a fingertip, crab and elephant ring-stamps, bronze ring, glass beads, rock beads, and bronze ear-rings.
37th Quartermaster Infantry of Japanese Military Memorial (อนุสรณ์สถานกองพลทหารญี่ปุ่นที่37) The Friends of Asian Alliance War Association built the memorial in 1992 to honour the 7,920 Thai soldiers who were recruited into the Japanese 37th Quartermaster Infantry and died in the war.
Namtok Sarika (น้ำตกสาริกา) is the most famous waterfall of Nakhon Nayok. The waterfall cascades down 9 levels, of which the top level is 200 metres up. Each level (of 9 levels) of the falls has a large basin, which could hold a large amount of water in the rainy season, but is dry in dry season. Nearby, there is “Sarika Cave” where the revered monk “Luang Pu Man” resided on his religious missions from 1917-1920.
Lan Rak Falls or Tat Hin Kong Falls (น้ำตกลานรักหรือน้ำตกตาดหินกอง) The waterfall originates from a small stream passing through a large rocky formation at the end, then flowing strongly through the large rocky formation at the foot of a small hill.
Wang Takhrai (วังตะไคร้) is filled with huge, shady trees and has a small stream running through. There are also a variety of beautiful species of ornamental flowers and plants.
Nang Rong Falls or Namtok Nang Rong (น้ำตกนางรอง) The waterfall originates from a source on a high mountain in Khao Yai National Park. It cascades down several levels onto rock formations, flowing through verdant forests
Huai Prue Reservoir (อ่างเก็บน้ำห้วยปรือ) This is a small reservoir by volume but has a large surface area. The reservoir is filled all year round and surrounded by an unpaved road.
Sai Thong Reservoir (อ่างเก็บน้ำทรายทอง) This small reservoir offers a natural mountainous landscape. The small waterfall runs all throughout the year.
OUT-OF CITY ATTRACTIONS Ban Na District
Namtok Ka-ang (น้ำตกกะอาง) The water cascades through gaps between large rocks. Nearby, there is an transplanting station of the Forestry Department. In the vicinity is a small hill that enshrines the Buddha image in an attitude of subduing Mara.
Namtok Wang Muang (น้ำตกวังม่วง) The waterfall cascades through lines upon lines of big boulders before falling to a basin.
Thudongkhasathan Thawon Nimit (ธุดงคสถานถาวรนิมิตร) is a meditation centre for monks, novices, nuns, and the general public. There are hundreds of shelters for monks, nuns, and general public to worship.
Namtok Heo Narok (น้ำตกเหวนรก) This is a 3-tiered large waterfall with its first tier at 60 metres high. During the rainy season, there is such a lot of water that the flow is frightening and will drop straight down at 90 degrees to a lower chasm.
Chao Pho Ongkharak Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อองครักษ์) In front of the shrine in the middle of the Nakhon Nayok River, there is a sacred whirlpool, of which the water taken is used in royal ceremonies. When the present king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej ascended to the throne, water from this whirlpool was used during the ceremony.
Ornamental Plants and Floral Centre (ศูนย์ไม้ดอกไม้ประดับ) Various plant nurseries that grow a large variety of ornamental plants and flora which are sold to every corner of the country.
- Khao Yai-Nakhon Nayok Jungle Treks (ท่องไพรเขาใหญ่-นครนายก) is usually held during December to June. The trekking aims to promote the study of nature and ecology, as well as creating good understanding in natural resources and environmental conservation.
- Khao Yai National Park, the first national park of Thailand was declared a national park on September 18, 1962. It covers areas of four provinces: Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri, and Saraburi. The park occupies an area of 2,168 square kilometers and consists of virgin forest, tropical forest, streams, waterfalls, wildlife, and a variety of plants. The most suitable visiting time is during the Thai winter, from October to February when it is cold at night until the next morning. The highest point is Khao Rom Peak, which is 1,351 metres above sea level.
- Tak Bat Thewo Rohana Fair (งานประเพณีตักบาตรเทโวโรหนะ), a festivity where offerings are made to monks. The festivity is held annually on the 1st day of the waning moon of the 11th month of the lunar calendar or the end of the Buddhist lent. During the festivity, 109 monks descend from Wat Khao Nang Buat to accept offerings from the townspeople.
- Sweet Plum Mango and Nakhon Nayok Products Fair (งานวันมะปรางหวานและของดีนครนายก) takes place annually during February–April in front of the City Hall. It is held to promote Ma-prang (sweet plum mangoes), and other agricultural products and handicrafts
- Thai Merit Making (Sat Thai) and Long boat Racing Festival (งานประเพณีสารทไทยและแข่งเรือยาวประเพณี) is annually held in October along Khlong 29 at Wat Thawiphon Rangsan, Amphoe Ongkharak. The fair showcases a variety of long boats racing, a krayasat-making contest (krayasat is a sticky paste made from rice, bean, sesame, and sugar, usually eaten during Sat Thai Festival), merit making on Sat Thai day, and local entertainment at night.
- Ongkharak Ornamental Plants and Flowers Fair (งานมหกรรมไม้ดอกไม้ประดับองครักษ์) is annually held in April at Khlong 15, Tambon Bang Pla Kot, Amphoe Ongkharak. The contests of ornamental plants and flowers, mini-garden arrangement contests, and an academic exhibition regarding plants and flowers are also held.
Sweet Plum Mango (Ma-prang, มะปราง) is the most well known fruit of Nakhon Nayok (it is a sweet fruit and is similar to “ma-yong-chit”, a sour fruit). The ma-prang harvest season February to March. They are grown in a number of orchards on the Nakhon Nayok-Namtok Sarika road.
Dala (ดอกดาหลา) is a flower of Etlingera or Jack Jr. Rosemary. Along Highway 3049 as well as the route to Wang Ri Resort, a number of Dala orchards can be found. The dala’s blooming season is November to May.
Marble Products (ผลิตภัณฑ์หินอ่อน): A marble quarry is located near Nakhon Nayok hospital, Amphoe Mueang, and at the intersection to Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.
Bamboo Products (ผลิตภัณฑ์จากไม้ไผ่) Bamboo products are produced in Tambon Sarika, Amphoe Mueang. Products include a miniature sail boat, a peacock, and human faces.
Brooms (ไม้กวาด) Manufactured in Tambon Sarika, Amphoe Mueang, Tambon Na Hin Lat, Tambon Khok Kruat, Tambon Nong Saeng, Amphoe Pak Phli. The brooms are made with indigenous grass and the broomstick is made from a piece of wood from a tree of the Apocynaceae family or made of bamboo.
Doormats made from scrap cloth (พรมทอจากเศษผ้า) are produced in Tambon Khao Phoem, Amphoe Ban Na. The scrap cloth, also made into bed covers, are sold in various sizes at furniture stalls of Ban Na market and Amphoe Mueang.
Sugared Banana Chips (Kluai Chap) (กล้วยฉาบ) and sugared sweet potato and sugared taro chips are produced in Tambon Sarika, Mueang District.
Preserved Fruits (ผลไม้แช่อิ่ม) such as star apples, tamarinds, mangos, santol, and lime. They are sold at the Ban Yai intersection, Mueang District or Dong Chok Di Housewife Association at Ban Dong, Tambon Sarika, Mueang District. The supply of fruits comes from fruit orchards of the members; some of the cultivated fruits are sold fresh while others are converted into various products.
Hua Hin Cha-am | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Hua Hin Travel Guide
Hua Hin is a district in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province of Thailand, 295 kilometers from Bangkok and 90 km from the provincial capital. It is the oldest and most traditional of Thailand’s beach resorts combining the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm and fascination of a still active fishing port. Beaches are located in the east of the province, including a 5km stretch of white sand and clear water. Although it has developed to cater for tourists from all over the world, the resort which began its development over 70 years ago, remains popular with Thais too, a good sign for those looking for an authentic experience.
The resort was originally founded in 1830s, when farmers, moving south to escape the results of a severe drought in the agricultural area of Phetchaburi, found a small village beside white sands and rows of rock, and settled in. The tranquil fishing village was turned into a ‘Royal resort’ becoming popular among Siam’s nobility and smart-set.
Accessibility was greatly enhanced by the construction of the railway from Bangkok, which brought visitors from wider social groups, and kick-started the industry which would bring tourists from other countries. The first hotel – The Railway Hotel – was built in 1921 and it still stands today continuing to serve tourists as the Sofitel Central.
Hua Hin was made famous in the early 1920s by King Rama VII, who decided it was an ideal getaway from the steamy metropolis of Bangkok. He built a summer palace and this was echoed when King Rama VII ordered the construction of the Palace of Klaikangwon (“far from worries”). The latter is still much used by the Thai Royal Family today.
The resort continued to develop slowly, protected to some extent by its Royal reputation. Its fishing port grew alongside golf courses and all the big hotel chains are now represented. Many of Bangkok’s rich and famous and a growing number of expats have built their own summer homes along the bay, making the resort more cosmopolitan every year.
Development has taken over much of the prime government land, so the coast road suffers from obstructed views of the sea these days, but Hua Hin is trying hard to retain its beach-side atmosphere. Compared to Pattaya, the resort remains relatively serene and attracts families and older travelers. The beach has a gradual slope, into clear warm water which so far has escaped pollution of any kind.
Further afield, the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province is a charming region, where limestone cliffs and islands, bays and beaches, are home to a national park, and several temples, and travelling through this area will be a welcome experience for those hoping to avoid the tourist traps found further South. Driving from Bangkok through Prachuap Khiri Khan takes around three hours, a journey punctuated by summer palaces, huge temples, beautifully kept gardens and salt flats.
Visitors head to Hua Hin all year round. The area has one of the lowest rainfalls in the country, and there’s usually a gentle sea breeze to punctuate the heat, particularly welcome in the summer season between March and September.
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Flights to Hua Hin
Things to see and do in Hua Hin
As you would expect with a resort boasting a 5km clean white beach, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are popular pastimes. Swimming is safe, and with one of the driest climates across Thailand, there’s plenty of opportunity to dry off in the sun afterwards.
Possibly due to its noble history and elegant clientele, Hua Hin has the highest density of world class golf courses anywhere in Thailand, although it has yet to be discovered by the international golf tournament circuit. Green-fees and other costs are surprisingly low, given that course maintenance and services are superb. The Royal Hua Hin course is one of many, but considered to be the best.
Shop till you drop
Chatchai Market is colourful and inexpensive and is one of Hua Hin’s major attractions. Vendors gather nightly in the centre of town, where they cook fresh gulf seafood for hordes of hungry Thais and provide a spectacle for visitors. As well as plentiful food shops, it offers much that will appeal to souvenir hunters too.
Klai Kangwon (which means ‘Far From Worries’ ) is the Royal Palace built by King Rama VII in 1928. It was designed by Prince Iddhidehsarn Kridakara, an architect and the Director of the Fine Arts Department at the time, and officially opened in 1929. Further structures have been added over time, including a mansion ordered by King Bhumibol (Rama IX) for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and accommodation for the royal entourage, built in the style of the original buildings so as to preserve the harmony of the palace. Although Klai Kangwon is still in regular use by the Royal family, it is also open to the public.
Hop on a train
Or more importantly, visit the railway station. Built in the reign of Rama IV, the brightly painted wooden buildings somehow combine traditional Thai ideas with a Victorian feel, and in 2009 Hua Hin made it onto NewsWeek’s Best Stations list, in great company such as New York’s Grand Central, and London’s St Pancras.
Although one of the joys of Hua Hin is its serenity and calm, if you’re keen to take in more, its fairly easy to find trips which will take you to many of the other southern beach destinations such as Koh Nangyaun, Koh Toa, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi and Koa Sok. You may find however that some of these legendary destinations have suffered more at the hands of the global tourist industry than Hua Hin has.
Khao Takiab is referred as Monkey Mountain, but as well as the mischievous residents, it also boasts a hilltop temple with sensational views of Hua Hin, a pagoda-style shrine and a giant golden Buddha which faces the sunrise.
Walk in the Park
The region boasts several parks, and natural attractions, such as the Kangajan National Park, and the Koa Sam Roi Yod Marine Park. You’ll find miles of good walking, amongst lakes, caves and waterfalls, and you’ll be in the company of as elephants, tigers, wild dogs and leopards.
Eat, drink and sleep in Hua Hin
As more affluent ex-pats from all over the world gather to weather the winter, or snap up beachfront properties in Hua Hin, the restaurant scene becomes more cosmopolitan. French, Italian, German and Scandinavian restaurants are all here, in case anyone feels homesick. However, there are also rustic seafood restaurants, especially on the pier, and at several of these you can choose your own fish from the fish market right outside and waiters will bring you the finished result.
There are plenty of simpler local restaurants both inside and out on the streets where you can sample authentic Thai food too.
If you want to try to cook your own Thai food in Hua Hin, the very best place to buy your ingredients, not because it’s the cheapest, but because it is a fabulous experience, is the night market. Right in the centre of town, it opens at 18:00. It’s also a terrific place to buy handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing.
The Chatchai market is a great day market and the place to go for the best street food, as vendors grill, fry, boil and dress the fabulous local fish and shellfish, but don’t forget to leave room for a real local speciality. Roti Hua Hin is a delicious dough-based snack filled with strawberries, custard or raisins.
In a side street just off the market is the Hua Hin Thai Show, a pagoda-style restaurant which combines great food with a nightly musical performance, where you can sample folk with your fish or classical over your clams.
Unlike many Thai resorts, here you will also find more elegant dining, including Thai and Vietnamese food with a more upmarket touch for a real treat. Monsoon is the most romantic and expensive, but it’s worth it for the wine list and the elegant atmosphere. If your budget doesn’t run to dinner, you can enjoy afternoon tea on its teak-decked terrace.
Hua Hin isn’t as lively as many of its neighbours, but that doesn’t mean it’s no go for night life. There are quite a few live music venues, including El Murphy’s the Irish bar, which has its own local band rocking the town with rock and blues classics. There are a couple of country music pubs, and several nightclubs, but for a really classy experience, head to Satchmo’s where a vibrant Filipino band will serenade you as you drink the best Mojito outside Mexico.
Hua Hin has more than its share of upmarket and luxury accommodation. All the main hotel chains are here, and most have lovely grounds, top facilities and restaurants. There are elegant luxury boutique-style hotels too, many with villas and private pools. Sadly, there aren’t as many budget options as there used to be, but if you’re prepared to do some research you can find clean an friendly guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts at reasonable rates. If you’re planning to stay a while, a rental apartment can be a good option; many of the holiday homes owned by people who live abroad can be rented for at least part of the year. Wherever you stay, Hua Hin is an oasis of calm in a country of exciting contrasts.
Hotels/Resorts in Hua Hin
Hotels Hua Hin: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|Hua Hin Marriott Resort and Spa||★★★★★||-26%||181 134|
|G Hua Hin Resort & Mall||★★★★||-13%||66 58|
|Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa - SHA Certified||★★★★★||-19%||119 97|
|Hop Inn Hua Hin||★★|
|Anantara Hua Hin Resort||★★★★★||-22%||116 91|
|Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin||★★★★★||-38%||126 78|
|Asira Boutique HuaHin||★★★★||-9%||372 339|
|Blu Marine Hua Hin Resort and Villas||★★★|
|Amari Hua Hin - SHA Certified||★★★★★|
|Bann Lom Le Guest House||★★|
|The Herbs Hotel Hua Hin||★★★★||-20%||191 153|
|Corner Cafe Bed & Breakfast||★★|
|Whale Hua Hin - SHA Certified||★★★★||-60%||653 262|
|Putahracsa Hua Hin Resort||★★★★★||-8%||128 119|
|InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, an IHG Hotel||★★★★★||-20%||168 134|
|Dadddy's home Huahin||★★|
|Ruenkanok Thaihouse Resort||★★★||-37%||323 204|
|Hyatt Regency Hua Hin||★★★★★||-23%||575 444|
|Villa Baan Malinee||★★★|
Chainat | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
The town, Chai Nat (ชัยนาท) is the provincial capital of Chai Nat Province, in the central region of Thailand. Understand Chai Nat means a roaring victory. Originally this ancient town was on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River at the mouth of Khlong Phraek Si Racha south of the old waterway. Established after […]
The town, Chai Nat (ชัยนาท) is the provincial capital of Chai Nat Province, in the central region of Thailand.
Chai Nat means a roaring victory. Originally this ancient town was on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River at the mouth of Khlong Phraek Si Racha south of the old waterway. Established after the town of Phanthumwadi (Suphanburi Province), Chai Nat was Sukhothai’s most important southern outpost built during the reign of King Phaya Loethai of Sukhothai during 1317–1336.
This ancient community was called Mueang Phraek or Mueang San. When the Sukhothai Kingdom declined, Phraek became Ayutthaya’s northern outpost. Later, a new community was established not far from Phraek. Its ruler was Chao Sam Phraya, who later ruled Ayutthaya and became King Borom Rachathirat II. This new community was a large town called Chai Nat. In the reign of King Rama V, the main settlement of the province in Laem Yang was moved to the left bank of the Chao Phraya River. Mueang San slowly declined because most of the people migrated to Chai Nat. The old town later became a district of Chai Nat. Chai Nat was an important military base to confront with the Burmese armies. As all these confrontations were successful, the city gained the name Chai Nat.
Apart from its long history, Chai Nat is known for handicrafts of basketry, sculpture, weaving and Benjarong porcelain.
Chai Nat occupies an area of 2,470 square km.
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Chai Nat is 194 km from Bangkok. To get there, take Hwy 1 and at km50, change to Hwy 32 passing through Ang Thong and Singburi. Then, at km183, take a left turn onto Hwy 1. Proceed another 10 km.
Take a bus to Chai Nat
Take the hourly air conditioned bus (05:30-17:30) from the Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) on Kamphaengphet Road to Chai Nat. It takes about 2.5 hr to get there. For further information, contact the Chai Nat Tour Company Limited (Bangkok office Tel.+66 2 9363608, and Chai Nat’s office Tel.+66 56 412264), or the Transport Company Limited, Tel.+66 2 5765599, +66 2 9362852-66, or visit .
- Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Sing Buri or Suphanburi
Pattaya | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
The City of Pattaya on the East coast of the Gulf of Thailand is a self-governing region about 165km Southeast of Bangkok. For centuries, it was a small fishing village, but when American servicemen ventured down the coast from their base in Nakhon Ratchasima in 1959, in search of rest and relaxation during the Vietnam War, the package holiday industry took off with a bang, and Pattaya began to develop into the popular beach resort of today.
Now, the fishermens’ huts have long gone, as the region lures sun-worshippers and hedonists in their millions every year. A seemingly unlimited flow of dollars fuelled the local economy which for decades wasn’t as careful as it might have been about the rapid development and free-for-all glitz and glamour which drove the city’s progress, but more recently, it is striving to position itself as a more family-friendly destination.
Nowadays, the nearby temples of the Pratamnak Hill look down on a bustling metropolis, packed with hotels, stores, high-rise apartment blocks, bars and restaurants. Pleasure-seekers revel in the nightlife, with its pulsing beat, and head for the beaches of Naklua, Pattaya and Jomtien by day.
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Cheap Flights to Utapao
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Broadly speaking, the city is divided into several regions. Central Pattaya offers countless shops and restaurants, and plentiful nightlife, but is definitely not for those in search of a quiet night’s sleep. Likewise, South Pattaya, which encompasses the word-famous Walking Street, a tourist attraction in itself, which draws foreigners and Thai nationals alike, primarily for the after-dark entertainment. This is also the City’s red-light district, and go-go bars and brothels line the street which runs from the south end of Beach Road to the Bali Hai Pier. However, Walking Street also includes seafood restaurants, live music venues, beer bars, discos and sports bars and has an impressive collection of neon signs for those who want to be where the action is.
There’s no escaping the hurly burly in Pattaya, but if you’re looking for a slightly more peaceful experience, you’ll head to one of the beaches. Pattaya’s beaches are everything expected of Thailand’s famed beaches. Gorgeous, clean and well facilitated. Jomtien is popular with package tour operators and families, whilst if you head up to Naklua and North Pattaya you’ll find that although there are still plenty of bars and restaurants, the entertainment isn’t quite as relentless. If you seek out the more remote corners of Naklua you may even get a hint of the region’s traditional history as a fishing town. Few tourists bother, but for traditionalists, it’s worth a visit.
The tropical climate divides the year into three, from November to February the air is warm and dry, getting hotter and more humid through to May, and the rainy season runs from June to October.
Overall, Pattaya is not for the faint-hearted, or those in search of solitude or a cultural experience, but it will reward the laid-back traveller with just a hint of a spirit of adventure.
Things to see and do
Shop till you drop
Over the fifty or so years since the first GIs showed up in search of the sun, Pattaya has developed into a hive of activity, not least for those in search of retail therapy. The city is full of shops, including Asia’s largest beachfront shopping mall, the Central Festival Pattaya Beach Mall, attached to the Hilton Hotel.
Take to the water
If you’ve any energy left after the thrills of the night, all the beaches offer a wide range of watersports, which attract as many Thai visitors, heading to Pattaya for the weekend from Bankok. Jet-ski-ing and parasailing are the norm, and small boats are available for hire, or skippered trips.
One of the joys of a Thai beach holiday is the wealth of offshore islands, many of which can be reached by small boat or ferry in a matter of minutes. From Pattaya, head off to Ko Larn, Ko Sak or Ko Krok, known as the ‘near islands’ about 7k from Pattaya, or journey further towards the ‘far islands’ Ko Phai, Ko Man Wichai, Ko Hu Chang or Ko Klung Badan. Many of the islands have public beaches, less crowded than those on the mainland, and lots offer scuba diving and other water-based fun.
See the sights
If you’re in search of something a little more cultural, look out for the Wat Khao Phra Bat Temple, which overlooks Pattaya Bay and features a 18metre-high Buddha.
The Sanctuary of Truth is set on a rocky point of the coast just north of Pattaya, in the small town of Naklua. It’s a work in progress, started by an eccentric billionaire who began the ambitious construction 20 years ago. The Sanctuary is rather more adventure park than spiritual haven, but you can still take in this fascinating construction project, made entirely from wood, by a team of 250 woodcarvers.
Billed as a world-leading adventure park, the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden features impressive elephant and Thai cultural shows, in one of the biggest botanical gardens in Southeast Asia. Despite the cultural differences between east and west, it is still possible to appreciate the conservation projects at work here, while palms and orchids, education facilities and plenty of food and drink choices contribute to a rewarding family day out.
Back to the hustle and bustle of an activity-fuelled holiday and you might want to check out the private Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Mini Siam model village, the Pattaya Crocodile Farm, the Silverlake Winery, Aquarium, or any of the many amusement and waterparks dotted around the region.
Time your trip carefully, and you may find yourself caught up in one of the many festivals which take place throughout the year. Bikers will enjoy Burapa Pattaya Bike Week in February which brings together motorcyles and international music, whiles those who prefer their entertainment without engine noise will enjoy March’s Pattaya International Music festival, or the Songkran festival, which lasts for several days in April. Regattas, dance parties, beauty pageants, gay celebrations and traditional light festivals are here in abundance, there’s something going on here every day of the year, and if you hit Chinese New Year, there’ll be dragons, lion dances and fireworks too.
Eat, drink and sleep
The Thais are very casual when it comes to eating and drinking. This is a busy place with lots going on, nobody is going to notice if you eat with your hands, spit out your seeds, or put your elbows on the table. Eateries pop up in the most unlikely doorways so watch out for those special little places – particularly on Second Road and in Naklau. These are the most likely places for real Thai food and if you’re sensible you will follow the locals to the best places. Anywhere with a queue is bound to be good. Street food is one of the joys of South East Asian dining, don’t miss the opportunity to experiment.
However, as this is such a multinational tourist destination, you may find it difficult to find a truly authentic Thai culinary experience along the main drags. You’re as likely to find an American diner, Italian spaghetti house or Greek emporium so it’s worth seeking out the quieter corners and watching to see where the locals eat.
Most formal meals consist of a meat or a fish dish, fried or steamed vegetables, a curry, stir-fried dishes of meat and vegetables and a soup. If you decide to enjoy a traditional meal, expect to take time over it. You’ll experience flavours including lemon grass and coriander, plenty of chilli, and flavourings such as fish sauce and Java Root. Most Thai meals are centred on rice or noodles.
Drink flows freely in Thailand, and the traditional accompaniment to a Thai meal is local beer or rice whisky. However, this is Pattaya, and you can’t travel more than a few metres without finding yourself in a bar. The designs, interior décor, themes and even the drinks may not be traditional, but you’ll find plenty of company as you pile into the drink. It’s unlikely you’ll be trying to stay sober, but if you do, ask for a melon ice drink, or a citrus banana punch, two of Thailand’s favourite non-alcoholic tipples.
As you’d expect in a city dedicated to tourists and good times, there are as many places to stay as there are fish in the sea. From the huge sky-scraper international hotel chains, to smaller, funkier one-off establishments, it’s easy to find a room which will suit your particular needs. Staff are helpful and friendly, although facilities vary greatly, so check out the things that matter to you.
However for a more authentic experience, go for a self-catering apartment, or a smaller Bed and Breakfast, although it’s advisable to check out feedback from previous guests. For those on a budget or a gap year, there are plenty of hostels and backpacker hangouts too, and these can be had for a song as long as you don’t mind the person in the bed next to you singing all night. Basically, it depends on how much of your time in this vibrant colourful mecca of pleasure you’re planning to spend in your hotel room.
Hotels Pattaya: Popularity
|Hotel||Stars||Discount||Price before and discount||Select dates|
|Siam@Siam Design Hotel Pattaya||★★★★★||-48%||182 95|
|Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya||★★★★★||-56%||374 163|
|Holiday Inn Pattaya, an IHG Hotel||★★★★||-30%||97 68|
|Hilton Pattaya||★★★★★||-45%||311 171|
|Dusit Thani Pattaya||★★★★★||-60%||205 83|
|Avani Pattaya Resort||★★★★★||-60%||157 62|
|Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya||★★★★||-55%||682 305|
|Grande Centre Point Pattaya||★★★★★||-51%||175 86|
|Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort||★★★★||-35%||397 257|
|The Bayview Hotel Pattaya||★★★★||-49%||571 290|
|Swiss Paradise Boutique Villa||★★★|
|Adelphi Pattaya||★★★★||-50%||271 134|
|Cape Dara Resort||★★★★★||-32%||277 188|
|Royal Cliff Beach Hotel||★★★★★||-42%||144 83|
|Centara Pattaya Hotel||★★★★|
|Grand Scenaria Hotel|
|Arden Hotel and Residence by At Mind||★★★★||-21%||272 215|
|Pattaya Discovery Beach Hotel||★★★★||-28%||75 54|
|D Varee Jomtien Beach Pattaya Hotel|
|A-One Star Hotel||★★★||-20%||71 57|
|Pullman Pattaya Hotel G||★★★★★||-56%||210 92|
|Rita Resort & Residence||★★★|
|Ibis Pattaya||★★★||-39%||201 124|
|Amari Pattaya||★★★★★||-50%||256 128|
|Butterfly Garden Boutique Residence by Frasier||★★★★|
|Red Planet Pattaya||★★★||-47%||125 66|
|InterContinental Pattaya Resort, an IHG Hotel||★★★★★||-48%||294 152|
|Centra by Centara Maris Resort Jomtien||★★★★||-45%||407 224|