Rows of jet skis, water scooters and windsurfers line the tideline as music from restaurants, bars and clubs drifts down to the beach, promising a fun-filled night ahead. On the sand, visitors from all over the world soak up the sun as enterprising locals energetically ply their wares and services. It’s this good-natured atmosphere that has made Pattaya Beach one of Asia’s most popular beaches.
The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) crescent of sand that stretches along Pattaya’s north western border has been the focus of tourist activity since the 1960s. While several of the neighboring beaches have followed suit and become attractive tourist destinations in their own right, Pattaya Beach remains the unrivaled original.
Rent a deckchair, sit back in the shade of a palm tree with a coconut cocktail and enjoy the good natured vibe as venders float by offering everything from massages to lottery tickets. Float above the ocean on a parasail ride, hurtle through the water on a banana boat, or be whisked out to the nearby coral island of Kho Larn, where you can dive, snorkel or fish the day away.
Partake in some serious retail therapy on Beach Road where boutique stores offer a mind-bending array of fashion, jewelry, and souvenirs. Stop in at one of the many bars or restaurants along this strip to refuel and watch the passing parade. After sunset, head for the neon-lit central and southern areas where you’ll find fine dining restaurants and the more risqué bars and clubs for which Pattaya is famed for. If the southern area is not to your taste, the northern end of the beach is more laid-back and family-friendly.
Despite being a city beach, Pattaya Beach offers clean, safe water for swimming. It can get crowded on weekends, but the quieter beaches are always just a stroll away.