While Pattaya is legendary for its nightlife scene, it also showcases an array of day trips and activities for visitors of all ages. The spectacular wood-carved Sanctuary of Truth is a one hundred-metre-tall wonder of traditional Thai construction, Jomtien Beach is a popular spot for sun worshippers, and Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens has world-class tropical flora and stunning landscape sculptures.
Tourists who want to see the sights can enjoy everything that Pattaya has to offer. However, because Pattaya has no official public transit, getting around means taking taxis. Those who wish to save money while having a more convenient experience should consider renting a car in Pattaya.
With a rental at the ready, here are a few things to see and do in and around Pattaya:
Pattaya has a rich cultural heritage with many famous temples, sacred shrines, and cultural sites. Arguably the most famous is the Sanctuary of Truth. This Thai-style wooden temple is based on the temple styles seen in the ancient city of Ayutthaya, north of Bangkok, and stands more than one hundred metres tall. Construction began in 1981 and continues to this day, but it remains open for visitors.
Another popular site for visitors is the Big Buddha Temple, just north of Jomtien Beach. Not to be confused with the Big Buddha of Phuket, this statue boasts a golden colour compared to the white of Phuket. It sits on a lone hill and provides fantastic views of Pattaya and the nearby Gulf of Thailand.
Further south of Pattaya city is the Khao Chi Chan Buddha. It is the world’s largest carved-outline Buddha image at almost 110 metres tall. It was constructed in 1996 in honour of the late King Adulyadej’s 50th anniversary on the throne. More than 1,000 monkeys are estimated to live in the area, and they can often be seen playing nearby.
Finally, near the Khao Chi Chan Buddha is the gorgeous Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens. Measuring half a square kilometre, these legendary gardens are built to impress. What started as a simple fruit plantation in the 1950s blossomed after the owner went abroad and saw the great botanical gardens of the world.
Opened in 1980, the Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens are home to a world-class collection of tropical flora and fauna. More than 5,000 visitors come to the gardens each day and stay for the cultural shows. A daily on-site theatre hosts a performance of traditional Thai dances and culture.
Fun in the Sun
Prior to American troops being stationed at nearby U-Tapao airport during the Vietnam War, Pattaya was little more than a fishing village. American GIs on leave soon came to love the pristine sandy beaches just two hours from Bangkok, and local entrepreneurs began building hotels and resorts.
Today, Pattaya is known around the world for its numerous activities to enjoy as well as its beaches. Its two primary beaches are Pattaya Beach and Jomtien Beach. Pattaya Beach has a reputation as a party destination with plenty of restaurants, vendors, and a massive nightlife scene.
Travellers who want a quieter, relaxed atmosphere are advised to spend their day at Jomtien Beach. It offers many of the same amenities without the chaotic atmosphere. Spend the day sipping fresh coconut water under the shade of a palm tree!
Families with kids who might get bored at the beach don’t need to worry. Pattaya is also home to two famous water parks: the Columbia Pictures Aquaverse and the Ramayana Water Park. Both are located south of the city, close to the Nong Nooch Gardens. With so many things to see and do outside of Pattaya, renting a car is the most economical option for many tourists.
Making the Most of Your Trip With Drive Car Rental
Pattaya isn’t the only thing you can see with a rental car–its location makes it ideal for exploring central and eastern Thailand. Nearby Rayong is a favourite for those who want a more beach atmosphere more relaxed than that of Pattaya, and further afield is Koh Chang, a small island off the coast, near the Cambodian border. Regularly scheduled ferries make it convenient to see the island while taking your car with you.
Bangkok and Ayutthaya are also just a few hours to the north by car. Drive Car Rental has locations throughout Thailand’s larger cities, and for travellers with a flexible itinerary, we offer the option to pick up a car in one city and drop it off in another. For the best rates and vehicle selection, book early for the perfect trip to Pattaya and beyond!