Pattaya is where?

Geographically speaking, Pattaya is a city perched beside a bay on the Gulf of Thailand some 160 kilometres southeast of central Bangkok.  Situated in the province of Chonburi, Pattaya is barely  a two-hour drive along the expressway and motorway from Bangkok’s central business district and  a mere 45 minute drive from the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport south of Bangkok.

What is Pattaya?

Wherever you may travel in the world, there is nowhere like Pattaya.  It may be located in Thailand, but it is not typical of Thailand.  Outwardly, it may have the appearance of being European or American, but it is not.

Pattaya is a confluence of cultures, both East and West, Thai and non-Thai.  It would be a mistake for visitors to judge Pattaya by its appearance and an even greater error to judge the Thai people by what they see and hear during a short holiday in the resort city of Pattaya.

According to the latest available statistics, Pattaya/Banglamung is home to some 117,000 permanent Thai residents, probably the same number of unregistered residents and, at any one time, up to 20,000 foreign tourists.  It is also home to 100,000 motor vehicles and about 300,000 motorcycles, all of which seem to be on the road at the same time.

Promoted as a world-class resort destination, the physical appearance of Pattaya is constantly changing.  Over the last few years, new luxury hotels, apartment blocks and businesses have been springing up in Pattaya at a remarkable pace.  The city’s income is derived almost exclusively from tourism and, according to Tourism Authority of Thailand figures, in 2001 the resort city received a total of 3.86 million visitors staying an average of 4.33 days and spending an average of 3,016 baht (about US$75) per person per day.  This contributed a total of about 32.72 billion baht (US$815 million) to the vibrant Thai economy.  In terms of the nationalities of tourist arrivals in Thailand (no figures available specifically for Pattaya), Asians from Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea take the top spots.  From the West, visitors to Pattaya come from the United Kingdom and the United States of America and arrive in almost equal numbers while those from Germany and Scandinavia are the next most populous groups with many Pattaya bars owned by their countrymen.

Included among these Pattaya visitors are millions of ‘high-class’ tourists arriving with their friends or families for a wholesome vacation.  Improving Pattaya’s international image by promoting the resort as a family destination and a ‘complete’ holiday for all has not been a waste of time.  Families, couples and unattached foreign women do come to Pattaya and the majority have a very enjoyable time.  Many opt for accommodation in the quieter areas of Jomtien or Naklua but even those who stay in the centre of Pattaya could spend a week or more without exposure to the type of activities for which Pattaya is more famous.  Even if they do interact with the bars, unlike the bar scene in other parts of the world, the meritorious Hostesses make up the bulk of Pattaya Girls and it’s  adult entertainment areas treat foreign women incredibly well and  as for children,  Thai girls are crazy about them.  The Pattaya hostesses will play with them, keep them amused, dote over them and generally take better care of them than professional baby-sitters.  The kids also have a great time visiting Pattaya

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There are also visitors, not exclusively male, who come to partake in the style of entertainment and partying at which Pattaya excels.  Those who come here specifically for the nightlife find themselves with plenty to occupy their time.  Once the sun sets, a full spectrum of delights awaits them, adapted to suit everyone from the shy first-timer to the guy who knows ‘Sleazy’ was not just the name of the eighth dwarf.  To anyone who has never been to Pattaya and seen the place for themselves, it is almost impossible to describe.  With truth and logic the early casualties, the reality is that here in Pattaya, single foreign men are no longer the predator but the quarry, no longer the hunter but the hunted.  Recounting Pattaya exploits to the uninitiated back home loses its thrill when continually met with looks of disbelief and outright envy.

When is the best time to visit Pattaya?

The weather is always perfect in Thailand.  Visitors used to colder climates may be forgiven for assuming that between May and November it is very hot and wet.  The truth is the warm glow covering the perfect landscape is occasionally broken by gentle raindrops falling to earth like petals to enrich the fertile soil.  This is called the ‘low season’ because there are fewer tourists about and business is not as active.  Airfares to Thailand are usually lower, the already very affordable accommodation is plentiful, and room rates are cheaper.

From December to April, called the ‘high season’, it is pleasantly hot and dry although December can be refreshingly cool, especially around Christmas.  There are many more tourist arrivals, escaping the cold in their home countries, and hotels are often heavily booked.  If you plan to be here during this period, ensure that you book a room well in advance and reconfirm your booking before leaving home.  Veteran travellers are aware that in every country in the world, some hotel managers have the annoying habit of double-booking or forgetting.

For most single men, especially those whose passions extend no further than nocturnal activities, any time is a good time to come to Pattaya. The population of charming hostesses expands and contracts in proportion to the number of tourists so many men prefer to be in Pattaya during the low season when it is not so crowded.  Bars and places of entertainment often heavily discount their prices to attract the fewer customers and even the breathtaking Pattaya hostesses are vulnerable to a bit of bargaining.

Why go To Pattaya?

Why should you come for a holiday to Pattaya?  Interesting question, but one with a very simple answer.  If you answer ‘yes’ to any one of the following questions, you would most benefit from a trip to Pattaya.

1. Are you recently divorced and at a loss what to do with the miniscule amount of money you were left after the divorce settlement?
2. Have you just discovered your children are plotting to have you certified legally incompetent so they can get Power of Attorney over your assets?
3. Have you won a lot of money and don’t know how to spend it?
4. Is the only female companionship currently available to you over 200 pounds and over 60, with a face like a sack of prunes and an attitude to match?
5. Are you constantly being told you are too old, fat or ugly?
6. Have the feminists and moralists controlling your country reduced your ego to zero and your self-confidence to somewhere below that?
7. Are you non-judgmental?  Do you have an open mind?  Do you accept people for what they are without criticizing those you don’t completely understand?

For the foreigner (normally written as ‘farang’), Pattaya can be a cheap holiday or an expensive one.  With a limited budget, you can still enjoy yourself if you know what you are doing.  With $s to throw around, you will have the time of your life.  Some people come here for a ten-day vacation carrying a seemingly endless supply of cash and harboring a pressing desire to throw it all away as quickly as possible.  There is no shortage of people eager to accept their money in Pattaya but when you ask these people later what they thought of the free-spending foreigner, some politely suggest he should have been a little more careful with his disbursements.  Actually, the term used is “stupid farang!”

And Pattaya is such a fun and exciting town it can be addictive – more addictive than nicotine or alcohol.  A sentiment shared by thousands of foreign visitors is that the departure lounge at Bangkok airport is one of the most depressing places in the world.  One guy actually confessed he was in tears as he boarded the plane home.  Sitting in that departure lounge, the withdrawal symptoms can be acute once you realize there is no turning back – you must get on the plane.  But ‘reality’ and the ‘real world’ will never be the same again.  Suddenly, the weather back home seems exceptionally cold, wet and miserable.  Suddenly, the girl in the office or the local pub, the one you have been trying to chat up for the last six months, is not as pretty as you previously thought and many a lovesick tourist will be soon planning his next trip Pattaya.

Getting to Pattaya

If it is your first trip to Thailand it is normal to be a little apprehensive about what to expect.  Bangkok and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport,  can be confusing and intimidating when you first arrive, but if you use common sense, there is nothing to be overly concerned about.

What follows is a step-by-step guide for inexperienced visitors, especially those traveling alone.  Much of the advice has been extracted from the book Money Still Number One by Neil Hutchison (that’s me), subtitled ‘The Single Man’s Survival Guide to Thailand’.

1. Getting off the Plane.
This sounds very simple but you would be surprised at the number of people who have incurred avoidable problems.  Before landing in Thailand, the airline crew should have given you a Thai arrival card, commonly called a ‘TM Card’, to fill out.  If not, ask for one.  Immediately complete BOTH the ‘Arrival’ and ‘Departure’ sections of the card, then turn it over and fill in the questionnaire on the back of the ‘Arrival’ section.  (For the question about your annual income, pick a box.)

2. Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
Bangkok’s international airport consists of two terminals connected by a short thoroughfare.  Getting from one to the other is not a big deal.  Once off the plane and onto the concourse, if you are unsure where to go, just follow the crowd to the Passport Control counters.  There are hundreds of these so stand in line at the one or two actually open.
Tourists from most countries do not require a Visa to Thailand and are granted a 30-day Tourist Entry stamp on arrival.  If you are unsure whether this applies to your nationality, ask the travel agent BEFORE you leave home.  In any case, they probably won’t issue you the plane ticket unless you have previously obtained any necessary visas.
At the Immigration desk, hand over your passport, completed TM card and boarding pass.  People travelling on Tourist Visas or gaining a 30-day Tourist Entry stamp on arrival are required to have an outbound or return ticket.  You may be asked to show this as well.  Smile, don’t chat and be very polite – “Yes, sir”; “No, sir”; “Thank you, sir.”  Many people don’t realize that gaining entry to a foreign country is not a right but a privilege.  Entry can be refused or revoked at any time for any reason and the Immigration Officer with the stamp wields enormous power.  Should he be having a ‘bad hair day’, aggravated by your insolence, he could make your initiation to Thailand extremely unpleasant.
Once through Immigration, head down the escalator to the ground floor.  For those silly enough to bring a lot of checked-in luggage, look for the monitor displaying the carousel number corresponding to your flight details.  When all your possessions are in hand, walk through the ‘Customs’ doorway.  Now the real fun begins.

Heading to Pattaya.

For those people arriving in Terminal 1, turn left immediately and walk through the barricades out into the public area.  From Terminal 2, follow the signs to the nearest end of Terminal 1.  If you do not already have some local currency on you, now is a good time to get some.  The Thai currency unit is called the baht (pronounced as in Bart Simpson) and the notes come in denominations of 1,000 (highest); 500; 100; 50 (not very common); 20; and 10 (almost obsolete and you would be unlikely to ever see one).  There are plenty of 24-hour ATM’s and Currency Exchanges in the airport complex.  The exchange rates do not vary between companies so change your money at any window.  How much you need depends on whether you have already booked and pre-paid for your transport and/or hotel room.  Anyone arriving unannounced and needing transport and a deposit for a hotel room should not require more than 5,000 baht at this time.  When changing cash at a Currency Exchange, ask for some smaller denominations – 100’s and 20’s.  ATM’s will probably dispense 1,000 baht notes so you may have to buy a drink or some food to get change.
Heading direct from the airport to Pattaya without stopping over in Bangkok, there are several alternatives, with many options depending on your arrival time.

If money is no object or you have a few people to share the cost, the most convenient way to travel is by the Thai Airways Limousine service available from Terminal 1.  The trip is comfortable and the car will take you all the way to your hotel.  The cost is around 4,000 baht which includes the motorway tolls.  Check before you book.

Taxi or Private Vehicle
Taxis, with or without meters, and private operators will be only too happy to take you to Pattaya.  BE CAREFUL if you travel in an unlicensed taxi or private car.  Here is some advice:

1 As far as practicable, try to avoid traveling alone.  Talk to other passengers on the plane or at the airport and see if anyone else is also going to Pattaya.  There is bound to be someone to share the car/taxi as well as the fare.  Safety in numbers.

2 Negotiate the fare before getting into a vehicle.  The tout will begin by asking for something around 2,000 baht.  At the time of writing, a reasonable fare to Pattaya by taxi is 1,500 baht which may or may not include up to three road tolls totaling around 135 baht.  Check with the driver beforehand.

3 If the tout tells you to follow him to the vehicle, which will be parked somewhere in the vast parking lot, don’t!  Ask him to bring the car to you in the front of the airport.  Never leave yourself open to be ambushed in some dark corner of the car park.

4 When the car arrives, ask the driver if it is the same vehicle that will be taking you all the way to Pattaya.  It is common practice for the car waiting at the airport to be only the delivery vehicle to take you to their office in a less than populous area of town where you transfer to another car which then takes you the rest of the way.  No real problem, just scary the first time.

5 If you do not have much luggage, do not put it in the trunk of the car.  Keep it on the seat beside you and never leave it unattended.

Please note that all fares quoted below were correct at the time of writing but may have since risen sharply due to the escalating world oil price.
Air-conditioned buses go to Pattaya direct from the airport.  The cost is 200 baht but at the time of writing there are only three per day, leaving at 9:00am, 12:00noon and 7:00pm.  If this is convenient, book your ticket at the Airport Limousine Office, Counter 7 in Terminal 1.
From the Eastern Bus Terminal at Ekamai, air-conditioned buses leave for Pattaya every thirty minutes between 5:00am and 10:00pm.  The current fare is 90 baht.  The taxi fare to Ekamai from Suvarnabhumi International Airport airport is approximately 300 baht plus 50 baht airport surcharge.  If you do not have a lot of luggage and it is before 8:00pm, take an airport taxi to Morchit Skytrain Station.  This will cost around 100 baht plus 50 baht surcharge.  (To avoid the surcharge, head up to the ‘Departure’ area and catch a taxi that has just dropped someone off.)  Morchit Skytrain station is equipped with escalators up to the platform and the comfortable, air-conditioned train takes about twenty minutes to travel across town to Ekamai Station for a fare of 40 baht.  Ekamai Skytrain Station (Exit 2) is right beside the Bus Terminal.
Between 5:00am and 7:00pm buses leave for Pattaya from the Northern Bus Terminal at Morchit, departing every thirty minutes.  The taxi fare from the airport is again around 100 baht plus 50 baht surcharge.  Morchit Bus Station is quite large and there are actually two terminals within the complex.  Buy your ticket from the booth just inside entrance Number 3 at ground level of Morchit 1.  The current fare is either 94 or 97 baht depending on whether the bus takes the motorway or not.  Next, walk through the exit directly opposite the ticket counter, turn right, squeeze between the first couple of rows of parked buses, slide through another row of parked buses and look for Gate 78 at the far right end of the platform.  Seating is allocated with the seat number appearing on the back of each seat.  Simple as that.
All the bus services mentioned above terminate at the bus station in Pattaya North Road.  The three Airport-direct buses stop at the Limousine Service Office about 200 metres further down the road.  To get to your hotel it will be necessary to catch a Pattaya taxi, commonly called a ‘Baht Bus’.  Many Baht Buses wait at the bus station and travel a set route for 20 baht per person.
If your hotel is on Beach Road or Second Road, this is a good option.  Simply press the buzzer when you want to get out.  If you don’t have a clue where your hotel is located, ask one of the drivers who will take you directly for a fare starting at 40 baht.  Negotiate.  It depends how far the hotel is from the bus station, but the maximum fare for one-way group transfer from North Pattaya to anywhere else in the Greater Pattaya area is 120 baht.  That is for a maximum of five people, NOT each!

For rail fanatics who arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in the early hours of the morning, do not have much luggage and are in no great rush to get to Pattaya, a very cheap alternative is to take the train.  From inside the terminal building, follow the signs to the Railway Station across the elevated walkway and descend the ramp to the platform signposted ‘Bangkok’.  Buy a ticket to Hualampong Station at the ticket booth on the platform (regular services; fare 10 baht).
At Hualampong, the only train of the day to Pattaya departs at 6:55am.  The fare is 31 baht.  (There is no train on weekends.)  If you want a shower before boarding, there are good facilities in Hualampong for a cost of 10 baht.  The journey time from the airport to Hualampong is between 45 and 90 minutes depending on whether you board an express train or the ‘milk run’ so, if you are not on a train from the airport by 5:30am, you run the risk of being stuck at Hualampong.
The train to Pattaya takes about four and a half hours and Pattaya Railway Station is a little out of town but there is usually a Baht Bus hanging around the station at the time of arrival.  The Baht Bus fare to Central Pattaya is about 50 baht.  Like most people, if you have just got off a long flight, the thought of traveling for another six hours to get to Pattaya is ridiculous.
Accommodation Guide

Assuming you are not one of those people who get picked up from the airport by chauffer driven limousine and transported in lazy comfort direct to your pre-booked and pre-paid five star hotel, you may like to hear how the less fortunate of us struggle on.  (If you are one of the ‘limo set’, please note I am available for legal adoption.)
Pattaya has an abundance of excellent hotels, apartments, and guesthouses.  You can opt for one of the multi-star, big name hotels if that is your preference.  Mid-range hotels are very good at 500 to 1,000 baht per night, depending on the season.  Serviced, budget rooms starting at around 300 baht per night may be small but are usually clean and comfortable.  If you plan to stay for a month or longer, apartments, guesthouses and pubs charging between 5,000 and 10,000 baht per month are very economical.

Getting to Your Hotel
a) Arriving by taxi
If you have been to Pattaya before and already have your accommodation booked, there will be no problem getting to the hotel.  If you have never been to Pattaya before but have booked a room either through a travel agent or over the Internet, it is a good idea to ascertain where your hotel is located at the time of booking.  Remember, some hotels with ‘Central’ in their name are far from central and others with ‘Ocean’ or ‘Sea’ may be nowhere near water.  Obtain the exact address and look it up on a map, either on the Net or from a brochure at the travel agency.  Even better, find the address written in Thai so you can show your driver.  Pattaya is very simple to navigate but for some drivers, geography was not their best subject.

b) Arriving in Pattaya by bus
Bus services from Morchit and Ekamai terminate at the bus station in Pattaya North Road.  Pattaya taxis, commonly called Baht Buses, wait at the bus station and travel a set route for 20 baht per person.  To get to your hotel it will be necessary to catch one of these and if your hotel is on Beach Road or Second Road, simply press the buzzer when you want to get out.  If you don’t have a clue where your hotel is located, ask one of the drivers who will take you directly for a fare starting at 40 baht.  It depends how far the hotel is from the bus station, but the maximum fare for one-way group transfer from North Pattaya to anywhere else in the Greater Pattaya area is 120 baht.  That is for a maximum of five people, NOT each!  If your hotel is in Jomtien (south of Pattaya) or Naklua (north of Pattaya) the fare could be much higher.  Negotiate.

General Advice
For experienced travelers, the following should be automatic but it needs to be reinforced anyway.  Before booking into any room, check it out.  Feel the bed and switch on the fan and/or air conditioner, firstly to see if they actually work and secondly to see if they make any noise.  There is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a noisy fan or air con clattering away all night.  Also check that the toilet flushes and the shower supplies adequate, clean water.
Check there is no karaoke bar or bar with a nightly live band nearby.  Although the brick and cement plaster construction of most buildings is reasonably soundproof, the din from some drunk foreigner screaming ‘My Way’ at the top of his lungs can penetrate three feet of reinforced concrete.  And Thai DJ’s and bands know no volume setting apart from ‘maximum’.
At any time of the year except perhaps around Christmas, ensure that you book a room with an air-conditioner.  For anyone not used to the heat, fans just do not ease the discomfort or humidity.  Rooms with air conditioners start at around 400 baht per night.  If you are staying in Pattaya over the New Year period, some hotels ‘require’ that you pay (usually around 1,000 baht per person) to attend their New Year’s Eve Party whether you go or not.  Again, check with reception first.
Because hotels have been caught in the past by guests leaving without checking out, saying goodbye or paying the bill, most will ask for payment or partial payment in advance.  If you are going to pay by credit card, they may wish to copy your card details.  Do not let the card out of your sight.  Credit card fraud is rife in many countries, with fake cards being produced in vast numbers.  The personal details of the real card can be downloaded onto a computer and ‘clone’ cards produced.  Other common methods include making more than one receipt or asking the customer to sign twice as the first attempt “didn’t come through”.  Credit card companies say the most vulnerable time for customers is when their card is taken away for ‘checking’ and senior Pattaya police urge credit card holders to insist on not being parted from their property during the transaction process.
Some up-market hotels will charge you extra (around 600 baht extra) if you bring an ‘overnight guest’ back to your room.  It is a good idea to ask at reception before you book in.  According to the ‘streetwise’, a way to avoid this is to initially book into the hotel as a couple.  If you are asked where your partner is, you can say you are meeting her later.   (Not strictly a lie).  NOTE: This ploy may or may not work, as it has not been fully tested in the field.  For instance, a problem may arise should an observant hotel employee notice that your companion on the second night is not the same as your lady on the first night.
I once asked at a very nice hotel if they charged extra for bringing a lady back for the night.  The receptionist said no, that was not a problem.  She then smiled and added, “But if you bring two lady back, we charge more.”  That’s fair enough, don’t you think?
Whether you are visiting Pattaya for the first time or not, upon arrival at your hotel make sure you grab some of their business cards.  Whenever you leave your room, take one of the cards with you.  Why?  Because you would not be the first farang who has forgotten the name of his hotel when he has ended up tired and emotional in the wee small hours of the morning.
Strange place + grown man + alcohol = “What the hell is the name of my hotel?”

Travelling Around Pattaya

Unless you are the driver, never sit where you have an uninterrupted view of the road ahead.  As one wit put it; “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandmother – not screaming in terror like the passengers in her car!”

If you don’t have one already, obtain a map (available free in most hotels or tourist agencies) and familiarize yourself with the layout of the city.  It is unbelievably easy to find your way around.  There are many free magazines, newspapers and other publications which contain maps and provide plenty of tourist information.  They are also good if you are looking for new and interesting places to go.
Pattaya’s transport and traffic problems are growing in proportion to its population and are a source of continuous headaches for those responsible for solving them.  Basically, there are no metered taxis in Pattaya and the mobile tourist is left with four options:

Pattaya Baht Buses

In spite of the militancy of some of the drivers, Baht Buses, also called ‘Baht Taxis’ (in Thai ‘rot song taew’ which literally means ‘car – two rows’), are an efficient and cheap means of getting around.  Tourists throughout the world are often advised to negotiate fares beforehand when travelling within a foreign country.  This is good advice and is generally true.  For travel on a Baht Bus within the confines of Pattaya City, if you know where you are and where you want to go, this is not necessary.  In this respect, it is a good idea to quickly familiarize yourself with the routes the buses take.  The system is not complicated.
Nevertheless, Baht Buses figure prominently in conversations amongst foreigners, both tourists and expats alike.  For many years now, foreign language newspapers have printed letters to the editor from disgruntled foreigners complaining about being ripped off by Baht Bus drivers.  Many complaints to the Tourist Police were about the same matter.  The problem was the fare for travel within Pattaya was 5 baht per person but foreigners were consistently being charged 10 or 20 baht which many accepted as being the ‘farang price’ as opposed to the ‘Thai price’.
The fare anomaly was finally solved using brilliant Thai ingenuity.  Inside each vehicle a sign appeared stating: ‘The regular fare of mini bus in Pattaya is not over 10 baht per person according to the law of enforced by the department of land transport’ (sic).  The solution was to simply double the fare.  However, due to the generosity, benevolence and gooey-gooey niceness of Pattaya’s Baht Taxi drivers, they still charge their Thai passengers only 5 baht.
No longer are foreigners expected to pay double fare simply because they are foreigners.  They now pay the correct maximum fare and the hard-working, taxpaying, law-abiding Thai citizens are given a 50% discount.  Naturally, a Thai travelling with a farang companion will also be required to pay the higher fare so the driver can be seen to be evenhanded and not because he knows the farang will be paying for his companion’s trip anyway.

For people wishing to avoid any problems, simply pay the 10 baht per person.  For those who believe there is a principle involved and resent being charged double simply because they are ‘different’, it is still possible for farang to get away with paying the 5 baht ‘Thai price’ on the Baht Buses.  If you want to play this game, read on.

1 Many local Thais avoid getting on a Baht Bus that does not already have passengers on it – a good indication it is not a good idea.  Perhaps the reasoning behind it is that the driver could request a higher fare by saying that he made a special trip for you and taken you somewhere that he had not intended to go.

2 Make sure that you always carry small change with you, particularly 5 baht coins.  This is to help the busy drivers out because you would be surprised just how many drivers do not have change for your 20, 50 or 100 baht notes.  If you hand over a 10 baht coin or note, you will definitely not receive any change.

3 When you reach your destination, press the buzzer as late as possible so that the taxi stops a short distance past where you actually wanted to get off.  Pay for your ride by placing the exact fare into the driver’s hand.  Don’t look at him, don’t ask how much he wants, don’t ask if the fare is correct, don’t talk, don’t discuss, don’t argue, don’t barter.  Simply hand over the 5 baht, turn around, check for traffic and walk back to your destination.  At this point, should he want to discuss the matter with you, he will have to either leave the vehicle or reverse against the flow of traffic.  The drivers very rarely do this, especially if there are other passengers in the vehicle.  If he does chase you, apologize politely and pay the extra 5 baht.  NEVER get into an argument or altercation with the driver.

4 Avoid boarding the taxis waiting at supermarkets, shopping centres and bus stations, particularly those parked outside Royal Garden, Big C and the Jomtien-bound ones on Second Road outside the school at South Pattaya.  Even though they will certainly take you where you want to go, they sometimes charge as if for a private hire.  Other times they may wait until they have a full load of passengers.  This can take a while.  You are better off walking past them and flagging down a taxi already in motion.

For travel on a Baht Bus from Pattaya to Naklua or Jomtien, the fare is 10 baht for both Thai and foreigners.  To hire a Baht Bus to take you to a destination outside the confines of the Naklua-Pattaya-Jomtien area, it is necessary to negotiate the fare beforehand.  The driver will be only too happy to take you, even to wait and bring you back if you wish, so do a bit of haggling up front.

Motorcycle Taxis
These are easily recognizable as the drivers wear a coloured vest with a number and sometimes the address of his/her home base written on the back.  They cost more than the Baht Buses as they offer an express door-to-door service.  The minimum charge is 20 baht, but always settle on a price before you start.  Because this is the least safe means of transport, if you are not motorcycle-friendly, use it only as a last resort.  Many accidents and near-accidents involve motorcycles so ensure you are provided with a safety helmet.

Vehicles for Hire
There is an abundance of cars, pick-ups and motorcycles of all description and sizes for rent in Pattaya.  If you disregard STRONG advice not to drive any vehicle in Thailand then shop around for the best deal, but make sure you have a valid International Driver’s License obtained outside of Thailand and take out solid, watertight insurance.  You may be asked to leave your passport with the rental agency as a security measure.  Never do this!  Make a photocopy if necessary, but never hand over your passport to anyone except a uniformed police officer or other legitimate Thai authorities.  If the owner refuses to rent you a vehicle without your passport as security, find one who will.  Check the vehicle (with the owner/hirer) for any marks, dents or scratches before parting with your money.  Check the fuel gauge as, in most cases, the vehicle will have to be returned with a full fuel tank.
On average, 2.3 people per day are killed in traffic accidents in Pattaya so, before you decide whether to drive or not, sit for five minutes and watch the traffic mayhem in the streets of Pattaya.  It can be a very sobering experience.  You may be excused for thinking that many road users appear to have no fear of death.  They seem to think that they will live forever and nothing could ever happen to them.
Whether you consider yourself to be a good driver or not, Thai statistics correctly point out that foreigners are involved in a disproportionately high number of reported accidents in Thailand.  The obvious conclusion is that foreign drivers are ignorant of the road rules and therefore present a danger, not only to themselves but to the good, law-abiding, skilled Thai road users.
Should you be in charge of a vehicle involved in a traffic accident, any accident, it is likely to be your fault.  Why?  Because it is assumed your driver training has been inadequate and you have displayed contempt for the road rules of this remarkable country.  The police can withhold your passport until you settle with the owners of any other vehicles involved.  If your visa subsequently expires, you have an added ‘overstay’ problem and can be jailed.  Injured parties will expect to be paid the costs of medical treatment plus substantial compensation.  The cost of repairs, medical treatment and/or legal representation will be astronomical.

Walking around Pattaya is an adventure.  It also helps to have eyes in the back of your head.  Walking is great exercise and you get to see more of the finer points of the place but Pattaya has a temporary shortfall of pedestrian-exclusive footpaths.  Due to continuous and applauded efforts to beautify and upgrade the bountiful charms of this quality city, walkways where they do exist, are often uneven, potted or loaded with obstacles for the unwary.  Be patient and careful.
Avoid standing on any of the thousands of drain covers throughout the city.  Although they are being replaced at an enviable rate, the metal in some of the older ones may be corroded or the concrete may have deteriorated leaving them unsafe when weight is applied.  Your 45kg Thai girlfriend may experience no problem but the cover may give way under a 100kg plus farang frame.  Jagged steel and concrete makes a mess of human flesh.  There is no ‘public liability’ here so, should you injure yourself falling through a drain, your medical bills are your problem.  For lawyer-happy American readers, if you think you will be able to sue anybody for damages, think again.
Whenever forced to walk along the edge of a road, make it a point to always walk against the flow of traffic.  Not always foolproof, but it does allow you to anticipate potential problems and affords time to take evasive action if necessary.  More importantly, it provides the opportunity to look directly into the homicidal eyes of the mad motorcyclist just before he sends you to oblivion.
In England and Australia, a pedestrian crossing means the pedestrian has right-of-way and vehicles must stop.  In some countries, however, pedestrian crossings are only there because, once the men marking the centre line and other lanes had finished, there were several gallons of paint left over.  Rather than waste it, one of them got the idea of painting zebra crossings across the road just like the pictures in foreign magazines.  You could find yourself severely dead if you believe that any vehicle will stop for you at a pedestrian/zebra crossing in Pattaya.