I know right away that as soon as I mention ‘Pattaya’ and ‘Beaches’ in the same sentence that it is going to immediately conjure up some negative thoughts amongst a fair proportion of Thailand’s beach lovers, so let me start by pointing out that I am not claiming that Pattaya is home to the best beaches in Thailand… far from it.
Compared to Southern Thailand, in places like Phuket and Krabi, Pattaya cannot compete in terms of the quality of available beaches. What I do think is that Pattaya has got a bit of an unfair reputation for having a dirty, unpleasant beach that even an oil slick wouldn’t go near!
In recent years there have been several clean up operations along major sections of the coastline around Pattaya and I think that it has had a positive impact. Even more important than this, many of the people leave Pattaya thinking that its beach is no good are really meaning that they didn’t find the main beach along Pattaya Bay to be very appealing. I can understand their sentiment, the main beach isn’t very good, but there are lots of nearby beaches that are very good.
First up there is Jomtien Beach about 3 kilometres to the south; think Pattaya but cleaner! Many of Pattaya’s long term foreign residents choose to live in Jomtien and I can understand why. The whole area is a lot more family orientated and less hectic. Jomtien has a more relaxed feel to it and the beach there is pleasant enough.
Second there is Naklua beach about 2 kilometres to the North. Naklua has a lovely beach with a very nice atmosphere to it. There is no main road running along it (as you get with Pattaya Bay and Jomtien Beach), which means that it is quieter and even cleaner. There is a nice restaurant at one end, massage tents along it, beach volleyball and a number of good hotels that back right onto the beach.
Third, between Naklua and Pattaya Bay, there is a really nice secluded beach called Wong Amat Beach. This one is my top recommendation for a place to do some sunbathing. It’s also a good option if you just want to get out for a wander. There is a path that leads from the northern tip of Pattaya Bay right along the coastline up to Naklua and there are lots of good scenic spots for a few photographs. There are also some small bars/restaurants along the way where you can stop for refreshments.
Offshore Pattaya Beaches
If you want the best Pattaya beaches of all, Koh Larn is the place to go. I can’t recommend this place enough; I had a really nice day out on Koh Larn. You can get there in about 20 minutes if you go by speedboat, but I think that the ferries are a better option. A return ticket costs 60 baht! The ferry takes about 40 minutes but you can stay all day and catch whichever return trip you want (the last one departs at about 6pm). Another option is to book into a hotel on the island and stay over night.
When you get to Koh Larn the first thing you should do as soon as you get off the ferry is hire a scooter. They can be had for the day at a cost of 200 baht and it giver you the ability to go off and do some exploring. You won’t need a license, you don’t need a crash helmet, insurance or anything else to get the scooter. It is treated a bit like you’re hiring a bicycle… you just pay up and off you go!
There are some lovely beaches on Koh Larn depending on what you like. If it’s a nice secluded beach that you want with not many other people around, head down to Nual Beach on the southern tip of the island. If you prefer a bit more activity have a look at Ta Waen Beach, it has lovely white powdery sands and a beautiful blue sea. You have a range of restaurants and shops to choose from too.
I know Pattaya is never going to appeal to everyone but I really do think that it is becoming a mainstream option these days. Even the Hilton Hotel group has invested there…. and they are not known for investing in run-down areas! If you’ve been before but left with a bad impression, my advice is to give it another chance, it might surprise you how much it has changed in the last few years.
For lots more information, click Pattaya Beaches.
Check out these similar posts: