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Things to Do in Pattaya

Just a 2.5-hour drive from Bangkok, Pattaya is one of Thailand’s most easily accessible seaside resorts and—with its long sandy beaches, palm-fringed promenades, and lush tropical gardens—it is deserving of its popularity. While Pattaya’s tourist boom might have afforded it a reputation as a hedonist getaway, behind the strip of go-go bars, massage parlors, and cocktail bars, there are plush resorts and pristine beaches to tempt even the most discerning traveler. The beaches and buzzing nightlife might be the main draw, but it’s worth taking the time to explore Pattaya’s other attractions. The hilltop Wat Khao Phra Bat temple, with its gigantic golden Buddha, affords spectacular views over Pattaya Bay; the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is bursting with vibrant orchids and exotic plants; and Pattaya Floating Market is one of the liveliest in the country. For adventurous types, the Flight of the Gibbon at Khao Kheow Open Zoo should be top of your list, while nearby Jomtien Beach is a hotspot for water sports including windsurfing, parasailing, and scuba diving. Off the coast, there are several possibilities for island day trips, with Koh Si Chang, Koh Samet, and Koh Larn island all just a short boat ride away.
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Sanctuary of Truth (Prasat Sut Ja-Tum)
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Thailand’s answer to Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família cathedral, the Sanctuary of Truth (Prasat Sut Ja-Tum) was begun in 1981 and is scheduled for completion around 2050. The wooden structure is a whopping 345 feet tall (105 meters tall), hand-carved by artisans using traditional techniques, and full of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures.

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Coral Island (Koh Larn)
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With crystal clear water, plentiful coral reefs, and beautiful stretches of fine white sand, Thailand’s Coral Island (Koh Larn) is a veritable paradise. Take a day trip to this popular spot—about 4.5 miles (7 km) off the coast of Pattaya—to enjoy beaches and a variety of water sports, including scuba diving and snorkeling.

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Pattaya Water Park at Pattaya Park Beach Resort
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Head to the beachside Pattaya Water Park to cool off from the hot Thai sun. The classic water park features everything you need for a day of fun in the sun, including a lazy river, wading pool for toddlers, water slides, a whirlpool, and private beach access for swimming in the Gulf of Thailand.

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Pattaya Beach
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The 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) stretch of sand known as Pattaya Beach ranks among the area's liveliest beaches. The crescent-shaped coast remains lively day and night, with the party atmosphere of the bars and restaurants of Beach Road to one side and a host of water sports—wind surfing, jet skiing, parasailing, or banana boating—to the other. The popular beach also serves as a departure point for diving expeditions to Pattaya's offshore coral islands.

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Mini Siam
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Home to miniature replicas of both top Thailand sights and global landmarks, Mini Siam is a family-friendly Pattaya attraction. Travel through Thai history on the Mini Siam side, where you’ll see to-scale versions of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Bridge on the River Kwai, and then admire the Eiffel Tower in Mini Europe.

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Pattaya Floating Market
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At the Pattaya Floating Market, traditional thatched huts perched on stilts over the water house vendors selling handicrafts, Thai street food, and souvenirs from around the country. The market’s four areas represent the culture and architecture of Thailand’s four main regions: north, northeast, central, and south.

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Underwater World Pattaya
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Take a walk beneath the sea at Underwater World Pattaya, as sharks and rays glide overhead. This walk-through aquarium highlights the diverse range of marine creatures found in Thai waters, from shallow rock-pool dwellers to colorful coral and deep-ocean fish. More than 2,500 critters are on display, representing some 200 species.

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Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum
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Home to a collection of more than 2,000 teddy bears spread across 13 different themed zones, the Pattaya Teddy Bear Museum (also known as Teddy Island) is exactly what it sounds like. Unlike at traditional toy museums, though, where exhibits are kept behind glass, here visitors are free to pose with the bears. There’s a well-equipped gift store, too.

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Frost Magical Ice of Siam
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Nobody goes to Pattaya for the snow, but Frost Magical Ice of Siam, a wintry theme park kept at a temperature of 14°F (-10°C), features plenty of ice. Inside the chilled dome, enjoy ice carvings themed around the Arctic, an ice bar, an ice slide, and even an ice tuk-tuk. Outdoors, view white-sand sculptures inspired by Thai culture.

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Ripley's Believe it or Not! Pattaya
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Sometimes known as Ripley’s World, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Pattaya combines seven distinct attractions. The classic Ripley’s “Odditorium,” with 10 galleries of bizarre exhibits, is the star of the show. But you can also enjoy waxworks, two spectacular mazes, a haunted house, a shooting ride, and a “9D” multisensory moving cinema.

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More Things to Do in Pattaya

Colosseum

Colosseum

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Big, bold, and glitzy, with an exterior modeled on the Roman Colosseum and plenty of marble, the Colosseum is one of Pattaya’s top cabaret venues. Transgender performers deliver a family-friendly show three times a night in one of the city’s largest theaters, with a lounge bar. Costumes are fabulous, and the lighting is spectacular.

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Upside Down Pattaya

Upside Down Pattaya

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Fronted by a house balanced on its roof, Upside Down Pattaya is a quirky attraction that’s too small to count as a theme park. Pose for photos inside the upside-down house, where floors work as ceilings and vice versa; spin on an astronaut-style gyroscope; explore the labyrinth; enjoy the leaning castle; or brave the wobbly bicycles.

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Nongnooch Garden Pattaya (Nong Nooch Tropical Garden)

Nongnooch Garden Pattaya (Nong Nooch Tropical Garden)

Intricately sculpted knot gardens create a world of beauty at the Nongnooch Garden Pattaya (Nong Nooch Tropical Garden). Elephant and Thai cultural shows are held in these lovely botanical gardens, which include notable collections of palms and orchids. The elephants play football and basketball, and Thai dancers and actors re-enact historical events and Muay Thai boxing.

A resort adjoins the 240-hectare (600-acre) gardens, so if you run out of time you can easily spend the night here. There’s also a range of different cuisines to choose from at several restaurants.

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Alangkarn Show Pattaya

Alangkarn Show Pattaya

The Thai Alangkarn Theater troupe entertains up to 2,000 guests on the huge modern stage, complete with parading elephants, fireworks, a laser show, and historical reenactments during the Alangkarn Pattaya Show extravaganza. The facility also includes a 1,000-seat restaurant for dinner shows and a cultural market.

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Pattaya Dolphin World

Pattaya Dolphin World

Home to a number of rare Irrawaddy “smiling” dolphins, Pattaya Dolphin World is best-known for its dolphin shows. Besides four daily live performances, the site offers a petting zoo, a toy museum, horse-and-carriage rides, and a short all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) circuit, as well as a restaurant and a bar.

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