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Temples, Beaches And Paradise Islands! Why You Should Visit This Underrated Coastal City In Thailand

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Every destination holds a reputation. Some good, some bad, and some with mixed reviews. As popularity grows, there comes a time when changes need to be made.

Austin banned camping on sidewalks to remove the eyesore of homeless encampments.

Amsterdam has become too rowdy, so they're discouraging certain party-first tourists from visiting as they try to rebrand.

Female tourist looking at a temple

Nonetheless, it's Pattaya's turn. When we think of planning an unforgettable trip to Thailand, perhaps Bangkok and incredible islands like Phuket and Koh Samui come to mind.

Yet, Pattaya is actually the third most visited city in the country according to the Global Destination Cities Index gathered by Mastercard.

Famous among expats for its affordability and, even more so, for the action-packed nightlife scene, the city is shifting towards a makeover to showcase what's appealing to all types of travelers.

Skip The Busy Bars: Immerse Yourself Into Pattaya's Fascinating Culture

Roughly 2 hours south of Bangkok lies another phenomenal city that is well worth visiting. If you thought Bangkok was wild, some would argue Pattaya takes the cake!

Busy, festive street in Pattaya

We've all heard some crazy stories about long, blurry-eyed nights in Thailand and that's exactly the image Pattaya wants to change about their lovely city.

Far from being labeled “sleepy”, there is a lot more to experience than the bustling bar scene when the city comes alive after sundown.

Set along the gulf, Pattaya can be a laid-back getaway or jam-packed with exciting things to do.

Bangkok is cool and all, but it doesn't hold a monopoly on amazing temples to visit. Pattaya is home to some of the most eye-popping temples in the nation, in fact.

Tourists visiting Wat Phra Yai in Pattaya

These 3 temples should definitely be on your wishlist:

  • Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha)
  • Wat Chaimongkon
  • The Sanctuary of Truth

Beyond stunning temples, Pattaya is home to beautiful monasteries, floating markets, and some of the best street food imaginable for adventurous palates.

Those seeking less crowds and more culture should venture outside the city to the small towns of Phanat Nikhom, Sri Racha, and Bang Saen.

And, of course, you can't hop around through Thailand without a ride on a tuk-tuk.

Blue Water And Cheap Resorts: Thailand's Underrated Beach Getaway

Jomtien Beach in Pattaya

Traveling to Thailand is a long way for sun and sand, but have you ever heard any complaints?

None come to mind, do they?

That's because Thailand is one of the most gorgeous beach destinations on the planet, but Pattaya can get the short end of the stick.

Nice beaches line the coast for miles, perfect for sunny summer days ahead. Better yet, staying here is super cheap!

Expats are definitely on to something here, as beach resorts won't come close to breaking the bank.

For example, upscale brands like Intercontinental can be booked in the low $100s, and local resorts like Garden Cliff Resort & Spa are far less.

Prices can obviously vary between properties and travelers' preferences, but you can definitely save money here if you want to!

Scenic coastline of Pattaya

Paradise Islands Within Close Reach

Thailand truly has it all. As one of the most diverse countries in Asia, it's not only the traditional markets, wildlife sanctuaries, and incredible cities that are a huge draw.

Home to over 1400 islands – yes, you read that right – exploring Thailand's exotic, untouched paradises is a must!

It might be tough to choose between so many, but Pattaya makes an excellent gateway to help you narrow them down.

Beautiful blue waters of Koh Larn

There are a plethora of islands easily reachable from Pattaya, but Koh Lan is undoubtedly the most popular.

Here, vacationers will find stunning views, luxe resorts, postcard-perfect beaches, and even monkeys!

Since more popular Phuket was just named the best island in the world in Bounce's 2024 Island Index, it's a safe bet you won't be avoiding the crowds there any time soon.

That's a huge benefit to sticking around Pattaya and island-hopping by ferry to escape the hustle and bustle and occasionally obnoxious party scenes.

There are more islands to visit beyond Koh Lan for an even more blissful escape on seemingly untouched sand and otherworldly blue waters, such as Ko Phai.

Though Ko Phai does still receive tourists, it is more off-path than other islands.

Lush greenery and blue water of Koh Lan

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