Pattaya is a popular coastal city located in the Chonburi Province of Thailand. It is situated approximately 150 kilometers southeast of Bangkok.
Pattaya is a well-known tourist hotspot that attract millions of tourists every year, and famed for its naughty nightlife.
Originally a small fishing village, Pattaya transformed into a major tourist destination in the 1960s with the arrival of American GIs who were stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
One of the main attractions is Pattaya's vibrant nightlife scene, with countless bars, clubs, and discos catering to all tastes. The most famous area is Walking Street, a red-light spot lit up by neon lights and scantily clad hostesses.
Pattaya’s racy reputation often overshadows the fact that it has some great beaches, which stretch for miles along the Gulf of Thailand. Indeed, if you're looking to escape Bangkok for a few days to chill by the beach, there are some great options here, many of which regular visitors to the area may not be aware of.
So here it is, the 7 best beaches in Pattaya.
1. Pattaya Beach
Pattaya Beach is the most popular beach here due to its location. It is a lively and bustling beach, with a long promenade lined with shops, restaurants and bars.
At 3 km long and running parallel to the infamous Beach Road, you can expect to see plenty of characters here.
With easy access to some of the largest hotels, popular nightlife venues and a plethora of restaurants, it's no wonder the beach gets so busy.
The beach is flanked by major shopping malls, including the Central Festival Beach Mall and the Royal Garden Plaza, providing ample opportunities for shopping enthusiasts to indulge in retail therapy while soaking in the sun and sea breeze.
The beach does get very crowded, especially during peak season, but it's an interesting place to people-watch and soak up the colourful atmosphere.
Water sports such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, parasailing, and more are available, as are propositions from local freelance “ladies of the night” (or day in this instance).
If you want a more peaceful beach, keep on reading.
2. Jomtien Beach
Jomtien Beach is located just south of Pattaya, about 6 kilometers from the city center. It's easily accessible by public transportation, and there are also plenty of taxis and motorbike taxis available.
Jomtien Beach is approximately 6 kilometers long. It's not the most picturesque beach in Thailand, but it's spacious.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the beach is that if you're driving it is really easy to park here. This means you can bring a picnic, and all your beach accessories, park up and easily unload.
Jomtien Beach is still quite a busy beach, but usually feels less overcrowded that Pattaya Beach because of its size. There is always plenty of space to find a place to chill.
You'll find water sports here such as jet skiing, banana boat rides, parasailing and more, but also lots of designated swimming space. Beach volleyball is also available.
There are plenty of local eating options here, too, be that in local hotels or independent eateries.
Towards the southern end of the beacj there is a tree-shaded promenade with sitting areas, which is a nice place to hang out a while; though be aware that at the southern end of the beach really does narrow down to almost nothing.
I think Jomtien is a good choice for families. The beach is longer and wider than Pattaya, and nicely situated away from the city center.
3. Dongtan Beach
Situated approximately 4 km from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya city lies Dongtan Beach, a tranquil and secluded beach located north of Jomtien Beach.
This hidden gem boasts a 1.5 km stretch of golden sand that is lined with swaying palm trees, providing a serene atmosphere for visitors seeking a peaceful escape.
With its calm waters, Dongtan is perfect for swimming. You won't struggle to find a shady spot here, either, as there are plenty of trees.
Dongtan is also known as “gay beach”, but I think unreasonably so. The link isn't really obvious, but apparently there is also a gay section of the beach. However, most people don't know this and everyone goes there anyway.
Dongtan links to Phratumnak Beach. You can explore this picturesque stretch of coastline between the two by walking from the small police station, which marks the beginning of Dongtan Beach, and heading northward towards Pattaya Park Beach, before extending further along to Phratumnak Beach.
Dongtan is actually a really good beach for kids: lots of space, shaded areas and allocated swimming areas.
4. Wong Amat Beach
Wong Amat Beach is a crescent-shaped bay located about 5 kilometers north of Pattaya city center. It is a lovely, picturesque beach, let down only slightly by the course sand that lines the shore.
Over the last decade, this beach has seen a rise in the number of high-end hotels in its vicinity, adding to the overall popularity of the area.
Unlike Pattaya Beach or Jomtien, Wong Amat doesn't offer any water sports activities, making it an ideal destination for those who enjoy swimming without the distraction and danger of boats. That said, small fishing boats do come in on the southernmost tip of the beach.
Access to the beach is easy, with no steep steps to navigate. There are plenty of deck chairs available for hire, and it generally isn't overcrowded.
If you're feeling thirsty or hungry, there's a bar located right on the beach, and the Rim Talay restaurant at the entrance to the beach serves up a delicious menu of Thai and western cuisine.
Perfect for kids.
5. Naklua Beach
Naklua Beach is a modest sized beach located in the northern part of Pattaya, close to Wong Amat Beach. It is located about 5 kilometers north of Pattaya city center, and sits in front of the Dusit Thani hotel.
The beach is approximately 800 meters long. The water here is crystal clear, but let down in some places by rocky areas, so you have to find a nice clear area to bathe. The water is pleasantly shallow in most areas, though.
At the northern end of the beach there are two stretches of beach separated by a rocks, making for popular places to bathe in the shallows. The far southern end of the beach offers similar.
There are lots of nice shaded areas to escape the sun, which I really appreciate. There's a few little beach bars, too, offering refreshment and food.
Overall, Naklua Beach is a good option if you're looking for a peaceful and relatively undeveloped beach experience in Pattaya. It's a good choice for those who want to avoid the crowds and party atmosphere of the larger beaches.
6. Cosy Beach
Possibly the best beach in Pattaya, Cosy Beach is small, secluded bay between Pattaya and Jomtien. Located on the southern end of Pattaya, close to Pratumnak Hill, it is approximately 3 kilometers south of the Pattaya city center.
Nestled at the foot of a small cliff, and just 200 meters long, it is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving due to its clear water and coral reefs.
Like Wong Amat, the sand is a little course, but it's a minor detail in the grander scheme of things.
The beach is accessible by steps down the cliff side, and may go unnoticed if you're visiting for the first time. Look out for the well-groomed gardens on the cliff top that offer a direct view of the beach.
The beach is small and secluded, approximately 200 meters. It is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving due to its clear water and coral reefs.
The wonderful thing about Cosy Beach is low tide, when it widens considerably and reveals plenty more space for kids to play in the sand.
If you want a more private beach experience, Cosy is exactly that.
7. Bang Saray Beach
Bang Saray is a small fishing village located about 20 kilometers south of the Pattaya city center.
The beach itself is approximately 2 kilometers long and overlooked by glorious hills of vegetation.
Although Bang Saray is less than 20 km from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya, it may just as well be 200 km away. It retains its old world charm and still has that authentic Thai village beach vibe about it that one would expect further south.
Diving is a popular activity in Bang Saray, with the chance of spotting whale sharks in the surrounding waters being an added highlight.
Even in peak season, the beach maintains a local vibe, with fishermen and families outnumbering foreign tourists.
If you're seeking a tranquil, rural beach with soft sands, Bang Saray is a must-visit.
That wraps up the best beaches in Pattaya, but if you want more options, you can hop on a ferry to nearby Koh Larn , or even Coral Island.
Which is your favourite beach in Pattaya, and why?