South Pattaya Attractions Kids & Adults Will Love – The 2019 Guide
Pattaya has evolved at a remarkable rate over the last decade, and it has become a fabulous destination for all types of travellers with an easy ride from Bangkok. Gone are the days when the city was only famed for its neon lights and hedonistic lifestyle which have now been overshadowed by more family-friendly attractions. The city has so much to offer from kids to adults so a holiday in Pattaya will be one filled with memories that you can cherish. Here are most recommended places that both kids and adults will love in South Pattaya (from the end of Beach Road to Jomtien and Bang Saray).
1. Legend Siam
The Legend Siam is a brand new theme park and the first of its kind celebrating Thai culture and Thai heritage. Here you will find ancient legends who bestowed good fortune and luck on those that worshipped them, along with stunt shows recalling the history of Siam and the sacrifices made. For those who are interested in Thailand’s history and what has helped to shape the Kingdom we know today, this is a must-see. Legend Siam will appeal to both adults and children, making it a superb and educational family day out and a perfect place to take stunning photos.
Legend Siam is situated just off Sukhumvit Road to the south of Pattaya, next door to Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens and also very close to Cartoon Network Amazone.
2. Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens
Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens to the south of Pattaya offers something for everyone. The magnificent and well-manicured gardens will appeal to adults, while the animals, Dinosaur Valley and the elevated walkways never fail to get the kids excited. Nong Nooch is a fantastic family day out with some of the most impressive gardens in Southeast Asia along with an opportunity to get up close to the elephants as well as feeding the fish. Once you are here, you will be in awe of the amount of work spent to make this garden from a vision to become a reality.
3. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! is located within the Royal Garden Plaza shopping mall at the southern end of Pattaya Beach Road. It is something that will appeal to the kids, especially if they like all things gory! The exhibits include a real shrunken human head, a grotesque face mask made of human skin, amazing world records as well as some rather extreme and primitive torture devices that nightmares are made of. It is definitely unusual and can be quite educational with plenty of curious facts that may pop up in a quiz.
In addition to the museum, there is also a 4D Moving Theatre, Infinity Mase, a Haunted House and the Tussauds waxworks. It is quite easy to spend a day here with a lot of dining option in and around the building. You will bring home memorable experiences, beautiful pictures and a bunch of stories to retell your family and friends.
4. Buddha Mountain, Pratamnak Hill
Buddha Mountain overlooks Bali Hai and all across Pattaya Bay and beyond. At the summit, you will find a temple where you can walk around and feel extremely spiritual. There are several viewing points all around the hill which has shaded pathways that are free from traffic. It is a popular exercise spot, especially in the evenings making it a fantastic place to take in the stunning sunset. It is a place where you can relax and recharge the batteries in pleasant and green surroundings. It will definitely appeal to adults as well as older children.
5. Pattaya Floating Market
When people imagine holidays in Thailand, they usually think of ornate temples, the happy, smiling locals and, of course, floating markets. Floating markets are unique and a completely new experience if you are coming from the west. At Pattaya’s Floating Market you can take a boat and visit the different stalls selling locally made novelties, fruits and many, many other items. It may not be quite as traditional as some markets, but is something that will be truly memorable and an experience that the kids will just love.
6. Cartoon Network Amazone
Cartoon Network Amazone is a magnificent water park in South Pattaya, located close to the serene Bang Saray and is hugely popular with kids and big kids alike! Here you will find various slides, flumes, rides and a lazy river catering for all age groups and levels of activity. At the spacious park you will find plenty of shaded areas as well as kiosks to get food and drinks, but beware that most of the attractions are in the sunset so make sure you slap on the suntan lotion. In the evening time, all your favourite Cartoon Network characters come out to play.
7. Pattaya Walking Street
Walking Street still holds its natural appeal for those who enjoy the party scene and the nightlife. This unique place is something that all adults should see at least once when they are in Pattaya. It is now far more couple orientated these days with seafood restaurants, beer gardens, some fantastic clubs and superb bars playing live music, but while you are in the area, it is worth visiting one of the more upmarket agogos. Prepare yourself for a long, enjoyable and fun night with venues open well into the early hours. It is advised that you should prepare some paracetamol for the morning!
Great Restaurants around the South of Pattaya
All along the Eastern Seaboard, you will find a vast selection of exquisite restaurants offering every imaginable variety of food, including cuisines from around the world. Pattaya, being the cosmopolitan city that it is, has some superb restaurants catering for every budget and every palate. As you travel to the Southern parts of Pattaya, such as Bang Saray, you will also find an abundance of upmarket, mainly beachfront restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Here are some of the options available that stand out.
1. Drifter’s Beach Café
The Drifter’s Beach Café is located in the Na Jomtien, and the term “beach café” doesn’t do it justice. While being positioned directly on the beach, it is exceptionally well maintained and has a classier feel along with a fabulous relaxed atmosphere. It is an idyllic and mostly unspoilt, not the mention little known, place offering excellent food and craft beers. The food is mainly Mexican, so pretty unusual in the area with Thai food also available.
It isn’t a 5-star venue, but it is a great place to sit and chill, watch the waves gently come rolling in or even participate in some water sports such as windsurfing or wakeboarding which Drifter’s offers.
2. The Glasshouse, Ban Amphur
The Glasshouse is another beachfront setting, nestled amongst the trees which offer plenty of shade. It is in Ban Amphur, not far from the Huay Yai junction and is becoming increasingly popular and well-known. The Glasshouse is a firm favourite with Bangkokonians, especially at weekends or public holidays. The food is authentic Thai and all freshly prepared using the finest ingredients. Everything about the restaurant suggests quality, and it is a great place to relax in the evenings and enjoy a romantic sunset.
3. Lungsawai Seafood
Lungsawai is one of the longest-standing restaurants in the region and has been open in the same location, at the southern end of Jomtien, for over 30 years. It is a very simple setting, you won’t find flash seating or candles on tables, but what you will find is excellent fresh food which has been carefully selected that morning. Although it focuses mainly on seafood, a wide selection of other dishes is available, all of which represent exceptional value of money. The experience is made even more memorable by the friendly and helpful teams.
4. Rimpa Lapin
Rimpa Lapin is in an absolutely stunning location directly overlooking the sea in Ban Amphur. The vista and overall ambience make this restaurant something special. With many exclusive restaurants in the area, this is one of the places that you must try. The food is just that little bit different from what you get elsewhere and is perfectly described as being “Thai-fusion” which is blends of Thai and western flavours to create something unique. The restaurant has appeared in many Thai movies and TV shows and has become a famous location in its own right.
5. La Taverna, Bang Sare
La Taverna is located in the heart of Bang Saray (Sare) and is an extremely well-established Italian restaurant dishing up some delectable traditional Italian dishes. The interior has very much of a taverna feel, even down to the relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere. The food is freshly prepared using only the finest of ingredients. It is perfect for groups, families or couples with the prices being very reasonable. It is particularly popular with expats living in the area which is perhaps one of its biggest compliments. Live music is frequently played, which only enhances the atmosphere that is always jovial.
6. The Beach Restaurant, Bang Saray
As the name would suggest, The Beach Restaurant is situated just a few metres from Bang Saray beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the region. It is a relaxed and friendly restaurant that very much symbolises the feel of the entire area. They have an extensive menu serving both Thai and Western dishes. It is perfect for escaping the sun, enjoying a cold drink, a light snack or perhaps even a main meal if you are spending a day at the beach.
The Beach Restaurant has a very rustic feel which is one of its most appealing features, and you can feel that you are in your own tropical paradise.
How Pattaya Has Evolved as a Party Destination
If you mention the resort city of Pattaya, the first things they would think of would bright neon lights, Walking Streets and lively bars. Pattaya is one of the ultimate entertainment cities in the world, attracting people from around the globe to come and party, be themselves and perhaps try new things. Even when the city had a less than favourable image to the outside world, which thankfully has now been dispelled, it was still very much a party town with some of the horror stories grossly exaggerated.
How did the party image begin?
It seems hard to imagine that Pattaya was once a sleepy fishing village, not too dissimilar to how Bang Saray was just a decade ago. What it had in its favour was its proximity to the military airport at U-Tapao. During the Vietnam War, US GIs headed to areas such as Pattaya for their R&R which initially was just the sandy beaches and a few wooden shacks.
It was relaxed and fun, a massive bonus for the GIs who hosted their own parties. The parties became more well-known, and the locals joined them, the more locals came, the more GIs came, and so it spiralled. Where did they host the parties, and where did they keep returning to? Yes, the area that is now known as Walking Street.
When did civilians start to come?
Word of Pattaya’s reputation as a party destination was starting to spread far beyond the GIs and locals. By the early 1960s, there were six recorded bars, what would be classed today as beer bars catering for foreigners! In 1965, the Nipa Lodge opened, the first purpose-built hotel catering for tourists who want to experience the party scene. Soon after, the US military established a Reception Centre for US Servicemen in Pattaya – flying them directly to Bangkok from Saigon.
The “hippie generation”
The 1970s witnessed the beginnings of the hippie generation and budget travellers arriving Pattaya, and Chinese-run guesthouses were springing up. The party scene was now relaxed, and “free-loving” came very much with the wild parties along with, unfortunately, a drug culture. In many ways, this was the start of the hedonistic lifestyle that would blight Pattaya’s reputation and continue for over the next three or four decades.
Beach bars and beer bars were starting to take over. The more tourists that came, the more girls came from more rural parts of the country. One of the saving graces was that the resort was popular with Thai families who helped to calm the atmosphere, at least to a certain extent. However, the infrastructure of the city couldn’t cope, and the families started to leave, Walking Street was beginning to become established, and it no longer became a city that was suitable for families. Its reputation as a party destination was purely aimed at adults.
The 1990s and the start of the new millennium
Pattaya’s nightlife had by now gained something on an infamous reputation both within Thailand and overseas. Wild nights and debauchery were all that the city was known for. The nights were raucous with a carefree attitude taking over. The nightclubs and bars welcomed all. The nightlife attracted the “wanted and the unwanted” from around the world. The parties continued into daytime life and the Pattaya was a 24-hour adult playground, but something had to change.
The global economic crisis affected countries all around the world and of course Thailand and Pattaya were badly hit by reduced tourist numbers, particular from the west. New tourists were needed, and new markets were sought. The Russian market immediately emerged. The party theme and Pattaya’s party reputation continued, but a notable shift was witnessed. The entertainment was targeting this market, the nouveau riche of Russia. They wanted to party but within their communities and suddenly the neon lights and girls became less appealing.
Families and Pattaya
By the middle of the decade, Pattaya had become a destination for couples and families. Upmarket rooftop bars and exclusive beachfront clubs opened. The city’s reputation as a party destination was still very much intact but the sleaze that had tarnished it was noticeably in short supply. The party areas became far more welcoming and appealing, the parties more sophisticated and entertainment targeted at specific groups such as the Russians, the Chinese and the Indians. The cosmopolitan feel continued; it had just significantly evolved.
Pattaya’s entertainment today
Pattaya is a thriving party destination with upmarket hotels catering for the more discerning of guests. Coming on holiday to the area is something that people are now proud of, not something that they would whisper or avoid mentioning in certain company. Pattaya has always evolved and will continue to do so, meeting the needs and demands of those who come.
The History of Bang Saray
Bang Saray is just a stone’s throw away from Pattaya, the 18th most-visited city in the world in 2018 according to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2018. Bang Saray up until the last decade or so was very much a slow-moving, typical Thai fishing village, seemingly miles away from its rather noisy neighbour to the north. The locals liked it that way; the few expats living in the area liked it that way, so what happened to change the dynamics of the area?
Although it is hard to pinpoint exactly what happened, one reason seems to stem from the growth in popularity of golf in the entire region. Championship standard golf courses have strung up in the area over time along with the popular Plutaluang Navy Course at nearby Sattahip. Golf, being an extremely popular pastime in Pattaya, attracts thousands of people each year. The more that came, the more they became familiar with the area, especially around Sattahip and Ban Chang.
Ban Chang had the obvious draw for après golf drinks, but others, who chose to travel home via Sukhumvit Road, started to notice the stunning sands and turquoise seas away in the distance. As they explored and found the beaches, one of the most picturesque was at; yes, you’ve guessed it, Bang Saray. There were already a few superb seafood restaurants catering for locals but the influx of foreigners, albeit small, was a welcome change.
The locals were friendly; the beaches were unspoilt, unlike what was starting to happen in downtown Pattaya, and the prices were a fraction of that in Pattaya or even Jomtien. Bang Saray had been discovered by westerners and had lots to offer. At weekends working families travelled from Pattaya to enjoy the quiet beaches and indulge in the enticing seafood. Bang Saray had everything that Pattaya didn’t and a whole lot more.
Of course, similar to Pattaya in the late 60s and 70s when the US GIs came, the more foreigners who came, the more they were catered for. It started with increasing numbers of restaurants along with a few cafes and places where you could get a few cold drinks and relax. The target market became those living in Pattaya or the long-term visitors, but naturally, others were welcome, so small hotels and guesthouses started to open.
As the area became more widely known, the developers started to take note and slow they began to purchase land in the area, something that was already a scarce commodity in many areas of Pattaya. Slowly, they started to build exclusive villages and condos which, initially sold quite slowly as the consensus amongst buyers and investors was that no one would want to live 19km outside of Pattaya. The caution didn’t last long as developments spread to the south of Pattaya to Huay Yai and Na Jomtien, and suddenly it didn’t seem so far away.
As the numbers of Russians coming to Pattaya either as tourists or expats increased, Bang Saray was the type of resort that appealed. Frequently travelling as families and having a love for beaches, the sleeping fishing port was becoming a destination in its own right. More condos and houses were being constructed, and the upmarket hotels saw it as a lucrative opportunity. The more foreigners came, the more that was built to cater to their needs.
Existing attractions such as the Floating Market and Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens grew in popularity, and more activities were needed to cater for families. Cartoon Network Amazone was one of the first to take the leap follow by Ramayana Water Park. Such was the popularity; an increasing number of international airlines saw U-Tapao Airport as ideal for Bang Saray with many direct flights to Russia and China. Other attractions followed, the latest being Legend Siam and now we have the city that we see today.
Pattaya overall has changed immensely, and a lot of this change can be attributed to Bang Saray’s growth. The whole area is perfect for holidaymakers regardless of where they come from in the world, and there are few better beaches anywhere in Thailand. Bang Saray is now an exclusive destination welcoming couples and families and is the perfect getaway. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not?
What to See and Do in Bang Saray
Bang Saray has changed beyond all recognition in the last decade from a once sleepy fishing village to one of the most exclusive areas in the Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard region. The now vibrant and prosperous village somehow still retains that personal feel with the speed of life being noticeably slow. The area, its idyllic beaches and green mountainous backdrops make this a tranquil haven suited for complete rest and ultimate relaxation.
Of course, if you do feel like stepping out for your luxurious hotel, there are plenty of things to do at your own pace.
1. The Beachfront Restaurants & Street Food
While dining at the upmarket restaurants is absolutely scrumptious, you may want to try something a little more authentic, especially if you are a seafood lover. Some of the best local restaurants are found the relaxed pier area where all of the ingredients are naturally caught fresh that day. Selecting the finest ingredients is one thing, but to create a sublime dish takes skill, experience and, of course, a few tricks of the trade!
These restaurants cater predominantly to the Thai market, so food is prepared to suit Thai taste buds. If this is a little spicy for you, then ask for it “mai ped” which means “not spicy”.
2. Silverlake Vineyard
Silverlake Vineyard is located to the east of Bang Saray and is a beautiful place to visit regardless of your interest in wine. The surrounding rolling hills are covered in mature greenery, giving an extremely tropical experience. The now well-established vineyards produce a range of wines that are significantly improving in quality each year and are favourably priced in comparison to their imported counterparts.
Onsite, there is a superb Italian restaurant called Silverlake Wine & Grill serving some exquisite dishes complemented by the locally produced wine. The local scenery is simply stunning, and this makes for a relaxing day out taken at a slow pace.
3. Khao Chi Chan
Around a kilometre, before you get to the Silverlake Vineyard, you will see the spectacular golden Buddha engraving in the limestone rock. The ornate engraving is the largest in the world and is often affectionately referred to as “Buddha Mountain” by locals. It was commissioned in 1996 to mark King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s Golden Jubilee and is undoubtedly an awe-inspiring sight and well worth seeing if you are planning to visit some of the other fantastic attractions in the area.
4. Ramayana Water Park
Ramayana Water Park is the largest in Southeast Asia and is a fabulous family day out and can be enjoyed by kids and big kids! It is again situated close to the Silverlake Vineyard and is packed full of large flumes, wave machines and lazy rivers. One of the best things about the park is that all the attractions for young children are separate, making them safer and more enjoyable for the youngsters.
You can rent cabanas as well as towels meaning that you can relax in shaded areas sipping on cold drinks and watch everything happening around you. There are walks around the park as well as plenty of places to buy food and drinks.
5. Upside Down Pattaya
The Upside Down Pattaya is a theme park that is, well, upside down! The park is aimed at everyone, not just children and is particularly popular photo destination for newlyweds and those on honeymoon. The Leaned Castle, Upside Down House and Labyrinth are the most popular attractions. It is something unique that you won’t see anywhere else along with offering excellent value for money. It may not be your first point of call, but nevertheless, it is worth considering.
It is located between Sukhumvit Road and the 331 Highway between Pattaya and Sattahip. Follow the signs for Swiss Sheep Farm, and it is just a few hundred metres past on the right-hand side of the road.
Where to Go During a Romantic Getaway in South Pattaya
The area to the south of Pattaya is one of the most serene and picturesque along the entire Eastern Seaboard. The turquoise waters, golden sands and rolling hills are a haven for couples and honeymooners wanting a romantic getaway in an idyllic location. Of course, there is so much more to appreciate in an area crammed with beauty, culture and spiritualism. Make your romantic break even more memorable by visiting some of these places and create memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Pattaya Floating Market
Thailand is packed full of bright and vibrant markets selling unusual and unique items along with local with fruits and other local delicacies. Floating markets are synonymous with the country’s heritage and history, although they are being replaced by more conventional markets these days. A modern-day version of a floating market can be found to the south of Pattaya. Although the market caters of tourists, it gives you an indication of how life used to be in Siam. Make your way around the floating stalls and take plenty of photos to share when you get home.
2. Khao Chi Chan
What could make your romantic getaway more complete than indulging in some of the mystique of Buddhism? The breathtaking Golden Buddha engraving in limestone rock at Khao Chi Chan to the southeast of Pattaya is the largest of its kind in the world and an astonishing sight. The commemorative piece of art was commissioned in 1996 to make the Golden Jubilee of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s reign and is a mark of incredible craftsmanship.
3. Silverlake Vineyard
Silverlake Vineyard located to the southeast of Pattaya and is a picturesque setting with the stunning backdrop of lush, green hills scattered with limestone rocks. Of course, the locally produced wine is a bonus, but this is a great setting just to relax and unwind in the company of a loved one. After you have had a strolled around the vineyard, you can indulge yourself in a fabulous Italian meal at the onsite restaurant called Silverlake Wine & Grill to complete your day.
4. Khram Yai Island
Koh Khram, as it is often referred to locally, is a serene island that is owned by the Thai Navy and is immaculately kept. The beaches on the island are amongst the best around making this a perfect day retreat – if you are allowed to stay that long. As it is Navy-owned, there are a number of restrictions regarding where you can and can’t go, and there are no amenities which adds to the unspoilt feel but can be an inconvenience if you haven’t prepared beforehand.
5. King Taksin Shrine
The King Taksin Shrine is located in Rayong province to the south of Pattaya. It is a romantic spot, and those that visit and come to pray are allegedly blessed with good luck and fortune. According to legend, King Taksin’s elephant was stabled in a large Parkia tree which still stands in front of the shrine. It is an alternative to regular temple visits while at the same time retaining the mystique. So, if you want your relationship to be blessed with good luck, a visit to the shrine during your stay could be in order.
6. Rayong Aquarium
Rayong Aquarium is relatively small by aquarium standards but, as such, it has a more personal and intimate feel. Here you can get up close to some fantastic creatures in an environment close to their natural habitat. You will find sharks, turtles and a shell museum amongst many other attractions which are both indoors and outdoors. It is around 1km to the west of Ban Phe, the small village where you can get a ferry to Koh Samet.
7. Sky View Tower & Mangrove
The Sky View Tower and Mangrove Research Centre are located in Rayong province, to the south of Rayong city. It is a mostly unknown site but is a fascinating alternative to many of the other attractions around the Pattaya area. Take a walk above the mangroves and see things from a whole new perspective. The relaxing stroll, which overlooks the Rayong River, will give you some time to relax in each other’s company.