You may love it or hate it, but Pattaya is without doubt the overall favorite for short time trips from Bangkok. So how to get there?
Bangkok to Pattaya by Bus
Take the BTS skytrain to Ekamai station. Get off and you are right at the Ekamai Bus Terminal. There are buses to Pattaya every 30-60 minutes from 5am to 11pm. The fare is 124 Baht and the trip takes 2-3 hours. Used to be 2 hours but recently the traffic got worse.
From the Bus Terminal in Pattaya you can hop on a shared songthaew that takes you to your hotel or Beach Road (50 Baht).
Bangkok to Pattaya by Minivan
Take the BTS to Victory Monument station, of course you can also get there by taxi or bus. This is one of Bangkok’s prime transportation hubs offering long- and short distance minibus services. From the BTS station don’t walk towards the Victory Monument, but take the stairs down to Thanon Phaya Thai road straight away. Walk about 50 meters along the road – to the opposite direction of the monument. You will then see a minivan station to your left – you basically can’t miss it. They have the vans to Pattaya. If you happen to come too late for the last service (after 8pm), just walk a bit further and you will see a similar minivan station with services to Pattaya.
No matter which van you will take, the minivans will cost no more than 120 Baht. Which is quite a good deal considering that’s like a taxi ride from Downtown Bangkok to Khaosan. By the way:
Foreigners pay the same price as local Thais.
The trip takes around two hours, obviously depending on the traffic. Normally the driver will ask you where in Pattaya you want to get off. Often, they don’t speak English. So you might tell him “chai haat” for beach. He will drop you off, well, near the beach. There are tons of hotels and guesthouses located near the beach and the further you walk inland, the cheaper they get. There are decent rooms for 600 Baht on Pattaya Sai Song road, the road that runs parallel to Beach Road. From there it’s a short 5-10 minute walk to the beach.
On your way back to Bangkok minivans leave in front of the entrance of Central Festival shopping mall, on Pattaya Sai Song road. Tickets are 130 Baht. Note: Space for luggage in minivans is quite limited and if you carry more than a small backpack, they may have you pay for a second seat.
Of course you can go from Bangkok to Pattaya by taxi as well, however this will set you back five or six times as much as the minivan.
So now that you know how to get to Pattaya, check out this post if you want to know what to do in Pattaya other than hanging out in the go go bars.