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Getting There

By Plane -- The nearest airport is in U-Tapao, 45 minutes east of the city (tel. 03824-5595). It is served by Bangkok Airways, which has flights daily to Phuket (3,900B one-way) and to Ko Samui (3,200B one-way). Trip time for both is approximately an hour. Make reservations through their offices in Bangkok (tel. 02265-5678; www.bangkokair.com). They have an office in Pattaya at Fairtex Arcade, Building A, Room A5, 179/85-212 Moo5, N. Pattaya Rd. (tel. 03841-2382).

To get to and from the U-Tapao airport to Pattaya, you can arrange a private transfer through your resort. A limo can be as steep as 1,500B, though. If you are arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and heading to Pattaya, your only option is by bus or taxi.

By Train -- An inconvenient and slow (weekdays only) local train chugs away from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong station at 6:55am; the homebound train departs Pattaya at 2:20pm. The 4-hour trip costs only 31B. Call Hua Lamphong in Bangkok (tel. 02621-0701 or 1690) or the train station in Pattaya (tel. 03842-9285). The Pattaya train station is east of the resort strip, off Sukhumvit Road, and songtaews (communal pickup trucks) connect with all destinations on the main beach for around 40B.

By Public Bus  -- The most common and practical form of transportation to Pattaya is the bus. Buses depart from Bangkok's Eastern Bus Terminal, on Sukhumvit Road (opposite Soi 63, at the Ekkamai BTS; tel. 02391-2504), every hour beginning at 5am until 11pm every day. For an air-conditioned coach, the fare is 113B. There are also regular buses from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal, on Kampaengphet 2 Road (near Mo Chit; tel. 02936-2841) -- leaving from there is a good way to avoid the Bangkok rush hour.

The bus station in town is on North Pattaya Road (tel. 03842-9877). From there, you can catch a shared ride on a songtaew to your hotel for about 40B, or a bit more for a taxi.

By Private Bus -- Major hotels or travel agencies in both Bangkok and Pattaya operate private shuttles, so be sure to inquire when booking. Rung Reung Tour (tel. 03842-9877) has big air-conditioned buses (fare 124B), departing every 2 hours from 7am to 9pm (trip time: 2 hr.), to and from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

By Taxi -- Taxis from the Suvarnabhumi taxi counter go for upwards of 1,200B, and any hotel concierge in Bangkok can negotiate with a metered taxi driver to take you to or from your Pattaya resort, door to door, for about the same fare.

By Car -- Take Highway 3 east from Bangkok; tolls are payable on the toll roads.

Visitor Information

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office (609 Moo 10, Pratamnak Rd.; tel. 03842-7667) is south of Pattaya City, up the hill on the road between Pattaya and neighboring Jomtien. Plenty of info is available in most hotel lobbies, along with free local maps and publications, such as What's On Pattaya and Explore Pattaya and the East Coast. Pattaya Mail is the local English-language paper, which costs 25B.

Orientation

Pattaya Beach Road is the heart of the town; a long strip of hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops overlook Pattaya Bay. Pattaya 2nd and Pattaya 3rd roads run parallel to Beach Road and form a busy central grid of small, crowded sois bound by North Pattaya and South Pattaya roads, bisected by Central Pattaya Road. At both the far northern (The Dusit Resort) and the far southern (Sheraton Pattaya Resort) ends of the strip are two bluffs. Due south is condo-lined Jomtien Beach -- a 15-minute ride from Pattaya.

Getting Around

By Minibus or Songtaew -- Songtaews are red pickup trucks with wooden benches that follow regular routes up and down the main streets. Fares within Pattaya start at 10B, while getting to such far-flung beaches as Jomtien costs about 30B. However, agree on the fare before getting in, as drivers will charge you a taxi rate if the truck is empty. If you are on a shoestring budget, don't give in; bargain hard or wait for a full truck. Some hotels operate their own minibuses; check on this when you book.

By Car -- Car-rental agencies offering discounts in the off-season abound. Well-known car-rental companies, such as Avis, have counters at the Dusit Resort (tel. 03836-1627); rates start at about 1,200B per day for a Suzuki Caribbean, to 1,700B upward for a compact sedan. Budget Car Rental's office, at Beach Road (tel. 03871-0717), offers comparable rates. There are plenty of local agencies, but beware of the poor condition of the older-model jeeps; read the contract and check the vehicles before renting. One such agency is Chalee Car Rental, 312/13-14, Moo 9, Pattaya 3rd Rd. (tel. 03872-0413; www.pattayacarrental.com), with cars from 1,200B per day (minimum 3 days).

By Motorcycle -- Let's be honest. Pattaya is a party town and its busy roads are full of drunk and reckless drivers. But the brave (or foolish) can rent 100cc motorcycles for around 200B a day, or less for a longer period. You just need your passport as collateral -- nobody asks to see a license -- but insurance is not included, so a big risk is involved, as accidents are so common. Big choppers and Japanese speed bikes (500cc) start at around 1,000B per day. Helmets are mandatory by law -- so wear one, even if the locals don't.

Fast Facts

There are many independent money-changing booths, 24-hour bank exchanges (with better rates), and ATMs at every turn in town. The post office is on Soi Post Office, near the Royal Garden Plaza (tel. 03842-9341). Bangkok Pattaya Hospital (tel. 03825-9999) has full services and English-speaking staff. In Pattaya, the numbers for the Tourist Police are tel. 03842-9371 or 1155. Internet services are easy to find. Rates are about 30B to 60B per hour. There are a number of Internet cafes along the waterfront (try Soi Yamato).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.