Pattaya’s sights are mainly modern, much reflecting the town itself. Sights often double-up as activities but there’s still an array of interesting things to see and especially if you’re willing to travel a little. The beaches, several impressive temples, and entertainment venues all combine to make Pattaya sight seeing a worthy activity.
While it may not have the traditional grandeur and historical relevance of many places in Thailand, Pattaya has a lot of more contemporary attractions to keep travellers amused. Two recommended outings include Underwater World (22/22 Moo 11, Sukhumvit Road, Nongprue, tel: (038) 756 879) and the entertaining Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum (Royal Garden Plaza, 218 Moo 10, Beach Road, Pattaya, tel: (038) 710 294-8, fax: (038) 710 487), home to hosts of exhibits from the traditional to the bizarre.
There is something of a replica theme in Pattaya, with several attractions which are miniature replicas of larger, well-known architectural feats. The first is the hugely ambitious Sanctuary of Truth (206/2 Moo 5, Naklua 12, Banglamung, tel: (038) 367 229-30, fax: (038) 367 845).
Built on a 1:1 replica scale, the structure is designed to mirror the great buildings of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The work is still in progress but visitors are permitted. The jaw-dropping beauty of the main temple makes it worth the hefty entrance fee. The other main replica tourist sight is that of Mini Siam (387 Moo 6, Sukhumvit Road, Naklua, tel: (038) 727 666, 272 333, fax: (038) 421 555, email) – a 1:25 scale collection of both Thailand’s and the world’s most renowned monuments. Come along and have yourself pictured in front of the Statue of Liberty!
For more traditional cultural sightseeing in Pattaya, you can travel 18kms south along Sukhumvit Road to Nongnooch Pattaya Garden & Resort (opposite Basaya Hotel, Pattaya, tel: (038) 422 958, fax: (038) 425 748, email) where you’ll be met by traditional dancers, pleasant natural scenery and playful elephants who’ll be willing to let you enjoy the thrill of a ride. The orchid garden here is reputed to be the world’s largest, so if you like flowers, it may be worth the trip for this alone.
The Pattaya Elephant Village (48/120 Moo 7, Nongprue, tel: (038) 249 818, 249 853, fax: (038) 249 657, email) provides more long distance travel via elephant back, offering 90-minute mini-treks around its own park. Also has whitewater rafting also.
Most hotels, guesthouses and travel shops in Pattaya offer trips and tour packages to almost anywhere within reason, and usually at a reasonable rate. For a half-day trip like Nong Nooch, you can expect to pay around 500 baht for transport from your hotel, entrance and lunch.
Pattaya’s sights may not be complete without a trip to Koh Lan. Only 40 minutes from Pattaya by boat, the island has beautiful white sand and clear blue swimming water. A day trip here is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of the Pattaya town, while still offering good facilities and activities. You can relax on the beach, or go swimming, snorkelling, water-skiing, or even parasailing here. There are also several decent restaurants serving a variety of cuisine.