Pattaya’s location on the Gulf of Thailand, together with its reputation as hardy seaside resort with tropical climate, lends itself ideally to water activities. Here you can find most types of water sports, from jet-skis to snorkelling, parasailing to scuba diving, water-skiing to yacht racing and sailing in a dinghy. Oh, and the swimming is also good.
For parasailing, the boats will pick you up from the Bali Hi Pier and take you out to the pontoons, where instruction to novices and experts alike will be given. This pursuit cannot be undertaken on windy days, and safety is a key factor. A parasailing experience, however, will give you an unforgettable and fabulous view of Pattaya Bay.
Sailing is very popular in Jomtien, where various national and international regattas take place and smaller boats are readily available for hire. Many sailors like to sail over to Koh Larn, or one of the smaller islands, for the day and return in the afternoon. The yacht clubs in Jomtien are all mentioned in the local English directories available in Pattaya. You can also rent a dinghy by the hour from the beach.
Diving is a very popular pursuit off Pattaya and there are several specialist companies with five-star PADI instructors and supervisors. There are loads of dive sites around Pattaya and, with a year-round diving season, profusion of coral and fish, a sea temperature of 28 degrees (Celsius) and cheap prices, it’s easy to see why this is a favourite venue for divers from all over the world. More on diving in Pattaya.
Swimming in the sea is very popular with both Thais and visitors. Don’t be surprised if the Thais go in fully clothed, though. They are not used to showing intimate areas in public, and also don’t like the sun, although it’s warm enough to dry off very quickly. With the sea at roughly the same temperature as the air, swimming here is very pleasant, and in the hot season in Pattaya the same 28 degrees in the sea seems very cooling.
Deep-sea fishing is another top activity in Pattaya if you fancy your hand at landing big fish. Several operations run trips daily and often return with some impressive catches. Not quite the Hemingway Cuban adventure, but worthwhile if you’re into big game fishing. Sail fish, queen fish, barracuda, marlin, cobia and shark are all caught in these waters, but you usually need to charter the entire boat, so it’s best to go as a group. More on fishing in Pattaya.
The Jetski damage ruse has been going strong for several years and despite a high profile international documentary expose, the police seem to let the jetski owners continue scamming tourists. It’s quite simple, you rent a jetski, signing a contract that says ‘no insurance’, and then when you return it the operator claims you’ve caused damaged, pointing to pre-existing marks. When you refuse to pay the 50,000 baht they ask for, they threaten to take it to the police where ‘it’s, likely to cost more’. When you refuse, they get heavy. The very best advice we can give is to NOT RENT JETSKIS IN THAILAND, or else agree to go to the police, insisting they take you to the charge office (avoid mediators in uniform), and ask to call your local consulate.
There are several fun water and beach activities offered in Pattaya Bay, such as banana boat rides, jet-skiing (in the right places!), volleyball, beach football, and more. Simply show up and you’ll find companies present, offering various options. Koh Larn, the nearby island, also has some facilities in a nice environment, including snorkelling equipment rental in clear waters.