Villa Rental Location Guide
Near Walking Street or Not?
Everybody immediately associates Pattaya with the lady bars of Walking Street and beyond. This infamous street started life back in the 1960’s as a source of rest and relaxation for the US soldiers fighting in the Vietnam war. The US flew the war worn soldiers into the military airport of Utapao just outside Pattaya (which has now started operations as a commercial airport). Many groups visiting Pattaya, especially of men, insist that they want to be within a stone’s throw of the street and a visit to it is easy to understand why with maybe 300 bars and restaurants crammed into a half-mile street. However this is pretty dumb for the following reasons. Walking Street is absolutely jam-packed with people and activity along with all that brings. Whilst it is pretty safe, and I have never seen a single person drunk there, it obviously attracts the pick-pockets and other petty criminals. The locality around it is for the most part gridlocked with traffic, people and pollution. Any accommodation in the vicinity is going to be over-priced, small, smelly and noisy.
Walking Street doesn’t open until 8 pm so why base your whole holiday on being there? During the daytime it is empty and dead with nothing going on. Far better to be near the beach or out of the noisy, congested, polluted city-centre on the outskirts where you can easily reach Walking Street and all the major tourist attractions within 10-15 minutes drive. The major shopping malls, 20 international golf courses, water and theme parks are all close and easily accessible to the major highway running through Pattaya Sukumvit Road. Walking Street on the other hand is in the down town area with parking very hard to find and in the day-time congestion can take a while to get anywhere from. At night a taxi ride into Walking Street is short and cheap. Also don’t forget that there are 3-4 other smaller lady-bar areas that are much less busy and much cheaper (for beer, food and girls) in different parts of Pattaya.
Enjoy Better Quality
Staying on the outskirts means you are only 15-20 minute drive away from downtown Pattaya but have cheaper much better quality accommodation. If you pick the right area there are also plenty of really good restaurants where you don’t pay the inflated tourist prices. You can have a much less congested, less crowded, less polluted, far more relaxing and peaceful stay. For a perfect mix make your base there and then take excursions to the shops, attractions, beaches, Walking Street.
Pattaya offers a fantastic place for family vacations and those who have no desire or need to visit the likes of Walking Street whatsoever. There are plenty of activities and attractions to visit such as the crocodile farm, dolphin world, aquarium, water and theme parks. You can also take the boat to visit some of the local islands as day trips or go fishing or enjoy water sports such as water skiing, sailing or windsurfing. With eating-out very cheap you don’t need to cook anything other than snacks. If you have a private swimming pool where you stay the kids can spend hours playing while the parents relax and read.
Pattaya is rapidly being developed into Thailand’s second best city for shopping with a great choice of malls from some of the World’s best to the open air markets.
Terminal 21 Shopping Mall
This amazing shopping mall opened in October 2018. It is themed on an airport and zoned to give different departure gates for each country. It is very nicely done and without doubt one of the best shopping malls in the World so well worth a visit. There is already a well-established Terminal 21 in Bangkok and this is even better. All the international retail brand names are there giving plenty of choice and bargains. On the top floor is a state-of-the-art cinema in case you fancy taking in the latest movies. Terminal 21 is located at the bottom of North Road and can be reached from Baan Leelawadee in 10-15 minutes depending on traffic which is quicker than from Walking Street!
Right next door to Terminal 21 is the one year old Central Marina mall previously known as Big C North as opposed to Big C Extra which is on Pattaya Central Road. Whilst not quite the high-end flavour of Terminal 21 it has a nice range of cheaper shops and is much smaller. Parking is very good and the vicinity has plenty of night life and restaurants.
Royal Garden Plaza
This top-end mall has been in Pattaya for many years now and is better than most malls in international cities like London and New York.
Outlet Mall Pattaya
Located next to Tesco and less than 10 mins from the villa is this outlet mall which has a great selection of merchandise at keen prices.
Mike Shopping Mall
For those wanting a cheaper and less high-end experience and don’t want to use the outdoor markets Mike Shopping Mall is worth a visit. Situated on Second Road there is plenty of underground parking and it is a great place to get nice authentic gifts to take back home.
Theppasit Night Market
Also very close to the Villa, less than 10 mins away at the top end of Threppasit Road, is the huge and ever expanding night market that is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Beware the quality here as there are a lot of fakes and cheap crap but if you are careful and willing to haggle then you can get some great bargains. The fake watches that I purchased for $50 packed up after 2 months but the gym bags for $10 lasted me for years. Parking is limited and getting in and out can be slow so getting dropped off and picked up by a taxi is the best option. Also watch out for pick-pockets as it is very busy with both tourists and locals.
A short blast down Suukumvit is the floating market which is aimed at tourists and worth a visit.
There is no shortage of theme parks for family activities with some of the biggest and best in the whole of Asia such as Ramayana water park which is a half hour drive south of Pattaya.
See the separate page covering golf.
The closest beach to the Villa is Jomien which is just over 10 minutes away. It is also the nicest and not too busy with a lovely selection of good quality restaurants and bars next to it. The parking is reasonable you might need to wait a few minutes and is free. Pattaya beach is very busy and full of hawkers so not so pleasant. Going further down Sukumvit just 15 minutes takes you to some very quiet, almost private beaches.
There is a huge choice of restaurants in Pattaya covering every conceivable cuisine. It truly is an international gastric microcosm so you can sample good food from almost every country of the world each night. Some of the best restaurants are to be found outside of the tourist Beach and Second Road areas and certainly 40-50% cheaper. For example News is an amazing steak house with fantastic quality Australian steak cooked to perfection (and owned by a Swedish chef) but 30% cheaper due to be slightly out of the main drag.
Other Attractions to Visit
There are so many places to go and things to do there is something for everybody and every taste. The Nong Nooch Gardens – 15 mins down Suukumvit – are truly wonderful and a beautiful sight to behold. There is the Sanctuary of Truth, the Big Buddha, about 6 dancing shows not to mention the countless bars with live music and discos. For more details of all of these go to Tripadvisor.