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From Bangkok to Pattaya

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From Bangkok to Pattaya
The Best Ways to Get There -

Home to floating markets, a lively café scene, and the closest beaches to Bangkok, the seaside town of Pattaya has plenty of things to offer no matter what your interests are. Pattaya is a rare mix of modern shopping centers and water parks next to ancient wats (temples) and giant Buddha sculptures–all waiting to be discovered.

With a convenient location less than two hours away from Thailand's capital, Pattaya makes for a perfect day trip from Bangkok. Even better, plan on spending a few nights there to make the most of this lively seaside destination.

There are many ways to travel between the two cities. From quick bus transfers to a unique train experience to the comforts of a private tour, here are the best ways to get from Bangkok to Pattaya.

1. Private VIP Airport Transfer

Most international visitors arrive in Thailand through Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, about 120 kilometers away from Pattaya. If your first overnight stop in Thailand is a visit to Pattaya, it makes sense to go directly here from the airport rather than finding your way into traffic-crazy Bangkok first. A one-way Private Airport Transfer: Bangkok to Pattaya is not only the most comfortable way to get to your sunny destination but also saves you the hassle of trying to deal with local taxi drivers.

With a VIP private airport transfer, an English-speaking local driver will wait for you at the airport and guide you to the car, where you'll receive a fresh cold towel and bottled water for the journey. The company can accommodate anybody, from a single traveler to a group of up to eight passengers and their luggage in an air-conditioned sedan or minivan. The drive will take about two hours, and you'll be dropped off directly at your Pattaya hotel.


2. Pattaya by Bus

The cheapest and most comfortable public transportation connection between Bangkok and Pattaya is by bus. While the views out the window aren't anything to write home about, the journey takes only two and a half hours (sometimes longer because of heavy traffic) and it's very affordable.

First-class air-conditioned buses leave from either Mo Chit or Ekkamai bus terminals several times a day starting at 5:30am until as late as 11:30pm. These are spacious buses with decent leg space. You can book tickets for the major bus companies through an online portal or just show up at the bus terminal on the day you're traveling and buy a seat on the next available bus.

All first-class buses arrive at the main station in Pattaya, located just a few minutes from the city center. Songthaew (shared open taxis) are always waiting outside the station and don't cost much. Just make sure you agree on a price beforehand.

If you're heading to Jomtien beach, look for the second-class buses departing from the same stations. They are still air-conditioned but are more basic, slower, and cost about the same. But because they drop you off near Jomtien beach, you won't have to take a 10-minute taxi from the Pattaya bus station, so it saves money and some time.


3. Pattaya by Minivan

If your final destination in the Krabi province is one of the islands, a ferry will eventually come into play–basically, once you arrive in Krabi Town via bus or plane, you can then hop on a ferry to get you to the islands. A large number of travelers arriving in Krabi are heading to Railay West Beach or the Koh Phi Phi islands–both of which require a water transfer at the end of your journey.

Boats leave from a number of piers in Krabi and offer different levels of service and comfort. Ferries take about two hours to reach the Phi Phi islands. The ferries are comfortable and offer air-conditioned travel, as well as a sundeck for those who prefer open views of the sea, plus a stall to buy food and drinks. High-speed catamarans take around 90 minutes for the same trip–and while saving some time is nice, you have fewer chances to walk around and enjoy the trip.

While it's possible to arrive in Krabi and get a ferry ticket there, you can also buy a combination ticket that includes a bus to Krabi and a ferry to the islands. During high season, ferries to popular islands like Koh Phi Phi get very crowded, and you might have to wait for a while to find available space in one. To avoid delays, it might be better to make a reservation online in advance.

4. Pattaya by Train

Trains are not the most convenient way to travel between Bangkok and Pattaya, but if you still want the very Thai experience of using local transportation, this might be your best chance.

There are only two trains connecting the two cities, and they both leave Bangkok before 7am (at 6:45am and 6:55am) on weekdays only – trains don't run between Bangkok and Pattaya on weekends or at all in the afternoons. The trains are all third class, with no AC, and wooden benches as seats. They're not going to be the most comfortable option, but they do give you the best immersion experience you can ask for, as trains go past villages, markets, and the beautiful countryside.

The 6:45am train is a Rapid train, which means it only stops at a few stations between the two cities and will arrive in Pattaya at 9:13am. The second train stops at all small stations along the way and gets to Pattaya over an hour later, at 10:34am. The return trains (both express and regular) leave from Pattaya at 1:10pm on weekdays only.

Both trains leave from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong train station and are the cheapest transportation option you'll find to get you to Pattaya. Since reservations aren't possible for these trains, make sure you arrive at the station early to secure a seat.

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