Pattaya Newbie Guide

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            Newbie's Guide to Pattaya

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Getting to Pattaya and Away Again

Suvanarnabhumi (pronounced sue–wan-na-poom) Airport is Bangkok’s international airport. It opened in September 2006.

The airport is 30km east of Bankok and 125km, by road, from Pattaya. For more detailed information about the airport, including maps, please refer to

Arriving at the airport

After disembarking you will need to make your way to immigration. Depending on which gate you arrived at it can be a considerable walk. Lines at immigration can be non-existant to considerable. A wait of up to one hour is possible depending on how many flights arrived before yours.

Before approaching the immigration counter have your completed arrival card, boarding pass and departure details handy. When it is your turn to be processed give the immigration officer your passport, arrival card and boarding pass. You may be asked to show your departure details.

Your checked baggage is collected from the carousels shortly after immigration. There are currency exchange booths in this area so you can change money while waiting for your baggage. However, they will only accept cash and not traveller’s cheques. The rates you get here a little less than elsewhere so only change as much as you need to get you to Pattaya. Converting money will be discussed in more detail in a later section.

Once you have collected you luggage you can make your way through customs. You are unlikely to be stopped at customs. However do not be tempted to carry more cigarettes or alcohol than is permitted as the fines are high and will cause you a lot of inconvenience if caught.

After customs you will exit either door number two or three, door number one is for domestic flights. This can cause some confusion should you have a taxi booked. If you have booked a taxi it is probably best to arrange to meet the driver at an exit from the terminal. These are numbered from 1 to 10. Number 1 is at the domestic side of the terminal. Door number 7 would be a good alternative.

There are numerous currency exchanges and ATMs on the arrivals level. Below is a map showing the arrivals level of the airport. The baggage carousels are located between immigration and customs. It is also possible to buy a SIM card for your phone.

Bangkok airport arrivals level

Getting away from the airport

There are a number of options available to get to Pattaya from the airport. The first one that will be obvious is that offered by the numerous touts who will harass you after you enter the public area of the terminal. It is probably best to avoid using this service.

The most convenient method of getting to Pattaya is by taxi. This may sound expensive but by comparison it is not. The set price from the Airport to Pattaya is 1,400 Baht. It is not considered rude to try to negotiate a lower price and you should be able to get a lower fare. To find a taxi exit the terminal building on the arrivals level. You will see the colourful taxis parked up. Approach any of the people standing at tables near the taxis and tell them that you would like to go to Pattaya. You will find yourself in a taxi and on your way very quickly. You will be expected to pay the highway tolls (unless you have stipulated that they are included in the fare) but they don’t amount to very much.

There are a couple of companies who provide minibus service to Pattaya. These are cheaper than taxis but are not quite as convenient as they have a set timetable. More details of these services will be added once I have more information.

Another, even cheaper option is the use of public bus. To use this service you go to level 1 (arrivals level) and locate Gate 8 to buy a ticket. The bus departs every hour on the hour from 07:00 to 22:00. The fare is 130 Baht and the trip is about 2 hours. You will need to take a taxi frm the drop off point to your hotel.

Bell Travel Service runs a convenient bus service from the terminal to Pattaya. People using it have reported that it is a good service at the cost of 250 Baht each way. More details can be found here.

If before you travel to Pattaya you spend some time in Bangkok a cheap option is to catch a bus. The trip takes a little over two hours and the service is regular. This service leaves from Ekamai bus station which is easily reached using the sky train. If you are planning on using this service make sure that you read the section about common scams.

Getting Away from Pattaya

This will probalby one of the saddest days of your life! Again hard to understand until you have experienced it. Grown men have cried on the way to the airport!

To return to the airport after your visit all the same options are available. Taxis are cheaper from Pattaya to the airport and start from 800 Baht. While you are in Pattaya you will see many places offering taxi services back to the airport. Your hotel will also provide this service but you may pay a premium for that.