Getting Around Pattaya: Tips from a Fresh Caucasian (Farang)

Planes, trains and automobiles – what do these things have in common? They are all forms of transportation! What’s unique about transportation in all parts of the world is how drastically different the modes can be. For example, in London, England, the main form of transportation for locals is the London Underground Network or The Tube while in Venice, Italy, a popular form of transport is the gondola. People have adapted well to specific climates and landscapes to efficiently get from point A to point B. When visiting a new place, one way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture is to take a spin in the popular form of transportation.

If you plan on traveling to Pattaya in the future, you’ll see that there are many forms of transportation you can take to get around. While some are pretty common, others are definitely not! This is why we have created a guide with tips on taking advantage of all types of transportation you will see in Pattaya written by a new Pattaya resident.

Taxis

I’ll start off with the most common form of transportation: taxis.

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Everyone knows the drill when it comes to taxi etiquette; hail one from the sidewalk or airport, pack your belongings in the trunk, jump into the backseat, tell the driver where to go and then, you’re off. Most of the time, your ride will go smoothly but to prepare for the other times when it might not, here are some useful tips:

Before getting into the taxi, take note of the vehicle registration plate of the car.  Once inside, you can also take a photo of the name plaque on the dashboard. Take note of the name of the taxi company and any other contact information you can manage to find. A phone number for the driver can also be very helpful.

Why you should do this: A few weeks ago, my sister came to visit from the United States. From the international airport in Bangkok, she chose to take a taxi to go to Pattaya. Because of jet lag and the fact that she finally arrived at my house in the wee hours of the morning at 4:00 am, she did the unspeakable. She left her passport in the backseat of the taxi and only realized this when the taxi was already gone. Frantic, we both tried everything we could to find that taxi that she took. We tried calling the airport, called different taxi services and even reached out on sites like TripAdvisor!  However, since she didn’t have any contact information of that specific driver, there was nothing we could do. Out of fantastic luck, that same taxi driver, out of his own accord, actually drove all the way back from Bangkok the next day to drop off her passport at our house. This is definitely not the norm for any country so whatever contact information you can get, the better!

-This might seem redundant from the tip above but make sure you double/triple check to see if you have not left anything behind inside your taxi before you let it drive away. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your personal belongings!

Grab is now in Pattaya and makes hailing a taxi the easiest! All you have to do is download the app on your phone. Simply type in the address of where you are currently (the GPS tracker on the app is actually quite good so it will almost always automatically fill in your current location) and then type in where you want to go and it finds a driver close to where you are. The app even has a tracker for how far the driver is and alerts you when he/she is a few minutes away. Another perk is the constant discount codes and awards you can earn while you use it.

Don’t be alarmed if your driver pulls over multiple times during your commute.

Why you shouldn’t be alarmed: I kid you not, every long distance taxi ride I have taken, the driver has made multiple stops. This is bizarre to me because taxis in the states NEVER stop during the ride. The first time I experienced this, I was on my way to the airport. The driver pulled to the side of the road, did something in the trunk, went to the bathroom and then ate a snack before continuing the trip. After a few times of this happening, I became used to it and now expect every driver to do the same (and most of them have).

-If you don’t want to bother with worrying about directions or if the driver will get you to or from the airport on time, always take advantage of the taxi service at your hotel/resort.

Why you should do this: Almost every time I come back from the airport, my driver has no idea how to get to where I need to go. Multiple times I have had to use my own GPS on my phone to guide him/her. I’d recommend using your hotel/resorts’ taxi service because the drivers will know exactly where to go and if not, the hotel staff can help you. Royal Cliff Hotels Group can arrange a hassle-free transfer to a wide selection of routes at special rates specifically catered to your needs.

To arrange transportation or learn more about our options, click here!

Motorbike Taxis

Next up are motorbike taxis for a true taste of how locals get around!

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The first thing you’re likely to notice when you arrive in Pattaya are the overwhelming number of motorbikes on the road. Due to congested roadways, many prefer to drive motorbikes to bypass traffic or take little short-cuts not accessible by cars. If you are bold enough, hop on the back of one of these bikes and zoom through the city! But before you do, here’s some tips when it comes to choosing this form of transportation:

-There are no flat rate prices for trips you take on a motorbike. Every driver is different. Before you climb on, negotiate a price. If you are unsure of how much you should bargain, THB 40 is a pretty standard fare.  However, prices vary greatly depending on the distance.

-Ask if the driver has a helmet for you.

Why you should do this:  The reason is pretty obvious. If you need more convincing, on average 80 people die every day from motorbike related accidents in Thailand. The more you can protect yourself, the better!

-Ask to see the driver’s license.

Why you should do this: I actually drive my own motorbike around Pattaya. When I first got my bike, I didn’t have my license yet (it took some time because I needed my work permit, visa and various paperwork). Just like in most countries, if you get pulled over and are without a license you have to pay a fine. The first time I got pulled over, I was one of many on the side of the road waiting to receive a ticket. What surprised me about this was there were A LOT of motorbike taxis that were in the same boat as me. This is why I suggest you ask to see their driver’s license. If they are to be pulled over, you’ll have to stop your commute and either wait for them to get back from the police station or hop on another bike.

P.S. There are many places to rent a motorbike for yourself when you are here. I suggest you skip out on this experience as police are trained to spot rental bikes and will ticket you especially in high tourist areas. If you are pulled over without a license, you have to leave your bike with the police officer, find another mode of transportation to the police station, pay a THB 400 fine and find your way back to your bike.

Baht Buses

Baht Buses (aka blue trucks with bleacher seats installed in the bed).

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The more common word these baht buses are “songthaews”. While you’ll see more of the traditional Tuktuk’s in Bangkok, Baht Buses are very common in Pattaya! Baht buses can carry up to 10 or more passengers (when they are packed, there is a metal grate suspended from the bumper where 3-4 more people can stand and hang on) that usually drive around Pattaya in designated circuits. When you want the vehicle to stop while on board, you simply press a button above your head and the driver will pull over. Here is what you need to know before you cruise:

-You pay the driver through the passenger side window before you hop off the back. The starting rate for short-distance rides is THB 10 (THB 20-30 for longer routes). Most, not all, drivers will charge more if you ask them how much the trip cost. It’s better if you get off and hand over 10-30 baht without question.

-If you are traveling in a large group, try to find an empty baht bus or songthaew.

Why you should do this: There have been a couple of times when I was traveling with a large group (5+ people) and not all of us could fit in a taxi. The first time, I located an empty Baht Bus. I showed the driver I had a large group and asked if he could take us all to the Floating Market.  Normally, these buses follow a certain route but since I was with a group, he was able to take us directly to the market for a pre-negotiated rate. For what would have cost THB 300+ per taxi, ended up costing only THB 100 for 6 people by Baht Bus.

-If you are unsure of where that specific Baht Bus is headed, ask before you board.

Why you should do this: The first time I used a Baht Bus, I ended up jumping on and off 3 different trucks! Every time I hopped off, I had to pay THB 10 (as the bus would turn in the opposite direction from where I needed to go). The drivers know their end location so just ask them what that is before you get on. If you don’t know the area that well, I suggest getting a map or pulling up a map on your phone to see if your end destination coincides with the drivers’ route and end point.

Boats or Ferries

Catamaran

One of the most beautiful attractions in Pattaya is Koh Larn Island or Coral Island. With white beaches and a number of water activities, it’s definitely something you should add to your travel itinerary. The island is only 15 minutes by speedboat from Pattaya. You can easily rent a speedboat from Pattaya Beach or from Bali Hai Pier at the end of Walking Street. You can also take a ferry to Coral Island which takes about an hour. Here are some tips before you set sail:

-Check the weather before you plan your cruise or trip to the islands.

Why you should do this: While the weather is decently sunny during high-season, there are days/times when there could be heavy downpour. The last thing you want is to head out to an island and it starts raining. The speedboat ride is likely to be very unpleasant and the time spent on the island could be wasted if you need to stay indoors.

-Ask if your hotel/resort has any deals or travel guides to the island.

Why you should do this: I found out that it was hard to research or reserve a spot on a ferry or speed boat in order to get to the island. My first time there, I really didn’t know what to do. Your hotel/resort is likely to know just the right people to contact in order to maximize your island adventure.

For example, Royal Cliff offers their own catamaran service for private charter that will take you straight from the hotel to Coral Island. Equipped with trained staff and captain, you can be rest assured that your trip will be smooth sailing. They can also arrange for you to do a number of activities such as diving, snorkeling or specific sight-seeing. If that’s not enough, catering can be provided as well as sunset cocktails for a truly unforgettable experience!

To learn more about private excursion options or to reserve the catamaran, click here!

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Overall, Pattaya is truly a unique place with accessible transportation means to match. We hope that this guide from one of our own new staff can help a little when it comes to getting around on your next trip. However, if you should run into little travel difficulties whilst being here just remember, it’s all part of the experience!

Royal Cliff Hotels Group offers different travel options to destinations around and outside Pattaya.  We can arrange a hassle- free transfer to a wide selection of routes at special rates specifically catered to your needs.   We also have a scheduled shuttle bus service running from the hotel to the city center which operates daily.

If you have any questions about Royal Cliff’s shuttle service or other transfer services, please click here!

For any questions about the resort or to book your stay, please contact us.

Royal Cliff Hotels Group

353 Phra Tamnuk Road, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand 20150

Tel: (+66) 38 250421
Fax: (+66) 38 250511, 250513
Email: relax@royalcliff.com
Website: www.royalcliff.com

 

 

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