Most international flights don’t take travelers directly to Pattaya. Instead, there’s a solid chance your flight to Thailand will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport. After a long day of travel, you’re likely wondering how much longer it will be before you arrive in Pattaya.
How do you get from Bangkok airport to Pattaya? There are several different ways to arrive in Pattaya (Bangkok’s seedier neighbor). Most methods of transportation involve a bus, taxi, or private ride. You can use public transportation to cut the distance you’ll need to travel. It would be odd to take a flight from Bangkok to Pattaya.
If you’re interested in finding the best transportation option for you, we’ll give a rundown of each choice. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of taking a taxi, a Grab, a bus, and an airplane. The ride is only about 2 hours so you won’t be traveling for very long.
A bus is the most common method of transportation from Bangkok to Pattaya. In a city fraught with pollution and smog, sharing a method of travel is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint (even if the exhaust system of your bus is practically a smog factory).
When you arrive at the airport, you’ll want to take the SkyTrain or a taxi to the Ekkamai Bus Terminal. There are 3-4 standard bus companies that run the Bangkok to Pattaya route. While there are micro differences between the companies, they are not noticeably different unless you opt for the most expensive option.
The fare for a standard bus ticket is about 130 Baht (just over $4 USD). This is a pretty cheap fare for the distance traveled, especially considering most buses have a bathroom on board. It’s not clean enough to eat off but it’s not going to give you nightmares, either. Ask if your bus offers a bathroom ahead of time.
If your bus doesn’t have a bathroom, be aware that there aren’t any bathroom stops along your short route. If you ask the bus driver to stop for you, he’ll just laugh (and that’s if he knows what you’re saying).
The distance between Bangkok and Pattaya is less than 100 miles. Your bus ride will only take about 2 hours. Bangkok traffic is relatively unpredictable so it could take a good bit longer if you leave during rush hour.
When you buy your ticket, you will be assigned a specific seat. If you prefer to sit near the front or in a window seat, tell your ticketing agent before they print out your ticket. If you wish to have a driver’s point of view, you, unfortunately, won’t be able to sit in the front row. This row is reserved for monks.
Your bus will drop you off at the Pattaya bus terminal. However, this terminal isn’t walking distance from the beach. If you’ve booked accommodations that are walking distance from this bus stop, you’re likely not situated near any worthwhile tourist attractions. You’ll need to find a new mode of transportation to get into town.
If you don’t want to shell out the few dollars for a Grab ride, we recommend taking a ‘sontaew’. These are modified pickup trucks that have bench seating in the bed of the truck. For those who have visited the Philippines, they’re structurally similar to jeepneys. You only have to pay 50 Baht for a ride.
These sonataew trucks are organized into rows that take travelers to different parts of town. If you are told to enter an empty one, it’s not shady! It just implies you’ll be visiting a different part of Pattaya then your fellow travelers. This is the standard mode of transportation in town as taxis don’t truly operate here.
While this multistep process may initially seem overwhelming to first-timers in Thailand, you shouldn’t worry. Your bus will have plenty of other foreign tourists on board. At least a few of them will know what they are doing and most travelers experience a sense of pride when explaining the process to others.
There are many people who are happily willing to pay a surcharge in order to avoid the extra time (and people) associated with a Thai bus trip. If you fit into this category, the distance to Pattaya is short enough to justify taking a taxi. It’s not all that expensive, either!
If you’ve just landed at Suvarnabhumi Airport, you’re already positioned closer to Pattaya than any other part of Bangkok. Use this to your advantage and get a taxi while you’re at this Eastern airport. Only choose to take the express route if you’re leaving during rush hour (otherwise the tolls won’t be worth the minimal time difference).
The standard meter-taxi price will set you back slightly more than 1000 Baht ($33 USD). If you tell your driver you’re headed to Pattaya, he’ll likely recognize the potential income he can make and be willing to lower the price a bit. It’s a solid opportunity to haggle in hopes of reducing the rate, but you won’t save too much money.
If you’re already in Bangkok, your hotel can pre-arrange a taxi for you. Your hotel will only use a reputable licensed service (unless you’re staying somewhere slimy). You will likely have to pay a premium for this pre-arranged service. Expect to shell out closer to 1500 Baht ($45 USD) for the convenience.
Other forums recommend trying to find a taxi on the departure level instead of the arrival level. If you can catch a taxi dropping somebody off at the airport, you can save on the standard 50 Baht (~$2 USD) airport fee other taxi drivers downstairs will need to pay.
Grab (Use to be Uber)
Many people who frequent Asia are aware that Uber recently sold their Southeastern Asia operations to a similar ride-sharing company called Grab. The only difference between Grab and Uber is that you can pay cash if you wish through Grab. This is huge in Asia as substantial portions of the population don’t have personal bank accounts.
Grab is typically known to be cheaper than a taxi service in Thailand. You can expect to pay slightly cheaper rates if you use this ride-sharing app instead of hailing a taxi on the street. However, this ceases to be the case if you try to depart to Pattaya during rush hour.
Grab implements a surge pricing structure when demand is high or traffic is bad. If this is the case, you will likely pay more for a Grab than you would for a run of the mill taxi. You are paying for the convenience with Grab as they come directly to you.
Don’t travel from Bangkok to Pattaya by flight unless you already have intentions of stopping off in a nearby city for a few days. There are no direct flights from Bangkok to Pattaya. If you book a flight, you’ll end up with a layover in a nearby city like Chiang Mai.
This is a great plan if you only want to tour a small town for a day (or a few hours). Other layovers can land you in Hat Yai or Udon Thani. If you wouldn’t otherwise make it to these small but charming cities, it’s a great transportation option. However, most people who arrive in Thailand are sick of traveling and just want to reach their end destination.
Lol, crazier things have been done in Thailand!!
Regardless of your preferred method of transportation, your ride from Bangkok to Pattaya will be a short one. You can expect to arrive in a few short hours and almost every mode of transportation offers air conditioning. Enjoy your vacation!
How do I get from Don Mueang Airport to Pattaya?
A taxi ride from Don Mueang Airport to Pattaya will cost close to 1500 Baht ($45 USD). If you wish to take a bus, you will need to find other transportation to bring you to the Ekkamai Bus Terminal. You will be able to buy your bus ticket at the terminal.
How far is Pattaya from Bangkok?
Pattaya is 93.7 miles away from Bangkok. The trip is estimated to last 2 hours by bus. Rush hour traffic can prolong this estimated duration. It is unlikely to add more than 45 minutes to your travels.