Pattaya is a fantastically lively and vibrant city, but most people would agree that Pattaya Beach isn’t one of the best in the area. If you are looking for some sand and sun, luckily some excellent beaches aren’t too far out of town. Others are a little further away and are great places to enjoy a short break. Here are some of the best beaches or islands in the area:
1. Na Jomtien
Na Jomtien and the adjoining Ban Amphur are just to the south of Jomtien. The beaches here are lined with mainly palm trees, but there are other varieties as well. The trees provide plenty of shade and the sea and sands in these areas are very clean. There are some excellent beachfront restaurants in this area that offer magnificent viewing points to watch the sunset. Overall, this is a very relaxing and upmarket area that is popular with those travelling down from Bangkok.
2. Bang Saray
Bang Saray is still a small fishing town to the south of Ban Amphur but now caters very much for expats and tourists. The area has established itself as one of the most exclusive places in the area with its unspoilt beaches and azure waters. The village has some excellent restaurants and a small selection of bars. The beaches can get very busy on Public Holidays with many people travelling to the area from Bangkok.
3. Sattahip Area
Slightly further to the south of Bang Saray is the Thai Navy Beach which is called Sai Kaew. It is a tree-lined beach with a fabulous mountain backdrop. As you would expect, it is kept in immaculate condition and has a small restaurant serving Thai food and a small massage shop. A little further south, you will find Hat Nang Ram Beach which is another unspoilt beach with crystal clear waters and is generally very quiet.
There are several unspoilt beaches in Rayong province which are all within an hour and a half of Pattaya. The most well-known beaches are Laem Mae Phim and Ramphueng. These are great places to visit for the day, but if you feel like an overnight stay, accommodation is available close by. The area doesn’t really cater to the tourist market yet, so the restaurants are few and far between serving almost exclusively Thai food.
5. Koh Larn
Koh Larn is the large island that is visible from nearly all of Pattaya and Jomtien. It is a short 40-minute ferry ride from Bali Hai Pier. There are several smaller beaches available, but the two most popular ones are Samae Beach and Ta Waen Beach. Both beaches have a selection of small restaurants and shops. You can go to Koh Larn for the day or stop in one of the many hotels on the islands.
6. Koh Samet
Koh Samet is another island that is around 1.5 hours away from Pattaya with ferries to the island departing from Ban Phe Pier. The crossing takes approximately 45 minutes and is well worth it as the island has clear water and water sands. There is plenty of accommodation available to cater for all budgets.