Pattaya is arguably one of the most controversial places in Thailand and certainly not the top destination in Thailand.
Negative headlines about the tourist stronghold are spread daily, but hardly anyone talks about the many beautiful sights in Pattaya. Anyone who has ever visited Pattaya and seen the main beach knows that it is anything but inviting.
A few years ago it would have been unthinkable to go swimming in Pattaya as the water quality was disastrous. Fortunately, the city spared no expense for the new sewage system! Because in the meantime the water quality has improved a lot and you can now go swimming without any problems. Whether you really want to do that is another question…because the water there is often still not clear, the sand is rather coarse and sometimes very dirty.
In fact the only thing you can do well on Pattaya Beach is watch the beautiful sunset every day.
Most Pattaya vacationers prefer to go to the nearby Jomtien Beach in the town of the same name. While it’s far better than the main beach in Pattaya, it’s not really pretty either.
The sand may be fine, but thousands of sun loungers and parasols make the sight almost unacceptable. The water quality isn’t the best either. You can swim here without any problems, but it doesn’t look really good.
So the question that is yet to be answered is whether there are any beaches near Pattaya that are worth visiting. Fortunately, the answer is YES!
There are some small, dreamy beaches that are an ideal alternative to the Pattaya Beach. We would like to introduce them to you in this article.
By law, the beaches in Pattaya are municipal, that is, open to all comers. But in fact, if the terrain allows you to restrict access to the beach, this beach actually turns into a private one. This is how some hotels offer private beaches.
In order not to repeat, we immediately note that on all the described beaches, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of entertainment: boat trips and canoeing, parasailing, as well as riding on “bananas”, jet skis and water skiing, catamarans.
The Thai government issued a decree according to which, it is impossible to rent beach equipment on Wednesdays. This law applies to all mainland and island beaches. On Wednesdays, locals and visitors to Thailand can enjoy sunbathing on a towel or a mat. You can buy a compact folding mat “at every corner”, its cost, depending on the size, is 150-300 baht.
1. Wong Amat Beach in Naklua (north Pattaya)
Wong Amat Beach is located in the nearby town of Naklua. It is far better than Pattaya and Jomtien beaches.
Along the entire beach there are hotels and condominiums, and in some places, especially in the southern part of Wongamat, they are located just 5-20 meters from the sea.
Thanks to these hotels, Wongamat remains the cleanest beach in Pattaya. Nevertheless, one does comes across trash here. Water is also not perfectly clean and transparent due to bottom silt and seaweed, but its not dirty.
The coastal strip is about 1.5 km long. The average width is about 20 m, sometimes it is more or less due to the tides. At high tide, the beach is very narrow, the entry into the sea is quite steep, the water almost immediately comes to the waist. At low tide, the sea goes far, it becomes very shallow, lower than knee-deep, and for the depth to come to the waist, we must at least 10-15 m away from the coast.
The best places for swimming on this Pattaya beach, where the sea and coast are clear, are its central and southern parts. The coarse sand is pale yellow in color and the bottom is quite flat.
But there is not enough natural shadow. Although there are trees, they are not dense and not a continuous strip. There are many sun loungers from hotels, and for rent you still need to find them, but you can lie on your towel.
Farther north, the shore and the seabed become rocky and in places there are many shells. So there is a risk of cutting your legs and it is better to walk in shoes.
In addition, there is often wind and the sea becomes turbulent. There are no trees providing natural shadow in the northern part of Wongamat, just like sunbeds and infrastructure.
Beach activities are only in the central section of this beach, where you can ride a banana, jet ski, water ski or play beach volleyball. There, along the pedestrian path under palm trees, there is a small bazaar with fruits and various small things. On the south side of the beach there are several cafes and bars, a fish restaurant Rim Talay Seafood with discos in the evenings. In the evening, Wongamat is quite deserted.
The most interesting attraction, which all tourists from Pattaya come to see, is the Temple of Truth.
Wongamat is crowded during the high season, but compared to other Pattaya beaches, this one is still the cleanest and most deserted.
2. Cozy Beach
Between the center of Pattaya and its southern part, on Cape Pratamnak, there are several picturesque beaches. One of them, located at the Cozy Beach Hotel, goes by the same name.
Although entry is allowed to all, it is mostly the local residents and guests of nearby hotels that can be found sunbathing and swimming here.
One of the drawbacks of this beach is its accessibility. Walking to this beach from other areas in Pattaya is long and inconvenient (via wastelands and construction sites) and public transport does not go nearby. So you can get here only in a taxi or a rented car.
Another drawback of Cozy is that you need to go down to it (and then climb back) along a steep, albeit not very long staircase.
But no matter how difficult the access is, it is included in the list of the best beaches in Pattaya.
In fact, this is a small cozy bay, which on the south side ends with a rocky cape, overgrown with small trees and grass. Here, at the cape, and in the water, and on the shore, there are a lot of sharp stones. A storm sewer flows directly into the sea. Therefore the best place for swimming here is the middle of the beach and its other tip.
The water on Cozy beach is is not clear, but it is better than on other beaches in Pattaya. Garbage can be found floating in the water and on the fine light yellow sand.
The length of this beach is a little more than 600 m, width is 20-30 m. During low tide, the water leaves the shore for several meters, to the depth you need to go far forward along the ankle in the water. At high tide, entering the sea is quite steep.
In the morning there is a lot of shade from the trees, you can sit on your own towel. In several rows are sunbeds with mattresses, umbrellas rise above them. Near the shore there are stalls with drinks and fruits.
3. Pratamnak Beach
At Cape Pratamnak there is a beach of the same name. It is surrounded on two sides by high cliffs, and its length is about 500 m.
It is located between Jomtien and Central Pattaya. One half of the beach is clean and well equipped, while the second is almost abandoned.
The length of the beach stretches for 500 m, while the width of the sand is between 20-40 m. The calm atmosphere on this beach is most suitable for families with children.
The public here is mostly respectable and quiet, however, many complain that small robberies are often carried out in the Pratumnak area, so you need to be more careful at night.
The sand is fine and clean, but at the same time, during the waves wash the garbage ashore. This is true for many beaches in Pattaya.
Near private areas assigned to hotels, the situation is better and sun loungers and umbrellas are provided on the beach. There is free wi-fi throughout the territory, although the speed is only enough to view the news feed.
There are no noisy discos, bars, clubs and other entertainment establishments in this area, but the infrastructure is well developed. In walking distance from the coast there are many catering establishments, massage parlors. There are fruit stalls, drinks, fast food at the beach all day.
The difficult mountainous terrain of the area limits the possibilities for public transport, and to explore the sights you will have to cover the entire distance on foot.
You can get to the area by motorcycle taxi, tuk-tuk and songthaew (shared taxi).
In terms of attractions, Pratanmak Hill offers a magical view of the sea. You can climb up to the observation deck and drop 10 baht into the binoculars to admire the surroundings of Pratumnak at sunset. Also on the hill there is a Chinese garden and a statue of Buddha.
At Pratanmak, the entry into the sea is gentle and the depth increases gradually. The coast is covered with yellow quartz sand interspersed with shell rock, and black silty patches with moss-covered stones are visible on the exposed seabed at low tide.
The water is not crystal clear, since a sand suspension with silt rises from the bottom. Garbage in water can be seen only after storms, but fortunately, the weather here is almost always calm, even high waves are a rarity.
On the beach in several rows are sun loungers (40 baht) and sunbeds (100 baht) under umbrellas. There are also showers (20 baht) and toilets (10 baht).
4. Dongtan Beach
Dongtan is located between the beaches of Pratumnak and Jomtien. It is located away from large popular hotels, so it is almost always quiet and calm here.
It is most often offered as a great place for a relaxing holiday with children. The southern part of the beach is popular with gay people.
Conventionally, Dongtan is divided into 3 parts – northern, southern, central.
The central part is most suitable for a comfortable beach trip because of availability of rental beach equipment, umbrellas and sun loungers. Water entertainment such as banana boating, jet skiing and windsurfing are all offered here. There is also a volleyball court on the beach. Nearby is a hotel with a water slides and pool. The central Dongtan beach also several decent cafes that serve Thai and European cuisines.
The smallest and least well-maintained is the northern side, which began to develop much later than the others. Here there are no cafes and restaurants, sun loungers and umbrellas.
Many tourists highlight Dongtan as one of the cleanest beaches in Pattaya where you can swim.
And shopping lovers will definitely be pleased that next to Dongtan is the most famous “island” of shops in the city. A no less pleasant attraction is the most beautiful embankment, along which you can stroll both on a sultry day and on a secluded evening.
5. Jomtien Beach
The famous Jomtien is popular not only among foreign tourists, but also among local residents. It is located south of the center of Pattaya, behind Pratamnak Hill.
The width of the beach strip is 15-30 m and it is about 4 km long. Although Jomtien is not considered the cleanest or the best for swimming, it is considered one of the best for relaxation.
The beach is divided into several zones. From north to south, these are Dongtan, central Jomtien and Na Jomtien.
In 2017-2018 the embankment was reconstructed, in which 600 million baht was invested. Many vacationers note that it has become much better now.
The sand in Jomtien has been cleaned, palm trees have been planted, and the coastline has been enlarged. The beach is constantly cleaned and there are designated areas for smoking.
But, nevertheless, there is still rubbish here, stray dogs and numerous merchants walk around. The boats that carry tourists to nearby islands also cause some inconvenience.
Many vacationers especially emphasize the positive points like the beautiful sunsets, the romantic sound of the sea, the golden sandy beach and the lack of crowds of tourists when compared to central Pattaya beach.
Expats prefer to live in the vicinity of Jomtien, because there is everything available for a comfortable stay here – transport accessibility, developed infrastructure, shops and hotels. The beach offers a wide range of water sports such as water skiing, surfing, and you can rent a “banana” or a boat. There is also a large selection of food outlets, which mainly offer Thai and European cuisine.
6. Ambassador Beach
This small beach lies adjacent to the Ambassador hotel, but entry is allowed to everyone. It is not indicated on city maps that are freely available in shops. Despite that it is only about 10 km from central Pattaya, the journey can be quite long.
The only road is the extremely busy Sukhumvit Road, where there is always the risk of getting stuck in traffic and moving slowly for an hour or more. And you won’t be able to get on foot from the neighboring Jomtien beach along the seashore as the path will be blocked by the river.
Therefore, if the purpose of your visit to Pattaya is parties and frequent trips to Koh Lan, choose other locations to live in, or budget for additional travel expenses.
The beach area was artificially expanded and covered with imported yellow sand of medium fraction. The sea in the Ambassador is clean, although not perfect. There is never crystal clear water, however, even algae are almost never found here.
There is no natural shade on this beach, and even the sun loungers that the hotel offers do not have umbrellas.
There are no cabins for changing clothes on the beach, but there is a shower and a toilet, there is a foot crane, and a designated smoking area.
A small market is also present here along with the 7-Eleven store and the Mimosa entertainment complex nearby.
7. Bang Saray Beach
The Bang Saray beach is located in a quiet and pristine place without high-rises and throngs of tourists, around 15 km from the center of Pattaya. This is the place where you can enjoy a a beach day away from civilization.
This beach itself is not like the rest of Pattaya’s beaches. It comes without any beach amenities, is not so crowded and is not even equipped with sun loungers. Although at the moment a lot of condominiums are being built here, which gives hope for the development of this part in the near future.
The beach, although it leaves a pleasant impression, is not suitable for everyone. There is practically no entertainment here, but there is a wide strip of pure yellow sand (about 3 km long), a shady palm alley and clean and clear water.
The water is almost always completely calm and without any waves. But families with children will definitely like such a vacation in clean, calm water with a gentle slope.
Along the beach there are hotels, Thai restaurants, bistros and cafes. Also directly on the beach there are many Thai food joints where you can get a mat and a picnic table for free if you order any food. Although the food served here is delicious, the conditions in which it is prepared do not always meet the minimum sanitary standards.
At the back of the beach there is a park created in honor of the 60th birthday of Queen Sirikit, where you can stroll and enjoy freshly prepared seafood. Here you can also rent a boat and go fishing or snorkel to take a closer look at the coral reefs.
The beach is sandy and the depth of the water increases only gradually. The sea bed is mostly sandy with areas with silt, but there are no stones and pits. The safe swimming area is indicated by buoys.
The water is clean and clear, but at the slightest waves, silt rises from the bottom, which makes it very muddy.
8. Military Beach (aka Sai Kaew Beach)
Behind Bang Saray, on the premises of the military base, there is a clean and well-groomed beach, which many consider the best in Pattaya’s vicinity. People come here to relax in the midst of picturesque nature, swim in the clear water and to lie down on the clear sand.
This beach lies 20 km south of Pattaya. Also called the Blue Lagoon by the locals, you can book a trip to this beach at travel agencies in Pattaya.
The military beach is 500 meters long and 30 meters wide. It is located in a secluded place and is surrounded on three sides by hills covered with dense tropics. They just form a lagoon, which is protected from the winds.
The clear blue water and clean sand attract tourists who are tired of the dirty and noisy beaches in central Pattaya. This beach is very clean as it is maintained by the army cadets.
There are swings on the trees, flower beds are arranged on the adjacent territory. Beds and bedspreads are available for rent.
There are also various water activities. You can go water skiing, banana, take diving lessons and play beach volleyball.
On the beach there are several small cafes and restaurants, as well as shops. After 16.00 the beach starts to empty. There are no entertainment facilities operating at night on the military beach, but you can stay overnight in one of 15 small houses.
9. Hat Nang Ram Beach
Hat Nang Ram, Nang Rong, Sattahip or simply the Dancing Girl’s beach is the only mainland beach near Pattaya (40 km away) which boasts clear turquoise clear water. The Thai people themselves consider it the best in Pattaya, as they constantly come here for the beach trips.
The Dancing Girl Beach got its name from a beautiful tale about a love story. In fact, it comprises of two beaches, which are separated from each other by a small cape, decorated with sculptures.
The western side of the beach is called Nangram Beach, and the eastern side is called Nangrong Beach. On the western beach there are water activities. Umbrellas and sun loungers are also traditionally rented out, although a dense forest that begins behind a strip of sand creates enough shade where you can hide from the heat of the day.
The eastern part is several times longer than the western one, and the green cape with hills creates a pleasant atmosphere. There is a hotel here with a bungalow to stay overnight.
Like the western side, there are restaurants, souvenir shops, toilets, etc. Entrance to the beach is free, but you will have to pay 20 baht for the entry of one car. You do not need to pay for a bike.
One of the disadvantages of the beach is that tourists can only get to it by a private car or taxi.
10. Ban Amphur Beach
The secluded Ban Amphur beach is in the south of Pattaya, located about 15 km from the center and a few kms from Jomtien. It is impossible to get here via travel agencies, because there are practically no housing and chain hotels nearby.
There are also practically no foreigners on the beach. In fact it is chosen by Thais who come here on weekends, and on weekdays Ban Amphur is almost empty.
It is often quiet, calm and comfortable here. There is no rumble of engines from boats, intrusive merchants and massage parlors.
One of the best playgrounds in the city is located on the beach, so tourists with children often come here.
There are no resort entertainments on Ban Amur. In the center of the landscape there is a wind generator, next to which there is a spacious car parking, toilets and a gazebo. Not far away on the coast there are restaurants, macaques and cafeterias, as well as shops.
As for swimming in the sea, travelers tend to question the cleanliness of the sand and water. There is a fishing port nearby and at high tide a lot of garbage comes ashore which almost no one cleans up.
But, nevertheless, it is still cleaner here than on the central beach of Pattaya.
11. Beaches of the Island of Ko Lan
The small coral island Ko Lan (Koh Larn), located 9 km from Pattaya, is considered a true paradise.
Despite the fact that the island is not so big (only 4 km in length), it has 5 main beaches and a few additional ones, comfortably hidden in the bays.
The beaches here are very clean and the surrounding landscape is very beautiful. The only drawback of the island of Ko Lan is a large number of tourists.
The beaches on the island are private property, so you will have to rent a sunbed to sunbathe on them. Apparently for this reason, the prices for services and goods are higher here than on the mainland.
You can stay at Ko Lan in comfortable hotels. Although most of them are concentrated on the eastern side of the island where there are no beaches, this is not a problem. Motorcycle taxis and minibuses run between the beaches, and one can also rent a bike.
You can get to the island from the mainland by regular boats or liners. There are virtually no attractions on the island. People come here mainly for a beach holiday. The only thing you can see are the statues of the Buddha or visit the observation deck overlooking the islet itself or nearby Pattaya.
There are also traditional water activities on the island – diving, banana rides, jet skis. In principle, even despite the large number of tourists, Ko Lan can be considered the cleanest place for swimming in Pattaya.