It is so much a kid-friendly place than it is given credit for.
Sure, it has a seedy reputation. But the good news for families is most of the adult entertainment areas are located along the alleys and most importantly, away from the family-friendly resorts
So yes, Pattaya has been a bunch of surprises for us. All in a good way, of course with loads of family-friendly attractions and resorts abound.
We spent a total of 7 nights in Pattaya. What, 7 nights? That was precisely the reaction I got from some friends when I first told them of my travel plans to Pattaya. What is there to do in Pattaya for kids? Well, as things turned out, plenty and the monkies could not even bear to leave when it was time to bid Pattaya farewell.
So here was what we got up to in Pattaya - our itinerary where the monkies got to splash in a water park, get up close with farm animals, visit a floating market and more. We spread out the attractions as we wanted to take things easy so I reckon 4 to 5 nights in Pattaya will be reasonable enough to experience most of the kid-friendly attractions.
Day 1: Arrival
As of now, AirAsia is the only airline that flies direct to U-Tapao Airport in Pattaya from Singapore 4 times a week. So there is no need to endure a 2-hour road trip from Bangkok.
Day 2: Sanctuary of Truth
Now, this was truly a sight to behold.
This beautiful and enormous wooden temple is an all-wood building filled with sculptures based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. The building was constructed according to ancient Thai ingenuity and every square inch of the building is covered with wooden carve sculpture.
In fact, it has taken 30 years to build and is still a work in progress!
Inspired by temples across Asia, the Sanctuary of Truth is a study in Thai architectural styles. Every available space is intricately decorated with wooden carvings it is a maze of intricate carvings ranging from tiny flower petals to giant elephant heads.
Did I mention the entire building is carved out of wood??? Truly an amazing piece of architecture.
As a bonus, there is a mini goat petting area near the temple as well. Feeds and milk can be purchased for a small fee for the kids to feed the goats.
Admission Fees: Adult THB500 | Child (110cm-140cm) THB250
*Save 10% off ticket prices if you pre-book online.
Day 3: Cartoon Network Amazone Water Park
In terms of providing the ultimate family entertainment, the world’s first Cartoon Network themed waterpark takes the cake. Newly opened, the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark features a plethora of colorful and thrilling rides, and lovable Cartoon Network mascots such as the Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10 and Adventure Time characters roaming around!
There are ten entertainment zones to choose from - catering to the both young and older kids - and there are also live shows throughout the day to keep everyone entertained.
For a detailed review of the waterpark, splash over to www.cheekiemonkie.net/2016/02/cartoon-network-amazone.html to read about our experience.
Admission Fees: Adult THB1,590 | Child (3-12) & Seniors (above 65) THB1,290
Day 4: Shopping!
We decided to take things really easy on this day and headed to CentralFestival Pattaya Beach Shopping Mall near our hotel. Billed as Asia's largest Beachfront mall and Pattaya's largest shopping mall, there are plenty of deals found there, as the wifey will attest to!
Day 5: Pattaya Floating Market & Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
These 2 attractions are pretty near each other, so it makes sense to visit both in the same day. We hired a driver from the hotel we were staying in, and it cost us about S$80 for the entire day.
Also known as 'Four Regions Floating Market', Pattaya Floating Market is separated into four sections - each representing and selling items from the four major parts of Thailand (north, northeast, central and south). Hire a man-powered boat to get around and visit the many water vendors selling authentic Thai food, desserts and specialties from all over the kingdom.
Besides food stalls and shops, the market also features a wood-carving museum, sunflower and agricultural demonstration fields. and a free daily cultural performance.
A rather touristy place in my opinion but the monkies enjoyed the boat ride and buying stuff from the water vendors.
Admission Fees: THB200 onwards
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, on the other hand, was more of a different proposition.
The entire area is more like a theme park, with daily cultural shows, restaurants and even accommodation as well as individually themed gardens.
I think the best way to describe Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is, it's a mix of Gardens by the Bay and Haw Par Villa. There are the thematic gardens - including the 17th-century French garden, Stonehenge, and European Renaissance gardens - but there are also the many many wildlife dioramas scattered throughout.
Clearly the monkies had a great time posing themselves silly with the dioramas!
See what I mean???
The place is massive so be prepared to walk a fair bit! Other activities include paddle boating, cycling, and always a hit with the monkies - a mini zoo with plenty of feeding opportunities.
Admission Fees: THB500
Day 6: Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, is a place where kids can learn surprising facts, see unbelievable sights, and even ride on its famous 3D haunted house ride. There is also the prospect of getting lost in the Infinity Maze, taking on the Laser Maze Challenge or meeting celebrities at the Louis Tussaud’s Waxwork Museum.
But as each attraction is individually ticketed (there are combo tickets available), we only purchased the tickets for the main museum and Infinity Maze. The former is unique in its collection of oddities - a mixture of the strange, the shocking and the beautiful while the latter took us through a maze immersed in spectacular illusions, innovative lighting effects, and atmospheric effects.
Admission Fees: THB500 onwards
Day 7: Pattaya Sheep Farm
Of all the kid-friendly places in Pattaya, I missed this one out. But thanks to the wifey who did (more) extensive research, we made time to bring the monkies down to Pattaya Sheep Farm and I'm so glad we did!
Spread over a sprawling site on the outskirts of Pattaya and a 20-minute car ride away from the city, Pattaya Sheep Farm is home to many other animals than just sheep... contrary to what its name implies.
If your kids love cuddling and feeding farm animals, they will most certainly go crazy in this huge farm! Because quite frankly, which child doesn't love feeding animals?
Besides animals, there is also a mini playground to help expend the kiddos' energy. That and other cute sculptures and dioramas to pose photos with.
If you are heading down to Pattaya with the kids, this is a MUST-VISIT place. Read more about our experience: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2016/02/pattaya-sheep-farm-review-for-families.html
Admission Fees: THB50 per person | Kids under 110cm enter FREE
Other than attractions, the other highlight for the monkies was the family-friendly RESORTS we stayed in Pattaya, In total, we stayed in 3 different resorts that the monkies could not get enough of:
Centara Grand Mirage Pattaya
Our first resort in Pattaya was booked through AirAsiaGO. As its name suggests, it has an exclusive tie-up with AirAsia so the portal is able to offer substantial savings, ensuring that their flights & hotel packages are priced attractively and competitively in the market.
Fantastic yes, but what was even more awesome for the monkies was Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya has its own full-scale 'Lost World' full-scale water park IN THE RESORT!
To put it simply, like that win already lor.
Think two gigantic cliffs connected by rope bridges, a cavern that reveals a jungle with a river and waterfalls, complete with splash-tastic slides, cooling pools with inflatables and direct access to a stretch of sandy beach.
Family units include brightly-coloured rooms with bunk beds and packs of child-friendly toiletries.
My only bugbear is the resort's location - it is situated further up north than North Pattaya, which means it is some distance away from the shopping centres and restaurants. There are a few eateries right outside the resort but choices are limited.
Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort
Newly opened in November 2014, Mercure Pattaya Ocean Resort is located in the prime location of North Pattaya offering direct access to the beach just 500 meters away.
Accommodation and breakfast is free of charge for 2 children under 16 years (sharing parents’ room and utilising existing bedding) but the real draw for kids has got to be its mini Water Park, Kids Club and rock-climbing facilities!
Read about our experience here: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2016/02/mercure-pattaya-ocean-resort-review-families.html
Holiday Inn Pattaya
Without a doubt, the top draw of Holiday Inn Pattaya has got to be its Moby Dick-themed Kids Rooms. Oh and for the parents, the stupendous sea view from the rooms.
Besides playing themselves silly at the Kids pool or at the free Kids’ Club, kiddos will go ga-ga over having the opportunity of snoozing in the mouth of a whale in the Ocean View Family Suite, which comes with connecting Parent and Child rooms!
Its 'Kids Stay and Eat Free Program' benefits kids under the age of 12. Not only will children enjoy a complimentary stay, sharing the same room as their parents. Additionally, children will receive complimentary meals as well.
Need more reasons to stay at Holiday Inn Pattaya? How about 6 of them: www.cheekiemonkie.net/2016/02/holiday-inn-pattaya-review-families.html
If you are planning a trip to Pattaya with the kids, hope the information has been useful for you. If you need more advice, feel free to ask me in the comments below!