This is it! You’ve booked your plane tickets en route to Bangkok, Thailand and you’re already so excited to do your itinerary around the city. Then, you’ve realized that you have an additional day or two and you want to experience the life outside the bustling city of Bangkok.
Perhaps, you’re torn in between the cities of Pattaya and Ayutthaya.
Pattaya and Ayutthaya are way different from each other. Pattaya is a great choice if you want to have a glimpse of Phuket. However, Ayutthaya is the answer to your dilemma if you want to experience the ancient capital of Siam and get to know more about Thailand’s history.
Just a 2 and a half hour bus ride from Bangkok, Pattaya is nestled in the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand. This city is well-known for its beaches, island hopping, red light district, cabaret shows, and 24/7 bar and restaurants. You can probably say that it could be the next city that never sleeps. So imagine, after partying and having an awesome night, the sun is about to set, and you’re already on your way back to your hotel or resort; a lot of locals and tourists are already up in the morning to get some tan in the beach.
Beach life? Party life? Pattaya has it all! This city won’t disappoint you if you’re running after those.
If you’re looking for something new in terms of food (whether street food or restaurants), in my opinion, there’s nothing new in Pattaya. What you eat in Bangkok, is what you can also expect from this place. I may be wrong on this part, but as far as I can remember after going back and forth twice in Pattaya (2014 and 2017), everything is just the same.
How about some island hopping and relaxation in front of the beach? There are 9 beautiful islands around Pattaya that can surely take your breath away. The following islands are Coral Island, Bamboo Island, Monkey Island, Gnat Island, Koh Sak, Koh Krok, Koh Kram, Koh Si Chang, and Koh Samet.
Coming from a country that has one of the best islands in the world, Philippines, I really have high standards. Trust me, I’m hard to please.
Out of the 9 islands that I’ve mentioned above, I’ve only been to Coral Island, also known as Koh Larn Island. For as low as 30 baht, you can already ride the ferry for 40-45 minutes going to Koh Larn Island! You can also rent a motorbike going to the peak of the island to have a majestic view of the island. I really recommend that you go to this island because of its pristine sand and emerald-like water.
In addition, Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark is just 15km south from Pattaya!
And so, moving forward.
You’re not into beaches and night life? Then Pattaya is not for you, but don’t fret at all. Maybe the other city is the right one for you.
Awie and I rode the mini van going to Ayutthaya from Mochit Bus Station. The whole trip took us less than 2 hours, including the traffic congestion around northern Bangkok. When we arrived in Ayutthaya, we instantly fell in love with the city! We were supposed to stay there for just 3 days but we ended up extending for another day!
We’ve rented a motorbike to roam around the city, visiting different tourist attractions and even the off-beaten path temples. There are so many things to do and places to see that I don’t even know where to start when we went there. The top highlights of Ayutthaya are visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park where you can see the the iconic Buddha head, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon; and the Ayutthaya Floating Market.
We went inside the market but we opted not to ride around the floating market since it was clearly made for the tourists. One ticket costs 300 baht! It’s already expensive for budget travelers like us.
In the Floating Market, there are elephants that you can ride for 200 baht per person.
Please, please don’t ride those. Please don’t patronize the elephant riding industry in Thailand.
If you’re going to ask me why. You can check out PETA’s blog article, 9 ‘Jumbo’ Reasons Not to Ride on an Elephant.
Out of all the temples that I’ve seen, my favorite is the Chedi Pukhao Thong. It may be under construction that time but I can already see its grandeur and elegance. It was built to celebrate the victory King Naresuan over the Burmese.
One of the things that I’ve also enjoyed in Ayutthaya was eating their special dish: Kuai Tiao Ruea, commonly known as boat noodles.
This Thai style noodle dish is very delicious and has a unique taste! It really is a must-try when you visit Ayutthaya. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
You can choose from a lot of varieties but usually it is either pork or beef, then it also contains pickled bean curd, dark soy sauce, and a lot of secret spices.
Boat noodles cost around 30-80 baht, depends on where you buy the dish. It is also best paired either with Iced tea or Thai Milk tea. Such a refreshing way to recharge after a long day of wandering around the city.
And now, let’s go back to our main plight:
PATTAYA OR AYUTTHAYA?
Only you can answer that!
How about extend that trip and visit the two cities instead? That’s a bigger problem that you might wanna solve! 😉
Have you been either to Pattaya or Ayutthaya? If yes, please share your sentiments down below and help other travelers to decide.