Pattaya is an engaging place that also provides a perfect spot to get some R&R. A concerted civic effort over the past decade has succeeded in adding a family-friendly dimension to Pattaya, one that gets more G and PG-rated as you move away from the coastal areas. Either as part of a package tour or on your own with a hired taxi, bring your partner and kids to these wonderful, family-friendly Pattaya highlights.
Pattaya Beach is Pattaya’s most famous beach. Spanning around 2.5 miles, Pattaya Beach is a popular tourist destination with pure sand and glistening water. Pattaya beach has plenty to do, with banana boats and parasailing among its available adventures. Nearby vendors and food stalls line the beach, which is great for families looking to have fun in the sun.
Jomtien Beach is another popular destination for families. Quieter than Pattaya beach, the beautiful Jomtien still has available food stalls for hungry beachgoers, but is far enough away from the hustle and bustle that it’s perfect for those seeking a little respite.
Bang Saray is another more secluded beach in Pattaya, offering a peaceful and serene environment among the crystal clear waters. Bang Saray is a popular fishing beach, and because of this the local restaurants have earned a reputation for serving delicious, fresh, seafood.
Wong Amat Beach is among the quietest beaches in Pattaya, but is popular with families with children, who enjoy splashing in the calm waters and building castles in the clean sand. Wong Amat does not have stairs, making it easy to navigate your way onto the beach, and nearby fishing boats dot the view with charming color.
For the Safari Seeker: Khao Kheow Open Zoo
Thailand certainly doesn’t have a shortage of available animal encounters. The 2,000-plus-acre Khao Kheow Open Zoo (Google Maps) is an ethical space allowing its guests to walk or ride through separate exhibits that simulate each animal’s native habitat.
As you pass from habitat to habitat, you’ll find little in the way between you and the animals. Some of the animals can be fed with food available for purchase at the gate. Key highlights include a Night Safari, an Asian elephant exhibit that includes a swimming demonstration, and Asia’s second-largest aviary.
The Open Zoo is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and was the first park in Thailand to earn the honor. Within the space, 1,400 acres are reserved for research into the conservation of endangered Southeast Asian species.
For The Flora Lover: Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Across 2.4 sq. km. is this incredible botanical garden. At its focal point is a manicured, French-style garden that looks like it was transplanted straight from Versailles.
On top of the splendid display, there is some serious botanical work going on at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden (Google Maps). Its orchid nursery alone grows over 600 native varieties, and the in-house botanists do pioneering work with cycads, cacti, and lotuses.
Within the gardens are themed areas such as Dinosaur Valley and Animals Kingdom—both are sure to be big hits with your little ones. The themed gardens, temple replicas, animal enclosures, and show auditoriums help elevate Nong Nooch beyond a botanical garden into an all-family experience that you’ll remember long after you leave.
Visit early in the morning to avoid the noontime heat. If you’re coming from Pattaya City, it will take about an hour to get here. Alternatively, instead of making a day-trip, you can stay for a night or a few days thanks to the restaurants and villa-style accommodations on the grounds.
For the Wine Enthusiast: Silver Lake Vineyard
You could swear you were at a Mediterranean villa while visiting Silver Lake Vineyard (Google Maps). The attraction demonstrates the Thai genius for taking a foreign influence and giving it an indigenous spin—in this case, the lovely shiraz, sauvignon blanc, and chardonnay wines.
Silver Lake, like other Thai vineyards, accomplishes the previously-impossible by making wine from grapes grown in the “New Latitude,” closer to the equator than traditional viticultural regions between the 30th and 50th parallels. The vineyard itself produces over 10,000 bottles a year.
While the wine is reserved for adults, guests of all ages will enjoy taking a tour that explores the local wine-making process from start to finish. The tour concludes at the winery’s restaurant, where each guest can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine to taste the results.
Silver Lake’s Italianate architecture complements the stunning landscape around the vineyard: the Khao Chi Chan reservoir shines in the distance as you ride an electric golf cart around the property’s gently rolling 480 acres, taking in the view.
For the Wet n’ Wild: Ramayana Water Park
The only question at Ramayana Water Park is how brave you’re feeling. The varying difficulty levels of the 50-odd rides and attractions at the Ramayana Water Park (ramayanawaterpark.com) offer something for every member of the family.
Ramayana Water Park is said to be the biggest water park in Thailand, and you’ll agree once you see what you’re in for: the park is spread out over 184 sq. km. of Pattaya’s Silver Lake area, south of the city. Clean well water and a state-of-the-art filtration system ensure a healthy swim for all amidst Silver Lake’s gorgeous natural features.
The four-lane Mat Racer, the high-velocity AquaLoop, and the Dueling Master Blasters cater to more daring guests, while the low-key Lazy River ride suits visitors looking for a more leisurely dip in the waters.
When you get hungry, simply visit one of the three food outlets on site. Other facilities include lockers and an ample supply of bathrooms to change in.
For the Culturally Curious: Thai Thani Arts & Culture Village
The proud Thai cultural traditions—so often accustomed to taking a back seat to Pattaya’s main attractions—takes center stage at Thai Thani Arts & Culture Village.
The buildings and pavilions around this park recreate an idealized Thailand from centuries past. The various houses around the park showcase the diverse styles found throughout the nation, including residences built in the Isaan fashion, and those of ethnic minorities like the Lahu and Karen.
Art-inclined visitors can take advantage of the park’s hands-on demonstrations like mulberry-paper painting, music, and pottery. In the evenings, you can sit down to a “Khan Tok” dinner and taste authentic northern-style cuisine.
If you want a crash course on Thailand’s culture and history, you can hardly improve on a Thai Thani hands-on experience!