10 BEST ROAD TRIPS FROM PATTAYA IN YOUR RENTAL CAR
Pattaya is in such a great location for taking road trips in your rental car. It is located just an hour and a half south and east of Bangkok on the gulf coast. Pattaya was a once humble fishing village that ended up growing into a world renowned tourist destination. In the 1960s during the Vietnam war American Service Men used to travel from U-Tapao Army Air Field to Pattaya because it had the perfect beach. They were referring to the half moon bay of Pattaya Bay itself that stretches for 4 km with golden sands, cool breezes, and clear blue water.
Bangkok, the current capital city of Thailand, the City of Angels is a mere hour and a half from Pattaya, making it a very easy day trip. Traffic in Bangkok can be off-putting to those that are not used to extreme traffic congestion. If you have not driven in an Asian metropolitan city before Bangkok is a great one to get started on. The city sprawls, is split by rivers, and water ways, and has some fantastic shopping. There are many gorgeous temples to visit, and of course the Royal Palace is there to vist as well. Bangkok also has some very good hospitals if you need medical attention.
Rayong is a quick drive away and perfect for even a half day trip. Rayong is only about an hour from Pattaya by car, and offers beache that are clean and have a bit of surf, as the beaches there are much closer to open ocean. Alternatively, you can head inland to one of the national parks that are in Rayong. Visit one or both Khao Wong, or Khao Chamo. If you go during the rainy season you have a very good chance of running into waterfalls on the hikes in either park. Too much rain and it's too much, but just enough and it's a perfect day at the park. During the dry season the change in elevation can be a welcome respite from the heat.
The third largest island in all of Thailand is only a 3 1/2; hour drive from Pattaya plus a 45 minute car ferry ride. Yes, Koh Chang is quite large enough to support an hourly car ferry that runs basically from sun up to sun down. Koh Chang, or Elephant Island is a fantastic place to get away from it all and experience the island culture of Thailand without having to travel all the way down to the far south. Koh Chang has white sandy beaches, and steep hiking trails. Be careful on the roads in Koh Chang and watch for tourists on Motor Bikes. There are several areas of road nicknamed Dead Mans' Curve and it's easy to see why when you are on them. Very steep blind curves, make for an extra cautious driver if you make a trip to Koh Chang.
Kanchanaburi is the same distance from Bangkok as Pattaya but on the other side. Kanchanaburi is located about an hour and a half north and east of Bangkok. From Pattaya you do NOT have to travel through Bangkok to get there. Kanchanaburi was made famous in the movie "Bridge of the River Kwai" You can visit the bridge for a photo op. There tallest waterfalls in Thailand are located in this town and there have been foreign travellers going to this province for literally hundreds of years. There are a number of guest houses on the river Kwai, as well as 5 star accommodations and everything in between. This is a great Thai town with a high level of English.
About 4 hours from Pattaya is a small suburb of Bangkok called Suphan Buri. This is a Thai tourist town. There is virtually no English here, and there is not a log to draw the foreign tourist, except the pure unadulterated Thai culture. Suphan Buri is famous for it's temples, the sheer number of them is astonishing, and they also have one of the largest Dragon Temples in all of Thailand. This is attributed to the high population of Thai Chinese that reside there. Suphan Buri is also an excellent place to buy gold, as that is the original meaning of the city, City of Gold. It is on natural deposits.
Nakon Sawan, the place named for heaven on earth. This small province is the halfway point from Bangkok to Chang Mai. Nakon Sawan is a farming community located in the breadbasket of Thailand. The largest Dragon Temple in the Kingdom is located there, and the Chinese New Year Celebration is second to none in this particular town Much like Suphan Buri many Chinese Thais call Nakon Sawan home.
The drive to Chang Mai is about as far as you would want to go in a day. It takes the better part of a day to get there from Pattaya. There is a large expat population in Chang Mai, along with much cooler temperatures during the rainy season than other parts of the kingdom.
Chang Rai, the sister city to Chang Mai is home to the famous Wat Rong Kun the all white temple. The mountains are cooler, and even have frost in colder years during the cold season. It is not recommended to travel to either Chang Rai or Chang Mai during the burning season. Unfortunately that means Songkrahn is out for this area. Watch the weather report, this is not so every year, and Chang Mai and Chang Rai are a favorite of local Thais so the celebration does last a full three days there.
Whether you are looking to get out of Pattaya for an afternoon, or for a weekend trip away there are many options to hit the road in your rental car. From an hours drive to a days drive we have handed your our picks of the best places to take a road trip from Pattaya in your Thai Rental Car.
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