Bangkok vs Pattaya

Comparisons of Bangkok vs Pattaya are useful in so far as they detail what each of these cities excel at. I won’t award an overall winner as it’s like comparing apples and oranges, but it is useful to keep a few points in mind to distinguish the two.

I will have to keep an eye on the observations made here as Thailand (and the rest of Southeast Asia) is changing so quickly that it can be difficult to keep up!

There's no doubt that mobile phones, the internet, dating sites and apps are all impacting on the nightlife scene. These days, the best looking girls are found on:

My recommended Thai dating site


Pattaya suits my own personal preferences but there are several aspects to Bangkok that I also like and would recommend to other people, so here we go...

Bangkok and its major selling points:

1. Sky bars

If you want beauty and refinery then there’s no doubt that the Bangkok nightlife scene has a lot more to offer than Pattaya. There are some refined places in Pattaya, the Hilton hotel and other top hotels for example, but Bangkok wins this particular battle. The sky bars in Bangkok set a scenery that stands up well against anything in the world.

The sky bar at the Lebua hotel is the best known of these, due to being featured in the ‘Hangover 2’ movie, but there are many more and the Lebua isn’t even my favorite. That award currently goes to the ‘Vertigo and Moon Bar’ that sits on top of the Banyan Tree hotel.

Vertigo and Moon Bar, at the Banyan Tree

The food options at these top hotels is also outstandingly good, so the dining options are next up on the list selling points...

2. Dining Options

One of the big selling points that favors the big city in the Bangkok vs Pattaya showdown is the quality of the food that is available at the upper end of the scale. If you enjoy fine dining at a fraction of western prices then Bangkok is an absolute winner.

As an Englishman I do understand that you might have some reservations about my judgement when it comes to quality cuisine... English food, for a long time, was utterly abysmal and I’m the first to admit it! With that said, the English have prided themselves on the traditional Sunday roast and I think it stands up quite nicely when done well.

The best Sunday roast that I have ever had (including anything my mum ever cooked up) was served to me at a the ‘Huntsman Pub’ located on the basement floor of the Landmark hotel in Bangkok. I kid you not, it was outstandingly good and highly recommended.

From what I’ve read, the Huntsman doesn’t even warrant an afterthought in the battle for top dining options in Bangkok, and all of the 5 star hotels offer affordable dining options that are the stuff of legend.

Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya river, Bangkok.

If you make it to Bangkok, the food options are second to none, so do your research and check them out, your taste buds will love you forever...

3. Long-Term Dating

I’ve long recommended the big city as the best choice for those guys seeking a base of operations from which to conduct their long-term romantic endeavors. Any Bangkok vs Pattaya comparisons here need to be split right down the middle between those guys who are looking for a serious love interest and those guys who just want a holiday girlfriend. Bangkok is best for the former, Pattaya for the latter.

Bangkok girls are somewhat less traditional in their views and much more familiar with western guys. The big city is a very cosmopolitan place and not just in terms of the different nationalities of people who visit/live there. There are lots of foreign businessmen and professionals in Bangkok, and Thai attitudes towards these guys are much more conducive to winning the hearts of regular decent girls.

Online dating sites in Thailand are getting bigger and better. The number of regular, decent, trustworthy Thai girls using these sites is higher than ever, see for yourself on:

My recommended Thai dating site


The bad news stories that you hear/read about failed Thai/Western relationships usually stem from relationships that started out in one of the Bangkok red light areas, or pretty much anywhere in Pattaya, so avoid these areas if you want true love.

4. Variety, sports & hobbies

If you are looking for a place to live, rather than somewhere for a holiday, then Bangkok will suit the city types for obvious reasons. It is a vast metropolis with a huge infrastructure that accommodates over eight million people. That makes it roughly equal in size to London and New York.

However unusual your sporting interests and hobbies may be, you are much more likely to find a place in Bangkok that shares your interests.

Pattaya and its major selling points:

1. Bar girls & Nightlife

Everyone who has been to Pattaya knows full well that the extent of the nightlife scene, in terms of beer bars and bar girls, far overshadows anything that Bangkok has to offer. There are literally tens of thousands of working-girls in Pattaya and you’ll easily meet them in the beer bars and gogo bars in the city.

Bangkok vs Pattaya – Pattaya wins hands down for naughty nightlife, but for how long?

Two weeks ago I posed this question with regard to Soi 6; in the space of that time one of the beer bar complexes on Soi 7 has been destroyed to make way for another hotel. The ‘Anaconda Bar Complex’ pictured below has been consigned to Pattaya bar history. Two of my favorites i.e. Nick’s bar and the Aussie bar, as well as three other bars have been wiped off the map.

The Anaconda bar complex has been laid to rest...

Soi 7 has been in decline for about ten years ever since a similar bar complex on Soi 8 made way for a hotel. Footfall collapsed at that time, and today the area is a shadow of its former glory. Will this be the final nail in the Soi 7 coffin?

For the time being Pattaya remains the party capital of the world and Walking Street remains popular – albeit with Asian visitors that don’t spend any money in the bars. The LK Metro, Soi Diana area is the best option for traditional western visitors these days, but Soi Buakhao and other side streets that lead off it i.e. Soi New Plaza, Soi Made in Thailand, and Soi Honey have all improved in recent years.

The all-important girlfriend experience is still available but it is slowly disappearing. Some bar girls, and even some street workers, will refuse ‘long-time’ offers until really late at night, and getting one to join you for a week or two is becoming prohibitively expensive.

2. Beaches

Clearly you aren’t going to get any beaches in Bangkok as it isn’t a coastal city, and the main Pattaya beach has long been an object of ridicule and disgust. The main Pattaya beach is not a good option if comparing it to the best offerings in Thailand, but it is still an option, so it wins the Bangkok vs Pattaya battle by default in this regard.

Actually, once you put on your walking flip-flops and start exploring the area you’ll come across some decent beaches in Pattaya. My favourite mainland beach used to be Cosy Beach in Pratumnak, but that has become a bit too popular with tourists (mainly Russian) and so it has lost its feel of seclusion.

My current favourite mainland beach in Pattaya is found just to the north of the main beach, it’s called Wong Amat beach and it is a good choice. You don’t get hassled by hawkers so much, the beach is deeper and cleaner, beach massage options are better, it’s quieter because there is no road running along it, and I recommend it if you like chill out by the sea.

A secluded part of Wong Amat beach, Pattaya.

The nearby Koh Larn island also has some worthy options and, depending on whether you prefer seclusion or activity on a beach, then I would recommend Ta Waen beach for activity and Thong Lang beach for seclusion. Both of these have white powdery sand, sun loungers, and food & drink options.

3. Lower cost of Living

I nearly listed this entry as ‘low’ cost of living but settled on lower...

It is true that the basic costs of life, e.g. accommodation, food and essentials, are still really low. However, once you start enjoying the nightlife options that Pattaya is famous for then costs can quickly start spiraling out of control.

Long gone are the days that followed the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s when exchange rates were so good for westerners that you just didn’t need to worry about costs in Thailand – the main cost was the flight that brought you here...

Things really turned on their head when the west had its own financial crisis in 2007-08. Exchange rates dramatically worsened and all of a sudden people needed to check their bank balances ahead of a night out.

Costs have further risen over the past couple of decades due to economic development in Thailand, and resulting alternative career options for the girls. Prices in Thai baht have risen sharply irrespective of exchange rates, and the rises have been particularly acute in the naughty nightlife scene.

However, whichever way you cut it, the Bangkok vs Pattaya comparison is still going to show that Pattaya is a much cheaper option than Bangkok. It’s just not as cheap as it was, and significantly more expensive than alternative locations around Southeast Asia.

4. Other Stuff

Whilst the best dining options are without a doubt to be found in Bangkok, Pattaya does have some quality fare if you know where to look.

For the most part Pattaya caters to a clientele that is on holiday. There’s little point in trying to impress holiday-makers because they won’t be able to become long-term repeat customers, so there are some lousy restaurants in the mix.

Most places serve up palatable food at low prices, but the best restaurants are usually Thai restaurants. Some of the best Thai food is available from venues that you wouldn’t consider going to if your Pattaya holiday girlfriend didn’t drag you into them! Some of the really cheap food outlets along Jomtien beach road serve up the best ‘Larb Moo’ you’ll ever taste!

Quality western food is harder to find but the ‘Beer Garden’ just before Walking Street is surprisingly good and the ‘Retox Bar’ on Soi Lengkee is also good, it’s particularly well regarded for its breakfast menu.

One stand out place that always impresses is called the ‘Bake n Brew’, located on Soi Excite.

There are lots of other good restaurants in Pattaya but they tend to be located away from the tourist areas and cater for expats and long-term visitors. The ‘Pepper & Salt’ restaurant in East Pattaya is one such place that gets rave reviews.

Bangkok vs Pattaya Conclusion

Wherever you stand on the Bangkok vs Pattaya debate, both have their selling points and both are worthy of further investigation. Your favorite will come down to your personal interests and what you are looking for...


This lovely petite lady from Bangkok is 28 years old and looking for romance with a westerner. Would you like to meet lots of girls just like her?

Then join my Recommended Thai Dating Site:



Homepage | Main Thai Girls Page


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