Top Beaches on the East Coast of Thailand
I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad
George Bernard Shaw
Close your eyes for just one second and imagine you’re on Pattaya Beach. Now can you picture the calm, clear waters, the cool breezes and the swaying palms? Now open your eyes and take a good look in front of you and imagine you are here right now. The coastline may be full of high-rise hotels and resorts, tailors and touts and bars and brothels on every street, but it still holds a certain fascination for the two million odd holidaymakers who venture out here annually.
Pattaya itself is located on Thailand’s east coast and comprises of three separate bays namely those in the south, central and northern regions.
You may or may not recall this, but Pattaya was popularised in the history books during the late sixties and early seventies as the perfect utopia where American soldiers and sailors came for their rest and relaxation. This was at a time when many dreadful duties were being orchestrated across the border in neighbouring Vietnam. I am not quite sure exactly how much “rest” the Americans actually got.
This resort has now grown into an explosive wonderland gone crazy, attracting millions of like-minded holidaymakers every year since the early days. Tourists who come here today, still seek the very same rest and relaxation that made it so popular in its heyday. Did I just say Heyday! What am I talking about? It’s Heyday now! Of course, things have changed somewhat now, namely the many, many hoards of gorgeous Thai girls that line the streets, bars, and clubs on Pattaya Beach Road.
Pattaya Beach itself is at the centre of a hugely popular resort town of the same name. It’s located on the east coast of Thailand about a two-hour drive from the city of Bangkok. This fairly narrow stretch of white sandy coastline spans along a four-kilometre shoreline and is fringed with gently swaying palm trees. Over the last few years, Pattaya has greatly improved its previous unsightly coastline with a new paved beachfront walkway and continues to attract big crowds.
You can relax on the beach, swim in the warm waters, have a beach massage or you can enjoy several beach activities including parasailing and beach volleyball. In the heart of all this, you can stroll along the beach road and enjoy the many restaurants, fast food outlets and souvenir shops. And if there’s a need to cool off, simply pop into the Royal Garden Shopping Center, located on the beach road.
Jomtien Bay is made up of a fourteen kilometre stretch of beach on Pattaya’s southern coastline complete with enormous high-rise condominiums and an assortment of some smaller hotels and resorts. Jomtien like Pattaya is subjected to continuous construction and the same-same but different tacky souvenir shops, (don’t you ever get tired of all these souvenirs) as well as beachwear peddling shops and beer bars everywhere. My worst is the ever present tailors that hassle you everywhere you go. So what’s different about Jomtien?
For starters, this part of Pattaya has the best site should you enjoy some serious windsurfing and it is considered by most as Thailand’s premier windsurfing spot. The best bathing area would be at Dongtan Beach which is a lot quieter than its bigger and brighter notorious neighbour. You will find this shady palm fringed beach at the northern side of Jomtien Bay. Although all is welcome, it remains the beach of choice for Thailand’s local and international gay community.
The headland between the two bays of Pattaya and Jomtien is called Khao Phra Tamnak. Translated into English simply means Pattaya Hill or as the locals like to call it, Buddha Hill. It’s here where you’ll find some of Pattaya’s most luxurious hotels and resorts. Find Out More.
Naklua Bay, which forms part of an indigenous fishing harbour is situated on the northern headland from Pattaya beach and is by far the quietest of all the three enclaves. But don’t be mistaken as this area is also full of holiday apartments, German and Russian expat homes and time-share condominiums.
Naklua Beach is a lovely little cove located at the far north of the bay and is the main beach in this region with Crescent Moon Beach and Palm Beach (two smaller beaches) further south. If you should be looking for a real relaxation, then these beaches would be more suitable and may I also add, a lot cleaner.