The bright lights and shimmering sands of Pattaya have made it one of Thailand’s favourite party meccas. Millions flock to its big bay on the azure Thai Gulf each year in search of hedonism and happening nightlife, which plays out in the neon-lit go-go bars of Walking Street and the thumping soi (narrow alleyways) until the early hours. But when you’re not glugging Chang beers and bucket cocktails, Pattaya also offers up some beautiful – if heavily developed – stretches of coastline and a bout of enthralling Buddhist religious sites.
Airbnb in Pattaya pepper every corner of the resort town. You’ll find them in tall high-rise condo blocks with sweeping views of the gulf coast. You’ll catch them in stylish modern villas with infinity pools. But there are also self-contained flats and houses near to the major party districts and the beach.
To put it simply: No. Airbnb isn’t strictly legal in Pattaya. However, there’s a hefty grey area hanging over the law when it comes to short-term lets. Basically, it’s not okay to run a hotel without a license anywhere in Thailand. That eliminates most all Airbnbs, which are usually rented direct from the owner of a private property. Simple.
Well…not quite so simple. The reality on the ground is that Airbnb continues to operate virtually as normal amid the party-mad streets of Pattaya. Some hosts stipulate that they’ll only rent for a minimum of four weeks (which means it’s then officially classified as a short-term let). Others hope to fly under the radar. What’s more, punishments for Airbnb lettings are famously rare and usually fall on the side of the host, not the traveler. Still, we’d say only rent if you’ve done your research and are aware of the risks.
Where should I stay in Pattaya Airbnb?
Pattaya spreads out along a wide bay on the eastern side of the Thai Gulf. Starting at the top, you get the golden beachfront of Wong Amat (1), separated only by a headland of palm trees and little boulders from the main strips. Those are then connected by Beach Road (2), which runs southwards to the lively Walking Street (3) that’s also near the popular condo area of Pattaya Sai 2 Rd (4). Finally, Jomtien (5) is even further south. It’s got one of the top beaches in the area, along with villas and seafront eateries.
The thick of the action
Loads of places to eat and party right on your doorstep
Close to the beach
Noisy both night and day
Very busy with other travelers
Walking Street is Pattaya’s most infamous nightlife quarter. Running for just under a kilometre from the south end of Beach Road, it’s a heady haze of red-light go-go bars and sleazy “massage” parlours. It’s one of the top places to be if you’re looking to partake in the town’s sleepless party venues and unashamed ‘sex tourism’ spots.
Sai 2 Rd wiggles its way through the blocks a stone’s throw back from the main beach and party strips of Pattaya. It’s more your quintessential Thai experience, with tuk-tuks and songthaew buses whizzing past street-food sellers. Lately, it’s become a bit of a hub for modern condominium developments, so there’s plenty of clean-look flats with rooftop pools up for grabs on the Airbnb front.
Good access to the family-friendly beaches to the north of Pattaya city
Can get busy
It’s more than 3km long, so not totally walkable
Beach Road is the artery that links up all of Pattaya. It runs all the way from the more chilled-out sands at the north end of the bay to the wild Walking Street party haven at the south end. As it goes, it’s got a whole medley of Airbnbs and resort hotels. They range from high-rise condos with infinity pools gazing at the gulf to budget hostel rooms with bunkbeds for those on a shoestring.
To escape the crowds and the buzz of the go-go bars, there’s hardly anywhere better than Wong Amat Beach. It lies around the headland from Beach Road, offering luxurious seafront condos and apartments that have room enough for the whole family. On the doorstep will be surf-turf bars and welcoming Thai seafood restaurants that spill onto the sand.
Only a couple of kilometres to the south of the Pattaya strip, Jomtien offers a far more chilled and relaxed environment. It’s the place to go if you’re keen to trade partying all night with sunbathing all day. Watersports and beachside seafood eateries abound on the shoreline. Up above is the mountaintop temple of Phra Tamnak, where you can go to see a gold-plated Buddha statue that’s 18 meters tall.
What could be better than swinging open your patio doors to dangle your feet straight into an infinity pool while the Thai Gulf glistens just metres away? That’s precisely what’s on offer in this top-rated Airbnb apartment. It can sleep four and sits behind the soft sands of beautiful Wong Amat Beach.
A little along from Jomtien is this gorgeous Thai villa with a touch of colonial style. Red-painted roofs and whitewashed walls front a grassy garden where there’s a large pool. The bedrooms are breezy and airy, while the whole house sits just over the street from the main beach in this southern corner of Pattaya.
Up in the family-friendly district of Wong Amat, but still a little back from the bustle of the beachfront, the Tabaluga Pool Villas are a perfect choice for family groups. The whole crew benefits from a large lounge and L-shaped sofa. There are four separate bedrooms to fit all the little ones. And you’ve got a garden that hosts a relatively shallow pool more suited to kids.
The eight individual bedrooms at the Devara Pool Villa mean it can host groups of up to 16 people at any one time. There’s air conditioning throughout, along with sleeping quarters with both doubles and singles. The garden is a great place to mix and mingle, especially when you add on that luxurious private pool. Jomtien is near to the south, and Walking Street is 10 minutes away by foot.
Nonze follows the ‘poshtel’ (that’s ‘posh hostel’) style. Its interiors look more like a boutique hotel than a bargain stay. Meanwhile, the rooms are dorms but organised into closed-off bed pods for extra privacy. There’s also an industrial-chic common area where you can meet and greet likeminded travelers, along with a fine location close to Walking Street.
Airbnbs in Pattaya are perhaps just a little cheaper than hotels. You can expect to pay anything between 600 THB/night for the smaller studio flats near Walking Street to in excess of 12,000 THB/night for big multi-room villas that sleep over 16. However, hotels do bring an added level of service. They usually include room cleaning and breakfast buffets. On the flip side, that means you’ll lose the self-catering kitchens common with Airbnb, and are more likely to have to share the pool space and gym with other travelers.
If you are more tempted by the extra frills of a hotel, the Bayview Pattaya is a prime example of a good value stay in the city. It comes with a large outdoor pool in shaded gardens, sprawling suites, and al fresco sunning terraces. The location also puts you right in the midst of the town, a stroll from both Walking Street and the main beach.
If you’re eager to hit the neon-lit dance bars and gold-glinting beaches of Thailand’s coastal resorts, Pattaya could be precisely what you’re after. Just 147 kilometres from buzzing Bangkok, it’s the perfect escape from the capital, with condos, gulf-side family flats, and luxurious villas to go around.