Bangkok vs Pattaya – Which is Better?

In this article we are going to make some comparisons between two of Thailand's favorite destination cities - Bangkok VS Pattaya. Both cities are great for tourists as there is so much to see and do. For the solo traveler, these two cities should definitely be on your itinerary.

There are some clear advantages with Bangkok over Pattaya, but in other areas Pattaya has the advantage. This really comes down to what you expect for a vacation.

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of these two cities so you'll have an understanding of both.

Price Comparison

Hands down, Bangkok is more expensive than Pattaya. With Bangkok being the capital of Thailand, it's also the center for big business. A lot of international companies use Bangkok as their headquarters to do business in Asia. Also, Bangkok has the greatest population density in all of Thailand.

Due to the great population density, demand for products and services like bars, hotels, restaurants, girls and more, ends up driving up costs. Anywhere along Sukhumvit Road which is very popular with the tourists, you'll find it even more expensive. This also goes for the red light district areas like Soi Cowboy and Nana plaza.

However, you can always get lower prices if you get outside the tourist areas. Even inside touristy areas you'll still find the cheap street food and vendors that won't break your wallet.

Basically stay away from anything that is brand name and you'll save a lot of money. To give you an example, Starbucks in Thailand is actually slightly more expensive than in the west. So yea, keep your experience Thai and deal with Thai vendors direct. You'll make them happy and you'll save a lot.

On the contrast, Pattaya is quite a bit cheaper. This is especially true as you go further away from Beach Road and Walking Street. You have to understand that Pattaya is more of a beach town than a major city center like Bangkok. Although it can get pretty crazy especially around high season, a beach town is still a beach town.

However there is a caveat - if you go to the beer bars and gogo bars along Walking Street, you'll find similar prices to Bangkok. Some say they are a little cheaper still, but that depends on the establishment. I have found that bar fines for the girls are comparable as well.

Beer Bars

Here is where the two cities are REALLY different. Pattaya is literally "littered" with beer bars everywhere.

You don't have to walk too far to find one and in the heavily concentrated areas, they are side by side, facing each other for miles it seems.

Bangkok has beer bars, but not like in Pattaya.

In Bangkok you'll have a lot of freelancers hanging out there and it's a different experience.

So you can see, Pattaya here is the winner if beer bars are your thing.

GoGo Bars

There is no clear winner here. In Bangkok you have three red light districts, Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and Patpong. In Pattaya it's Walking Street and Soi LK Metro.

You'll find equally hot girls and ladyboys in both cities working the gogo bars.

The Girls

Both cities are packed with girls, from 5's up to 10's. No one city has prettier girls than the other.

What distinguishes the girls in each city is that you will find a lot of professional girls, I mean the ones that work in offices, doctors, lawyers, etc., in Bangkok.

You will have a hard time finding these kind of higher class women in Pattaya. So if you are looking for a relationship, Bangkok is the better place to find a decent girl.

Avoid Pattaya at all costs if this is what you looking for. But if you're looking for fun, each city has a ton of girls to hang out with and enjoy their company.

Massage Shops

Hard to pick a clear winner when it comes to massage shops. Both cities have a lot of them and it's pretty easy to find. Most of them are in the touristy areas of Bangkok while Pattaya have them scattered all over the place.

Soapy Massage

Not for everyone, but for those that enjoy the soapy massage experience with a hot Thai girl, Bangkok is the winner here. Pattaya has them, but Bangkok definitely has them beat here.


Bangkok has been voted the number one city for the worst traffic congestion- ever. I am not sure how many times it has but believe me it's awful and especially during rush hour. You can be sitting in a taxi for an hour just to clear a couple of kilometers.

That being said, you will want to avoid Taxis and take either the BTS which is their above rail train system or the MRT, the underground subway.

Both connect to one another so it's easy and quick to get around the city.

There’s also motorbike taxis in Bangkok you can take, but it’s not for everyone. 

Tuk Tuk’s are an option but they are pricier than taxi’s. 

The good thing is that Tuk Tuk’s can fit through tight alleyways so you’ll have a fun ride at times.

Regarding Taxi’s, Bangkok has metered taxi’s where Pattaya does not. You want to always take a taxi that has a running meter – remember that.

In Pattaya your best mode of transportation is to rent a motorbike. These are essentially mopeds like a Honda Click.

Also since Pattaya isn’t that big and most of the action is central to one area, you can walk too. A popular form of transportation is the Songteow or Baht Bus.

It’s basically a pick up truck with two long benches and a roof at the back. Very cheap and gets you around the city with ease.


Because Bangkok is much bigger and dense than Pattaya, you're going to find a lot more hotels.

You can find inexpensive hotels in both cities and if you travel during the low season, you can really get a great deal. Overall, Thailand is much cheaper than the west when it comes to hotels.

However, you'll always be able to find a pricey 5 star if that's your speed. The good news for you guy travelers out there is that both cities offer guest friendly hotels. If you want to see the list i'll include them below.

Bangkok Guest Friendly Hotel List

Pattaya Guest Friendly Hotel List

Food and Restaurants

You'll probably know the answer to this one. Bangkok simply has way more restaurants that cater to almost anyone. You'll find amazing Thai restaurants plus so many international ones as well.

Bangkok is world famous for it's food so no wonder the clear winner here.  Bangkok has some great pubs too, which are usually themed. Think German, Australian, English, Irish and so on.

Pattaya also has some great restaurants with a lot of seafood options. Euro and British pubs are also there and all serve great food. You'll also find your mom n pop restaurants that have great Thai cuisine at very low prices.

Pattaya VS Bangkok Conclusion

I think you realize now that depending on what you like, you'll know yourself which is the better city for you to spend your time in.

In reality though, it would be a shame if you didn't spend time in both. My suggestion to you is don't book your hotels too far in advance. If you are really digging Pattaya and want to stay an extra night, you don't want to have to deal with cancellation fees in Bangkok.

I love both cities but for myself, I like Pattaya more during the day. This is because you can chill at the beach, go swimming etc. In Bangkok you can't do that unless you're staying at a hotel with a pool but that's just not the same.

In Bangkok you can hang out at malls during the day to keep cool, but I find the day kinda boring. Both are equally fun at night though. Still, it's a hard choice to make between the two. When you stay in Pattaya too long you end up missing Bangkok and vice versa. I love both cities to be honest so you need to experience them both. That's my final thought!

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