Travel 4 minutes 31 May 2024

Chon Buri City Guide: Uncover Bangkok’s Nearest Seaside City

Discover Chon Buri like a local. Soak up the sun, culture, and nightlife you’ll never forget.

You might not have heard of ‘Chon Buri’, but did you know that it's the province that hosts the vibrant city of Pattaya? While many know Pattaya, this seaside gem near Bangkok has so much more to offer. From stunning beaches to captivating cultural experiences, Chon Buri is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Join us for a deep dive into Chon Buri 101, where we uncover the city's hidden gems. Let's delve into its beaches, immerse ourselves in its rich culture and lifestyle, embark on thrilling activities, explore fascinating destinations, and savour the local eateries like true insiders.

Bang Saen Beach’s panoramic view from Khao Sam Muk Viewpoint. (© Shutterstock)
Bang Saen Beach’s panoramic view from Khao Sam Muk Viewpoint. (© Shutterstock)

Bang Saen: The serene seaside town
Bang Saen Beach is located in the Saen Suk subdistrict. Just an hour's drive from Bangkok, it has been a popular destination since Plaek Phibunsongkhram, Thailand’s third PM, developed it in 1943. This 2-km stretch of fine sand offers endless beach activities. You can try banana boat rides, jet ski drives, or simply relax on the beach chairs while munching on local delicacies. Wonnapha Beach, or Bang Saen Lang Beach, is also nearby, offering the same laid-back vibe. For a spectacular view, head up to Khao Sam Muk Viewpoint. After enjoying the breathtaking panoramic view, you can explore the trendy restaurants and cafés in the area. We recommend Hidden Lab, a crowd favourite that was renovated from an old building. Inside, the sea view is equally amazing, and every corner is Instagram-worthy.

Khao Phra Khru Monastery is another place you can’t miss.  (© Shutterstock)
Khao Phra Khru Monastery is another place you can’t miss. (© Shutterstock)

Where to see and eat in Bang Saen

  • Watch the marine life: Visit the Institute of Marine Science of Burapha University for an exhibition showcasing marine biology and a seashell museum; you won’t want to miss the aquarium.
  • Soak up the culture: There are significant sacred sites to visit in Bang Saen. Chao Mae Khao Sam Muk Shrine is a Chinese temple architecture built over a century ago. Don’t forget to visit Khao Phra Khru Monastery located in the same neighbourhood. You can ask for blessings and take in the panoramic view.
  • Taste the local delicacies: Nong Mon Market has been Chon Buri’s must-visit. Discover the renowned tastes of Khao Lam Nong Mon (Nong Mon’s sweet sticky rice in bamboo) and Hor Mok Talay (Seafood curry steam-cooked in banana leaves). There are also fresh and dried ingredients to bring home. Another place that we highly recommend is Ang Sila Fishing Market. Buy seafood that just comes straight from the sea, and ask the vendors to cook it the way you like. Boil, steam, grill, you name it. You can also ask them for a local speciality. This is the place to broaden your seafood horizon without hurting your wallet.

READ: Chiang Mai: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay and Play in the Cultural Capital of Northern Thailand

The Sanctuary of Truth is the world’s largest wooden architecture. (© Shutterstock)
The Sanctuary of Truth is the world’s largest wooden architecture. (© Shutterstock)

Pattaya: World-class entertainment on the seaside
It only takes 2 hours from Bangkok to reach this world-renowned seaside town. Pattaya is a hub for recreation and lifestyle, offering plenty of hotels and resorts to match your preferences, from simple guesthouses to 5-star global brands.

Pattaya is situated on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand and is divided into four areas: Pattaya Nuea (North), Pattaya Klang (Central), Pattaya Tai (South), and Jomtien, each with its own unique charm. Currently, Pattaya has submitted an application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, aiming to become a ‘City of Film’. This is part of the government's efforts to promote 'soft power' and enhance Thailand’s global recognition for its production capabilities. The latest figures show that each year, more than 300 local and international titles are filmed in Pattaya. Additionally, tourists from around the world contribute to 90% of the city’s revenue.

In addition to its beautiful beaches, Pattaya offers a vibrant lifestyle and a plethora of activities. Visitors can explore cultural sites, museums, and eateries serving local and international cuisine at various price points. The city is also seeing the arrival of more top department stores. For relaxation, there are numerous spas and onsens to choose from. Thrill-seekers can enjoy a range of water sports and experience the city's lively nightlife. Fitness enthusiasts can maintain their routine at fitness centres and Muay Thai gyms. Muay Thai, the world-renowned martial art, is not only a great way to stay fit but also an opportunity to bond with friends and family. Pattaya truly has something for everyone, earning its nickname as the ‘Thailand Miami’.

There’s everything for everyone at Tappia Floating Cafe and Art in Paradise. (© Shutterstock)
There’s everything for everyone at Tappia Floating Cafe and Art in Paradise. (© Shutterstock)

Where to see and eat in Pattaya

  • Chill on the beach: There are plenty of beaches to enjoy. Pattaya Beach is a 3-km stretch with city life in parallel. We recommend jet skiing, flyboarding, and riding a banana boat. But, if you prefer a quieter setting, head to Wong Amat Beach, Jomtien Beach, or make a day trip to Ko Lan where the water is crystal clear.
  • Sightseeing: Go up to Phra Tamnak Mountain Viewpoint for the panoramic view of Pattaya Bay and the city.
  • Architecture and culture: You don’t want to miss The Sanctuary of Truth. This ‘castle’ is the world’s largest wooden architecture. The exquisite carvings inside are mesmerising. Then, visit Wat Yansangwararam Woramahawihan, or Wat Yan, to see the intricate replica of the Mahabodhi Temple and the magnificent stupa called Phra Boromthat Chedi Maha Chakripipat.
  • Nightlife: Enjoy entertainment at the spectacle of Tiffany’s Show. Explore Pattaya Walking Street filled with lively bars and shops.
  • Fishing: At Tappia Floating Café, you can fish live squid from the sea before having it as sashimi or grilled. Sip some drinks whilst enjoying the sunset view and the food. You can also up your luxurious game with different private yacht charters.
  • Taste local delicacies: Lan Pho Na Kluea Market offers every seafood you can imagine. All straight from the sea. There is an area where you can have Chon Buri’s specialty prepared fresh at a friendly price.
  • Pamper yourself: Quality spas and massage parlours are all around Pattaya. You can find them in luxurious hotels or as local standalone places. Onsens are also available to provide you with extra bliss.
  • Sightseeing & museums: Pattaya is also filled with museums and amazing destinations. Art in Paradise Pattaya is Thailand’s first and largest 3D art museum. Explore the interactive art and create fun moments. The miniature park Mini Siam features prominent landmarks from Thailand and around the world. Enjoy the greenery at Nong Nooch Garden which spans across almost 2.0 km.

Retreat at Veranda Resort. (© Veranda Resort Pattaya)
Retreat at Veranda Resort. (© Veranda Resort Pattaya)

Where to stay
There is a wide selection of hotels throughout Pattaya to suit your lifestyle and budget. You can even book a hotel selected by MICHELIN.

  • Veranda Resort Pattaya - MGallery: This MICHELIN-selected boutique resort is next to Jomtien Beach. The decoration is contemporary and stylish. The rooms are generous with ideal amenities. It’s one of the best places to enjoy Pattaya’s seaside view.

With this guide, your next trip to Chon Buri will be the most memorable. For updates on travel destinations, contact TAT Call Centre 1672, or Facebook TAT Contact Centre.

Illustration image: © Shutterstock, Courtesy of Brands, Sunantha Maidee/ MICHELIN Guide Thailand


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