There are several options to get from Bangkok to Pattaya. The total travel time takes between an hour and a half and two hours depending on traffic and from where you are leaving from in Bangkok.
My top two choices are a private car service or public taxi. If you really, really, need to save some coin, take the bell bus service. Private car services really aren’t that expensive considering you are driving between one and two hours, and the price is fixed.
From Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport to Pattaya
Private Car Service – Bangkok to Pattaya
This is my preferred way to get to Pattaya from Bangkok. You can schedule your ride via email before you depart for Thailand and have a driver waiting for you at the airport with your name on a sign when you clear customs. The cars are usually modern, nice, and clean. I’ve had everything from a new Toyota Camry to a mini-van.
It is most convenient and comfortable way to travel. Travel time is about 1:30 depending on traffic.
The cost for the private car is currently 1000 baht, which is less than a cab ride from the airport.
Two services I regularly use and recommend:
I know it may seem strange to those of us living in the digital age, but Mr. T Taxi doesn’t have a website. But I and plenty of my friends have been using them for the last dozen years or so. They are reliable and you shouldn’t worry. Send them an email and you should get a response in 24 hours. Tell them your dates, how many people, where to pick you up, and where you are going. They’ll respond with a price quote and ask you to confirm.
Mr. T Taxi – email@example.com they also have an office on Soi Diana that you can walk in and make a reservation.
P.T. Taxi Service – another reliable service offering sedans, vans, and other transportation services.
Private Transfer by Hotel car
Most hotels will arrange a car to pick you up at the airport if you inquire with them before your trip. It has the same benefits as arranging a private car yourself, however they will usually be more expensive as the hotel will tack on its fee.
Taxi – From Bangkok to Pattaya
Taking the Bangkok to Pattaya Taxi service is probably one of the more popular modes of transport from Bangkok Airport. The private taxi stand is outside on Level One of the airport (down one floor from where you exit from customs). You’ll queue up in the taxi stand line and be assigned a driver. You’ll be quoted a flat fare of about 1400 baht. Metered rates don’t apply outside the city limit. The flat rate should include the airport surcharge and tolls for a one way Bangkok to Pattaya taxi ride.
Taxi’s quality can be hit or miss, they range from nice and new, to beat up and run down. Some will speak English and chat your ear off, others won’t stay a word the entire trip.
The driver will often ask you for a tip when you reach your destination. I usually give them something small if I have it 20 or 40 baht. Other people are adamant that you shouldn’t tip at all. I won’t argue or begrudge people for their opinions on the matter, for me, I’m happy to extend a little good will for the cost of $1.
Buses are the cheapest and also the least convenient option from Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi. You have two options for the bus.
The 389 Bus leaves from Level 1 – Gate 8. Cost is 120 THB and leaves every hour from 7:00 – 22:00. It takes about two hours to get to Pattaya. They drop off at the North Pattaya and South Pattaya Road intersections. The late buses drop off at the North Pattaya Bus Station only. The bus also has drop off points near the outlet mall and Jomtien.
From the drop off point you need still need to get to your hotel, which is probably by waiting taxi or baht bus, adding to the time and overall costs.
Tickets can’t be booked online, only at the counter at Level 1 – Gate 8. Check online for their current rates and schedule.
Bell Bus Service – Located Level 1 – Gate 8. This maybe a more convenient option as they will drop you off at your hotel, however they only run every 2 hours starting at 8:00 – 18:00. The buses hold around 40 passengers and take you to a central drop off point in Pattaya. From there passengers are transferred to smaller vans to take you directly to your hotel.
Cost is 240 baht and is quite reasonable for being delivered right to your hotel. However the time concerns is a major negative and makes a private car much more attractive if you have the budget. You can book your ride online through their website or at the ticket counter.
What about renting a car?
While there are major rental car agencies at Suvarnabhumi, renting a car really isn’t necessary or advised for a trip to Pattaya. Dealing with the Wild West driving scenario that is Thailand should be deterrent enough. Add to that once you get to town you really have no need for a car as most everything is within walking distance, public transportation, or taxi. Add to that, unless your hotel has secured parking, you’ll be struggling to find a place to park your car.
Returning to Bangkok Airport from Pattaya
You can arrange a ride by emailing either of the private car services mentioned in the ‘Getting There’ section. Mr. T Taxi also has a convenient location on Soi Diana that you can walk to and make a reservation.
Mr. T Taxi – firstname.lastname@example.org
Airport taxi stands are located all around Pattaya. Rates are usually cheaper as they are trying to get fares back to Bagkok after dropping off their passengers. Rate range around 900 THB.
You can also ask your hotel to get you a taxi. This can be a gamble as far as price goes. They are likely to get the first available and it can sometimes cost more than a private car – expect 900 – 1200 THB.
You can take the 389 Bus from Pattaya back to Suvarnabhumi Airport. However you need to get to their office on Thappraya Road. The bus will go directly from the office to the airport for the cost of 120 THB. Buses run every hour 7:00 – 21:00.
From Bangkok City or Bangkok Hotel
If you are heading to Pattaya from a hotel in Bangkok there are several options you can choose from as well. They are mainly the same options as traveling from the airport with some different prices and logistics.
I’ll say it again, this is the best way to go. Contact P.T. Taxi or Mr. T Taxi and arrange for a pickup from your hotel and drop off at your destination hotel in Pattaya. Rate is currently 1100 THB from Bangkok.
You can flag down a taxi or try one outside your hotel. Those outside the hotel are usually unwilling to negotiate. Expect to pay 1200 – 1500 THB for a ride to Pattaya. You’re fortunate if you get the low end of the fare schedule. Ask if it includes tolls, otherwise they might try and have you pay for the tolls while on the road.
First you need to get yourself to one of the Bangkok bus terminals. Most buses run from either Mo Chit 2 or Ekkamai Bus Station on Sukhumvit Road next to the BTS station.
The Bell Bus service will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off at your destination hotel in Pattaya. Their service is limited with 3 buses a day at a cost of 370 THB.
Shared Van / Minibus service
You can take a shared van or minibus service from Victory Monument in Bangkok to Pattaya. Cost is about 100 THB per person. Buses leave every hour and sooner if they are full. Drop off point is on 2nd Road near Walking street. You’ll need to arrange transfer to your hotel from there.
While there is a train from Bangkok to Pattaya, I have trouble listing it here as a serious option. It takes 3 hours and stops at every cow town along the way. If you are really interested in checking it out, it leaves from Hua Lamphong station.