HomeAttractions7 Top Family-friendly Alternatives to Pattaya for Tourists

7 Top Family-friendly Alternatives to Pattaya for Tourists


Pattaya is a famous Thai resort city known for its beautiful beaches and lively nightlife. Unarguably, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in South East Asia. Before the pandemic, Pattaya received up to 15 million visitors every year.

Since the pandemic started to subside, the nightlife that was banned during 2020-2021 is now back to normal. Tourists resume traveling to Pattaya. The walking streets and beaches are now crowded again.

However, many tourists may find Pattaya too crowded or not very family-friendly due to its thriving nightlife activities. Hence, I decided to write this post to introduce you to other Thai resort towns that serve well as excellent Pattaya alternatives.

Still, this does not mean that you should not visit the city. If you want to enjoy the nightlife in Thailand, I do not think there is a better option other than Pattaya.

Pattaya alternative
Pattaya by thekaikoroez, standard license, depositphotos

1. Hua-Hin

Hua-Hin is a town in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Located 200 km south of Bangkok, Hua-Hin is many Thai families’ favorite, including mine.

The town offers pristine beaches, fresh & delicious seafood, shopping outlets, and a trendy street food market. Nightlife venues exist, albeit much more limited in scale than Pattaya. Thus, the atmosphere is much more family-friendly.

Hua-hin is the best pattaya alternative
Hua-Hin Beach by hinnamsaisuy, standard license, depositphotos

Traveling to the town is effortless. Most Thais drive to Hua-Hin from the capital, which takes no more than 3 hours; however, many choose to stop at various shopping outlets along the way.

by khunaspix, standard license, depositphotos

Alternatively, public transportation from Bangkok to Hua-Hin includes trains, vans, and buses. I recommend taking the bus because it is the most comfortable and safest of the three. Trains are slow due to delays, while Thai vans are inexpensive but rampant with safety issues.

2. Cha-am

Cha-am is another popular resort town located 25 kilometers from Hua-Hin. Like Pattaya, the town has glamorous beaches. However, Cha-am has fewer tourists and nightlife venues, so it is a more suitable place for families to spend their holidays.

Cha-am beach by wirojsid, standard license, depositphotos

Furthermore, Cha-am also has several zoos and amusement parks, like the Camel Republic and Santorini Park. Thus, your children can visit and enjoy various international-standard thrill rides.

Alternatively, those interested in history can visit the Mrigadayavan Palace, a royal palace that served as a residence for the late king Rama VI.

Mrigadavan Palace, Cha-am by ninelittle, standard license, depositphotos

Once in Cha-am, you should dine in one of its beachfront restaurants. Many serve fresh seafood at a very reasonable price.

Like Hua-Hin, driving is the most straightforward way to get to Cha-am. However, taking the van is the most convenient option if you are looking for public transportation since the driver will drop you off at Cha-am.

Other options, like trains and buses, are also available, but far less convenient. This is because you need to get off them at Petchaburi city and take the local minibus or van to Cha-am.

3. Pran Buri

Pran Buri is another of my favorite resort towns. The town is located 220 km south of Bangkok, or approximately 20 km from Hua-Hin.

Pranburi Beach by fokkebok, standard license, depositphotos

What I like about Pran Buri is its serene atmosphere. The town is tiny and quiet with very few nightlife venues, plus its beaches are wonderful. There is also an evening walking street where you can taste delicious Thai street food.

Also, Pran Buri is not far from Hua-Hin and Cha-am. Tourists can visit both on the same trip.

Traveling to Pran Buri is straightforward. Driving is again the best option. However, driving in Thailand is quite unsafe if you are a foreigner. I suggest taking the bus instead, though vans are also available.

4. Sattahip

Located in the Chonburi province, 30 km from the Pattaya city center, Sattahip is a small district with a Thai navy base. The area has various islands such as Koh Samaesarn that have excellent beaches. Many of these are even more beautiful and less polluted than Pattaya beach.

Sattahip is a much quieter Pattaya alternative
A spectacular beach at Koh Samaesarn by t-kayu.hotmail.com, standard license, depositphotos

Sattahip has far fewer tourists than Pattaya, but not too far from its neighbor. You can find accommodation there and visit Pattaya on a day trip. Some offer spacious rooms at a fraction of the price per night of Pattaya apartments and hotels, plus you will have more privacy than staying there.

The drawback is that you will have limited options to travel to Pattaya from Sattahip. You may need to rely on expensive taxis ($20 per trip). Thus, it may work only for tourists ready to drive in Thailand.

5. Rayong

Rayong is an eastern province of Thailand located not far from Pattaya. Based on my experience, this place offers a complete travel experience to its neighbor.

Rayong, another excellent Pattaya alternative
by salawin, standard license, depositphotos

Besides enjoying its picturesque beaches, you can explore an old town, visit magnificent temples, try fresh seafood, or even shop or try Thai food at the floating market. There is a myriad of family-friendly activities for tourists to do there.

Getting to Rayong is very straightforward. Buses and vans from Bangkok are available. Driving is still an option as well.

Rayong, by num_skynam, standard license, depositphotos

6. Chantaburi

Located 250 km from Bangkok, Chantaburi is a hidden gem. The province’s beaches are as beautiful as Jomtien Beach at Pattaya, albeit with fewer tourists.

What I like about this province is its rich history of being the key city in the east during the last several hundred years. Thus, its traditional culture remains strong. This can be seen through its old waterfront town, magnificent temples and churches, and unique and flavorful cuisine.

Chantaburi is one of the best Pattaya alternatives
by thaiprayboy@hotmail.com, standard license, depositphotos

Regarding attractions, Chantaburi has many places for tourists to explore, ranging from the holy Khao Khitchakut to Nang Phaya Observation, where you can appreciate the panoramic view of the peninsula.

Khao Khitchakut by coffeekai, standard license, depositphotos

For Durian Lovers

In addition, Chantaburi is renowned among the Thais for its orchard, where you can enjoy unlimited Thai fruits, particularly durian. If you are a durian-lover, do not forget to visit this province when you travel to Thailand.

Traveling to Chantaburi is effortless. Minibuses and vans depart Bangkok daily. Driving is also a reasonable option.

7. Trat and its Islands

Trat is the easternmost coastal province of Thailand. The town is quiet and serene, where you can visit its ancient temples dating back to the Ayutthaya kingdom. Several of its viharas are well-maintained, so you can glimpse the magnificent Thai art.

Koh Mak by o_ae_1, standard license, depositphotos

However, people travel to Trat because of its islands, Koh Chang, Koh Mak, and Koh Kood. All of which offer pristine beaches and excellent diving sites awaiting travelers to explore.

Traveling to Trat province is not challenging. You need to get into the bus, minibus, or van, and you will be in Trat in no more than five hours.

Other Destinations to Consider

Koh Prayam
Koh Prayam, Ranong by thaisign, standard license, depositphotos

All the locations I have covered above are not far from Bangkok. However, there are some interesting locations as well, but you will need to take a domestic flight from Bangkok:

  • Krabi – I think Krabi boasts the most beautiful beaches in Thailand. The town has sufficient tourist infrastructure but is less nightlife-centric than Pattaya.
  • Pang-nga – Pang-nga is a province not far from Phuket. However, the atmosphere is much less vibrant than in Pattaya and Phuket. If your family wants to appreciate the sea view without being disturbed, Pang-nga would be one of the best options.
  • Satun – Satun is located in the southernmost part of Thailand. This peaceful town has numerous islands for tourists to explore, such as Koh Lipe or Koh Adang.
  • Ranong – Ranong is a small town in the southern part of Thailand. This is probably where the most secluded beaches in Thailand locates. The town is unarguably the best option for budget travelers who want to relax in a serene environment. You can also buy tours to dive in Ranong’s several islands, plus many in the Burmese archipelago as well.
Pun Anansakunwat
Pun Anansakunwat
As a person passionate about traveling, I love to explore new places, meet new people, and learn about culture and history.

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