Island Escapes from Pattaya
Written by Matias Berra
Pattaya, is all about the fun, craziness and endless possibilities often includes a drunken and wild night out... but sometimes you just need to get away from all the people. It can be difficult to find peace and quiet during any time of the year in Pattaya, readers shouldn’t fear as there are many options to escape the madness. Today we'll explore the 3 best islands around Pattaya city where residents will be able to find some quiet to recharge their party batteries.
“Definitely the least known of your options, Koh Si Chang offers the most traditional experience you can ask for.”
Kho Si Chang
Definitely the least known of your options, Koh Si Chang offers the most traditional experience you can ask for. Popular with Thai locals, this island has a very traditional feel, lots of temples, Thai restaurants offering the freshest seafood, friendly locals, and some hidden beaches that will keep you exploring this small and cozy island.
Getting there: An extremely accessible option for all Pattaya residents, all it takes to go to Koh Si Chang is getting to Siracha's main pier (Ko Loi Pier ). If you are driving in your own car just make sure to ask directions on how to get to this pier, once there you can park your car and take the ferry which leaves every-single hour. If you travel by bus (which you can catch at Pattaya's North Pattaya bus station) all you have to do is get off at Siracha by Robinson shopping mall and take a motorbike taxi to the Ko Loi Pier , just tell the taxis this in English, they will understand what you mean.
“...This island is perfect for those trying to escape the city and enjoy some quiet time by the beach.”
Good For: Getting the 'real Thai experience', party seekers should stay away from this island as everything closes at around 10 PM. With it's tranquil street and lay-back feel, this island is perfect for those trying to escape the city and enjoy some quiet time by the beach. Couples and small families will find this island charming and extremely convenient given it's short distance from both Bangkok and Pattaya.
Do hire a kayak, explore the many spots that offer snorkeling opportunities, if you feeling slightly more adventurous you can always opt for a diving excursion or day out on a rented motorbike trying to find the hidden beaches around the island.
Bad things to be aware of: It's a very quiet island so do not expect exciting gathering during the night time. Also, people have increasingly been complaining about the amount of trash and plastics that seem to be accumulating around the island, which has sadly become rather common sight countrywide (which doesn’t surprise too much if you are accustom to 7-11's plastic bag policy )
Getting there: If you have lived in Pattaya for a while chances are you are already aware of this. Head to Bali Hi Pier where you’ll be able to purchase a boat ticket that will take you directly to the island. Each company will have different time schedules, don't worry too much about making it at a particular time, with so many boats leaving regularly, you won't have to wait longer than 40 minutes before getting on any one of them.
Good For: This island has gone through heavy development in the past years, visitors can now find a huge range of guests houses, hotels, restaurants and other common tourist facilities all over the island. This option offers many more sandy beaches than Koh Si Chang for those people who like spending their time suntanning near the ocean (snorkeling, banana boats, day trips around the area and renting jet skis are always options as well).
The amount of hotels and guest houses popping up in the past years means visitors have a good range of establishments to choose from, and also, a few bars that remain open past 9 PM meaning the possibility for some late-night drinks does indeed exist.
Bad things to be aware of: Development has also meant this island is one of the most sold tours in Pattaya, so do expect hordes of tourists coming in for the day (they generally start arriving in mass at around 10 AM, expect most of them to leave by 6 PM) which means your quiet retreat might run the risk to be overtakenby these food and drinks seeking groups.
Getting there: You are trying to get to Ban Phe Pier, the pier where all ferries to Samed begin. If you are driving by car, just search in Google for the term 'pattaya to ban phe' a map will pop up with the exact directions and GPS coordinates you need for a safe trip. Your other option would be to catch the minivans heading to Rayong, which you can do with ease by heading to their main stop which is located on Sukhumvit road just past the Theppasit intersection (towards Rayong ) on the opposite side of Sukhumvit from the outlet mall. Once at the Rayong bus station, you will be swarmed by either taxi drivers or bath bus drivers offering a trip to the Ban Phe Pier (the baht bus should cost you less than 100 THB per person, the taxi driver will give you a price depending on how he is feeling that particular day.)
Good For: Being the most developed (and popular) of the 3 islands mentioned in this article, means many who come here do so seeking some fun times. Most of the visitors to the island will be Bangkok youngsters looking for an entertaining weekend out of the big city, so if you are a younger traveler looking to spend the weekend in a more natural setting (and still mingle with Thai people) this island is the perfect match for you.
Bad things to be aware of: Well, if you were trying to nightime celebrations I will tell you this is not the place for you. Sure, they won't be as intense as what you would get in Pattaya, but the main areas and beaches will offer drink and dance with all the locals and visitors who have come to the island looking for a bit of a party.
Also, though booking a room in advance should be the standard practice every-time you travel, I guarantee you booking a room at Samed is a must. This island does get packed during festive times thanks to the thousands upon thousands of Bangkokians that are used to coming here.