Living in Pattaya with all the attractions and great amenities, it is hard for somebody who does not reside in this great city to understand why you would want to take a short holiday.
But the truth is that Thailand is such a diverse country, with fascinating cultures, fabulous countryside, bustling cities, amazing wildlife and of course a rich history and tradition.
Pattaya is perfectly situated being a part of central Thailand, to go exploring other exciting and interesting places. Here we have highlighted 10 widely different places that you can easily drive to and back over the course of a weekend.
Of course you will probably need transport, and hiring the perfect vehicle for your trip could not be easier as Pattaya has some of the best car rental firms on the Eastern Seaboard. Just about every vehicle is available to hire; from spacious saloons, open top cabriolets, sturdy 4×4 trucks and even big bikes.
Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest beach town and is a perfect getaway for the HiSo crowd from Bangkok. Situated on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand it became popular with the Thai Royal Family in the 1920’s and there still remains a Royal Palace there.
A sleepy and refined town, Hua Hin boasts a magnificent sandy beach and great dining for the weekend visitor. There are specialist seafood restaurants that reach out like tentacles into the sea and are a must when visiting.
Ayutthaya & Historical Park
Ayutthaya is steeped in history and was the capital of Siam, founded around 1350. Four hundred years later it was one of the largest cities in the world with 1 million people.
The city was destroyed by the Burmese resulting in the collapse of the Kingdom, fortunately renovations started in earnest in the 1960’s bringing back much of its former glory, with moats, canals and roads.
The Historical Park is located on an island surrounded by three rivers where the old capital used to be. If you really want to immerse yourself into the deep history of Siam then Ayutthaya is the perfect place.
Kanchanaburi & Thai-Burma Railway
Kanchanaburi province features some of the most beautiful nature in central Thailand. It is home to several waterfalls, mountains, caves, national parks and last, but not least, the River Kwai.
The scenic train journey along the notorious Thailand-Burma Death Railway from Kanchanaburi, via the Bridge over the River Kwai, to Nam Tok is one of Thailand’s most spectacular and popular train rides.
For some Rayong is just a staging point to take the ferry across to Koh Samet, but Rayong has far more to offer than just that. It has some fine sandy beaches that you will find are a lot quieter than those of its neighbour Pattaya.
There are some great historical places to visit with many Wats and Temples dotted about. The old market on Jinda Road is definitely worth a visit and there are many good seafood restaurants in the town.
Trat province nestles along the border with Cambodia with the impressive Khao Banthat mountain range forming the border. Trat is synonymous with Koh Chang and there are 52 assorted offshore islands offering unspoiled long, white sandy beaches and exciting coral reefs.
Trat is definitely somewhere you go to for a peaceful break, the small, sleepy province offers delightful scenery and tranquil hideouts for the lovers of nature. The city of Trat is home to a plethora of markets due to the near proximity of Cambodia.
Chanthaburi is a charming town with many examples of past influences on its history to be seen in its wonderful architecture. The waterfront buildings define the styles of previous inhabitants including; the French, Chinese and Vietnamese that have influenced life in Chanthaburi for centuries.
Every weekend at the bustling market you can still see precious gems being traded, from sapphires to emeralds and everything in between. It is a reminder of a bygone age and is marvellous to see.
25km from the town going south, passing numerous salt fields, you come to the quaint coastal towns of Laem Sing and Chao Lao.
Phetburi region is famous for its thick, jungle-covered mountains forming a natural barrier with Myanmar, and is often frequented with nature lovers for the vast expanses of wild country, especially the Kaeng Krachan National Park (Thailand’s largest at 3,000 sq kilometers).
Phetchaburi is a must to visit, the town is split in two by the Phetchaburi river and all of the interesting things to do and see are in walking distance from its banks. Khao Wat is to the west but most of the other interesting sights are on the other side.
Many examples of Phetburi’s past history when the Khmer empire was dominant are to be found all over the region.
The motto of Ratchaburi extols the natural beauty of its land and people, including caves, earthen jars, a floating market, temples and its beautiful and charming women.
The town is home to Damnoen Floating Market, running along a network of canals off the Mae Klong River and it remains a must see attraction for most tourists.
A trip to this part of the country is mainly going back to nature. The province is riddled with bat caves, mountain ranges, gushing waterfalls and explosive hot springs.
In addition to beautiful natural attractions, including two national parks, Saraburi is known for its delectable food and hospitable people.
Saraburi is famous for Wat Phra Phutthabat, built under King Songtham in the 17th century,it is the most popular pilgrimage site in central Thailand. The Wat is reputed to have been built around a footprint of Buddha.
Nakon Ratchasima is generally known as Khorat, the province is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain. Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites, including Khao Yai, and the Khmer temple at Phimai.
Khao Yai National Park is home to a wide array of wildlife, including Asian elephants and black bears. The park also offers, hiking trails, lodges, cabins and campsites. There are even dinosaur footprints, so visitors find surprises at every turn.
These ten great getaway weekend destinations are within reasonable travelling distance from Pattaya. You can enjoy journey even more by taking the backwater routes if you are not in a hurry, and discover unknown gems on your way.
That is the beauty of hiring a car, you can take your time and stop off whenever you want. Your itinerary becomes flexible and all your luggage is easily stowed away in the boot.
Next weekend why not pick a destination, rent a car, and discover more of fantastic Thailand
Article by By Kevin Cain