Getting Rides in Pattaya

Baht Bus in Pattaya

YOU are never more than a few steps away from a lift in Pattaya.

Transport here is cheap and varied. The most popular form of travel is the baht bus, or songtaews (which literally means two rows). These blue, open-backed trucks ply regular routes across town for 10 baht. It's 5 baht for locals, and that's just the way it is, you won't be the first to point out it's not fair.

Pattaya Baht Buses

These pickup trucks with seats run along the whole of Pattaya for 10 baht per person, although a trip to Jomtien will set you back 30 baht.

If you prefer to be independent, there are plenty of places to hire motorbikes or cars.

Motorbike Taxis

You don't fancy waiting around for a Baht bus, so you may opt for a motorcycle taxi. They are common in many areas of Thailand and excellent for congested areas and short trips.

Motorcycle taxi stands will be very convenient in tourist areas. The operator's wear numbered vests and generally congregate in convenient locations.

They are slightly more expensive than Baht buses (seelors), but take you portal to portal. Negotiate the rate before you engage them.

Driving / Riding in Pattaya

SO, you've years of experience driving up and down your country's motorways? Think driving in Thailand will be as easy as changing gear?

Think again.

Thais drive on the left-hand side (when it suits them) and while there are rules of the road they are rarely adhered to.

Vehicles don't give way to the right, they overtake in any lane, they pull out for no good reason, and bikers cut you up, because, well, because they're bikers.

When driving along Beach Road, be especially careful of the baht buses, who consider it their right to pull over into the right-hand lane whenever they see fit, regardless of whether you are already there or not. On the main Sukhumvit Road, be wary of the faster, right-hand lane, as every so often a turn-off will appear there, which results in cars coming to a halt while still in the fast lane.

The best advice is to slow down, keep going in a straight line, and watch your mirrors. Oh, and mind the elephants that occasionally wander across Sukhumvit.

Getting a Ride in Pattaya

IF you're staying for a while, then you can buy a car. But be warned, they aren't cheap. High import taxes mean cars here aren't much cheaper than cars back home. Expect to pay at least 200,000 baht for anything with four good wheels and an engine.

The good news is that it's cheap to rent. You can see rental shops almost anywhere, and here is just a brief selection of the better-known companies. Make sure you get insurance as accidents do happen here, regularly. And even if it's not your fault, by the time the police have arrived, it probably will be because you're a farang.

You should have an International Driving Licence if you plan to take to the roads. In the UK, they cost a couple of pounds from the Post Office and last for one year.