Pattaya is a city on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, most-known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches. Situated only 62 miles southeast of Bangkok, it’s a convenient destination to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand.
But safety in Pattaya can be a concern – the risk of drugs, crime, prostitution, and scams are very real. If you include drunken holiday-goers into the mix, then you could be asking yourself the question, “is Pattaya safe?”
That is why we have composed this guide – to supply you with all the information needed for staying safe in Pattaya.
In this guide, we will be discussing a range of safety topics: from the risks of theft, to whether it is safe for a solo female traveller in Pattaya – and just about everything else safety-related. We will be covering Pattaya in its entirety.
Whether you’re a solo traveller who is worried about your safety and the concept of travelling alone, or if it’s your first time in Thailand and just wondering if Pattaya is a family-friendly place. Regardless of your concern, we have created this guide to address all of your worries.
Is Pattaya Safe? (Our Take)
Overall, Pattaya is an entirely safe place to visit. Of course, there is an element of risk (as with any location in the world) – but on the whole, Pattaya is a safe destination to travel.
Pattaya is always fun and vibrant. The city shot to fame in the 1980s and has remained there since. The beaches are usually soaring with energy as holiday-goers take to the sun. As the light becomes dark, the action shifts to Pattaya’s lively nightlife scene, where heavy drinking and partying continues until dawn.
Besides beaches and nightlife, Pattaya offers an entire range of entertainment and accommodation choices. It has slowly outgrown its notorious reputation as a seedy beachside town to a destination that welcomes couples, families, backpackers, and business travellers. While travellers should generally feel safe, you should always keep your wits about you for possible threats and dangers.
What was once known as a quiet fishing village, is now sometimes referred to as “Thailands murder capital”. However, the large majority of visitors have a great time without any problems because overall, the city is safe and enjoyable. Violence is uncommon, although petty crime, including pickpockets, scams, and theft do occur.
Here are a few dangers to watch out for in Pattaya:
Ladyboys are everywhere in Pattaya, and sometimes the more feminine ones can easily be mistaken for a beautiful lady. Their stunning petite and lady-like-mannerism is enough to fool nearly any guy into believing they were genuinely born a woman.
Many guys mistakenly bring these “girls” back to their hotel convinced they have just scored a beautiful girl for the night. It’s usually too late before they realise, leading to violence and troubles. Most people don’t understand that ladyboys work together, with a mob of tough friends just a phone call away.
Make sure always to keep your valuables protected, as it is not uncommon for ladyboys to try and steal from you. A better solution is just to stay clear of ladyboys altogether.
A motorcycle with a passenger on the back rides up behind you. As they are riding past, the passenger reaches out to grab what valuables they can from you. The stolen valuables usually include handbags, necklaces, and phones.
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of this type of theft is to keep your valuables locked in your hotel room. If you are carrying a handbag, make sure to keep it in front of you. Try to avoid walking on the edge of the pavement, out of reach from the perpetrators.
Jet Ski Scam
A common scam to look out for in Pattaya is the jet ski/motorcycle scam (or pretty much anything that you’re hiring). The scam works by you initially renting something of value. Then, when you go to return the goods, the vendor claims there are damages (usually resulting in you paying a ridiculous amount of money).
To avoid this, always take photos of what you are hiring beforehand.
Taxi Meter Scam
Instead of a taxi driver using the meter, they will try to charge you a fixed amount, usually costing you more money. If you are taking a taxi in Pattaya, make sure to agree that you want to use the meter before getting inside any vehicle.
If you do end up in a situation where you are paying a fixed price, make sure to agree on an amount before beginning your journey.
Extra Bill Scam
You’re enjoying your evening with some friends and a few cocktails by the bar. Like most bars in Thailand, the amount of money you owe is recorded by placing receipts of paper inside of a small cup. When you are not looking (or too drunk to realise), the bartender will slip extra receipts in your cup, resulting in a nice hefty bill at the end.
To avoid this scam, make sure to pay attention to the cup and don’t get drunk to the point you are unaware of your surroundings.
Is Pattaya Safe? (The Facts)
Overall, Pattaya is a safe destination to travel. The city attracts over 450,000 visitors daily – and this number is growing.
Although Pattaya does not publicise its official murder rates, we can only presume that it’s very high. There have been a series of murders over the years, the vast majority of victims being Thai nationals. While there have been foreign victims, most tourist deaths are the result of drug overdoses and suicide.
The rate of suicide is another strikingly high statistic in Pattaya. Although no official figures exist, there are estimates it is as high as one suicide per week – a number that seems too high to believe as accurate.
Another cause of death is tourists “falling” from balconies, which some conspiracists believe is far from an accident. The theory is that a guy goes back with a girl to a hotel room, she lures him onto the balcony, pushes him off, and then raids the hotel room.
It seems more likely that these deaths are the cause of getting drunk and falling over the balcony, or, taking into consideration the suicide rates, suicide from depression.
It’s generally safe to visit Pattaya in 2020, but apply common sense when visiting the city.
Are Taxis Safe In Pattaya?
There are plenty of metered taxis in Pattaya, but some drivers will insist on making you pay a fixed price instead of running the meter (resulting in you spending more money). Before entering any vehicle, make the driver is made aware that you want to use the meter. If they say no, simply walk away and flag down another one. Taxis are in abundance, so don’t feel pressured into taking the first one you find.
If you do agree to pay a fixed price and are travelling around the inner town, the fare should be no higher than 40 to 50 baht.
Pattaya Travel Insurance
Enjoy your visit to Pattaya, but always make sure to get travel insurance! Even if you are only visiting for a few days, you should always take out travel cover. Take our word for it: travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds – so make sure to purchase it before you start your trip.
We highly recommend using World Nomads, but there are many insurance providers to choose from, so make sure to shop around to find the best deal.
Top Safety Tips for Visiting Pattaya
Pattaya is generally safe, but it is still imperative to have a few smart travel tips in mind for staying safe in Pattaya:
AVOID DRUGS – drugs of really any kind are illegal in Pattaya. The consequences of not just taking drugs, but having drugs on you may be as severe as the death penalty.
Don’t take photos of the ladyboys outside the bars – only when you have asked permission is it ok to take a picture of the girls outside go-go bars. Most girls don’t like it and will expect a small fee in exchange for a photo.
Keep your valuables safe – keep your valuables locked away in a safety deposit box at your hotel. Don’t carry any large amounts of cash, and only bring out what is necessary.
Drink responsibly – most crime incidents in Pattaya are drink-related. Make sure always to know your limits and drink responsibly.
Avoid renting jet skis – we discourage renting jet skis in Pattaya as there are many scams involving fictional damage. If you do rent a jet ski, make sure to take photos beforehand.
Wear mosquito repellant – although malaria is uncommon in Pattaya, dengue fever is arguably worse and can be a severe threat in specific areas.
Take a digital copy of important documents – in case anything gets lost or stolen, make sure to take a digital copy of your passport and other important travel documents.
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