Visiting Pattaya with kids! Fun things to do and responsible travel tips.

Chances are, if you’ve heard of Pattaya, Thailand, it’s not for the family-friendly activities it has to offer. Pattaya is two hours from Bangkok in the Chonburi province, and is known to some as an adult party destination.

We found ourselves in Pattaya for a week because we had some accommodation already paid for with our family’s timeshare program. It was the only place in Southeast Asia that we could use our available week at, and as it was a self-contained apartment with access to a pool, it ended up being quite nice to relax and catch up on rest (and work for me).

So is Pattaya suitable for families?

We were happily surprised that there were some great activities for Dante and Allegra to enjoy in Pattaya. That being said, we only ventured out at night to get a meal at a night market closeby and didn’t feel very safe walking any further with young children. We did take a taxi to an excellent restaurant one evening though, which I’ve detailed below as it was really great for kids.

If you also find yourself in Pattaya with kids, don’t worry! There are plenty of things to do together and you can explore in some areas without coming across sleazy or inappropriate things. Avoid Central Pattaya and Walking Street, and ensure you book family-friendly accommodation. Jomtein area is said to have the biggest range of places to stay in Pattaya for families.

Responsible travel tip:

Pattaya has a lot of animal attractions, especially with tigers and elephants. Please avoid engaging with these activities, as the tigers are drugged and/or beaten so they are safe to take photos with, and the elephants are also cruelly trained and beaten to be able to perform or give rides.

Allegra and Dante riding a pretend elephant.

The only way to ethically ride an elephant is on these stuffed toys at Pattaya’s Teddy Bear Museum (more below).

NongNooch Tropical Garden includes a daily elephant show, and the Sanctuary of Truth (wooden temple) includes elephant rides, so avoid these attractions to successfully boycott animal tourism. Luckily there are several other great things to do in Pattaya with family on board.

Read more about elephant tourism and the ethical elephant experience we had instead in Thailand.

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Pattaya, Thailand is not known as a family-friendly destination, but there are some great things to do with kids there. Our favourite activities included the Big Buddha temple, Cartoon Network's waterpark, an excellent indoor play centre, a Teddy Bear Museum, and a pizza cafe where kids can design and cook their own meal! Read on for more about all of these activities plus responsible travel info. #thailand #travelwithkids #responsibletravel #sustainabletravel

What to do in Pattaya with kids

Free things to do in Pattaya

Wat Phra Yai / Big Buddha temple

The Pattaya Big Buddha is located at the top of Pratumnak Hill, and it’s 18 meters high! It is the biggest Buddha in Chonburi province. There are smaller buddhas and an operational temple at the location too, and some amazing views of the surrounding town. At the bottom of the hill, there is also a Chinese Temple called Wang Sam Sien.

Pattaya's Big Buddha

The biggest Buddha of the region.

The view from the top of Wat Phra Yai

The view from the top of Wat Phra Yai

It was a lovely place to visit because we could explore the hilltop location and read about the different Buddhas, watch people make their offerings, and speak to the monks working there. It also felt serene and special, and was vibrantly alive with nature all around us.

Some of the many Buddhas in Pattaya

More of the Buddhas on display

The monk we spoke to encouraged us to make our own offering, and though we are not Buddhist we all enjoyed learning about what is expected and what it all means. This was a paid activity, but it is not a requirement of your visit so it is possible to attend the temple for free. However, it is nice to make a small donation if you can.

Choosing a coloured flag to write our prayers on.

Choosing a coloured flag to write our prayers on.

Dante and Allegra love to get involved and learn in this experiential way, which is part of worldschooling and is one of the best ways for kids to learn through travel. We all agreed that visiting the Big Buddha Temple was one of the best things to do in Pattaya.

Anthony and Dante making our offering to the Big Buddha

Anthony and Dante making our offering to the Big Buddha

Responsible travel tip:

As with visiting any Buddhist temple or sacred space, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. Also never point your feet at a Buddha statue, do not wear clothing with images of the Buddha on them, and be sure to remove your shoes if you are entering any buildings or offering areas.

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We visited the Big Buddha today; a dedication to Buddha's life in Pattaya, Thailand. As well as an enormous statue of him, smaller ones depicted him throughout his stages of enlightenment. It was also beautifully decorated, and many butterflies and dragonflies hovered around, like this one Allegra is watching. . Even though it was quite well visited with tourists, the area around the Buddhas still felt special. I felt more peaceful as we explored around, and I especially loved seeing my children's reactions. They were automatically respectful, naturally interested, and keen to participate and learn. We made some offerings and chatted to a lovely monk, and discovered which animal year we were each born in. . I love visiting sacred places like this, from any tradition or religion. I think we can all learn from them, picking up on the symbolism and feeling the depth of reverence from other people. I also believe that those butterflies and dragonflies are attracted by the atmosphere of that place, and that they know they won't be harmed there. . . . . . #smallfootprintsbigadventures #bigbuddhatemple #respectful #kidscantravel #kidswhotravel #familytravelblog #worldschoolers #worldschooling #worldschoolingcentral #worldschoolingisourlife #worldschoolingfamily #worldschoolingcommunity #travellove #travelisthebestteacher #travelislove #openmyworld #openmymind #experiencesnotthings #experienceseekers #traveldeep #traveldeeper #traveldeeply #conscioustravel #weareworldschoolers #lifeschooling #lifewelltraveled #theworldisourclassroom #livedifferent #travelschooling

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The Beaches

Pattaya beach has a long frontage which you can walk along, and although it’s not a particularly nice beach to swim or sunbathe, there are many shops and a wide walkway to take a stroll.

Walking along Pattaya's beach street

Walking along Pattaya’s beach street

Nearby Jomtein beach is said to be much nicer for water activities.

Other Pattaya activities for kids

Cartoon Network Amazezone

Cartoon Network Amazezone, like most water parks in Southeast Asia, was full of slides, pools and fun for all ages. It’s the world’s first Cartoon Network-themed water park and its full of characters from their shows.

Dante and Allegra having a blast on one of the waterslides

Dante and Allegra having a blast on one of the waterslides

As it was close to Christmas when we visited, we got to see a holiday show by some of the performers which our kids also enjoyed.

The Adventure Time Christmas show was on several times a day.

The Adventure Time Christmas show was on several times a day.

It wasn’t the best water park we found on our Southeast Asia trip but it was still a lot of fun, and great to cool off in the intense heat. It’s the coolest of the outdoor family activities in Pattaya, but still, much of the park was in full sun so having sun protection is important.

Having fun in the wave pool, which had a huge stage in front and loud, pumping music!

Having fun in the wave pool, which had a huge stage in front and loud, pumping music!

Responsible travel tip:

I was pleased to have a sleeved rashie/swim shirt and shorts for bathing bottoms in Thailand, as most women swim in modest clothing. Of course, it was also helpful to avoid sunburn!

Harbor Pattaya

Harbor Land Pattaya is the largest indoor playground in Asia, and also has the tallest slide in Asia! It is meant for younger kids (up to about 13 years old) and it’s one of the best places to visit in Pattaya on very rainy days or to avoid extreme heat.

Allegra jumping into a ball pit at Harbor Pattaya.

Jump!

There was so much to explore and fun to be had.

There was a lot to explore.

Allegra and Dante spent a happy afternoon there climbing and enjoying the activities. Never one to be told what she can’t do, Allegra kept up with her big brother, even on activities she was supposedly too young to be attempting!

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Climbing the sea wall! Allegra wasn't supposed to as she's too young, but just try to stop her! . We are finding some fun kids activities in Pattaya, Thailand. They loved this indoor play centre, and a big waterpark yesterday. We're not loving the actual area near our accommodation for just walking around and exploring, but at least there's some fun places to head to. . . . . . #smallfootprintsbigadventures #kidswhoclimb #kidswhotravel #kidscantravel #keepexploring #letsadventure #atleasttheresthat #itsakidslife #worldschoolers #worldschoolingisourlife #activekidsarehappykids #travelwithkids #travelblogger #letthemplay #getoutandplay #travellessons #exploringtheworldtogether #iwasbornwild #unschoolingadventures #worldschoolingcentral #theworldisourplayground #gotkidswilltravel #kidstraveltips #takethekids #travelisthebesteducation #weareworldschoolers #kidstraveltheworld #ouradventure #runwildmychild #stayadventurous

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Responsible travel tip:

Take your own water with you to avoid buying plastic water bottles. And take socks with you if you don’t want to buy a new pair there.

Teddy Bear Museum

Pattaya attractions don’t get more unique than this one! The Teddy Bear Museum was one of Allegra’s favourite activities from our whole four-month Southeast Asia trip. It was fun for older kids and adults too, but will especially delight people who love teddies and dolls.

Allegra with the king and queen of teddy bears

Meeting Royal teddies was magical

Kids hatching from a dinosaur egg in the Teddy Bear Museum

Several areas had special places to climb into and explore

Allegra discovering decorated teddy statues

So many pretty teddy bears!

Dante in a teddy bear temple exhibit

We had recently watched Kung Fu Panda so this display was perfect for Dante!

Climbing on the Egyptian teddy display

It was great that many displays could be climbed on.

The museum is quite big and has many different themed areas to explore. There is also information about the history of teddy bears, a dinosaur excavation area, and some fun installations to take funny photos in.

A trick photo display

Such a clever idea! Dante is actually laying flat on the exhibit.

Excavating dinosaur bones was a great sensory activity in the museum

Excavating dinosaur bones was a great sensory activity in the museum

There is also a huge slide and magical treehouse setting which was a great way end to the experience. And there’s a gift shop on the way out but the staff aren’t pushy and it’s possible to leave without spending more money.

Allegra in the magical treehouse

The treehouse included a cubby and large slide, which was slow to slide on but still fun.

Allegra cuddling more teddy bears.

So many teddies to love!

Definitely put the Teddy Bear Museum on your list for ‘must visit places in Pattaya’! It’s a fun indoor activity that takes a few hours to fully appreciate, and it’s relaxed and loaded with sensory stimulation for kids.

Responsible travel tip

Remember to BYO bag if you think you might make a purchase at the Teddy Bear Museum. And as always, carry water in your own bottles to avoid more plastic waste.

Pizza Plaza Pattaya

The Pizza Plaza turned out to be one of our favourite family activities in Pattaya. Each table has a small oven on it, and you collect small pizza bases and the toppings you’d like, arrange them at the table and cook it yourself! Dante and Allegra enjoyed making their own creations and it was a fun way to get them involved in cooking.

Dante making mini-pizzas exactly how he wants them!

Dante making mini-pizzas exactly how he wants them.

Allegra making her next pizza.

Designing pizzas while enjoying garlic bread: so yummy!

There is other food available too and the buffet is one set price (cheaper for kids) so you can refill as much as you like. A few groups of adults were there too, taking advantage of the all-you-can-eat structure. For Anthony and me, the food wasn’t wonderful — especially as Ant used to be a gourmet pizza chef! It’s kid-friendly Western food and similar to fast food, with a few fried dishes, pasta, bread, ice-cream, and soup also on offer.

The mini pizza oven at Pizza Plaza Pattaya.

The little oven fits four mini pizzas at once.

Pizza Plaza also had a small kitchenette and toy area for kids, so ours really were entertained for the evening. It still takes claim as their favourite restaurant in Thailand.

The kids area at Pizza Plaza Pattaya.

Kids having more fun in the play area.

Responsible travel tip:

This is a great place to avoid food waste, as all of the portions are kid-sized!

Bring your own reusable straws or remember to say ‘no straw thanks’ to avoid plastic waste. My friend Tina at Sustainable Travel Family has a great post on how to say no straw please in many languages, including Thai.

Pattaya Floating Market and other local markets

We didn’t get to the floating market but it is another family attraction in Pattaya which I believe doesn’t involve animals. There are cultural performances, food, and arts and crafts, and boat activities.

Responsible travel tips:

To ensure your souvenir purchases benefit local people, seek unique stalls or chat to the sellers to work out if they are handmade or locally-produced. Mass-produced souvenirs usually don’t benefit local people much and don’t help to keep traditional skills alive.

Also, avoid souvenirs made from shells or other sea creatures, or any animals, and avoid souvenirs that may have been taken from world heritage sites.

When we visited a small night market near our accommodation, we asked for our food and smoothies to put into our own containers, and all the vendors were happy to do so. So I’d say taking your own containers to the Floating Market would likely also be successful.

Drinking smoothies at the small night market while waiting for our food.

Drinking smoothies at the small night market while waiting for our food.

Final thoughts

Pattaya may not be the ideal spot for a family holiday, but it definitely has some fun things to do and it can still be very enjoyable with kids.

Read more from our travels and other Thailand posts:

Pin this post for later:

Pattaya, Thailand is not known as a family-friendly destination, but there are some great things to do with kids there. Our favourite activities included the Big Buddha temple, Cartoon Network's waterpark, an excellent indoor play centre, a Teddy Bear Museum, and a pizza cafe where kids can design and cook their own meal! Read on for more about all of these activities plus responsible travel info. #thailand #travelwithkids #responsibletravel #sustainabletravel

Pattaya, Thailand is not known as a family-friendly destination, but there are some great things to do with kids there. Our favourite activities included the Big Buddha temple, Cartoon Network's waterpark, an excellent indoor play centre, a Teddy Bear Museum, and a pizza cafe where kids can design and cook their own meal! Read on for more about all of these activities plus responsible travel info. #thailand #travelwithkids #responsibletravel #sustainabletravel

Pattaya, Thailand is not known as a family-friendly destination, but there are some great things to do with kids there. Our favourite activities included the Big Buddha temple, Cartoon Network's waterpark, an excellent indoor play centre, a Teddy Bear Museum, and a pizza cafe where kids can design and cook their own meal! Read on for more about all of these activities plus responsible travel info. #thailand #travelwithkids #responsibletravel #sustainabletravel

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2 Responses

  1. Jade Dsa says:

    Oh I’m sure kids would have the time of their lives!

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