Shopping in Pattaya
There are numerous malls, supermarkets, bazaar-style markets, and thousands of other shops. Sadly, you'll be seeing a lot of the same stuff over and over again — there's no endless variety in Pattaya. Also, Pattaya is not a good place to go shopping for hi-tech products, such as cameras and computers—expect to see prices around 50% higher than the best prices advertised in the West. Also beware of buying fake branded and designer goods, since these could be confiscated by customs officers at the airport.
Foreign currency can easily be exchanged for Thai baht at the many exchange booths which can be found in all areas popular with tourists — there are even mobile exchanges/ATMs in specially adapted minivans that are set up as and when and where the need arises. Note that the majority of exchange booths will buy foreign currency but will not sell it — if you need to obtain US dollars, for example if you're going to Cambodia, use one of the larger branches of a major bank, such as the Bangkok Bank branch on Second Rd (almost opposite Soi 6).
ATMs are widely available around the city, however, the vast majority of them now charge a steep 180 baht fee for using foreign cards, on top of what your home bank normally charges. The only exception was until 2014, Aeon bank but they now charge 150 baht. Their ATMs are located at the ground floor of Carrefour near KFC, Central Pattaya Rd (around 400m up from the Second Rd crossing), near Homework Furniture Mall entrance (just behind Big C on South Pattaya/Sukhumvit Rd intersection, accessible by 10 baht songthaews parked near Second Rd intersection), and in Tesco Lotus at South Pattaya. Also at Tesco Lotus on North Pattaya Rd on the ground floor.
- Book Variety. Many branches, at Big C, South Pattaya Rd, Carrefour, Central Pattaya Rd; Tuk.Com (Com City).
- Bookazine. There are many branches of Bookazine, including those at Central Festival Centre; Royal Garden Plaza; and The Avenue.
- Canterbury Tales Cafe, Guesthouse & Bookshop, Soi Chaiyapoon, . Daily, 08:00-20:00. Probably Pattaya's largest second hand bookshop. It's run by an Englishman called Dave. Also has a cafe restaurant and rooms for 500-800 baht. The cafe at the front is a popular meeting place with expats, mostly from UK, US and Australia.
- D.K. Book Mart (corner of Beach Rd and Central Pattaya Rd), .09:00-00:00 daily. A medium-size bookshop with lots of English titles, including a sizeable cookbook section and a worthwhile selection of second-hand paperbacks at 99 baht.
- Jeremy's Bookshop, 383/111 Soi Chaiyaphum, . Daily, 09:00-22:00. An immaculate library-style English language paperback exchange, large selection, mostly priced around 100-250 baht. If you buy a book here and then return it in good condition, you'll get a credit of 50% of the original price towards your next purchase.
- Pattaya Beach Books, 1F, P.S. Plaza, 369 Moo 9, and 316/137 Moo 10, Soi Buakhao, . Daily, 10:00-20:00. Both branches of this book shop have a huge selection of used English language books and magazines. Magazines around 50-60 baht, paperbacks 140-160 baht, hardbacks 180+ baht. If you buy a book here and then return it in good condition, you'll get a credit of 50% of the original price towards your next purchase.
- SE-ED. This store has several branches, at Big C, South Pattaya Rd; Carrefour, Central Pattaya Rd; Tesco-Lotus, North Pattaya Rd; Tesco-Lotus, Sukhumvit Rd.
- Star Books, 138/213 Soi Khao Noi, , e-mail:[email protected]. 09:00-19:00 daily. A well designed paperback exchange, large selection of used and new, mostly priced around 100-240 baht. Fresh coffee and tea. If you buy a book here and then return it in good condition, you'll get a credit of 50% of the original price towards your next purchase.
- Swan Book Shop, 210/6 Soi Buakhao. M-Sa 09:00-21:00. A large selection of second-hand foreign language paperbacks, mostly priced 100-180 baht.
- Central Festival. Daily, 11:00-23:00. One of the largest malls in Asia. It is the best shopping mall in the region and now attracts customers from all over, adding to the traffic chaos of Beach Rd. Fashion, electronics, health & beauty, kids activities and food are all here. With the obligatory cinema complex and bowling alley on the top floor, this mega-mall is styled on the big Bangkok destination shopping areas like Siam Paragon. The Food Loft has the best view of the bay and great variety at reasonable prices. The anchor store is Central Department Store itself, offering high-end designer labels from abroad and Thailand. A supermarket and budget food hall is in the basement. Enter from Soi 9, Pattaya Beach Rd or on Second Rd after the new View Talay complex. Easy to find, just look for the traffic jams.
- Mike Shopping Mall (on Beach Rd between Soi 11 and Soi 12). The ground floor has many small stalls selling clothing, tourist souvenirs and many other inexpensive items; above that there's a department store; on the 5th floor there's a food court; and up on the roof (10th floor) there's a public swimming pool.
- P.S. Plaza and Tops supermarket (at the junction of Second Rd and Central Pattaya Rd). A Tops supermarket and a cooked food outlet occupies most of the ground floor; billiards, books, massage, and a handful of other shops on the first floor; and P.S. Bowling on the second floor.
- Royal Garden Plaza (adjacent to the Pattaya Marriott Hotel on Beach Rd between Soi Post Office (Soi 13/2) and Soi Pattayaland 1 (Soi 13/3)).
- Tuk.Com (Com City), South Pattaya Rd. A predominantly IT mall. In the basement is a Tops supermarket, a food court, and various other (mostly clothes) shops as well as a spare parts department that sells a variety of electronics (e.g., transistors) and other parts (e.g., washing machine lint filters), and the ground floor hosts an assortment of regular shops. However the upper floors are almost exclusively mobile phones (1st floor), computer software and MP3/video CDs (4th floor), and computers and handheld electronics (2nd/3rd/5th floors). Prices are significantly higher than in Bangkok though.
There are many bazaar-style markets in Pattaya where you can haggle 'till you drop, including:
- Made In Thailand Night Bazaar, on Second Rd near Soi 10. 08:00-23:00.Despite the name, it is also open in mornings.
- The Market Pattaya (on Second Rd near Soi 5). This market is a little lonely, but some evenings it has students giving music or dance performances on a small stage.
- Soi Buakhao Market (on the corner of South Pattaya Rd and Soi Buakhao, across from the Friendship Supermarket). Daytime on Tuesdays and Fridays; plus an evening market further along the same road.
- Thepprasit Market (on Thepprasit Rd near the junction with Sukhumvit Rd). F-Su 18:00-00:00. You can find the cheapest books in Pattaya at this night market.
- Gems Gallery, 555 Moo 6, North Pattaya Rd, . One of several "World's Biggest" jewellery stores, this one also has a theme park.
- Jo Fishing Tackle Shop, 259/42 Moo 5, Soi Pothisan, . Daily, 08:00-20:00. Small/mid-size shop absolutely packed to the gills(!) in a well-organised fashion with all manner of fishing tackle, owner doesn't speak much English, but is very friendly and helpful.
- KC Gallery, Walking St. The best and biggest art gallery shop.
- Narai Art Gallery, Soi 6, Phratamnak Rd. A local crafts shop which doubles as a nice restaurant.
- Art galleries are also considered to be rising business in Pattaya, most of the places will offer variety works and services including custom orders and art reproductions. These galleries in Pattaya have reputations in affordable prices and fine quality artist skills.
- Convenience stores are everywhere, especially 7-Eleven and FamilyMartshops (all open 24/7), plus countless independents. If you use the family run shops the prices aren't always marked but should be the same, or just a baht or two higher.
- Gold shops abound, with concentrations around the market on South Pattaya Rd and around Central Pattaya Rd near Second Rd, plus numerous jewellery shops towards the south end of Beach Rd. Small jewellery shops can also be found as part of supermarkets.
- Tailor shops Are everywhere, offering men's clothes, but quality is variable. Ideally, make sure you get two fittings before buying.
- Tea Village, 151/44 M.5 North Pattaya Rd., Naklua, Banglamung, Cholburi(Opposite World Gems Collection and about 10 m before Tesco Lotus mall), . 09:00-22:00. Very good tea, more than 80 flavours and they also sell more than 6 flavours of coffee beans. Prices on herbal teas start from 39 baht per 100 grams, on green Oolong tea from 70 baht, coffee 30 baht per 100 grams.