Airport and drive to Pattaya in an hour. Average car rental is around 1200 Bhat per day. Make sure you get your third party insurance and extra cover to save from any unexpected event on the road.
In Bangkok, I stayed at Centerpoint Hotel near Lumpini Park. The navigation in the city is quite easy after a couple of days of driving at you get used to the main road connecting various suburbs of Bangkok. I took Highway 7 from the Suvarnabhumi Airport to reach Bangkok city and existed at Rama 4. Pre-GPS area was interesting as you would need to follow a very confusing map.
I forgot to book the GPS device with my car rental and counted on my paper map to drive. I guess, even after 5 years I will be able to drive in Bangkok with a GPS.
Driving from Bangkok to Pattaya?
We set off early in the morning from Bangkok and followed Highway 7. For an extended period, I did no realize that I was driving under the Highway overhead till we reached the outskirts of the city. Knowing where to join Highway 7 in the city is critical to saving time. Otherwise, you will be caught up in the heavy traffic in the city.
The traffic can be quite chaotic at times as you have different kind of transport moving at a varied speed. Trucks and lorries move at a very slow speed. Be mindful of traffic in your blind spots when switching lanes. I have driven extensively across Malaysia and the Philippines. Therefore, driving in Thailand was an enjoyable experience. We stopped at stopover designed for freeway travellers half-way between Bangkok and Pattaya. You can find a number of local restaurants as well as KFC and Macdonalds.
A stopover half-way between Pattaya and Thailand
The Traffic started slowing down near Pattaya as December is the peak seasons for tourist. Make sure you know exactly where you are going as you can find various streets with the same name. During my first stayed at Jomtien Beach which is a little bit far from the main beach area in Pattaya.
Pattaya can be very crowded on public holidays and peak seasons. Jomtien Beach area is ideal for families. If you plan to enjoy the nightlife in Pattaya its ideal to stay in the main street of Pattaya. Some of the ideally located hotels include:
Highway 7 takes you straight from Bangkok to Pattaya. Depending on where you are getting on the freeway you might pay some tolls, therefore, always carry cash with you while driving.
Another convenient way is to take Na-Trat Highway (No. 3) via Bang Pakong, Chonburi and Sri Racha. Traffic can be avoided by using Chonburi-Pattaya-Rayong Highway.
Catching a Bus from Bangkok to Pattaya
If you want to catch a Bus to Pattaya get to one of three major bus terminals in Bangkok. The fare is around 120 Bhat. Buses run from Central Pattaya Road in Pattaya Road between Foodland and Big C. The drop-off point is the Victory monument in Bangkok. Departure timings are every thirty minutes between 5 am to 9 pm.