First thing you want to do is check your budget. Hotels, resorts and guest houses are available in every price range – but you need to know how much you want to spend for your accommodations. Depending on the time of year, you can find a room in prices ranging from USD $10 up to a couple hundred dollars per day.
Next, figure out where in Pattaya or Jomtien you want to stay. There are three basic areas in Pattaya to consider – north, south and central. The northern end of Pattaya is a little less crowded but further away from the nightlife. Central is in the middle of all the beer bar action. And, south is closest to the infamous Walking Street. Rooms in all price ranges are available in all areas. And transportation is not a problem anywhere in Pattaya.
If you want to spend time at the beach, none of the above areas are recommended. Jomtien is a bit better or go to an outer island, like Koh Larn, to get your toes wet. I would not go in the water at Pattaya Beach. Jomtien may also be a better place to stay if you are bringing over the family. It is close enough to Pattaya, but far enough away from the naughty nightlife.
Once you have decided on which area to stay, you need to figure out which hotel to make your reservations at. There are numerous online reservation web sites that provide a lot of information, prices, and reviews. You can also visit any of a number of online Pattaya forums for up-to-date info.
Consideration should be given to what is available at the hotel. Does it have a swimming pool? Do they charge for bringing in a guest? Are prices higher during peak season? Is breakfast included? Are there any promotions? Any mandatory holiday dinners I have to pay for (even if I don’t attend)?
Most of the hotels offer the basics – bed, air conditioning, refrigerator, western bathroom/shower, and cable/satellite TV. Some of the more expensive resorts will offer room service and have one or more restaurants on the property. If there is no restaurant in the hotel – don’t worry. There are plenty of small restaurants and street vendors all over the city.
I would then do a search and see if the hotel or resort has their own web site and see what the listed prices are. Then, I would check with one of the in-country booking sites and see if they have better deals (usually they do). Don’t worry – it is safe and secure and the service is faster and better than dealing direct with the hotel.
Finally, make sure you book your hotel or resort before you go. You don’t want to arrive and have nowhere to stay. And, book early if you are planning to visit Thailand during “high” season – generally November to March. Pattaya resorts and hotels may also have higher prices during Christmas/New Years and during Songkran (Thai New Year – mid April).