If you’ve seen photos of Pattaya in holiday brochures and travel guides there’s one image that they all tend to use; an aerial view of Pattaya Bay showing the curved outline of the bay and the city beyond.
The vantage point that gives this view is Khao Phra Bat (also known as Pattaya Hill) located between South Pattaya and Jomtien. It’s easy to confuse this hill with another one close by called Phra Tumnak Hill which is the location of Wat Phra Yai and the Big Buddha providing views towards Jomtien. But if you want views of Pattaya Bay you need to go to Khao Phra Bat. On signposts in Pattaya you will see it marked up in English as ‘View Point So Tho Ro 5’ because it is actually the location of the Royal Thai Navy Broadcasting station. A monument to Admiral HRH Prince of Chumpon is located in front of the broadcasting mast. This is the man who is known as the ‘Father of the Royal Thai Navy’ and he is still widely revered today by Thai people. If you visit the monument you will see garlands in his honour which have been left by people paying their respects to him.
Take time to look around and you will see a number of nautical references. Miniature figures in sailor uniforms are dotted around the gardens whilst the landscaped area in front of the monument is shaped like the front of a ship facing out to sea with the ensign of the Royal Thai Navy flying proudly above. Closer inspection shows that the monument of the Admiral has been subtly designed to appear to be standing on the raised deck of the ship deck with the broadcasting tower behind acting as the mast of the vessel.
The temple of Wat Phra Khao Bat is across the way from the monument, but even if you don’t visit the temple and are just here for the viewpoint, it’s important to know that the royal connection with Admiral HRH Prince of Chumpon makes this a sacred site and visitors need to act respectfully.
How to get there
The viewpoint is located in between South Pattaya and Jomtien. The easiest way to get there from either Pattaya or Jomtien is by songthaew. You can charter one for private hire to take you there and back and can expect to pay at least 200 Baht from central Pattaya. Regular shared songthaews also run from South Pattaya to Jomtien. These depart from the corner of Pattaya Tai and Second Road but only depart when the songthaew has enough passengers. The price used to be 10 Baht, but I didn’t do this journey on my recent trip because I walked instead so prices may have increased. You should get off once the songthaewÂ reaches the top of Phra Tamnak Hill. From there you will see the signs for the viewpoint and you need to walk the rest of the way (approximately 5 minutes) to the top of Khao Phra Bat. From Jomtien do a similar thing in reverse by jumping on any Pattaya-bound songthaew.
If you’re fit enough, the viewpoint can be reached on foot from Pattaya. On my recent visit I walked from the front entrance of Walking Street to the top of the hill and it took approximately 40 minutes. I’m not super-fit but if you’re in reasonable shape the walk to the viewpoint is good exercise provided you have protection from the sun and keep yourself hydrated. From Walking Street it’s just a case of following the signs towards Bali Hai Pier and the clock-tower where you then see signs for the viewpoint. Alternatively, you can walk up Phra Tamnak Hill towards the Big Buddha and then turn right when you see the sign for the viewpoint. At the crest of the hill the road continues straight on to Jomtien. The turning on the left takes you to the Big Buddha but the turning on the right takes you to the viewpoint and monument to the Admiral. It’s all clearly sign-posted in Thai and English.
The viewpoint seems to be on the itinerary of every tour operator in Pattaya who will combine it with a visit to the nearby Big Buddha, but judging from what I saw they don’t allow much time at each. I would advise visiting independently, but don’t worry if you do arrive and see hordes of tourists. After a few quick photos the tour buses are gone almost as quickly as they arrived, leaving the viewpoint in peace and quiet.
The monument and viewpoint area is free to visit and is open from 07.30 to 21.00.