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Bangkokian or Pattayan – how to tell the difference


Bangkokian or Pattayan – how to tell the difference


There has always been a massive divide between the kind of expat who would choose to live in Pattaya and the kind of person who would opt for Bangkok as their preferred place of residence.

There are very few who could live in both. Very few who have made the transition from one to the other and been remotely happy about it. Except people in Pattaya who have moved to Bangkok, of course.

Let’s face it cosmopolitan Bangkok and down market Pattaya are like chalk and cheese. The former, like chalk being a rock albeit a bit of a crumbling one getting washed over by the sea, the latter…well it smells a bit, like cheese left out of the fridge a tad too long.

So what are the key differences – how do you know without even asking them in most cases – whether someone is a Bangkokian or a Pattayan.

Here are some tips:

At the airport:

Due to a complete lack of Thai skills from Pattayans the taxi from Swampy assumes they are to go there. They are unable to say turn round or go the other way even if they wanted to. The Bangkok expat meanwhile has a nice car waiting for them in the parking lot and, of course, can afford the parking charges no matter how long they have left their vehicle there. Though it takes them the same amount of time to get to Soi Cowboy as their Pattaya cousins take to get to Walking Street as Bangkok is full of people who want to live there and they create traffic, hubbub, interest.


The Pattayan wears shorts and thongs, inside as well as out probably. Their t-shirts can be a little soiled as clean water is not what the resort is renowned for. Bangkokians do not wear shorts unless they are playing sports at their well-appointed club. They dress well in stylish clothes because that is what is expected. Pattayans in repose wear mostly yesterday’s underwear while Bangkokians maintain a sense of propriety even when others are not admiring them, which is unusual.


Pattayans use those annoying “condom” sleeves on their beer bottles. Admittedly there is a good reason for this – they are usually propped up outside in the sweltering heat on a barstool watching for what passes to be their world going by. Bangkok expats know when to use “condoms” – when they go to Pattaya. They don’t need them in the capital because if they do drink beer it will be consumed in air conditioned places that serve to keep the beverage at an optimum,civilised temperature. Usually they drink fine wine in clear crystal glasses, for which no cheap “Chang Condoms” are needed or have even been produced. The use of other kinds of condoms are de rigueur in both cities though double thickness is advised on the eastern seaboard.


The Pattayan will go out for a night on the town with 2,000 baht in their wallet. This makes them feel rich and “Mr Big” ready to lord it over the natives. If Bangkokians go out with 2,000 baht in their pockets they either realize their mistake and go back to get a proper sum of money for their night out, or just get the bread and milk that was their intention in the first place.

Hi-So views

A Pattayan believes that a girl is a Hi-So if they come from Chonburi town. Even Sattahip if the girl owns her own motorcycle. Bangkokians can spot a girl who has lost her way and is in Bangkok by accident. They will kindly point them in the direction of Ekamai Bus station so they can get home to Pattaya.


Pattayans don’t really do walking because of the fear of mugging by lady boys. They scurry. Or they travel in what they call “taxis” that are actually things called baht buses that exist only there. These are referred to as “song-thaews” by Bangkok expats and are only available in far flung suburbs, ones much nearer Pattaya than the centre of the
capital, in fact. Bangkokians like to walk in selected areas enjoying the cheery greetings of all the people they meet along the way who respect their help in contributing to the 40% GDP that the city provides to the kingdom thus keeping the rest of the country afloat.


Pattayans greet all other farang, all other foreigners heartily when seeing them in the street. There is camaraderie in their misery. They get quite upset if this is not done. Bangkokians avoid eye contact with all other foreigners – there is no expat club in the capital so everyone is treated the same. They carry on their merry way creating wealth for the country.


Pattayans ride around on what they refer to as their “steeds” that are actually PCX mopeds with large padded seats. They look at themselves in their own mirrors because no one else will. The PCX is built in such a way as to help “muffle” or disguise their overhanging beer bellies. Bangkokians drive, or are frequently driven in, the latest top of the range cars – they check the wing mirrors to ensure that admiring women have indeed looked in their direction. (When a cheap charlie celeb recently said a Mini Cooper was a luxury car, Pattayans believed the story, Bangkokians smiled at their country bumpkin cousins kindly).


Pattayans say that Bangkok is dirty, noisy and impossible to find your way around. Bangkokians like to pretend to agree with this myth – it serves the purpose of keeping the riff-raff out. Pattaya traffic and filth is in fact much worse though Bangkokians hardly notice as visits to the resort are usually just for a few hours anyway. That is all they can stand. Journeys from Bangkok to Pattaya take about three hours – one and a half hours to the lights for the turnoff to South Pattaya then about the same time from there. Pattayans are relatively new to traffic lights.

A night out

Pattaya expats go to Walking Street and come back with a black eye after an argument with locals. Bangkok expats go for a quiet drink at Soi Cowboy where they discuss the issues of the day and put the world to rights. They are more likely to come back with eye candy.


Pattayans are convinced that all Thais come from either Buriram or Surin and that a high level of schooling is P6. Bangkokians have never heard of these places and ogle university girls in almost all areas of the city. These they meet through internet forums designed for Bangkokians that are blocked in Pattaya. And even if they aren’t
blocked it’s a moot point – Pattayans could not locate anything or anyone in Bangkok. By their own admission, usually.

Thai language

Pattayans state that they have no need to speak Thai as “everyone” speaks English. Especially people from Buriram and Surin. Bangkokians speak many languages but especially Thai. Pattaya people are suspicious of any westerner who speaks Thai which helps the Pattaya expat stay in their bubble. Bubbles are what Bangkokians have in their champagne, a drink they enjoy frequently to celebrate living in the greatest city in the world.

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