The Pattaya airport also known as U-Tapao is one of the key modes of transportation for people who are coming and going from Pattaya and Rayong.
The Pattaya U-Tapao airport is a combination of both military and civil public airport that is located approximately ninety miles to the southeast of Bangkok, and is approximately 45 minutes from Pattaya.
Although many choose to fly to Bangkok before traveling to Pattaya, there are benefits to using Pattaya's Utapao Airport, of which closer proximity is one of the most obvious.
Many people fly into this airport on domestic flights coming from other airports in Thailand. Briefly in 2008, this airport just outside of Pattaya opened itself up to flights from other nations, though this was only for a short period of time, and as a result of protests that closed down the Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport albeit on a temporary basis. During this brief period, U-Tapao airport was actually a main international gateway for Thailand.
This airport in Pattaya also serves as an airfield for the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy, making it the home for the First Air Wing of the Royal Thai Navy.
The runway at Utapao airport Pattaya is capable of handling large aircraft, however because the terminals are much smaller, this airport can only accommodate a select number of flights per day. As such, this airport only currently serves domestic flights to and from Koh Samui and Phuket through Bangkok Airways.
The U-tapao Pattaya airport offers flights from Utapao to Koh Samui, Koh Samui to Utapao, Utapao to Phuket and Phuket to Utapao all week long, Monday through Sunday. The flight departure times are 17:15 and 13:00 for Koh Samui and Phuket respectively. The arrival times are 12:30 and 16:45 from Koh Samui and Phuket respectively.
Once inside the airport Pattaya you will be greeted with a single airport terminal that offers a range of banking facilities, restaurants, duty free shops, a customs desk, currency exchange desks and an immigration hub. For a very small local airport Utapao can be very busy.
The airport also houses a maintenance facility for Thai Airways and also provides maintenance for other airway customers as necessary.
If you are considering using the airport in Pattaya when travelling within Thailand, it is worth noting that the only transportation option you have when landing at the airport, is that of a local taxi. There are no public transport facilities like buses or trains, however there are usually so many taxis waiting to take you to your chosen destination, that acquiring one is never a problem. Most taxi rides from the Pattaya airport to any location are based on a flat fee, and not on distance.