There's a little island off Pattaya called Koh Larn, around a 30 minute boat ride from Pattaya Beach. I'd heard of it but only recently had a chance to check it out.
The anticipation of the journey, and the ferry journey itself are fun. Although its a bit of a squeeze, once everyone is on board, its not usually a problem to get comfy and enjoy the ride (travel light). And it's only 30 baht one way ... For those in a hurry, there is the option of taking a speed boat for 300 baht return per person, although I didn't take one myself so don't know the exact deal.
There are numerous beaches to go to, and navigating which ferry goes where, I would imagine, is a bit of a nightmare if you don't have an accompanying Thai handy. Luckily I did (several) so it was all pretty straightforward for me, I just carried bags, small children, and followed (as usual).
(pic above - one of the smaller beaches) The first thing that hits you as you walk across the boat piers are the curving, golden, busy beaches .... They are large, long and generally 'fill up' quite quickly (depending on the time you arrive).
If you are looking for hard evidence of the Russian invasion of Pattaya, you can find it here. One of the beaches we went to had Russian flags flying high, for all to see.
Getting up close and personal with armies of semi-naked Ruskies is an experience in itself. They are a tough nut to crack. It's very hard to get 'on the inside,' so to speak, much more so than our other European and American friends. Is it all down to a communication barrier? Not in this case I think. They generally keep 'themselves to themselves', in my experience. Mind you, that hasn't stopped the Thai's. Their entrepreneurial spirit will always endeavour to find a way, and it never fails to impress me when you see a Thai talking confidently in Russian, whilst taking a food order.
(pic above: our crew) The beaches are nice, not Phuket, but nice. Better than Pattaya, and Jomtien (just harder to get to).There are a few decent little shops and markets dotted around, and of course, food... And booze. We had some great food, but beware, some of the more exotic seafood has prices that will make you wince (especially when feeding a group, and no doubt increased moreso if the local's smell a foreign wallet ;)
If you've got a few days to kill in Pattaya and are looking for something to do, then get a ride to Koh Larn. The ferries can be caught from just beside Walking Street (helpful website here).