Thailand is a big country. It is a very popular tourist destination and until recently it was number three in the world. Will probably be again. Bangkok and Phuket are generally quite expensive and to be honest Pattaya can be too. How much a vacation costs depends on your choices. The number of available options depends on the initial planning.
Book your flight today to fly tomorrow, and it will cost you an arm and a leg. Unless of course you are unlucky and you don't win a fantastic last-minute offer. Book two, three, four months ahead and the price will be much lower. The earlier you book, the more airlines are available so that you can make your choice. If time is not a problem, you can jump over and use two or three airlines.
Where possible, select "off season" you want to visit. This will again multiply your choice of hotels and give you much better deals. A slight difference in weather during the "season" or "out of season" in Pattaya. There is certainly enough to be done. If it rains, it usually lasts a short time and, frankly, a little relief.
Now you can book the hotel in advance, and I really advise you, but book it only for three days, even if you plan to stay for a few weeks. If you are out of season, there will be no problem with extending your stay. On the other hand, you have three days to look around and book something better. There are always fantastic offers for those who shop. The internet is very good, but it is a maze of agents who are waiting to break away from the top.
Pattaya is great to eat. The international cuisine offered is amazing. Prices are also generally much lower than in Europe. In Europe, Thai food is expensive, in Thailand it is cheap. Not only cheap but delicious. Here it is prepared by experts and using local products. If you're going to eat Thai food, forget about the large, elegant restaurants and those near the main tourist area. Follow the side street of Soi (roads) and you will find the best of the best. You can eat well for a dollar.
Do not use taxis to get around. Sang Thaew or Baht Bus is very easy to use and extremely cheap. Practically nowhere can you get to the city in two or three jumps. Alternatively, use the "motorci" (motorcycle taxi). It will cost you a fraction more, but it will take you to the place where you go in the blink of an eye.
Pattaya has many cinemas, bowling alleys, zoos, beaches, islands, shops, golf, spa and many other attractions that will make everyone happy during the day. At night the city comes alive. This is the party capital of the world and you can afford it