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Pattaya or Phuket?

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My friends and I are panning our first trip to Thailand next winter. We are going to get away from the cold rainy and snowy weather here in the states. We want to see the sights you know temples, kick boxing, elephant, swimming, jet skiing, and the night life. Like I said I have never been there so I have been doing some research over the past couple months and have found Phuket and Pattaya. Phuket seems to be a touristy trap area where prices seem to be higher than the rest of Thailand. Phuket also has some of the most beautiful beaches I have seen in my researching. Pattaya is way more cost effective in almost everything I have seen. I have read some comments on Pattaya beaches so i researched them and found the looked alot like California beaches or Mexico beaches. Is this true? We plan on coming for two weeks. I plan to bring $2500 with me. How would that fair in Phuket V's Pattaya?

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