In general “Why?” is the most difficult to answer of all the “W” questions?
Who? What? Where? and When? are easy to answer and even agree upon, but finding out the intention of human behavior is very difficult. Furthermore the many opinions about Pattaya on all the usual forums and websites are overwhelmingly negative. - And now we change the go go bar and look for a nice family restaurant...
Pattaya is too crowded, too expensive, there are too many Russians, too many Chinese, people are unfriendly, there is too much traffic, too many police checkpoints, too much pollution. There is an endless list of complains and of course “too many new buildings” and “too many condos”. Oversupply. Crash. A declining number of Europeans (which is not true!). It is obvious, that some of these complaints are contradictory but the big question of all is: WHY is Pattaya growing?
The Big Mix!
Where in the world can you find a place that attracts tourists, retirees and expats, all three of them at the same time? Most places cover the first 2 groups but there is no industry in the hinterland. Laem Chabang deep sea port, Map Ta Phut (petrochemical industry around Rayong), manufacturing industry stretching from Bangkok almost to Rayong, are all just a short drive from Pattaya. The automotive industry at the eastern seaboard is among the top 10 in the world, called the “Detroit of the East”. The industrial development does not only attract foreign expats but lots of Thais and that adds to the next trend....
For more than 50 years Pattaya has developed from a bay with coconut trees and one fridge with cold beer (Legend? Or is this true?) to a modern big city with probably more than one million residents (depending on how you count)
For the first 40 years Thais invested and worked in Pattaya almost exclusively for the tourist industry. For holidays, Bangkokians (Thais) went to Hua Hin, Chiang Mai or some of the islands. Pattaya had a questionable reputation.
Now what a change ! Have you recently tried to drive from Bangkok to Pattaya on a Friday after 5 pm? I know people who have taken 7 hours for this trip – one way!
Pattaya is hip among young Thai people and their parents are investing in properties!
The selling off by the Russian people who were hard hit by the declining Ruble was not only to other “farangs” but also to a lot of Thais who bought properties as investments and/or holiday homes. An easy decision to make if you have money in the bank earning only 1.5% interest and you can buy a rental property that will get you 3-5% return plus increase in value.
Of course another group of tourists and potential residents, I wrote about them in November. Not right out of the buses yet but developers report increasing numbers of Chinese buyers
The super high speed trains are coming. Connecting 3 air ports : Don Muang, Suvarnabhumi and U Tapao.
What about working in Bangkok and living in Pattaya? Commuting one way could take less than an hour. Many people in Bangkok take longer than that to get to work at the moment....
As all eyes are on the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor) most people have overlooked the planning of new roads in East Pattaya. And the plans are massive, making the East ready for hundreds of thousands of new residents. BTW the EEC is right in the center of ASEAN and the largest industrial and residential area of this union.
Hospitals and dentists, shopping, restaurants and coffee shops, high quality condos and housing projects, furniture, car galleries and services....Is there anything left that is NOT available in Pattaya so that you have to go to Bangkok to get? 20 years ago the list of items and services only available in Bangkok was very long. Nowadays it only contains rare items like Ferraris, Grand Pianos, Leica cameras...
Foodland (now there are several of them) , Foodmart, Friendship, Villa and fresh markets really provide everything the “farang” is looking for. European cheese lovers will still not be happy, people drinking wine will complain about the prices but in general from tea to coffee, bread and dairy products you will not miss anything and you can afford to be lazy and eat in....
Pattaya is probably the most attractive place in the world if you are looking for a huge variety of food for reasonable prices served 24 hours per day.
Street food is available everywhere and it is much cheaper and of better quality than the international fast food chains (they are here as well if you long for a burger.)
“Going out for dinner” with friends, customers, family, visitors etc is one of the most popular local hobbies: as Pattaya has become a cultural and ethnic melting pot, a multicultural city, You can probably get almost any dish ever created on this planet somewhere in Pattaya but if you want to limit yourself to Thai, Italian, Chinese, French, German, Swiss, Russian, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Israeli, Vietnamese, Burmese, Laotian, Mexican, Brazilian, Indian, Arabic, Armenian, Lebanese...cuisine you have dozens of options!
You can keep it simple and spend between 150 and 300 Baht per person or visit one of the gourmet restaurants, where a bottle of good wine can be more expensive than a salary of a secretary. This city, once started as “Sin City”, has become a “Shopping City”, “Golf City”“Food City”.....
...That’s Why Pattaya!