Pattaya from it's humble beginnings as a small coastal fishing village has rapidly grown to the lively global tourist attraction that it is today. Not many people around the world if asked what they know about Thailand would fail to mention Pattaya. Consequently the rapid growth of the city has been down to a select group of early entrepreneurs who all share one common thread, they all believe in themselves and Pattaya.
We decided that there must be so many amazing stories and tales of these early pioneers that it would be a great idea to feature the individuals who have made Pattaya what it is today.In the first featured article I was fortunate to be granted an interview with Khun Nicky the President of the spectacular Mimosa Pattaya and it proved to be as enlightening as the place itself.
Mimosa opened its doors on Valentines day the 14th February 2013 and rapidly became one of the biggest tourists attractions in Pattaya and the whole of the Eastern Seaboard. Situated on Sukhumvit Road and just ten minutes from the centre of Pattaya it's location could not be better.
Upon arriving I was ushered into an airy, bright office and was greeted by a very glamorous lady impeccably dressed all in white. It was my first meeting with Khun Nicky and immediately I was drawn by the engaging smile and the captivating voice.
Her story began with a country boy trying to make a living in Bangkok whilst also studying at university. You may ponder at my change in sexual terminology but that will all become apparent later on.Khun Nicky started her working life as a seventeen year old washer up at Pizza Hut in Central Plaza Bangkok. Her duties included washing plates, cutlery etc.,taking the garbage out and cleaning the floors. It was not an auspicious beginning to a highly successful business career but it gave her the foundation of the detail needed to succeed.
She had heard stories about the growth of Pattaya and the opportunities that were arising for hard working and open minded people. So having graduated from university, majoring in English language and Humanities, Khun Nicky found herself on a bus from Bangkok to Pattaya with 1,400 Baht in her pocket. Immediately a big smile lit up her face as she relayed the memory and days long passed.
Things were tough but an opportunity came to work as a receptionist in Surf House Jomtien. Khun Nicky paid particular attention to the tour operators who were sending guests to the hotel and little by little she edged into the tour operating business whilst continuing to work as a receptionist.
Within three years at the age of twenty five Khun Nicky was running her own tour business and working as a tour guide. During this time in the evenings she was studying hard in the complex world of ERA Real Estate as she could see the large developers moving into Pattaya and money being made. There were opportunities arising.
Ten years after her arrival in Pattaya, Khun Nicky found herself in controll of three businesses and was an expert in travel, real estate and the hotel industry. She had bought a large plot of land and resold it where the Lugana bay 1 project now stands.
It was during this period of her life that Khun Nicky also went through a transformation of another kind. Struggling with her sexuality from an early age as a young boy growing up in the countryside of northern Thailand she now had the money to do something about it. Still working twelve hours a day, Khun Nicky went through all the surgical procedures and counseling and finally became what she always wanted, a woman. She had come such a long way from her humble beginnings and her journey had taken her far from home and family but now she had everything she ever wanted. However her new found wealth and fame started to go to her head and just as fast as she was making money she was spending it. Bit by bit she lost nearly everything and was staring bankruptcy full in the face, her long time relationship was torn apart and things were looking bleak. It was a wake up call and she decided to change her lifestyle and even adopt a baby boy.
It took her up to 2013 to build her empire back up with a combination of hard work and sheer bloody determination to secure a future for her son. Things began to get back on track and an idea came to her to repay Pataya for everything the city had given her. The foundations of Mimosa were formulating in Khun Nicky's mind, a concept of building a unique tourist attraction that would bring thousands of visitors to the city and support all local businesses and fellow workers.
Eventually, after long months and years of planning, Kuhn Nicky's dream finally became a reality and in February 2013 Mimosa finally opened. It became an instant success and more than 3000 people a day now flock through it's doors to visit the boutique shops and to watch the awesome Mimosa Show.
Not only is Mimosa a roaring success but Khun Nicky has also started to collect a treasure trove of awards and recognitions including: The representative of the King's Good Person 2013 award, the Thailand Property award 2013 and the Quality Person of the year award 2013. Khun Nicky is also invited to be a guest speaker twice a year at Khon Kaen University to lecture on business development.
Her determination to give something back to the community that helped her continues and Khun Nicky is the president of Banglamung Lion's Club and a member of Thailand's Speech Association. She employs around 200 people and brings tourists from far and wide to the area. Khun Nicky's story is really a true life Rags to Riches tale, it is an example to everybody that hard work and determination can produce the golden dream. But one of the things that really stayed with me as I left Mimosa was how grateful Khun Nicky was for her good fortune and her continued persistence to give back to her adopted home. Khun Nicky, now a single working mum, is as dedicated to her passion now as she ever was and certainly is one of the people who helped Pattaya grow into what it is today.
Mimosa recently dropped all entry fees for Thai Nationals and resident expats, so it is a great time to go and visit the magical kingdom known as Mimosa, and don't forget to say Hello to Khun Nicky.