From Big Sleazy to Big Easy Pattaya keeps getting better

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When I dig into the archives, I find that I’ve written no less than a dozen articles expounding on the virtues of life in Pattaya. I wrote two about leaving Pattaya, and subsequently wrote two more about how great it was to be back. As many before me will attest, Pattaya can be “sticky”.

 

Why not just write one big juggernaut of an article and refer all naysayers to it?

 

Because Pattaya just keeps morphing and changing. Every passing year a whole new wave of improvements has me opening up a new Word document and chronicling it. And, with so many Pattaya haters roaming around Thailand, I feel obligated to take Pattaya’s side every chance I get.

 

Yes, it seems that there is always some “Thailand expert” at the pub willing to serve you up a heaping helping of hate for our little fishing village. A long time drinking buddy and unrepentant Bangkok snob called Pattaya “one big open-air brothel”. There is no doubt that sleazy entertainment is what put Pattaya on the map way back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. What’s more, that industry has never shrunk. The government of Thailand has always made noises about squashing it, but it just keeps on keeping on.

 

You know what? If you find that kind of entertainment offensive … don’t go to those places. End of argument.

 

But I’d like to go a step further and disqualify these “experts” a little more. I find that people who have something negative to say about Pattaya come in three categories.

 

1) They haven’t been to Pattaya in ten years.

2) They come to Pattaya and never get off Walking Street.

3) They are men who have wives who won’t allow them to like Pattaya. Most of the people I’ve met with something negative to say have no idea what it is like to actually live here. I’ve got news for you people: with the population pushing two million people, not everybody is a hooker or sex-tourist.

 

Am I saying Pattaya is the best place to live in Thailand?

 

That would be blindly presumptuous. Some people like frenetic Bangkok. Some like sleepy Chiang Mai. Everyone is different.

 

“Best” is really a function of preference and lifestyle. What I am saying is that Pattaya is the easiest place to live. And for a “path of least resistance” lover like me, that makes it the best.

 

When sizing up how easy a place is to live and the quality of life, I’d break it down into five categories.

 

Moving

 

I am referring of course to transportation to, from, in and around Pattaya.

 

While we don’t have an advanced public transportation system like Bangkok, our ability to get around has improved drastically over the past year. Metered taxis arrived on the scene a couple of years ago but it seems that this year has seen their numbers triple and pricing to get more competitive. With the arrival of ride share companies like Uber and Grab, they’ll have to compete. And make no mistake, the Thai government is not interested in telling Thai citizens driving for these companies that they aren’t allowed to work.

 

I now live comfortably and conveniently without owning a car or motorbike. What’s more, the Sukhumvit/Pattaya Klang underpass is open and relieving traffic. Utapao International Airport is expanding and adding more routes. Even the Baht Bus drivers on Beach Road have been wrangled. Moving around Pattaya is getting easier all the time.

 

 

 

 

Living

 

Palatial pool homes, funky bungalows, swanky high-rise beach front condos; there’s a place to fit every lifestyle and budget in Pattaya.

 

 

The Vineyard

 

The Riviera , Wongamat

 

 

Some people claim we are “over built”.

 

Yeah, so what? I’m a consumer here to take advantage of that. Here’s an example.

 

An old friend just moved to town from Bangkok where he was paying 19,000 a month for a 35 square meter cracker box in On Nut. He found a brand new 65 square meter condo on Pratumnak Hill with a sea view, well equipped gym, rooftop swimming pools, fully furnished with high-speed internet and maid service included. He even got a discount card for all the businesses in the neighborhood.

 

He pays 20,000 baht a month. That my friends is easy living.

 

Staying

 

Ever been to Bangkok immigration?

 

I’d rather have my teeth drilled. Without a doubt, the Chonburi Immigration Office is the most progressive in the entire country.

 

Last month I went for my 90 day check-in and I thought it would be fun to time how long I had to wait. From the time I got my queue number to the time I walked out the door was 96 seconds. The friendly immigration officer scanned my barcoded document, handed back my passport and I was on my way. Easy.

 

Eating

 

Pattaya seems to be a magnet for chefs, retired and otherwise.

 

There’s really no reason to go on and on about all the variety of places to eat.

 

Before coming to Pattaya I’d never eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, nor had I enjoyed a Russian meal.

 

Now I’ve done both and I’ve met an Iron Chef winner and eaten his food. And with all the new food delivery choices, it’s easy to get fat in Pattaya.

 

 

 

 

Shopping

 

This is the area where Pattaya has really lurched forward. Small improvements like the Foodland at Royal Garden Plaza have been great.

 

Mid-range additions like the Harbor Mall on Pattaya Klang and expansion of the Index Living Mall on Sukhumvit have definitely made life here easier. And of course, watching those cranes furiously raise what is sure to be the crown jewel in Pattaya’s shopping experience, Terminal 21 near Pattaya Nua, gives me goose bumps.

 

If you’ve ever been to Terminal 21 in Bangkok, you know what kind of impact this place will have.

 

 

 

 

So stack this article on top of all my other Pro-Pattaya literature. If you put them in chronological order you’ll witness the growth of the most dynamic and livable city in Thailand and maybe even all of Southeast Asia.

All of those previous articles have one thing in common with this one. Every one of them either begins or ends with this phrase: “I never thought I’d be a Pattaya Guy”.

 

It is simply too easy to love Pattaya.

 

by Bart Walters

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