My junior high school Science teacher taught us humans have three basic needs; food, clothing and shelter. Last month I pontificated about the endless choices Pattayans have when it comes to satisfying the “Food” portion of the human needs trilogy. This month we are going to explore the “shelter” options.
Ask a Bangkokian what kind of housing is available in Pattaya and they will reflexively blurt out “condos … a lot of condos in Pattaya”. Indeed, simply putting an “s” on the end of the abbreviated word “condo” doesn’t seem to adequately describe just how many condos we have in Pattaya.
Perhaps “condosss” would be appropriate somehow indicating condos to the nth degree. At last estimate, there were over 27,000 unsold units currently on the Eastern Seaboard. That’s just new and unsold. That doesn’t count those built over several waves of building booms.
I would go as far as to say that the number of condos in Pattaya is infinite because one thing you know for certain; when you wake up tomorrow there will be more condos in Pattaya than there were when you went to sleep.
Not only is the sheer number of available apartments hard to get your head around, but the shape, size, quality and even ownership schemes is equally mind-boggling. We have high-rise behemoths towering over the beaches from Naklua in the north all the way down to Na Jomtien in the south.
We have dozens of low-rise developments ranging from cozy buildings with 70 or so units to rambling resort properties with their own water parks. Lovers of sun and sand can own their own little slice of heaven by plopping down 900,000 baht on a diminutive studio with a sea view or opt for a more opulent playboy penthouse in the sky for …. well …considerably more.
Looking for a swanky high rise with all the amenities?
Reflection, The Palm, and Zire Wongamat all come to mind. How about a sweet low-rise with a sparkling pool? Jomtien Residence, Atlantis, Laguna; just off the top of my head. How about a buy-to-let investment property? Any of the View Talay projects are proven money makers and don’t forget that Pattaya is home to some of the best guaranteed return programs known to Asia with the New Nordic Group and Movenpick. Yes, the phrase “Pattaya has a lot of condos” just may be the mother of all understatements.
But most people familiar with Pattaya already know about the plethora of condos. The only thing that might be surprising is how breathtaking the views of Pattaya Bay can be. However, were I to lure you into my car and swish you off for a tour of Pattaya’s finest houses and villas, we might have an “I can’t believe this is Pattaya” moment. I hear you thinking, “Nice houses? In Pattaya? Really?”
Bring a typical Bangkok dweller to Pattaya and they think it ends in the south at Pattaya Tai or Thepprasit Road. In the past ten years, much of the villa and house development has occurred further and further to the South. Places like Silk Road off Chaiyapruek Road and Baan Dusit Lakes, a self-contained community favored by Russians, even further down the road. The quiet little fishing village of Bang Saray is home to some very affordable developments like Le Beach and Talay Sawan as well as some over-the-top luxury villas like Baan Talay.
One development that could possibly give you an “I can’t believe this is Pattaya” moment is Silver Hills on the east side of Sukhumvit near the foot of the Buddha Mountain shrine. The unassuming low-profile bungalows are actually state-of-the-art “smart houses” designed by a Swiss-German developer. Water capturing lawn reticulation devices, eco-systems planted on rooftops to keep houses naturally cool, automatic salt-water chlorination swimming pools, even air conditioning systems and appliances that can be controlled from your Smartphone or tablet. Uber-modern living in the shadow of Buddha Mountain.
But, you’d kind of expect smart developers to search more far flung locations to build housing projects wouldn’t you? Hugging the coastline and building close to pristine beaches like Ban Amphur and Bang Saray makes sense doesn’t it? Any fairly savvy business person might predict finding such quality properties on the outskirts of a coastal city the size of Pattaya.
None of that however explains what you’ll find in an area Pattaya people fondly refer to as “The Dark Side”; Pattaya East of Sukhumvit Road. People with only a rudimentary understanding of this area characterize it as catering to budget-minded foreigners and Thai families. That’s what I used to think too; until I saw the polo field. Over the years East Pattaya has slowly and surely become home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful and luxurious one-off mega-houses as well as unparalleled upscale housing developments. On a tour of The Dark Side one might see anything from a faux-medieval castle to a Miami-chic bungalow.
Turn East off Sukhumvit Road on one of the main access roads and you’ll be greeted by what most people expect; businesses, shop houses and typical low to medium range housing developments. But, as you approach Mabprachan Lake the view opens up, big tree-lined avenues appear and voila! You’re suddenly anywhere but East Pattaya.
Golf courses, international schools and horse stables. Horseshoe Point with its equestrian country club feel … Sedona Villas evoke the feeling of a ranch in the Southwestern U.S. … and The Vineyards projects with their slick modern design and crystalline swimming pools are straight out of a Palm Beach lifestyle magazine. Trendy townhouses, pool party pads and rambling rock star estates are all part of the house-scape on The Dark Side.
So, it doesn’t matter if you’re taking in the view from a posh Pattaya penthouse or donning your crispest white-on-white outfit for an afternoon of polo in East Pattaya; you’re sure to be shaking your head and saying those increasingly familiar words … “I can’t believe this is Pattaya.”
by Bart Walters