Pattaya’s “Royal Hill” is close to perfection
Modern Pattaya is a sprawling seaside metropolis with nearly as many places to live as there are places to drink. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But, old-timers will tell you the choice of livable neighborhoods has increased exponentially over the past decade. There is literally a perfect place for every lifestyle.
But which part of town ticks the most boxes? Best location? Most convenient? Most food choices?
Which section of Pattaya offers visitors and long-stay residents the perfect living solution? For my money, it’s Pratumnak Hill.
One look at a map and it becomes obvious that the headland sticking out separating the northern beaches of Pattaya and the longer stretches of sand in Jomtien and beyond is strategically desirable.
Pratumnak Hill is one of those places that’s on the way to everywhere. Pratumnak Road connects Thappraya Road to Pattaya Tai, two major thoroughfares heading in different directions.
A perfect position to get to the bright lights and pulsing music of Pattaya and the sleepy seaside hamlet of Jomtien. Five minutes in either direction and you are in two different worlds.
Something you can’t see on a street map is the elevation of Pratumnak Hill. Not only do residents get a breathtaking view of Pattaya Bay and Koh Larn, but they also escape a lot of the street flooding that occurs in the rainy season in the lower lying neighborhoods.
The gentle slope on the upper hill gives most residents with homes above the 3rd floor a view of the sea. The lower hill slopes at a more radical angle and ensures a view for nearly everyone. Pratumnak Hill is truly the only “higher ground” in Pattaya.
Neighborhoods in Pattaya usually fall into two categories when it comes to transport; those that require a car or motorbike and those that do not. Pratumnak Hill falls somewhere in between. Baht buses (songtaews) do not routinely run through The Hill.
Folks on the lower hill generally need their own transportation or through the miracle of Uber and Grab, can hail rides with their smart-phones.
Upper hill residents can grab one of the ubiquitous motorbike taxis up to Thappraya Road and hop on a baht bus for a cheap and cheerful ride into Pattaya or Jomtien.
Savvy meter taxis have begun to prowl The Hill. A taxi from lower Pratumnak Hill to a central Beach Road location will cost about 200 baht. A similar trip with Uber or Grab will set you back 110 baht. Getting to and from The Hill is a fairly easy and inexpensive affair.
Food and Drink
One of the big surprises on Pratumnak Hill is the variety of places to eat and drink.
On the same day I found the best mobile kebab cart in town, I also dined at an incredible French bistro hidden away down a side street. One could eat at a different place every day and never get bored. Here are some of my favorites:
Best Pizza: Dom pizzeria on Pratumnak Soi 5 is a busy little open air joint in the bottom of a guesthouse.
Not only can you watch their pizza-dude fling and spin pizza dough like they do it in New York City, but daily specials are wallet friendly. How about two giant skewers of Aussie beef, a salad and shoestring fries for 430 baht?
European: La Auberge on Pratumnak Road near Soi 4 is no bull*[email protected]& French food. Come for one of their charcuterie brunches.
And, Pattaya’s best kept resto-secret is Au Bon Coin hidden away on a side-soi. You better know where it is, and you better have a reservation.
Best Thai: There are dozens of mom-n-pop Thai joints on The Hill, but my favorite pocket-friendly place is Two Pum Pui. It’s good, it’s cheap and it seems to be open all the time. If you want to go upscale Thai with a view, then Cabbages and Condoms is the call. If you’ve never experienced the C&C brand, the Pratumnak location is the best. Great sea view, deep wine cellar and authentic Thai food.
Honorable Mentions: Chocolate Factory on Cozy Beach, Mussel pots at Lotus Bar, and hotel restaurants at Royal Cliff and Centara Grand.
Both parts of Pratumnak Hill offer a multitude of living options. So you want a cozy little studio with a sea view for 15,000 baht per month … no problem.
Maybe you want a rambling three bedroom affair with a big balcony and sunset view … plenty of family style units available. Stratospheric high rises like The Cliff reach towards the heavens and assure panoramic vistas.
Clusters of low rises offered by New Nordic and others on the upper hill gives you that “seaside village” ambience. However it is you like to live, you’ll find it, at a reasonable price, on Pratumnak Hill.
While life on The Hill is pretty idyllic, it isn’t perfect.
The Hill could use a decent grocery store or food market. Even though the choice of restaurants is fantastic, long-stay residents like to cook for themselves now and then.
Even tourists like to stock their mini-fridge and there’s nothing on The Hill but 7-11s and Family Marts. New Nordic is reportedly building a supermarket complete with a wine shop at their Atrium project, so this issue may be solved soon.
The Hill could also use a real gym. There are a couple of rusty muscle-head places and some buildings have “fitness rooms”, but a proper place to work off some well-earned calories would be welcomed. Again, the New Nordic Group has a fitness center planned in another of its projects, so perhaps they’ll have a real gym in the next two years.
The popularity of Pratumnak Hill has skyrocketed in recent years. More condos, more restaurants, more bars, more people. There is no doubt in my mind that whatever is “missing” will appear by magical necessity. Such is the nature of things in Thailand.
In the meantime, life on The Hill damn near perfect.
by Bart Walters