Pattaya is many things to many people and in a recent poll among expats when asked if Pattaya is getting better or worse the vote was like Brexit, 49% better versus 51% better, why is it this view so polarised?
The expat community and tourist dynamics at play even 5 years ago do not exist today and without question Pattaya has changed, so this got me daydreaming and surmising different scenarios – what may Pattaya look like 10 years from now in 2028?
The path is not linear and many factors and influences from technology to local and global politics will play a role. So lets start this futuristic jump on Beach Road, just by Walking Street – well not the Walking Street we knew and loved. Walking Street is now a beautiful promenade walk with one side over looking the bay – as one side of this street no longer exists. No go-go bar in sight..Pattaya is now far more Western and chasing a different tourist. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants catering for both tour groups and the Chinese traveler now traveling alone. 70% of Pattayas tourist is Chinese, 25% Indian and 5% other. But these Chinese and Indian travelers have money and why wouldn’t they –as the emerging middle class of 2017 has now emerged. Thais LIKE these tourists they spend good money and have decent manners.
Its not uncommon now to see electric cars driving along beach road and the tram system loop from Beach Road around second road has just recently been implemented – and its proving a revelation. That along with the new high speed train from Bangkok has transformed Pattaya.
The relative property slump of 2017 seems a distant dream with Bangkokian commuters choosing to live in Pattaya and travel to work to Bangkok everyday – after all, who wouldn’t want to live by the coast with a breeze and fresher air? Property prices have increased and the single unit boom of 15 years ago are being converted into 1 and 2 bedroom apartments to cater for the Bangkok Thai wanting a bigger place to live.
There is now a scramble for the best apartments as following the Chinese Governments relaxing of laws getting money out of their country of 2020, it means more Chinese are buying up property…and you remember those Russians? Well they are back buying property again not that the rubble has fully recovered following the disastrous Trump legacy in which allowed the Russians to get a better foothold in global politics and see all trading sanctions removed.
Bangkok continues to grow as the hub for travelers and this has seen further over spill into a stretched Pattaya – which has seen suburban crawl past Bang Saray..mainly due to the International U Tapao airport that sees direct flights from as far as the UK now.
As for the retired expats of 10 years ago, even with the complete relaxation of visa restrictions, most have now left – either pushed from economic restraints or moved to Cambodia or the Philippines which are now as Pattaya was back in 2017.
No wonder us expats of 2017 are so divided on whether Pattaya will be better or worse going into the future – as the message is this, it will be better for some but it will also have causalities and be worse for others too.