During a global pandemic, there is plenty of time for us all to reevaluate our priorities. Perhaps before the COVID-19 virus, work and finance may have been the most important norm. For many of us but, as we head into the “new norm” it is family time and quality of life that surely takes on greater importance. Therefore even when workplaces reopen, albeit slowly, there is a definite need for scheduling in much-needed downtime.
It is as accurate here in Thailand as in other parts of the world and as with other capital cities, to live in Bangkok means surrounding yourself with concrete and a lack of open spaces. The way to unwind In the “Big Mango” after a hard day’s work and an even harder commute, has often been to head skywards up to the rooftop bars and pools on top of the city’s skyscrapers. Another way is to go shopping in some of the best retail outlets in the world. However, lockdown restrictions of recent months kept these areas mothballed which meant that for many weeks Bangkokians found themselves confined to their condos. No wonder then that as soon as restrictions had lifted the lure of open spaces was utterly enticing.
Depending on the traffic Pattaya is only a 2 hours drive from Bangkok and has a crescent of more than 4 km of coastline with palm trees and promenades on which to take a stroll and enjoy the sea breeze. It makes it a perfect getaway destination for a weekend away from the capital. Indeed, since regional lockdowns had lifted and domestic tourism encouraged, Pattaya has seen an increased number of Bangkokians descend on the city as compared to before the COVID crisis.
This spacious studio next to Central Festival offers sea-views and is a perfect ‘pied-a-terre.’
Pattaya beach is home to a vast number of speedboats, jet skis, diving boats, and floating restaurants. It also offers a host of available water activities such as water skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, windsurfing and even riding an inflatable “banana’ that can provide thrills and actual spills when you get tipped into the sea!
Further afield there are also some pretty beaches at Jomtien, Cozy Beach, and Bang Saen as well as nearby islands to explore by speedboat or ferry. The most popular of these, especially for day-trippers is the Coral island Koh Larn. From Pattaya’s Bali Hai pier there is a regular ferry service back and forth with the last ferry departing the island at 6 pm.
Over the past few years, the island has benefited from increased visits by Bangkokians which can be seen everywhere from the newly painted, pastel guest houses to the increasing number of Thai eateries and coffee shops. However, the international tourists who up until COVID also enjoyed the island have not been allowed back yet. The upside to this is that the sea and beaches are wonderfully clear and crowd-free, the downside that the seaside vendors are struggling. There are very few visitors to the island Monday to Thursday as the bulk of Bangkokians come just for the weekend, so it is tough for the locals to earn their livelihoods.
Back on the mainland, there is a lot more to Pattaya than just sand and sea. Bangkokians who still find the need to shop can discover that the significant department malls of Central Festival and Terminal 21 are well up to the capital’s standards. There are also other activities to enjoy, such as horse riding, visits to mini-farms, museums, amusement parks and of course golf. There are more than 20 championship standard courses available within an hour’s drive of Central Pattaya.
Most importantly, there are plenty of opportunities for the Bangkokians to engage in one of their favourite pastimes: taking photos and selfies. There are several areas of scenic beauty and cultural heritage where this is a must. For example, Big Buddha at the top of Pratumnak Hill is the highlight of Wat Phra Yai. A temple built in the 1940s, it is extremely popular with both visitors to Pattaya and the local people who come here to pray and enjoy the spectacular views. Also, the Golden Buddha carved into the rock at Silverlake is a must for everyone’s album, as are the Tuscan inspired surroundings.
Bangkokians will certainly enjoy this 4 bedroom pool villa with sea-views on a 2,400 sqm plot near Bang Saray
Of course, Pattaya is best known as a party place and with good reason. Mostly centred around its world-famous “Walking Street”, for those who enjoy the nightlife Pattaya has it all; restaurants, bars, clubs, discothèques, cabarets, and massage parlours to name just a few. It makes it a favourite destination as the capital’s playground.
By comparison in the UK, many Londoners enjoy a weekend’s adventure to Brighton which like Pattaya is a favourite haunt for going to the beach, getting a tattoo and perhaps having a boozy night out with the guys – or the girls. The main difference between the two cities is that Brighton is easily accessible from the capital with frequent, efficient train service – ideal for those who don’t want the aggravation of driving. Once a severe rail link, as has been anticipated for some time, is fully operational between Bangkok and Pattaya then surely the latter’s moniker of being “Bangkok on the Beach” will be even more justified.
Yes, increased foot traffic in Pattaya and its surrounding areas are always welcome. Also, with Bangkokians spending more and more time here, many may well find that purchasing a weekend bolt-hole or a home for the holidays, makes perfect sense, which is good news for prospective landlords and property owners. So don’t forget, if you want an agent who can help you market your property to this growing, potential market, please get in touch with the team at Pattaya Prestige Properties.