No one would argue that prices haven’t increased in recent year but have they actually increased in percentage terms at a faster rate than anywhere else in the world? This is a very difficult question to answer as the increases vary from item to item or activity to activity. Some rises have been negligible whilst other rises have been quite significant. It is therefore quite difficult to comment but broadly speaking, the city is no longer cheap.
Of course, prices have risen in Thai Baht and you would expect this anywhere as inflation is just a fact of life in most countries. However, the Thai Baht has become significantly stronger in recent years making it more expensive for people once they are here. At the time of writing the US Dollar is 31.7, the Euro 36.2 and Sterling 40.5. Sterling, in particular, has perhaps seen the most significant drop from around the 70 mark just over a decade ago. Even if inflation is factored out, this will result in many Brits being hit very hard indeed.
The question that many people will be asking is ‘will the value of the Thai Baht decrease in the short-term?’ The answer to that is almost certainly ‘no’, or at least not significantly enough to have any major impact. This is the general consensus of many professionals in the financial sector and in reality, is very difficult to disagree with. Whilst this may be good for many Thai businesses, it does nothing to help the tourist industry, especially those that are reliant on Western tourists.
Real bargain for this large 3 bedroom pool villa on a large plot of land
For some years now the Thai government have been keen to encourage what they call ‘quality tourists’. They view these as being people who are going to spend greater sums of money when they are in the Kingdom. In many ways you would probably view this as being a sensible idea although, in reality, Thailand has to offer value for money in order to attract these people. Just because they are prepared to spend more money, it doesn’t always follow that they are keen to spend their hard earned money in Thailand – especially if they view things as expensive.
The danger with adopting this approach is that you force or at least encourage people to look elsewhere. Neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam would be prepared to welcome people with open arms and these are all countries that would be seen to be cheaper than Thailand. When you include the fact that getting a visa for these countries is a lot easier, you start to think that Thailand is playing something of a dangerous game.
To give some examples of prices that you can now expect to pay in some places in Pattaya, many food outlets in the new Terminal 21 shopping centre charge 190 Thai Baht for a glass of wine. On top of this, you will be charged VAT and service charge taking the price up to around 225 Thai Baht. This is approximate £5.50 which is something similar to what you may expect to pay in Central London – not Pattaya! In fact, if you went into a supermarket in the UK you could reasonably expect to purchase a quality bottle of French wine for something similar.
When you start to put things such as this into perspective then Pattaya is too expensive for many people. This can be evidenced by the number of expats who are being forced to leave Pattaya and return to their home countries as they simply can’t afford to live here anymore. This is indeed very sad and if the trend continues it may start to have a negative impact on Pattaya’s tourist industry. That probably isn’t anytime soon but it might be advisable to start paying attention to some of the warning signals.
Another hot sale deal for this 4 bedroom house in a well located village in the center of Jomtien
Of course, in order to give a balanced argument, we do need to recognise that many things are still cheaper in Pattaya. Many fresh food items that are grown locally are still very cheaper at local markets and even in the supermarkets. Utility bills such as water, electric and mobiles are still relatively cheap although if you run your air conditioning unit 24 hours a day you may feel that this isn’t the case.
Other things are cheap too. For instance, beer in a normal bar would still be far cheaper than you would expect to pay in the west although if you were to go to Walking Street again you would expect to pay a premium. Thai food is cheap and many restaurants that serve international food certainly wouldn’t be classed as expensive. When it comes to food and drinks, in Pattaya you can pay as much or as little as you want but in reality, this is probably not that different to most cities around the world.
Accommodation in Pattaya is very reasonably priced. You can get a nice modern studio apartment suitable for one or perhaps a couple for around 10,000 Thai Baht a month. Hotel prices are quite reasonable too with it being perfectly feasible to stay in a good quality hotel for less than 1,000 Thai Baht per night. Seafront condos can be purchased at very reasonable prices and 4 bedroom houses with a private pool are far cheaper than what you may expect to pay in places such as Europe and the Us for something comparable.
Beautiful and impeccable studio for rent in well located Treetops Condominium in South Pattaya
Pattaya is a great place to live and it is important that we remember that. There are so many different things available to see and do that perhaps we have become a little spoilt and have become shocked that prices have risen. In reality, prices have gone up in Pattaya but the Thai economy is booming so it seems only to be expected that prices will rise in real terms.
To conclude, Pattaya has definitely become more expensive in recent years but this is probably a sign of the times. As we mentioned previously, it is quite easy to make Pattaya as expensive or as cheap as you like and your lifestyle choices will play a large part in this. At the end of the day, it is probably down to individuals to decide.