Although some rather creative bar and restaurant owners have given a fun nod to The Star Wars reference, the real reason for this area known as the Darkside is not at all sinister and has nothing to do with Storm Troopers. It refers to a time (a decade or more ago) when there was far less street lighting in this region. Travelling from the “beachside” of Pattaya across the Sukhumvit road, a very definite border between the two areas, it would be immediately apparent that you had crossed into the Darkside. The land in this region was more sparsely populated and less well lit, hence its name.
Back then, there were fewer shops, businesses, and restaurants to be found. Even utilities such as water and electricity were not as reliable, and residents complained that their internet was always “going down”. Today that has all changed the infrastructure, accessibility, and reliability of utilities have all dramatically improved. It is because the Darkside has always had the advantage of an abundance of available land. So as the rest of Pattaya quickly filled up, developers saw the apparent benefits of building in this Eastern region. It was not only because the average price for the land was much lower but also because their development plans here were unhampered by coastline, hotels, and high rise condominium projects. It made it ideal for housing villages which soon began springing up especially around Soi Siam Country Club, Soi Khao Noi, Soi Khao Talo, and Huay Yai.
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With the housing villages came the families happy to move into them, making this East Pattaya area a great location to set up a home away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. A wide selection of housing was available catering for almost every budget from small two-bedroom homes to large family villas in picturesque locations. The area became practically a town in its own right developing a robust expat community.
Nowadays this thriving community prefers to refer to their home area of East Pattaya as the “Smartside”. Happy to tell you that they can live a more ‘normal’ life here away from the party atmosphere of Pattaya and of course that it makes far more financial sense to be able to afford a larger space in which to live with own pool, garden, and privacy.
Last year they might also have pointed out that other parts of Pattaya suffered from terrible traffic congestion. Still, COVID has put a stop to the tourists and especially tourist coaches clogging up the city. You will certainly need your own vehicle if you live in East Pattaya though as there is still a distinct lack of public transport in the area. However many of the schools, especially the major international schools such as Regents, Rugby, St Andrews, and Tara Pattana provide their pick up drop off service for door to door delivery of children to and from school.
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The “Oceanside dwellers” might counter with the fact that they can walk home or quickly catch a motorbike taxi to avoid the drink-drive problem. Also, walking for health is more pleasurable by the sea, especially since the improvements to the beach fronts in both Pattaya and Jomtien. Some dog owners often have to load their animals into the car and drive to a suitable location for their walk on the Darkside. However, there are plenty of gyms for exercise and much-welcomed addition to Lake Mabprachan: an excellent track where you can walk, run or cycle.
Families enjoy the rapid expansion of the Darkside because of its more relaxed atmosphere; businesses have also sprung up to cater to this growing population. There are bars, restaurants, and shops, particularly those selling imported foods such as Siamburi’s, Tesco Express, Tops, and Big C Mini, but what is still missing is a department store. There are also many clinics, dentists, and pharmacies but as yet no hospitals. However, this is due to change shortly when the Thammasat University Hospital gets built in the area.
Choosing whether to live on The Darkside is down to personal preference and requirements. There are long term inhabitants who once enjoyed the nightlife and city-feel to Central Pattaya when they were single, who has since moved to the Darkside where it’s more family-oriented. Indeed, with the Eastern Economic Corridor, the city is hoping for more families residing in Pattaya who will be well served by the more upmarket housing villages built on the Darkside. These villages are popular with a lot of working expat families being close to the highways leading to the industrial parks of Rayong, Maptaput and Laem Chabang and within easy reach of a good selection of international schools.
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What might be a deal-breaker for some will be the fact that Thai property law currently only allows for “foreign quota” (meaning the property is held in your name) to be available for condo purchases. There are few available condominium projects on the Darkside and houses, or more accurately, land, cannot be directly owned by a foreigner in Thailand.
See the team at Pattaya Prestige Properties to discuss the various legal options that we might be able to help you with, along with property listings and viewings. Also If you haven’t yet been to the Darkside, we would be happy to show you the area and extensive range of property available there.