Pattaya is the most popular beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand, just 150 km southeast of Bangkok –a mere two-hour drive. Pattaya’s pulsating nightlife is already well known, but in recent years local authorities have also improved the quality of the beaches and reinvented the resort as a more family-friendly destination.
We like to refer to Pattaya as “Bangkok’s little sister”. Bangkokians rediscovered Pattaya after the severe flooding of Thailand’s 2011 monsoon season. Many had to flee the scene and were stranded in Pattaya, the nearest safe haven. To their surprise ‘Pattaya was not so bad’…
Central Festival (Southeast Asia’s largest natural beachfront lifestyle shopping complex) on Pattaya Beach Road opened in 2009.
It also accommodates a 5-star Hilton Hotel which opened at the end of 2010.
With a stunning Sheraton hotel (rebranded “InterContinental Pattaya” in 2016) on the Pratumnak cliff-side, Pattaya seemed to have a good leisure environment that felt like a safety net for Bangkok visitors. All and all not too bad… So Bangkokians started to invest in Pattaya making the city’s star rise way above alternative destinations like Hua Hin & Bang Saen. – Pattaya was reborn.
Moving around Pattaya is simple, and fast everything is easily accessible, the city does not appear very big, yet there are many varied districts of Pattaya and its suburbs. Even for residents, there is a lot to learn about the city… Pattaya’s population is a colorful mix of nationalities and ethnicities from near and far.
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Let us have a closer look.
The name of this area of northern Pattaya: ‘Naklua’, translates as ‘salt fields’ which was the main industry before the tourists came. Today Naklua is mainly known for its fresh fish market located at the very end of Naklua Road. Not a surprise as there is still an active fishing community in Naklua providing some of the fresh produce gracing the tables of Pattaya’s finest restaurants. However, the beach in Naklua is not very popular, it looks over the Laem Chabang deep-sea port with its industrial eyesore clearly on display.
In the early days, Naklua was the favorite spot for Germans. Some of the local restaurants are still popular: Das Berliner Bistro, Brauhaus, German Piccolo, Anton, and Old Germany, to name just a few. Nowadays Naklua is more of a cozy melting pot of different nationalities mingled with locals in a laid-back atmosphere.
Interestingly in Naklua, you will find an impressive wooden temple called the Sanctuary of Truth, perhaps the most iconic structure in Pattaya. Intricately carved entirely from teak wood, the awe-inspiring 105-meter-tall hall on the headland to the north of Wongamat Beach is a one-of-a-kind structure. The building has been under construction since 1981 and may not be finally completed until 2025 at the earliest. (Or perhaps it will be never ending -as many tend to believe)
Inspired by the temples in Ayutthaya, the hand-carved wood structure features Thai architecture.
The museum was built by a Thai businessman Lek Viriyaphan. Every surface of the structure is decorated with ornamentation from the Thai, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, and Khmer traditions. The Sanctuary is made of several different types of wood, giving different parts of the temple different textures.
The Sanctuary features a four-faced Brahma statue on its rooftop. The Northern hall features Guanyin and other sculptures. The Southern hall features astronomical themes, namely the sun, moon, and planets, in addition to sculptures of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The Western hall features representations of the Classical elements (earth, wind, water, and fire). The Eastern hall features familial representations. The wooden Sanctuary is over 100 meters tall and makes for an impressive sight against the backdrop of the Gulf of Thailand. The indoor space is 2,115 square meters. (Wikipedia)
It is nice to know that part of the immensely popular series on Netflix: “Money Heist” was filmed at The Sanctuary of Truth.
Naklua has a very local flavor as it is mainly inhabited by Thais, who have been born, and raised in the area. A couple of residential projects worth mentioning are Lumpini Condo and Lumpini Ville, by Lumpini Property Management Co., Ltd. There are also popular ocean-front condos The Sanctuary, and right next to it Club Royal by Heights Holdings. The Zign Hotel and also the beachfront Modus Resort (4 stars) are both not far from the Sanctuary of Truth Temple.
For many, Naklua & Wong Amat are kind of the same, it is difficult to determine where the boundaries lie. Wong Amat is generally considered Pattaya’s “upmarket” area and is historically the second oldest neighborhood in the city. When central Pattaya came into its period of mass construction, all the new build moved towards the available premium land which was further north. As a result, you will find an amazing skyline of high-rise condominium projects that give Wong Amat its “Miami of the East” feel.
Over the years Wong Amat has grown into an area with a 50/50 mix of fine hotels like the amazing Centara Grand Mirage Hotel, Pullman Hotel G, Cape Dara and Long Beach Garden hotel, and residential projects. These include the luxury Northpoint by Raimon Land, Baan Plai Haad (Sansiri), The Palm, The Riviera Wong Amat, and Saranchol Condominium.
Older projects like Sky Beach, Park Beach, Silver Beach, Baan Rimpha, and Wong Amart Garden Beach resort still remain popular and are well sought after. The brand-new 5-star MARRIOTT Courtyard Hotel has not even opened its doors (due to Covid-19) but will certainly add even more flair to this area when it does.
Quite a few expats live in Wong Amart which is not surprising as it only takes a few minutes to hop on the Sukhumvit Road to go to work. Pretty much ideal.
The beach in Wong Amat is pristine and much more private than Pattaya- or Jomtien Beach. Also
for some reason or the other (tide perhaps?), the water seems to be much clearer here as well. Popular hangouts are Surf & Turf and the Glasshouse Silver restaurants as well as the beach club at the Pullman G hotel.
North Pattaya is not the most northern part of Pattaya. That is reserved for Naklua. It is the section of Pattaya adjacent to the northern end of Pattaya Beach that extends inland to both the north and south of North Pattaya Road. Probably best known for the Roong Reuang Bus-Terminal Pattaya-Bangkok. Or, for the International Bangkok Hospital, which is located along Sukhumvit road, behind the bus terminal.
Soi Pattaya Nua (North Pattaya road) leads directly from Sukhumvit road down to the beginning of Pattaya Beach road. Along the way are a few landmarks: Makro Foodservice, Pattaya City Hall, Terminal 21 shopping & leisure mall (with the alcohol-free Grande Centre Point Hotel ), and at the Dolphin roundabout the entrance to the Dusit Thai Pattaya resort.
Also, there are two golf driving ranges nearby: Pattaya Golf Driving range on 3rd road and the Diana Driving range just off Pattaya Nua.
Please note that all electric cables along Pattaya Nua are now underground and it looks neat and tidy.
However there’s not much scenery for property lovers: A high rise right next to the bus station “Pattaya Posh”, “The Trust Residence ” built by Q-house on Soi Paniad Chang and “Baan Natcha” on 3rd road.
For lovers of Japanese cuisine, we can recommend Haru Japanese Buffet at the Ivory Villa City hotel.
This is the commercial zone of Pattaya city. Traffic circulates 1-way down Beach Road and 1-way via Pattaya 2nd Road.
Central Pattaya is dominated by shops, hotels, bars, restaurants, markets, convenience stores, and a long stretch (2.8 kilometers) of beach boulevard. This starts at the Dusit Thani Hotel and extends all the way down to the entrance of the notorious Walking Street.
In recent years Walking Street, this infamous icon of Pattaya City has become a mass tourist attraction with its nightlife and colorful neon signage. It leaves you wondering what all the fuss is about when the whole of Walking Street is not more than 750 meters long and takes just 10 minutes to walk along.
But we guess you do not leave Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower!
Living downtown will most likely be in a condo as housing estates simply do not exist in this area. Raimon land created Pattaya’s first luxury landmark condo out of a derelict concrete skeleton that went bust during the Tom Yum Kung crisis (1997). Their creation is called Northpoint and has been a market leader ever since. However, in more recent years a residential community has arisen behind the Pattaya Avenue arcade in Soi 15. An array of low-rise condo projects The Urban, Avenue Residence, and Grand Avenue. built by mainly local developers: City Garden, a bit late but “en-masse” the “big boys” followed and pumped out a few high risers in Central Pattaya along the second road: The Base, The Edge, Centric Sea, and right now even Ananda Development Public Co. is building behind the Central Mall.
What else is worth mentioning in Central Pattaya? Hmm… Royal Garden Plaza shopping center keeps its charm. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from and still going strong even during Covid is the popular Casa Pascal. The new kid on the block located on top of Mytt Beach Hotel is the Pippa restaurant but make sure you have deep wallets as Pippa is not cheap.
There are a few rooftop locations: Horizon at Hilton, the double pool deck at the Siam @ Siam Design Hotel, and the rooftop at Grande Centre Point Pattaya Hotel (bring your own wine – no corkage charge).
One could say that south Pattaya starts at the very end of Pattaya’s beach towards Sukhumvit road (via Pattaya Tai road). It connects to Jomtien Beach via Thappraya road and directly from Sukhumvit road via Thepprasit road. By real estate terms, you might consider South Pattaya as very similar to Central Pattaya, less touristic though. There is more residential accommodation for the working class especially off Thappraya Road and Thepprasit road that is just a stone’s throw away from all the major spots in town.
In recent years, a few bigger projects have been planned for the area starting with The Axis Pattaya Condominium. One of the highlights will probably be the Grand Solaire a 67-story high riser by SLR development (completion scheduled for 2023).
South Pattaya easily links with Jomtien as Thappraya Road connects to Jomtien’s second road.
Popular lunchroom and coffee shop La Baguette is a French Bakery Cafe & Restaurant next to Pattaya’s Provincial Court. Also, on Thappraya Road is a good pub, Fraser’s Sports Bar.
The weekend market at the end of Thepprasit road close to the Outlet Mall is well known and very popular. It has a large “food section” with Thai delicacies and an abundance of stalls offering clothes, shoes, tools, and whatnot.
A hillside peninsula is also known as Buddha Mountain, it is strategically located right in between South Pattaya and Jomtien.
Over the last 20 years, Pratumnak Hill has transformed from an absolute greenfield into a mature suburb of Pattaya City. Locals call it “The Beverly Hills of Pattaya” perhaps because it is green and safe (a member of the Royal Family has a residence there), with great viewpoints and a nice tranquil beach.
We personally enjoy Pratumnak for its Cosy Beach area. Adjacent to the prestigious Royal Varuna Yacht Club (members only) this area has a string of trendy restaurants that attract go-getters from all over the world and especially Bangkok! They are The Lunar Beach House, 3 Mermaids Café, Forest by the Sky, Chocolate Factory, and The Sky Gallery. Busy at weekends for sure.
Living on Pratumnak is lovely – but perhaps a bit pricey. You can choose from many different condo projects, cheap and older ones like Sombat Condo and ThepThip Mansion, to more upmarket condo projects like the Amari Residence by Nova Group and The Peak Towers by Heights Holdings.
There are also quite a few nice, landed homes on Pratumnak. Some are remote and some are in a so-called gated community, like Majestic Residence. We should also not forget one of Pattaya’s most distinct hotels: The Royal Cliff Beach Resort alongside the InterContinental Pattaya Hotel. How chic is that?
This area starts at Dongtan beach from the Pratumnak beach end (at Sands Café). In 2020 the municipality of Pattaya city opened Dongtan beach road for traffic and so it now forms part of Jomtien Beach. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to walk the 6.8 Kilometers from beginning to end. However, you will not be the only one walking, as many have discovered Jomtien Beach road for exercise activities throughout the day.
The Town & Country Property office at Jomtien Complex Condominium is located within walking distance of the beach. You could say in the “heart” of Jomtien.
The first gated communities built to Western standards appeared in Jomtien a few years ago when the price of land was less expensive. You can still find houses here with privacy and a nice size garden, that rent out extremely well and are good for investment. However, with no new housing projects being planned within 1 km of the shoreline, we expect these properties to increase in their already quite high value.
Up until 2005, nothing much happened in Jomtien, there was no reason for it because there was still enough undeveloped land in Pattaya. In more recent years, however, we see that there is strong growth in Jomtien, mainly with condo projects, but also some popular villa developments. During 2003-2005 View Talay Villas were pioneers in this area developing Jomtien’s first mature luxury villa project within walking distance from the beach. To date View Talay Villas is still immensely popular. The same group also built a number of low-rise condo projects under the name of View Talay Residence as well as in Wong Amat and Pratumnak Hill. However, their dream of an iconic “Ocean-1 Tower” was never realized.
Shortly after View Talay Villas, Jomtien Park Villas was launched by another local developer. The most interesting thing about Jomtien Park Villas is that the swimming pool designed by an American architect: Chris Hewitt connects to each property’s basement.
When the Jomtien second road finally finished (after some 3 years of construction) – most of the greenfield in Jomtien was snapped up with new developments. Our own company (Town & Country Property) was also involved with a resort-style low-rise condo project The Residence Jomtien.
It comprises 68 keys in a luxury finished apartment building with Studios, 1-2- and 3-bedroom apartments, and a massive pool to compliment the communal and recreation areas of the project. Now, 10 years later this area is surrounded by others: Laguna Beach, Dusit Grand Park, The Park, and many more.
A new kid on the block is the luxury pool villa project called “Serenity”. With starting prices around THB 12 Million – it promises to become very successful and a true compliment for the area. Rumor has it that a large lifestyle shopping mall group has its eyes set on Jomtien – let us see.
In general, Jomtien is a nice, relaxed area popular with tourists who enjoy a day on the beach with locals as well as frequently visiting Bangkokians. However, although one would expect to find “private beachfront Villas” here, there are very few of these to be found in Pattaya. Just a few rare exceptions, in Wong Amart, Pratumnak Hill, and further south in Na-Jomtien.
The Na-Jomtien area starts at the end of Jomtien Beach Road and continues south towards Baan Amphur.
Perhaps it is a bit strange but the cost of apartments in the more remote Na-Jomtien is higher than in Jomtien. This is because Na-Jomtien is less developed from a tourist point of view but rather with the building of separate complexes, generally in the front line of premium quality and consequently, at a premium price. Nevertheless, the complexes themselves are admirable.
From a real estate point of view, things are starting to “happen” in Na-Jomtien. The entrance/exit to the M7 motorway right at the doorsteps of Ocean Marina Yacht Club certainly has much to do with this new bubble. Also, the beach and the sea are relatively clean here, much cleaner than in central Pattaya and
it is quieter and more peaceful.
Several luxury villa projects include Jomtien Yacht Club and View Talay Marina for upmarket luxury homes. Of course, there is also a range of condo projects such as La Royale and Veranda, plus mega projects like the Grand Florida Beachfront Condo Resort Pattaya. These are playfully combined with hospitality outlets (on the beach): TuTu Beach, Cave Beach Club, Glasshouse, The View Mare, Bacco Beach, and others.
Another eye-catching highlight is Ocean Marina Yacht Club, the largest world-class marina in all of Asia.
On the premises of Ocean Marina Yacht Club, there are two condominium high risers: San Marino and Ocean Portofino. Part of Ocean Marina’s San Marino building is currently under construction, soon to be launched it will accommodate an 80+ keys 5-star hotel.
Wikitravel says: Baan Amphur is a fishing village in Chonburi province in Thailand. And yes, that’s probably what it is. Located between Jomtien/Na-Jomtien and Bang Saray it has a slow-paced local lifestyle.
There are a few good restaurants, mainly seafood, and a nice stretch of beach (Some 700 meters in length) from the Lighthouse restaurant to the new, glossy 5-star Renaissance Hotel. A sharp contrast to Baan Amphur, this luxury hotel is aimed at the happy few, mainly Bangkok visitors who come to the area for the local fish market selling dried squid – famous apparently.
A few older condo developments in the Baan Amphur are Baan Somprasong, Krisada Golden Condotel Cliff & Park, VIP condo, and Sunset Heights. Most of the spacious apartments have already been sold in these projects some 25-30 years ago to affluent Bangkok Thais with young children. Nice to spend the weekend on the beach but, kids grow up and find their own way. This has resulted in the fact that today most of these complexes are only 10% permanently occupied.
Nevertheless, Baan Amphur is worth a visit, even if it is only to enjoy some fresh and authentic good seafood meal during the weekend.
Some 20 kilometers south of Pattaya City you will find the idyllic fishing village of Bang Saray. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, a fortress of solitude or more accurately, tranquility. The scenery is vastly different from Pattaya, obviously – no nightlife, no bars, no neon.
Bang Saray Beach is among the most pleasant stretches of sand in the Pattaya area, as well as being a small, quaint town with a very local atmosphere. Even during the high season, you will find more local families and fishermen here than tourists.
Along the coast road, around the pier, there are large, local, Thai seafood restaurants such as Rim Hat Seafood, Bang Saray Seafood, Jay Juk Seafood Restaurant 4, and several others. The freshness of the ingredients and the quality of the preparations make these some of the best seafood restaurants in the area. They are popular with locals and expatriates who travel all the way from Pattaya and other nearby provinces on a regular basis to enjoy their excellent dishes.
It is a misconception though that there is little to do in this area. Slowly but surely Bang Saray is climbing up the ladder to become an alternative choice for those that prefer a more tranquil lifestyle over the hustle and bustle of a big city.
The recent takeover of Cartoon Network Waterpark by Columbia Pictures (Sony Corp), soon to be relaunched as Aquaverse Water & Theme Park, indicates that we are not the only ones who believe in the future growth of Bang Saray.
Keep an eye on it – property values will rise in Bang Saray. Real estate in general is a numbers game. Keep your finger on the pulse!
East Pattaya & Mabprachan Lake
East Pattaya is classed as being in the Nongprue area, east of the Sukhumvit Road, and continuing south towards Huay Yai. All and all some 10 KM along Sukhumvit road and 8 KM eastwards. The main connecting streets are Soi Chaiyapornvidhi (Naklua area), Soi Pornprapanimit (better known as Soi Siam Country Club), Soi Sukhumvit 53 (Soi Nern Plub Wann), Soi Boonsampan (Soi Khao Noi “Soi Nahm” – when flooded by the rain), Soi Khao Talo, Soi Nong Krabok and Soi 89 (Toongklom-Talman).
First, let us clarify the term “DARKSIDE” as East Pattaya is often referred to. It has NOTHING to do with a lack of street lighting or being a dangerous area with lots of criminality. Far from it, these assumptions are absolute nonsense.
In fact, East Pattaya is THE residential area of town.
Where normal families live – with normal lifestyles and mostly with normal jobs.
Kids go to school and papa goes to work…
So? Lights OFF at 10:30 PM-ish – wake up early morning.
What happens when you switch the lights off? “Darkside explained”.
In stark contrast with the “Brightside” of town.
Taking the whole population of Pattaya into account, the vast majority (65%) live in East Pattaya.
And it is wonderful on the Darkside. Mabprachan reservoir is somewhat connected to east Pattaya so we include the lake in this general review of the East Pattaya district. Lake Mabprachan is the water reservoir for Pattaya. A tour around the lake (preferably on the new bicycle lane) is around 16 kilometers and it is wonderful.
Why East Pattaya? Firstly: Connectivity. Direct access onto the M36 and M7 as well as the 331.
(Bangkok – Rayong – Laem Chabang). Also, you are close to everything: beach, downtown, shopping, work, school, airport – yet, far enough away to enjoy a very private, quiet, and relaxed lifestyle in a rural area of town. Living the fast lane is not for everyone.
Land values in East Pattaya differ from the commercial beachside of town so properties vary. Condos are not as prevalent and instead, there is a fantastic variety of landed homes available in the east. Homes are also much cheaper here than their counterparts on the beachside. You can find them in all possible options: Remotely located or in a gated community (sub-district or village / Moo Baan). At any budget as well as any style.
Some very popular developments in east Pattaya are the housing communities: SP Villages, Greenfield Villas, Siam Royal View, The Meadows – Smart Living, Whispering Palms Executive Pool Villas, Chokchai Villages, The Vineyards, Sedona Villas, Mabprachan Gardens, and many, many more.
Grocery shopping is easy. There is an abundance of local markets where you can buy your fresh food for half of the price you pay at the supermarket. However, these markets do not always meet the highest hygienic standards, so alternatively, there are also supermarkets. These include: Tops, FreshFood Supermarket on Siam Country Club (soon to be rebranded we think) and Villa Market on Little Walk opposite Index Shopping Mall.
You will also find plenty of restaurants & bars. Mostly Thai cuisine orientated, but there is also western food, Indian, Italian etcetera. Popular are Ae & Aek, Route 66, Retox Outback, Fisherman’s, Tropical Restaurant (previously called Tropical Bert), Meeting point, Murphy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, Pepper & Salt, August, Vespresso, Samis International Restaurant, Sicily Pizza Pattaya, Sila Coffee Shop and the newcomer Jordi’s at the Holland Tulip Resort.
In case you have not noticed…there are over 20 mature golf courses in the province of Chonburi!
If you live on the Darkside, Siam Country Club is not only the nearest but probably one of the best courses to play on. In recent years Siam Country Club expanded with another 3 courses in the same area: Waterside, Plantation and Rolling Hills. There is never a dull moment living in East Pattaya.
In closing, East Pattaya & Mabprachan Lake are great. It’s a great location for those who want a quiet lifestyle, with the hustle and bustle of city life still only a few minutes away.
Huay Yai is located just 20 minutes from Pattaya City to the east of Sukhumvit road. Huay Yai has a more local, Thai feel and a much slower, more laid-back way of life in comparison to Pattaya city.
Huay Yai village is clean and very well maintained. People here say that living in the countryside immediately makes them feel at home. Yet it is also conveniently located close to an entrance onto the new M7 motorway which makes traveling to Bangkok and Rayong very easy and U-Tapao International Airport is within easy reach, just 20-30 minutes drive.
The fantastic beaches of Na Jomtien and Baan Amphur are also only a few minutes drive away from Huay Yai. Without any doubt, these beaches are much nicer and cleaner than those in Jomtien or Pattaya. Shaded by plenty of trees and largely unspoiled. With some great oceanfront seafood restaurants, they are ideal for those that enjoy a relaxed day out on the beach.
Huay Yai deserves some recognition as in the last decade it has become home to quite a thriving community. A lovely residential area for those who find the hubbub of downtown Pattaya a little too much. There is a sufficient choice of good, affordable gated communities to choose from.
More dominant however are the remotely built private homes, most of them on fairly large land plots – ideal for family living.
One of the most popular golf courses in this region is the Phoenix Gold Golf & Country Club. Opened in 1993, its three nine-hole courses were originally designed by Denis Griffiths, the well-known international course designer. In later years Phoenix Golf has been fully upgraded and redesigned by Pirapon Namatra, the leading Thai golf course designer and builder.