Houses, Condominiums, and Apartments in
Pattaya and the Eastern Industrial Seaboard
Many expats working in industrial areas outside of Bangkok are involved in "eastern seaboard" industrial zones in Chonburi and Rayong provinces. (We include Chachoengsao, Bang Na, and other near-Bangkok industrial estates in the suburban Bangkok region, whereas others put it in the "eastern" region.)
The further one works from Bangkok, the more one considers living outside of Bangkok.
Pattaya, which is a seaside tourist city located in the south-southwestern part of Chonburi province and very close to most of the industrial areas in Rayong province, is a preferred place to live because it has a large expat community so it has lots of expat restaurants and shopping. However, the vast majority of expats in Pattaya are tourists and retirees. Many run a small business oriented to tourists. However, some expats are there because they work for an industrial operation in the eastern seaboard.
My opinion: Pattaya is an interesting place for a short visit, but I wouldn't want to live there, and I am reluctant to do business there. The place is crowded and has a lot of crooks and criminals. Pattaya is generally regarded as the prostitution capital of Thailand, where there are beer bars and go-go bars all over, and that's no problem since I'm a live-and-let-live, relatively nonjudgmental person, though I wouldn't want to raise a teenage son there. That's fine if you're into that, but from a large number of observations of my own, plus so many stories of others, I am aware that there are a lot of dodgy businesses and salient expats. Pattaya attracts a large number of nefarious characters into its subculture. There's a t-shirt I've seen many times which says "Good guys go to Heaven, bad guys go to Pattaya".
Many men in Pattaya don't have a lot of money, nor legitimate skills marketable in Thailand, but they have an addiction to the ladies, alcohol, sometimes additional substances, and lifestyle there, whereby they live off of scams or other illegal businesses. Many other men have a lot of money from somewhere (saved from work, or inheritance, or whatever) and go to Pattaya and just degenerate on alcohol and the local subculture.
Over the 20+ years I've been here, I've had many events where I either did business or was contacted for business by expats who have been living in Pattaya or small businesses. A very disproportionate number of these, compared to elsewhere in Thailand, have been dysfunctional like their brain has been damaged by substance abuse over time, and/or abusive in their language and behavior. While some people have been nice and fine, there are so many others who have not, and the longer they have lived in Pattaya, generally the worse they are.
However, once you get a considerable distance away from Pattaya, things are fairly normal again in this region.
There are many housing estates and condominiums scattered around Chonburi and Rayong provinces (well outside Pattaya), and they are often not covered well by mainstream real estate people who tend to stick to conventional small territories. Some of these housing estates and condos are very nice. You just need to know where to look to find them. Some are luxurious tropical paradises.
Many of the nice housing estates are located not far from the two main highways, usually in close proximity to industrial estates, golf courses or other nice scenery, and of course seaside and tourist locations.
The main cities along this highway are, in order of distance from Bangkok: Chonburi City, Bang Saen, Sri Racha, Pattaya, Satthahip, Rayong, Trat, and Koh Chang.
The Laem Chabang deep sea port is located near Bang Lamung, in-between Pattaya and Sri Racha.
Rayong province starts inland approximately even with the Laem Chabang deep sea port, where there are many industrial estates, and continues to the south to the seaside where there are long beaches and waterfronts.
By far, the most popular expat area is "Pattaya", which we split into seven sections:
- Seaside Road Jomtien, just south of Pattaya, which has some highrise condos with seaside views and houses, accessible from the long road which goes right next to the beach
- "Pattaya hill", in-between Jomtien and Pattaya which has a few quiet condominium complexes accessible only by sois (and no beachside road) on the side of the hill
- South Pattaya ("Pattaya Tai"), which borders the above two regions -- not along the seaside inland -- and has some good housing estates and condos inland
- Central Pattaya ("Pattaya Klang"), which is the crowded central part of town with the restaurants, bars, superstores, and all sorts of businesses, but not much as regards homes (besides Thai style cheap apartments)
- North Pattaya ("Pattaya Nua"), which has fairly quiet condominiums and housing estates a little bit inland
- Seaside "Na Klua", the string of mostly highrise condominium complexes and some remaining houses
- Pattaya "East", everything on the opposite side of the freeway, where there is a vast area which includes housing estates, condominiums, golf courses and country clubs, and which people call "Pattaya"
Within Pattaya, the only two quiet seaside areas are the Na Klua region and Pattaya hill, but these are fairly expensive and exclusive areas. There is no main road near the beach in the quiet areas, and to access the condominiums and homes, you must drive a good distance down the sois. Some private beaches are reserved for the condominiums, housing groups and resorts located there. In Na Klua, the beach is continuous, and you can walk from one end to the other without being stopped. It is a vast area, so it helps a lot to be familiar with it in advance and know where you are going.
Technically, Jomtien (aka Chom Tien) is not a part of Pattaya, but you wouldn't know it if you didn't know where the border is drawn, and it's not worth arguing here since so many people say "I live in Pattaya" when they are in Jomtien. However, this part is actually north Jomtien. If you go further south, there are some quiet housing developments in Jomtien which are definitely outside "Pattaya" and require you drive to Pattaya for shopping. The public transport system in Pattaya stretches down the seaside road of Jomtien, but doesn't cover the quiet parts further south.
Unlike Bangkok, there are few taxis in Pattaya. This is a surprise to a lot of expats. Pattaya's "public" transport system is a bunch of private "sawng tao" vehicles (like pickup trucks adapted for passengers in the back with a roof, and all open aired, nothing air conditioned) whereby you wave them down, get in the back, push the button for the bell when you want to get off, and pay at that time. Except along the beach roads, it can be confusing to expats regarding which sawng tao goes where.
Motorcycle taxis are a popular way for expats without vehicles to get around.
You can also find sawng taos and smaller vehicles sitting around waiting for a dedicated passenger like a taxi. You must negotiate the fare on a ride-by-ride basis.
Again, no metered taxis, except a few along the main highway. If you are wondering why, it is because Pattaya is a "protected" place for transportation providers with quasi-mafia control.
If you want to live in the Pattaya region, then a car or your own motorcycle are recommended unless you become proficient in Thai and enjoy negotiating rides for shopping.
Metered taxis are available in other parts of Chonburi province, especially as you go north, closer to Bangkok and the higher density of industrial operations.
Industrial Estates / Industrial Parks / Industrial Zones in
Chonburi Province and Rayong Province
Technically, "Industrial Estates" are developed and managed by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) and "Industrial Zones" are under the Ministry of Industry (MOI). "Industrial Parks" are established entirely by the private sector. The Board of Investment (BOI) offers incentives in some of these.
The following are some of the industrial areas in Chonburi province:
- Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate
- Saha-Group Industrial Park - Sriracha
- Leamchabang Industrial Estate
- Pinthong Industrial Estate
- Chon Buri Industrial Estate - Bo Win
- Nong Bon Garden Industrial Zone
Industrial areas in Rayong province include:
- Amata City Rayong
- Eastern Seaboard Industrial Estate (Rayong)
- Eastern Industrial Estate (Map Ta Phut)
- Map Ta Phut Industrial Estates
- Siam Eastern Industrial Park
- Thai Singapore 21
- Padaeng Industrial Estate
- G.K. Land Industrial Park
- T.C.C. Industrial Park (Rayong Larp Industrial Park)
- Rayong Industrial Land
- Rojana Industrial Park (Rayong)
- SSP Industrial Park
This is not intended to be a complete list of industrial areas.
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