Thoughts on Living in Pattaya
I lived in Pattaya for a month. While that isn’t long enough for me to know everything about it, it is long enough for me to have got a pretty good feel for the place.
Overall I thought it had some good things and some bad. Certain things are overpriced like they are in any city based around tourism, while you could get great value with other things.
Living in Pattaya – Pros
The best things about Pattaya are the best things about Thailand as a whole. First thing is the cheaper apartments. I arrived in Pattaya expecting to stay at a certain hotel for a month but then quickly found out it was booked. I searched online to find a place but I really needed to find one quick so I went out on foot. Most of the places near Walking Street were a little above my budget so I ended up in Jomtien, but right on the edge of Jomtien on the Walking Street side.
The first building I approached there I got a very nice apartment for only 10,000 baht for 1 month ($330ish) that was far nicer than any other apartment I’ve stayed in Asia. If I had more time I probably could have found better, but since I was only staying for 1 month and had a flight booked it was important to get a room that day.
There are so many nicely furnished apartments for cheap all over Thailand it is the main thing I am jealous about. I am not a materialistic person at all and don’t care all that much about ‘nice’ but still I also like good value and you really get that in Pattaya apartments.
Second plus about living in Pattaya for me is the faster internet. I was able to get by only using a 3g stick from AIS. This is just not possible in the Philippines and I know that the 4g and landlines are also much better in Thailand.
Everything in Thailand is a bit more modern and clean compared to Philippines or Cambodia.
One thing I really liked about living in Pattaya was the baht bus. Even though I was in Jomtien it was never hard for me to get where I needed to go quickly. Just pay 10 baht and hop on the baht bus and you are in Walking Street very shortly.
Philippines has the jeepneys which are similar, but the difference is that the jeepneys sit and wait until they are fully packed (and I mean FULLY packed) while the baht buses keep going in circles and are less crowded and more comfortable.
Living in Pattaya – Cons
My main problem with Pattaya is that outside of the great apartment value many other things are really overpriced. Western food in particular is quite expensive and it is hard to eat the meals I want to eat on the food budget that I like to have. Many of the places are as much as $10-$15 a meal which is way overpriced by Asian standards.
There is some affordable western food around but not much. I ate a lot of cheap Thai food and Indian food when I was there which is good, but I still prefer western food.
Mainly the nightlife is more expensive in Thailand compared to other places I had been, although beers are cheaper in Pattaya than e.g. Bangkok. SingleMansParadise did a good breakdown of the bar scene there.
The main thing that keeps me from trying to live in Pattaya or anywhere in Thailand long term is the worse visa situation. Border runs every three months are something I can’t deal with and it sounds like they are making it harder and harder on foreigners as time goes on.
My last negative about life Pattaya is that I thought the people were more fake. Expats don’t keep sarcastically calling it ‘the land of smiles’ for nothing and I got that impression when I was there. Add in the big language barrier and I don’t see myself ever living there long term, though another month vacation isn’t out of the question that is for sure.