Retirement in Thailand– My 1st Year in Pattaya
Retirement may seem to be many people’s biggest dream or possibly their biggest nightmare. As the owner of my own business, I rather ‘slithered’ into retirement, there was no retirement party just the arrival of my first pension. As a perennial entrepreneur I had been looking at starting a business in Thailand, but when I dug deeper into the requirements I started to think – “Why bother with the stress!”
I decided that retirement in Thailand was the course that I would follow. Bad air quality in Bangkok and no need any more to be at the hub of business, I followed a friend’s advice and went to look at Jomtien located on the coast next to Pattaya. The quest for my apartment was well documented and you can see my reports on www.MeanderingTales.com
Unbelievably it has now been more than a year since I moved into my new home and location so I would like to reflect on some observations and assist with some discoveries since my arrival. When I was searching for a place to a retire, the Pattaya area appealed to be for several reasons including great infrastructure, cosmopolitan breakdown, on the beach yet still close to Bangkok for eventual work and the airport. Simply put, there are 3 main areas to the Pattaya area; Pattaya itself, Jomtien and nestled between the two is Pratumnak Hill, where I was fortunate to locate.
Pattaya is an amazing place and generally you will either love it or you hate it! The good parts are the availability of almost every store and excellent shopping malls. There are more bars that you can count and the night-life is wildly diverse. It is not all tank-top wearing, beer belly tourists(and locals) though there are a lot. If this is your crowd you will find a diverse variety of nationalities. A more subdued bunch can also be found but take some research. Over the hill is neighbouring Jomtien featuring an 11 km beach front and pleasant beach. Jomtien is generally favoured by an older retirement segment including many couples. Whilst their number swell during the Winter months, many have made Jomtien their home. This has had a strong influence on the infrastructure with restaurants catering more to European taste, massage salons not recommending Thai Massage to super-unfit foreigners and music suiting evening sing-alongs. Please don’t get me wrong, its relaxing and quiet most of the time.
Nestled between the two is Pratumnak consisting or six sois (streets) running from Thapphraya Road down towards the beach. Most of these sois are quiet with few restaurants and massage shops offering quiet residential areas. There are many hotels and guesthouses and these are favoured mostly by Russian visitors. Soi 5 is the main street of this community with a good range of simple, yet high quality restaurants and bars offering inexpensive food and drinks. There is some excellent live music but generally it is quiet and residential. Many people congregate at the beach especially in the evenings where local vendors supply a range of food and the ever dependable 7-11 for cold drinks and snacks. Needless to say, this is where I am located. My street has no through traffic so no noisy motorbikes. The others have through traffic but nothing excessive. As re-iterated in my Blogs of Looking for where to stay, look carefully and find accommodation that suits your requirements and budgets.
Having moved into my new home in View Talay 3, I had to start to orientate myself and many extensive walks introduced me to my new area. I located an excellent supermarket, Foodmart located on Thappraya Road(next to the Bangkok Airport bus station). The range of food is incredible as they cater to Europeans, Brits, Australians, Americans and Russians. Prices are reasonable and quality is good. They are also open 24 hours a day. For slightly more choice try Villa market on 2nd Road in Pattaya. Nearby I have no less than four 7-11 shops, a mini Tesco, a Mini Big C and many Family Marts. All are open 24/7 thought alcohol sales are only between 11:00-14:00 and from 17:00 – 22:00. Many local markets are available.
I had arrived as low season was setting in, so Jomtien and Pratumnak were getting quieter and I have found 4 places that I would call my locals on Soi 5 in Pratunmnak. Lets hope that they will all have survived the Covid-19 shutdown and I will report on this.
Jomtien also has an excellent English speaking Doctor who offers professional advise without the need to visit a hospital Dr. Oliver
Making friends and acquaintances is relatively easy as most people are relaxed and friendly and gradually one recognises faces in the cafés, bars and restaurants. There are many special interest groups here from Salsa Dancing to Classic Cars.
There are two main large Expat Clubs which appear to be quite similar but still remain separate. I joined the Pattaya Expats Club www.pattayaexpatsclub.info and attended a few meetings. The meetings were not really the social contact that I was looking for, but I could see that many enjoyed their Friday meetings. What I did appreciate was the professional assistance with a representatives from a lawyer, hospital and Insurance expert in attendance. In fact, joining the club (THB.500) enabled me to benefit from their special members rates with Pacific Cross Insurance enabling me to make a substantial saving on my annual Medical Insurance.
Pattaya itself offers make large shopping malls so if the outside temperature is getting to you, the malls do offer a cooler climate, vast choice of food courts, restaurants and cafes in addition to shops, cinemas etc. I do occasionally venture into Pattaya in the evening. My round will normally include Soi 6 off 2nd Road, Soi 8, the areas around Soi Burkhao and of course walking street. As I write during the lockdown we will have to wait to see who has survived. If you are looking for an exceeding friendly and not push bar to make you local, I do recommend LePub on Soi Diamond, ask for Phil, aka Mr. Egg and he will make you most welcome. https://www.facebook.com/lepubpattaya/
Getting around is relatively easy. On every Soi you will find motor-bike taxis who will take you where you want for reasonable amounts, just be careful around the tourist attractions as some will push their luck and hike the prices. The Song Taew (pick-up taxis) are on all main streets. Stop them, jump on and the press the bell when you want to get out. The cost is just THB.10, per person!
I firstly rented a scooter and once I had restored my confidence, I bought my own bike. So handy and so easy to get around. You do need to wear a helmet at all times and you will need a Thai Driving Licence.
The first year has passed so quickly, I am very comfortable in my Apartment and know many people in my immediate area. The weather has been great, for some reason Pattaya has not had much rain, the very long beach promenade provides with an excellent walk each morning and the numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and food carts provide an ever-changing menu. I love it here, come and join me!
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