Pattaya’s second coronavirus lockdown accelerated the city’s population exodus that began last year, leaving large tracts of cheap apartments empty.
City Manager’s Office chief Teerasak Jatupong had reported in November that 300,000 Thais, nearly all of them working in Pattaya’s bars, hospitality businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues, had left town to return home to the provinces, mostly in the North and Northeast.
While some returned after the lockdown ended in July, another wave of departures swept through Pattaya before the Chonburi border was sealed in January and resumed this week.
Across Pattaya, pickup trucks loaded with belongings were seen hauling families back to where the living is cheaper. Photos of the exodus went viral with the hashtag #GoobyePattaya, indicating many people are not coming back.
Passakorn Suntornrod, owner of the Suntorn Apartments, said the second lockdown added insult to the injury that was 2020. Most of his rooms now lie vacant, he said.