Soi Buakhao back bigtime
Pattaya’s most popular night spot is now the Soi Buakhao district which encompasses about one kilometer square, similar in size to the Vatican in fact. The total number of bars, clubs, cafes, massage parlours and pharmacies is a conservative 700 units. Most of the customers are European, with English fast becoming a universal language in the strip. There’s not a for rent sign to be seen.
Mask wearing in retreat
Pattaya has always been a city anxious to read the tealeaves and anticipate the future. Although mask wearing just about holds up in the daytime, it has virtually disappeared after 7 pm. The authorities don’t seem concerned amid a strong rumour that masked faces will cease to be compulsory in public any time soon. No harm in jumping the gun then.
Traffic jams ahoy
A combination of ongoing road improvements and the tourist boom has recreated frequent traffic snarl-ups in six or seven spots in central Pattaya. City Hall has promised to speed up the work, but the problems seem to be shortage of Thai labour, guest workers from Myanmar preferring better-paid work on building sites and disinclination by employers to pay overtime rates. The common view is that the former civic authorities bit off more than they could chew. It’s too late now just to fill in the holes.
Property boom delayed
Pattaya’s building program continues unabated with new condominium units racing to reach a conclusion. Although houses and flats are being bought and sold, particularly by Thais, the revival isn’t likely to take off until the Chinese investors return. Prior to the pandemic, they were buying about half of all condos sold in both Bangkok and Pattaya. Those anxious to sell right now are sometimes resorting to desperate measures, including this heartfelt sign on Third Road.
Value for money
Although inflation is here to stay, there are still remarkable bargains to be had. Shopping around can still get you a beer for 50 baht (just over a pound) and there’s still stiff competition for the all-day breakfast market. The biggest inflationary pressure is the cost of economy diesel, retailing at about 34 baht (one US dollar). But for government subsidies the true cost would be touching 50 baht.
Immigration officer’s death
The death of police captain Veerawong Paiboon, better known as Mr Tum, who was the reception and enquiries officer at Pattaya-Jomtien immigration bureau for 30 years, resulted in many readers who knew him asking for more detail. Mr Tum, 65, died from heart-related problems which had grown worse after he caught a Covid infection last year. He was cremated at Nong Yai temple on June 9 with over 200 police, family and friends present. The attached photo was taken at his police graduation ceremony.