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Bangsaray. Idyllic beaches, tropical retreat. But where is it?

Tanutam Thawan

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Bangsaray. Idyllic beaches, tropical retreat. But where is it? | The Thaiger
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Ever heard of Bangsaray? It’s about 20 kilometres south of ‘Sin City’, Pattaya, and, so far has seemed to retain much of its charm. Remember Pattaya wasn’t much more than a haphazard fishing village 40 years ago (it might be argued that it’s not a fishing village any more but still haphazard).

20 kilometres appears to make a large difference and you can leave the glitz and bar girls of Pattaya behind whilst still within reach of Pattaya and the capital when you need your ‘city’ fix.

Bangsaray’s appeal appears to rest on plenty of natural attractions and lifestyle opportunities. With golf courses, alone, 20 nearby courses rank among the top PGA courses in Thailand. The local municipality has also been quite forward thinking with bike, running and hiking routes in the area. There aren’t a lot of tall buildings and large touristy developments in Bangsaray – you’re much more likely to find locals and smaller beachside restaurants.

Bangsaray. Idyllic beaches, tropical retreat. But where is it? | News by The Thaiger

Thailand has already made the Eastern Economic Corridor a ‘thing’ with a 20 year strategy to make it the country’s most significant economic driver for the Thai economy. Nearby Rayong and Chonburi are already big manufacturing centres. The Thai government says that 1.5 trillion baht ($43 billion) is slated for infrastructure projects, including the expansion of the U-Tapao International Airport and the construction of a high-speed railway between Bangkok and nearby Rayong.

U-Tapao International Airport has already had an upgrade and is attracting more direct flights into the region without people having to do the 2-2.5 hour road trip from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Property-report.com reports that beachfront land in Bangsaray has increased by as much as 225 percent over the last 15 years.

“A 3-rai beachfront parcel now lists at about 30 million baht per rai, compared with 7 – 8 million baht back in 2002,” says Clayton Wade, MD of Pattaya-based real estate agency Premier Homes.

“This is one of the most positive aspects of Bangsaray’s rise as a boutique resort hot spot,” Clayton says.

“Land prices in Pattaya, Jomtien and Na Jomtien went up even higher over the same period but Bangsaray hung in there with some very attractive land price increases.”

“I predicted in 2007 that Bangsaray would evolve from a sleepy fishing village image to a top Thailand boutique resort in 10 years. Well, it’s been 10 years and we haven’t quite gotten there yet but Bangsaray is well on its way.”

Bangsaray. Idyllic beaches, tropical retreat. But where is it? | News by The Thaiger

Read more about Bangsaray and property developments there HERE.

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

Pattaya

“Pattaya Model” to focus on Special Tourist Visa visitors from China and Russia

Caitlin Ashworth

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“Pattaya Model” to focus on Special Tourist Visa visitors from China and Russia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Gerrie van der Walt

Pattaya wants to cash in on the new Special Tourist Visa scheme and local officials plan to introduce the “Pattaya Model” to help boost the local economy after it took at beating from the lack of international tourists due to the pandemic. They’ll focus on drawing in Chinese and Russian tourists on the new long stay visa, according to Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem.

“Last year, there were 3 million Chinese tourists visiting Pattaya, followed by Russian tourists with 1.1 million. The CCSA is targeting these two groups to visit the country under the Covid-19 health measures to boost the local economy.”

These travellers would be from cities in Russia and China that are considered to be at a low risk for spreading the coronavirus, the mayor says. He mentioned St. Petersburg in Russia and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China.

Along with accommodating tourists under the Special Tourist Visa, the mayor says they are planning for other travellers that are approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The city is in the process of forming a committee to plan the Pattaya Model. The committee would include local officials as well as representatives from the tourism sector like Eastern Thai Hotels Association and the Chon Buri Tourist Attraction Association.

“Meanwhile, we are following up with the government on when U-Tapao airport will be open to accommodate STV tourists since it is fully prepared to support direct flights and to strictly abide by public health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Pattaya

Pattaya – fighting to survive its Covid crisis

Tanutam Thawan

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Pattaya – fighting to survive its Covid crisis | The Thaiger

Pattaya, like some of Thailand’s other former tourist hotspots, is facing some critical challenges. Hundreds of thousands of workers have left the city because there’s simply no work and up to 50% of the city’s shops are closed, some never to re-open. The Thaiger filmed most of this video on a long weekend at the end of October, the busiest Pattaya had been in 7 months.

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As Thailand struggles along without the benefit of its usual tourist traffic, four key former tourist magnets are facing particular hardships. Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai… and Pattaya. Whilst there are patches of business activity, just about everything connected directly with the city’s tourism business are perilously quiet, particularly on weekdays. That means the employees, the business owners, their families, the landlords and their bank are all suffering as the chain of woes reaches deep into Pattaya’s broader community.

Despite the Thai government’s attempts to deny the true reason for Pattaya’s popularity over the past 6 years, including the annual walk-through the city’s red light hot spots and declaring there was no crime or prostitution, the sleazier side of Pattaya has continued to grow, with a growing number of proprietors trying to glean an income out of a slowly declining western patronage. Things were changing and business was getting tighter long before the Covid-19 and Thailand’s border closures.

n 2016, Thailand’s first female Minister of Tourism, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, announced that Thailand was “closed to the sex trade”. Walking Street was to be gentrified and some of the red lights moved back from the foreshore to establish new bar and bar girl districts.

Several NGO reports have published the number of prostitutes in Pattaya were between 27,000 up to 30,000, depending on the report you read. The plight for these sex workers, post Covid, is bleak. As their work wasn’t officially recognised they weren’t able to access any of the government’s unemployment stimulus payments and weren’t protected under any of the country’s labour laws. Luckily for some of them, their employees worked hard to help them through the crisis. One of those is manager Timmy who works for the Night Wish Group.At their peak they ran up to 29 bars in Pattaya. Many of those have closed. At the moment they have about 13 open, as of the end of October.

For now Pattaya’s red lights have dimmed somewhat although it’s hardly all closed up. Some of the bars have also pivoted to an online model, with mixed results, where the bar girls, and bar boys, are able to ‘chat’ to online customers, viewers can buy them drinks and business continues as usual. Some bars have even stayed closed and are going 100% online with their digital bars. One proprietor told The Thaiger the online bar scene had become very lucrative but was unsure how long the novelty would last.

Apart from the steep decline in total tourist traffic, there’s been a big change in the mix, now mostly domestic tourists. Many businesses are switching up their business models to suit. Many just closed down, seemingly waiting it out to see what happens.

With much of the city’s old workforce abandoning Pattaya and heading home, there are still pockets of local life where communities have banded together to help each other through, whilst waiting for some sort of normality to return. For the tourist areas, mostly closer to the beaches, businesslike is patchy indeed.

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Tourism

Pattaya springs back to life over the long weekend, more to come

Tanutam Thawan

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Pattaya springs back to life over the long weekend, more to come | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

Pattaya, struggling along for the past 7 months with a handful of domestic tourists and Bangkok weekenders, has had its busiest weekend for a long time, albeit a long weekend created by the public holiday in commemoration of King Chulongkorn. Much of the increased traffic were Thai faces, a big change to the city’s old demographic of international tourists and expats.

Tourists flocked to the city for the long weekend which included the Eastern Colorful Food, Culture and Music festival stretching along the Beach Road foreshore.

The focus of the weekend’s events was the Beach Road which was visibly busy with expats, locals and tourists joining in the foreshore festival, talent shows, music concerts and local food. Central Festival, in the middle of the Beach Road, hosted a range of activities and shows.

Several proprietors with businesses in the city’s red light areas also told The Thaiger that it was the busiest they’d seen areas like Walking Street and Soi 6 since the tourist tap slowed to a dribble after the borders were closed down in late March.

The city, along with the rest of Thailand, might have a few more good weeks ahead with the Loy Krathong and Halloween celebrations. The Central Festival Bikini Beach Run is also being held next week. Around the corner the Fireworks Festival on November 27 and 28, a seafood festival, and not too far away, Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Speaking to a number of participants in the foreshore festival on Friday evening, some people said they’d come down from Bangkok to escape the threat of disruptions from the ongoing government protests. Chad said he needed a Bangkok Break…

“Just had to escape for the weekend and get out of the city. All anyone is talking about now is the protests and I needed a bit of Pattaya pampering.”

Another expat, working in the tourism sector, (who didn’t want to be named) noted that Pattaya’s famous (or infamous) nightlife had sprung back to life.

“It didn’t take long for the bargirls to flood back and the shutters open on the bars again. Most of the faces I’m seeing are Thai. I figure it may be the first visit to Pattaya for many of them. Let’s hope they keep coming.”

“Very happy to see the events and festivals are coming back to Pattaya. We will see more in the last 2 months of the year,” said Sawas Dee.

Beyond the foreshore area there was still much of the city still closed up and hotels were offering excellent rates through the usual OTAs. Pattaya is still in a struggle to keep its businesses open but at least the last 3 days have given a much-need boost to city life.

The Thaiger has a full story about Pattaya’s struggles on our YouTube channel tomorrow.

Watch a quick video from Sawas Dee here…

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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