Entertainment in Jomtien?
Where is Jomtien’s entertainment district? Has it become so much of a nice suburban hub of Pattaya that no one wants to have a night out with a selection of good pubs, restaurants and go-go’s on their doorstep? ‘Jomtien Complex is the new Walking Street!’ – I actually wrote these words (very prematurely as it now appears) in 2007. While there do seem to be a lot of bars and restaurants now thriving in the Complex, it really seems to be geared toward a pretty specific demographic – predominantly the gay market. It’s a shame it hasn’t expanded beyond this as it has perhaps the best geographic location possible between the beach and the main arterial road between Pattaya and Jomtien and is traversed by families, straight, gay and older passers-by. In fact, if one leaves the beach, the main road or any of the local large condo developments it is hard to avoid it.
The ongoing de-centralisation from the traditional South Pattaya hub of activity has brought people to Jomtien, as it has to Naklua and other areas in lesser numbers. But Jomtien has felt by far the biggest swell in popularity recently so it would make sense, particularly given the surge in traffic congestion over the past few years, that there would be more of a market to serve who don’t necessarily feel like driving into Pattaya.
There are over 12,000 new condominium units set for completion in the Jomtien area in the next five years which adds up to more units than the whole of Pattaya has right now. Combined with the surrounding thousands of units in existing buildings such as the View Talays, it stands to reason that demand for local entertainment will grow.
The ‘market bar’ area off Jomtien Second Road across from Jomtien Soi 5 is really the most happening area in the evenings at the moment. It’s basically no more than a common complex of pretty run-of-the-mill beer bars, but business is thriving and what started as about a half dozen bars a couple of years ago now encompasses about 40 up-and-running beer bars.
Having said all this, there are a few bars that do pretty decent regular expat business in the area. Shenanigans has become somewhat of a local fixture and does pretty steady business year round, particularly on weekends during football and Aussie Rules matches – all in no small part because of Stewart Fraser who is undoubtedly one of the best landlords in the area. The Pig and Whistle seems to have slowly gained popularity over the past few years though most people seem to go in for food, not necessarily to hang out and watch the game. O’Gara’s up on Pratumnak Road has become very popular, and for good reason – great food at great prices, good draft selection and a nice atmosphere.
I hope to see a few more of these sorts of places open up in the next few years. I’m positive the market will demand it and I really look forward to it.
Golf Course Housing Update
I played a round out at Eastern Star Golf Course in Ban Chang last week and was pleasantly surprised the amount of new housing along the course. I’ve mentioned in the past I was always surprised by the lack of decent housing along the area courses, so it’s nice to see something happening. There were some very large stunning houses along the fairways and lakes as well as some smaller budget places in the surrounding areas, no doubt catering to the many expats and Thais working at the nearby Maphtaphut Industrial Estate.
Phoenix is probably the area’s closest course that offers housing along the course itself. Phoenix is massive in scope with 27 holes on over 1,000 rai and hundreds of 1 rai building plots, yet the building over the years has been sparse and sporadic at best. There are some lovely homes and some owners have invested tens of millions in their properties, yet there are still abandoned properties that seem strangely unavailable. Yet having said this, there is now more building activity in and around Phoenix than ever before, and I know of a few small estates that are planning to develop inside the course itself as well.
Siam Country Club would seem to be the ideal course for housing, yet there is nary a house to be found along its fairways. The closest you’ll get is the Horseshoe Point housing estate (beautiful estate houses and just a few clicks from Siam C.C.), Whispering Palms, Mabprachan Gardens or the Santa Maria estate (very well-built rustic style custom homes that really deserve to be seen – we have a couple of stunners in here for sale at the moment).
Burapha Golf Course has several housing estates lining its 36 holes. It’s a bit of a hike for most (about 40 minutes from Central Pattaya) but it’s a beautiful course (and not too difficult) and it’s located close to several of the area’s industrial estates making it a favourite for working expat families. Most the houses here are rental units and expect to pay a premium. Four bedroom family homes easily run 80 – 120,000 Baht per month. There are some nice private plots available for sale and some buyers have taken advantage of the some of the truly breathtaking views overlooking the Laem Chabang Valley. But, as with Phoenix, considering the size of the place, there seems to be so much untapped potential.
Across the street from Burapha is a favourite among most area golfers, Laem Chabang Golf Course. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it’s a very creative, challenging and beautiful course that does offer some limited housing options, but considering the potential, it really does fall flat. There are some condos and houses both for sale and rent, but with the exception of a few, most are quite tired. A couple of new housing estates have been recently built though I find the plot sizes to be unreasonably small considering how far outside the city you are. Out of all the area courses, this one probably has the best potential to create a truly high-end housing estate.