I have lived in Pattaya for over 10 years now and this very unique location has had this canny ability to change not just mine but fellow expats expectations for services offered here, most notably when it comes to food and drink prices. When we have people moaning about breakfast if it cost over 150 baht and pints of beer when it costs more than 100 baht, something’s not right, Is it?
Few starting points to kick start this off. A 5 star buffet at the Hilton – with every dish from seafood, rump steak to cheeseboards will cost you under 1k baht (30 US dollars), a can of coke in 7-11 14 baht, not even half a dollar, a fry up with tea and orange in the Retox groups pub 99 baht, 3 dollars…and day at the sauna and steam 200 baht (6 dollars). Its just dream world prices, the value is exceptional – good quality and great prices… but still many expats still moan if the fried egg yolk is not soft enough or they didn’t get a big enough portion of mushy peas with their cod – yes cod – and chips for 250 baht. And cinemas – you can even go to the flicks for 80 baht on a Wednesday! It beggars belief, its like expecting business class flights for economy class pricing.
Speaking to many hoteliers they say Pattaya is an oddball region as in any region they categorise the customer, whereas here in Pattaya they categorise every consumer as a budget traveller. Certainly there is nothing wrong with this, but it does help you understand the challenge for Pattaya businesses.
What Pattaya does offer is lots and lots of eateries, too many in fact, for the Western consumer – it’s the legacy left from when Pattaya was for the single western male. What this means is its super competitive for the Western person still here. This has driven down prices whilst the winners have not only offered low prices but upped the quality in the mean time in order to compete. As a Western man I am spoiled. Spoiled that the quality Sportsman bar and restaurant in Soi 13 can offer Pizza and Pasta buffet for 249 baht every Friday evening, or the Retox pubs 99 baht fry up, or Frasers sports bar on a Sunday when I can get a burger and wagu sausage cooked on the BBQ with a salad, coleslaw and potato salad for 215 baht.
But still I see the trolls on Facebook moan about the price or quality and all I can say is I genuinely feel sorry for these restauranteers doing business in this town as as a consumer its happy days every time I go out and eat.
So my lasting words are thanks – thanks to the pubs and restaurants that serve Westerners like me and do such an awesome job and make it a pleasure to dine out in Pattaya – the budget holiday region of Thailand.