Posted September 23, 2014 by Photo Admin in Photography in Pattaya

I’m moving to Thailand. But where?

Jomtien Beach at Soi 7
Jomtien Beach at Soi 7

I planned to move to Thailand in 2013. I was living in the Subic area of the Philippine Islands at the time, and was getting tired of the poor infrastructure. The internet speeds were terrible and unreliable, and the power was out two to three times a week. On top of that, I had close to zero water pressure during the entire week of Holy Week celebrations. I was looking for something new anyway; I was getting tired of the same old routine. If you haven’t been to Subic, specifically Barrio Barretto in Olongapo, let me clarify that. It’s a small area, roughly the same as two decent Sois in Pattaya. Something like 30 bars total. It’s great for various reasons, but infrastructure and size are not two of them.

Anyway, I never did make it to Thailand. I had to scramble back to the US due to emergent family issues. So, this site never was built out, and I never made my millions as an internet wonder-boy. heh – that’s a joke.

I have time on my hands at the moment, and have been planning my eventual move to Thailand.

The first step is to decide if I have enough money to actually move, not just go on an extended visit for a year or two. Once I move, I don’t plan to move back, and will want to use Thailand as my “base” for whatever travel I do over the next 20 years.

Beer Bar Complex in Pattaya

Beer Bar Complex in Pattaya

The first step in determining my financial ability to move to Thailand was to make a loose decision on where I would want to live. I’ve been to Bangkok several times, and most definitely, adamantly do not want to live there. It’s OK for a visit now and then, but I like being close to the water, and don’t like the big city lifestyle. I’ve been to Pattaya many times, and I know that living there is far different than spending a few weeks on holiday. Pattaya offers everything I want. However, it offers some things I do NOT want as well. Hordes of drunken tourists, scammy people, local Thais, some of the best people in the world, who are hardened and jaded by being exposed to the latter. Nope, Pattaya would not do for a long term residence. They key is to find something similar, without the downsides, and hopefully not be too far away.

Now, as mentioned, I want to live close to the water. The other options are Phuket (too much like Pattaya, and more expensive to boot), and Hua Hin, which is a lovely, laid back beach-side area. Hua Hin has some nightlife, mostly beer bars with friendly hostesses, and I’ve read about one disco at a major hotel. The problem with Hua Hin is that it is quite small, and is also a very popular resort destination for wealthy Thais, which means lots of families and kids. Not my style.

As I said, I’ve been to Pattaya many times, and have never visited Jomtien. Jomtien Beach is just South of Pattaya proper, and is almost a suburb. If you were to walk around Pratumnak Hill in South Pattaya (which you do not want to try), you would end up in Jomtien. I spent a lot of time searching the ‘net for info, and found that it seems to be very much to my liking.

Jomtien Beach at Soi 7

Jomtien Beach at Soi 7

Jomtien has been described as being like Pattaya 30 years ago. Obviously, modern high rises and infrastructure are now available. It’s not a dusty little town, but a growing urban area. The key differences are that it doesn’t have a “Walking Street”, with big nightclubs and discos. It isn’t jam packed with traffic (though I’ve read it’s getting worse). It doesn’t have hordes of drunken tourists or rowdy soccer hooligans, and it doesn’t have the jaded, angry, over-aged streetwalkers in knee-high boots and unfortunate halter tops.

It does have beer bars, nightclubs and restaurants. It does have friendly hostesses. It does have solid infrastructure, and it does have a beach – a very long beach. So far, it sounds great to me. Costs are similar to Pattaya, though rentals and condo purchases are a little lower. Obtaining the affections of a young lady are also less expensive, with more of a GFE feel. Sounds even better to me.

Lastly, Pattaya is only 15 minutes away by baht bus. If Jomtien starts feeling small and boring, it’s a trivial matter to hit the big-time party town and let loose for a night. At least for now, my choice on where to live in Thailand is easily Jomtien.

My general plan is to wrap things up here, whenever that might be, then fly on over to Thailand and look around for 3 – 6 months. I know I’ll be on a retirement visa, so that’s sorted. I’ll fly in with a multiple entry 90 day tourist visa, and convert to a retirement visa when I feel comfortable. For the first 3 – 6 months I’ll rent a condo in Jomtien Beach, and do all my due diligence and scouting around.

My medium-term plan is to buy 3 one-bedroom condos. I’ve done my research there, and know I can handle it financially. The plan is to live in one of them, and put the other two on the short-term rental market. My budgeting spreadsheet looks really good; not having to pay rent increases my cash flow, and the income from the rentals makes it a no-brainer. Before you ask, I have used very conservative income figures, and over the top cost numbers, just to be sure. In fact, I figured on only 60% occupancy, I used lower than expected nightly rates, and higher than expected maintenance fees, insurance costs, and other overhead figures. It’s looking good. My numbers show that the condos will be paid off in 6 years. Now, I’ll be buying them for cash, so by “paid off”, I mean the amount of money I’ll have taken out of my investments will be recouped. At 6 years, with the income, I’ll have recovered the costs of buying, and covered the missing investment income. Of course, the income goes towards my day to day living expenses, so I don’t have to touch my investments as much. I did generate an investment schedule showing 1 – 15 years, and with this plan, I’ll have close to double what I started with. The cool thing is that without even considering the investment interest, I can live in Thailand for 13.5 years before I go broke, based on the lower investment amount (after buying three condos). That makes this a no-brainer.

That’s it for now. Watch for the next post where I actually travel to Thailand and stay in Jomtien!