11 July 2024

The Interior Ministry has recently been assigned by the Cabinet to amend the Condominium Act, to increase the foreign ownership limit per development, and the Land Act, to allow foreigners to lease land in Thailand for 99 years, up from the current 50.

People have been settling in Thailand for a long time. Thai PBS invites you to explore five important areas where many foreigners choose to settle down.

Pattaya – A retiree’s destination

Pattaya is a city with popular tourist sites, beautiful nature and a vibrant nightlife. It is known as a sleepless city. The impressions Westerners get from their visits tempts them return to Pattaya regularly and to seek ways to settle down there.

Pattaya has become the home for Western retirees. Studies reveal that life in Pattaya is convenient, with freedom and a low cost of living. Moreover, many men fall in love with Thai women, and some of them then choose to live their lives in the Northeast, in their wives’ hometowns.

Some couples choose to continue living in Pattaya, because the lifestyle in the Northeast is very different to that in Pattaya. Some cannot adjust to it, so they decide to go back and forth between Pattaya and their wives’ hometowns. These are the reasons why more Westerners are gradually choosing to spend their retirement years in Pattaya.

Si Racha – Little Osaka

Si Racha is an important district for the economy in Chon Buri province. It has many industrial estates in which a lot of Japanese people work. They stay for long periods, leading to the establishment of Japanese families and the creation of a Japanese community.

In Si Racha Nakorn Alley, in downtown Si Racha, also known as “Little Osaka”, there are many shops decorated in the Japanese style. Japanese is spoken, to provide services to the Japanese visiting the area, creating a commercial shopping atmosphere similar to Osaka.

Moreover, the unique Si Racha Japanese festival is held at the Si Racha Shinto Shrine, which is an authentic Japanese religious site. Anyone visiting may feel like they are actually in Japan.

Huai Khwang – New Chinatown

Chinatown is the name used in various countries for areas to which many Chinese people migrate. In the past, Yaowarat, in Bangkok, was Thailand’s Chinatown, which is still of historical and cultural significance today. The new generation of Chinese people seem, however, to prefer Huai Khwang, also in Bangkok, as their destination.

The Chinese tourism boom and influx of Chinese investors have led to the opening of numerous shops and restaurants where more Chinese is spoken. Additionally, there are hotels whose ownership has shifted to Chinese, targeting Chinese customers.

“Mala Fever”, related to Sichuan cuisine, has also struck, due to the arrival and transformations brought by Chinese people, which excites Thai people.

However, questions have been raised over allegations that Chinese investors commit illegal acts, casting uncertainty over whether the arrival of the new generation of Chinese might lead to harm to Thai people.

Phuket – A Heaven for Russians

In the past, Russians mostly visited Pattaya, but Phuket is becoming more popular and is now considered a haven where Russians can escape the harsh winters at home. It’s no wonder that Phuket is their choice, given Thailand’s pre-travel free visa arrangements for Russian tourists and direct flights.

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, it is reported that many more Russians are travelling to Phuket and many of them come here to stay.

According to a report from a foreign news agency, many Russians have invested in the purchase of luxury condominiums, some costing over US$500,000 (~17.4 million baht), significantly driving up real estate prices in Phuket. More luxury houses are also being bought.

Phuket has become a refuge from war and winter, because it is safe, warm and enjoys a lower cost of living than their homeland.

Phahurat – The Little India

Phahurat, in Bangkok, is known as “The Little India”. It has been a place where many Indians have lived for a long time, with a unique and charming history and culture. There are popular fabric markets, Indian food shops and Sikh temples, all reflecting the lifestyles of diverse Indian cultures. These include Muslim jewellers, Hindu Indian food sellers and Sikh fabric merchants.

Now, Phahurat, including Ong Ang Canal, has become a historic landmark of the Indian community, which settled in Thailand long ago and retains its uniqueness through dress, food, culture and lifestyle.