Three of a Perfect Pattaya Pair

3 Optical stores in a row in Pattaya

Since my first trip to Thailand I have never ceased to be amazed when I go to Pattaya. A thriving beach town that has everything on offer at every turn. Aside from all the beautiful Thai women and the immense choice when it comes to entertaining oneself , Pattaya is the perfect town to get anything done or do nothing at all.

Once you get past the deer in headlights stage of your initial Pattaya experience and settle in you realize that this town is all about tourism and usually tourism is good. But even in the best of times I just can’t seem to fathom how many of these businesses stay above water. The bars and nightlife venues seem to have a handle on it during the best of times but those that are barely making it close fast when tourism is down. That’s to be expected in any tourist town where the nightlife is the staple of entertainment. What’s closed today will reopen eventually under new name and management.

What I can’t get over is the sheer number of ordinary businesses that are replicated block after block and street after street. After a while it looks like a baker made Pattaya using a good bit of dough and a few cookie cutters. Every block has a minimum of one 7/11, one family mart, 2 dentists, 3 massage parlors, one gold shop,  one travel agent, 5 guest houses or hotels, one optician and 1 clinic.  If you live in Pattaya proper you really never need to leave the block you live on because everything you need is there including at least two Thai restaurants and two bars.

If you’ve just realized you are running low on cigarettes and have just passed a 7/11 there is no reason to stop because there is one just ahead of you too, not to mention the family mart just across the street. The convenience stores I can almost understand…they’re conveniantly everywhere you might need one and I have never seen one empty.

I wonder though how some of these businesses make it or what they were thinking when they decided to open shop right next door to a competitor. Take, for instance, the three optical shops in the top picture. Having two competing optical shops next to each other is bad enough but to then open yet another one to make it three is absurd, especially when two of the shops are the same exact franchise!

I’ve never seen a town with so many convenient stores, dentists and hotels in my life. Then again that’s part of Pattaya’s charm and in a way that’s the Thai way, to make sure you are comfortable and have everything you need whenever you need it. No need to worry about choices, just take it as it comes and as you need.

I try not to think about how they stay in business any more when I walk into the opticians place. By the time I get to the counter the beautiful optometrist and her two lovely assistants have already greeted me with a cold glass of orange juice and a smile and I start wondering why more places aren’t like this,

The view down soi Bukow in Pattaya

sig1 Three of a Perfect Pattaya Pair

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Comment by MikeNo Gravatar
2009-08-31 23:15:19

This particular concept of Thai life baffles me too. Even in our small village you get identical shops (what they sell) next to each other.

I was once told that the Thais love to copy ideas, an example of this is if you add something to your home. Perhaps its the same with businesses?

I fancy many of the ma&pa stores survive on a few Baht profit a day. Mind you in Prachuap I always wonder why the Tesco Express is right next to a 7/11!
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Comment by MartynNo Gravatar
2009-09-01 02:58:06

You are right about Pattaya having everything, but the problem it has is convincing tourists just that. Pattaya is known as the worlds number one sex spot and many people don’t go there because of that. The resort has so much more to offer aside from sex and really is a good destination choice with its entertainment, cosmopolitan food, sport and a growing choice of day trips.If you haven’t tried it then don’t knock is my way of thinking.

I think Mike has got it right with the copycat angle on the doubling up of franchises etc. The bars that don’t seem to make money but are always there are in a lot of cases run by falang who are happy to drink, eat and sleep at their bar and if they lose $400 dollars a month in the bad times then that’s cheap going for a month in Pattaya. Their pension covers more than that. A tourist spends one hell of a lot more.
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Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-09-01 20:58:33

Martyn, if you ask most people they don;t even know where Pattaya is or what goes on there..but they tend to think of all of Thailand as a den of iniquity.

I think it is changing pretty fast though. Many bars have disappeared from Beach road and soi’s 7 & 8. The powers that be are striving for the Asian and Russian tourist dollar so I don’t think it will be long before the bar scene is pushed back beyond second road at the least.

I think you and Mike may be right about the copycat angle but having 3 optical places together and two of them being the same shop is even past the Thai way of thinking.

Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar
2009-09-01 22:04:48

It is the same in Malaysia and Brunei. When one shop is successful, someone else plants another one right next door.
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Comment by SiamRickNo Gravatar
2009-09-02 01:17:44

I believe those two Top Charoen shops are across from the Jasmine Mansions, on soi Buakao? If not, no matter. When I stayed there a couple of years ago, I sat outside the hotel with a coffee (shhhh, it’s code for “beer”) and stared at a Top Charoen and an independent optical shop, wondering if I would actually witness a customer entering one. Gave up on that and simply watched the pretty shop clerks watch the world go by.

Can’t say I’m a big fan of Pattaya, but I may visit there in December for a night or two just to get it out of my system. ;-)

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-09-02 01:21:07

Close Rick, actually they were down the road a bit further on Pattaya Klang.

I have also sat at the Jasmine Mansion and whiled away an afternoon drinking beer and watching the Top Charoen women as they work…I actually went in and got my contacts there too…the optometrist is a very beautiful woman.

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