Park Place, Jomtien, Thailand

I come to Thailand several times a year, as it’s only a 3-hour flight from my current home country of the Philippines. But while most tourists flock to places like Koh Samui, Phuket, Kho Phangan for the Full Moon Party, and picturesque islands like Koh Pi Pi to bask in the sun, I head to the sleepy suburb of Jomtien. Located right outside of Pattaya, the Thai version of adult fun Las Vegas only 1.5 hours from Bangkok, it’s a chill little community with endless highrise condos geared towards foreigners – both vacationers but especially, expats.

If I didn’t have two of my best friends living in Jomtien, I’d probably never have even heard of it, but there I find myself for at least several weeks a year. And when I stay there, it’s usually not in a hotel but at a condo in one of the parallel complexes, Park Lane or Park Place.

I’ve told you about Park Lane before, which is the first condo complex of the two this developer built. It’s on a country road where not many people travel if they’re not going to one of these complexes, but Park Place is even further down.

But a couple of funny words of caution if you’re speeding towards Park Place – there’s a telephone pole built right in the street on the left side (they drive on the left)! I’m not kidding! It’s not in the middle of the street but protruding enough that I’m sure it’s caused some late-night crashes. The other reason you want to slow down is because of the dogs. There’s a vacant field/lot across from Park Place, and that’s where dozens of stray dogs live. The Thais actually treat dogs well, so they don’t bother them at all, and these dogs grow fearless to the point that they stretch out and sleep all over the warm pavement of the road! Since no Thai runs them over, they usually just stay there and won’t move when you drive up!

Heading into Park Place, there are some similarities and differences with Park Lane. It’s set up the same – a horseshoe complex with parking spaces on the outside and a grand courtyard space taking up the entire center. Inside, there are gorgeous pockets of palm trees and plantings among a winding pool. In fact, the pool is really amazing, and they made it even nicer at Park Place, with more bridges, grottos, and winding waterways.

There’s also a restaurant and café set up to look like it’s on an island area among the pool, but while this building is bigger than the one at ParkLane, it’s seriously disappointing. The space is great but not really filled with enough tables or chairs. There’s a bar-like setup, and you can order from a large menu, but the food isn’t good. It’s even worse if you compare it to the café at Park Lane, which has some incredible grub and is always active and vibrant. But not only is the food bad, the ambiance puzzling, and the service questionable at the Park Place café, they seem to open whenever they want – not by any set schedule.

The café aside, the condo unit I stayed in there is great. This one is on the first floor, and while it’s not big, it’s very well laid out, with modern furnishings and great décor. The bedroom window faces the parking lot but it was completely noiseless, and I really feel comfortable in the place.

However, while Park Lane feels like a community and is always bustling with people, Park Place is still nearly empty and sort of like a beautiful quiet tomb. Maybe in a year or two, it will catch up to Park Lane, but it’s still a great place to live if you like quiet and privacy.

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post, Business.com, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo, Hotels.com, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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