Tourism Authority of Thailand’s advertising campaign promoting Hua Hin is paying big dividends. Tourist arrivals in Hua Hin were up over 49 percent from 2010 to 2011 with over 1.6 million tourists visiting our royal resort city and 2012 will undoubtedly break new records. With double page adverts placed in International magazines such as the Economist, Hua Hin is being portrayed as Thailand’s Riviera where you can rub shoulders with celebrities while taking in its sophisticated charm. Along with the tourists are large numbers of property buyers looking for a holiday or retirement home. Both Thai and foreign developers have seen the trend and have responded to the opportunity. Large multi billion baht projects, unheard of a few years ago, are now the norm.
North of Hua Hin’s airport property developer Baan Rajprasong Co. is building The Energy Hua Hin an enormous 6,000 unit condominium development worth a total of THB20 billion (US$650 million). Nearby is Baan Thew Talay, a joint venture between property developer Charn Issara and the Sahapat Group, a THB2 billion (US$65 million) condominium project situated on 13 rai of land with 57 meters of beachfront. The Sahapat group owns an additional 80 rai next door with plans under discussion to build another condominium and hotel project with a THB10 billion (US$325.3 million) price tag. SC Asset has come to town building a THB2 billion condominium project with a villa and townhome project planned next. Sansiri, a long time player in the Hua Hin property game can’t build fast enough with several of their developments selling out in just two days.
The list of new projects seems endless. And then there are the shopping malls. The Mall Group, developers and owners of Siam Paragon and The Emporium in Bangkok have announced in a joint venture with the Proud Group a THB5 billion (US$162.6 million) shopping mall across the street from the InterContinental, Hua Hin’s latest 5 star hotel. To the north is Venezia, THB1.2 billion Venice themed shopping lifestyle mall under construction which will include condominiums and serviced apartments. So why Hua Hin? recently hosted a group of Chinese clients who had been touring Thailand for the last month deciding where to invest.
They chose Hua Hin to build their housing development because of its easy going beach lifestyle, relatively low land costs, ready infrastructure, strong services and facilities and its close proximity to Bangkok. Their particular target market is buyers from Shanghai where residents can leave their home in the morning and be in their holiday home in Hua Hin by the afternoon. It is the same travel distance as Hong Kong whose residents have already invested heavily in Hua Hin. Another driving force behind Hua Hin’s boom is the now retiring baby boomer generation.
With the U.S. and Europe’s printing presses working overtime printing money to try to buy us out of this financial crisis taxes will have to be raised and services will have to be cut. More and more retiree’s will and are looking for alternate places to retire. A recent article in the US News and World Report magazine was entitled “The Ideal Retirement Haven You’ve Never Heard Of” and opens by saying “Few places in the world meet all the criteria of an ideal retirement haven. Here’s one place that does that most of the world has never heard of: Hua Hin, Thailand. Dollar for dollar, you likely could enjoy a much higher standard of living in Hua Hin than back home, no matter where back home happens to be”.
It goes on to say; “Perhaps the best part about retirement in Hua Hin is that you are not obliged to give up comforts and conveniences from back home. You’ll be able to live better and enhance your quality of life, because the infrastructure and services to do so are both available and affordable.” Hua Hin’s future is looking bright. A new high speed train from Bangkok to Hua Hin is in the works and Hua Hin’s airport is getting ready to start receiving international travelers with regional airline BerJaya Air flying from Kuala Lumpur to Hua Hin three times per week.