If you are visiting Pattaya, you will probably have heard the term “The Darkside” when referring Pattaya. While there may be many interpretations of what this could mean, it doesn’t actually mean anything sinister! “The Darkside” is the part of Pattaya situated to the east (further away from the beach) of Sukhumvit Road. Although there are many tales about how the area gained its name, the most likely story is that it is the area that didn’t have any street lighting.

Rapid Expansion

Although all areas of Pattaya have grown significantly in the last few years, East Pattaya is probably the area of the city that has changed the most. It used to be seen as somewhere that was a long way out of the city, hard to get to, and lacking amenities. Well, how that has changed! The area is almost a town in its own right with a thriving community, especially in the villages around Soi Siam Country Club, Soi Khao Noi and all of Huay Yai.

The reason for the rapid expansion can probably be best attributed to the number of families now living in Pattaya and the fact that most of the better quality villages can be found in this region. The Darkside has a more relaxed atmosphere making it more appropriate for families, although that certainly doesn’t mean that there is a lack of bars, restaurants or shops.

Living on the Darkside

Although Pattaya has changed quite considerably in the last few years and “normal life” is easily attainable anywhere, many still argue that it is always easier to achieve in East Pattaya. Central Pattaya and other “party” areas certainly do have more of a resort-like feel and are filled with tourists, especially during the high season. The Darkside comprises mainly of families and expats who live and work or have retired in Pattaya.

The vast majority of the accommodation that is available is housing as opposed to the condos and hotels which you would find in downtown Pattaya and Jomtien. Yes, there are villages in these areas, but not to the same extent as what you would find on the other side of Sukhumvit Road. In terms of housing on the Darkside, you can get everything from a relatively smaller 2-bedroom bungalow to expansive villas – with everything in between.

Things to Do

You won’t be short of things to do in East Pattaya. Just like in town, fantastic restaurants and bars are abundant where you can pretty much get anything that you want. Around Mabprachan Lake there is now an excellent track where you can walk or cycle without needing to worry about traffic. There are plenty of gyms and other recreational activities that are available such as at Horseshoe Point.


The area has dozens of shops, particularly those selling imported foods such as Siambury’s. Tesco Express, Big C Mini and other smaller supermarkets along with market are plentiful. What is missing is a department store such as a Robinsons although they are rumoured to be considering one. However, if you need these sorts of things Terminal 21 and Central Festival are just a short drive away.

Is There a Downside?

The Darkside has many advantages, but like anywhere, it does have some drawbacks. However, most of these can be easily overcome. The biggest problem is the lack of public transport. With drink driving now being an issue, going to bars and restaurants either on the Darkside or downtown can be a problem, especially if you are heading out for a drink. Grab, and other taxis are available but are often not as easy to come by as in Central areas. The Darkside is far less concentrated than elsewhere so transport of some form is needed.

Buying Property

One significant factor that concerns people is buying a property in their own name. It is something that we can’t get away from. With most properties in East Pattaya being houses, it does cause an issue regarding ownership and Thai law. Of course, condos can be purchased in “Foreign Ownership”, but the same cannot be said for houses. There are several legally viable options that you could opt for, and our team will be more than happy to discuss these options with you.


For families, schooling is obviously one of the most critical factors when deciding where to live. East Pattaya has a wide selection of kindergartens for younger children with several government schools available. Most of the top International Schools such as Regents, Rugby and Tara Pattana are in the area making it more convenient. Other less expensive schools, including Maryvit, can be reached relatively easily.


There is a vast selection of clinics, dentists and pharmacies on the Darkside just like in other areas of the city. However, there are no hospitals of note in the area so you would need to go into Pattaya or surrounding towns such as Sriracha or Sattahip if this was required. It is not a significant consideration for most people, but if you have an existing medical condition or you are elderly, it may come into your thinking.

Downtown or Darkside?

Like anything, this will come down to personal preference and your own circumstances. Most families tend to prefer the East Side of Pattaya, although more families are moving back into the city as it becomes more family-friendly. Those who are single or prefer the bright lights and the livelier nights out may prefer living downtown. If you don’t have transport, getting around in East Pattaya may be quite hard, which in some cases could leave you feeling a little isolated.


The Darkside is a community in its own right, in many ways, no different from any other town or city. If you are thinking of moving to Pattaya or the Darkside in particular, our experienced team of agents here at Alan Bolton Property Consultants will be delighted to show you around and explain the pros and cons of the area. It will enable you to make an informed decision about the best location for you.