As I have ranted about in the past, westerners who move to low-cost areas of the world to take advantage of the low cost of living invariably help to cause the cost of living to increase in their new host countries. Part of that is the basic amenities they require, such as running water, hot water, air conditioning, reliable electricity, reliable and high-speed internet access, clean water, comfortable housing.
But their need for other western comforts are what really tip the scales. Here is Hua hin, for example, I constantly see queries about where someone can find a particular food item they enjoyed in their home country, or a certain type of electronic or mechanical device, items you wouldn’t normally find in a country like Costa Rica, Indonesia or Thailand, except in the largest cities.
I remember in Jaco, Costa Rica, where finding Western foods and goods was almost impossible. We had to travel to the capital of San Juan 2 hours away to stock up on such things as bacon, or pickles, or a host of other items not available in Jaco.
But the expats have to have their “toys” and food specials, and they don’t mind the extra cost all imported items incur. Local alternatives will not do.
The same is true for restaurants, where Europeans, for example, might live in Thailand but they want restaurants serving the foods they are used to from home, as well. In fact, usually when they go out to eat, it’s at a Western-style restaurant.
Personally, I didn’t come here to order KFC or McDonalds or Western sizzler, but a lot of people do. And while some of these Western restaurants may be cheaper than similar places in home countries, they are still far more expensive than local eateries.
In short, when you succeed in westernizing your new, low-cost home, you are contributing to increased inflation due to your living requirements. But I understand the comfort factor so many people cherish, as well as the fact that many of the Hua Hin expats are snowbirds from Europe, so money is not so much of an issue – as is creating a second home much like the first, just in a warmer climate, with lower overall costs and lots of new things to see.
Having said all that, I have avoided checking out Hua Hin’s newest, most-upscale mall. There was a lot of gushing from the expat community about the Bluport Resort Mall when it first opened – bigger, newer, fancier and with more upscale stores than the popular Market Village mall.
Nothing different, I guess, than in the U.S. And if I was into shopping and buying stuff I cannot leave the country with without significant costs, then I would love the new mall.
Bluport has five floors, with a large selection of upscale restaurants taking up most of the first level. Lots of clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, electronics, cosmetics, food.
It is also quite a bit further from my house than Market Village. After walking through most of the building, I doubt I will be back unless I need something special for the kitchen – there is a very well-stocked housewares store on the 3rd or 4th floor. I forget. It is a large mall.
Anyway, here are a few pictures:
Wine to your heart’s desire.
And, of course, a Starbucks (with a competing coffee shop next door).
Beautiful interiors and public spaces
Looking for jewelry – or gold?
Major home furnishing and household goods store
And, of course, the mobile phone corridor
And if you want to take a breather outside, plenty of bean bags for your comfort.
Really, this is just too upscale for me. Too civilized. But maybe I complain too much!