Go East For Property Deals

Glass-flat turquoise water winks and sparkles then washes powder-white sand. This might just be the nicest beach I have seen. Considering I spend up to half my time scouting real estate opportunities, most of them beach, that says a lot.

Little white-sand ringed islands dot the horizon. In the distance, beach gives way to a rocky outcrop topped with thick green jungle.

My new local friend walks toward me, machete in one hand and coconut in the other, wearing a broad smile. A few precise hacks and in goes the straw. I’ll make my shortlist of the nicest beaches I have seen later. For now I’ll give this coconut my full attention.

This place will be difficult to leave. I’ve tried and failed on two occasions. Important meetings in the capital this evening mean that today I’ll have to succeed. First, I extended my trip because I uncovered a real estate opportunity we could profit from. I wanted to dig deeper. The second attempt, I just couldn’t think of a nicer place anywhere to chill for the weekend.

I’m on an extended scouting trip in Southeast Asia. The region I’m in right now on the Gulf of Thailand is bursting in beauty and buzzing with commerce. Real estate investors would be foolish not to look east. And, if you are looking for a place to escape long winters and high prices (10 small lobsters will set you back $2 on this beach) this is a region that should be on your radar.

Plus, on this stretch of coast I think I’ve made an exciting find.

Here, on this beach, I’m just over a three-hour drive on an excellent road from the capital. The last hour of the drive is stunning. Beautifully symmetrical luminous green paddy fields backed by giant chunks of sheer jungle-clad rock that rise almost vertical from the fields.

Steep, thick, dark green hills rise from the coast just south of here. It is uncannily like Costa Rica’s Southern Zone and Manuel Antonio. It feels surreal to see Buddhist temples rise from a jungle canopy that looks so familiar to me.

Perched above the ocean and choking in the jungle are abandoned old French mansions at varying stages of decay. Some have squatters. Other are just left to the jungle, monkeys and bats. You might think this would be an eyesore. Not so…they add to the enchantment of the place.

In the nearby beach town, $60,000 buys you a 1,500-square-foot apartment.

Driving north to where this white-sand beach is…an almost vertical escarpment rises from the paddy fields and coastal plain. The views to the ocean and the islands that dot the coast are jaw-dropping.

On rim of this ridge there’s an abandoned casino and town where 10,000 people once lived. A major new casino resort is under construction here. The developer has rebuilt the nearby airport. He’ll fly guests directly in and out from China.

These views as I drive back to the capital will ease the sadness of leaving this paradise. I know I will be back. This stretch of coast is very much on my radar.

Editor’s Note: Ronan McMahon (of Pathfinder, IL’s preferred real estate advertiser) is spending two months in Asia prior to IL’s Live and Invest Overseas Conference in Las Vegas this October. At this conference, he’ll present a special hot-off the-presses session focused on real estate in the region. Find out more here.