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Hat Yao, the longest, completely empty stretch of beach on mainland Krabi is set for major development. We take a look at some of the key players involved
Introducing Krabi's 'Next Big Thing' (article taken from FLYER magazine, 2006)The drive down from Neua Klong to Had Yao (Long Beach) goes through some of Krabi's most rural backwaters. Beautiful old wooden houses on stilts sit alongside the road, while goats and chickens scratch around for food. The villages - mostly Muslim - are interspersed with rice paddies, mangrove forests and prawn farms. This is longtail boat-building territory, too: some of the finest craftsmen in the region hail from this part of Krabi.
But, to the seasoned property observer, there is something not quite right about this picture of old-style southern Thai life. It could be the smooth ride on tarmac roads that gives it away; or the giant electricity pylons crackling overhead. Both are sure signs that, even as you approach the deserted and wild Had Yao Beach, something is in the air.
That something, is of course, big development. As the longest stretch of beach on mainland Krabi, Hat Yao was bought up years back by developers who saw the area's potential, not just for tourism and resort-building, but for long-term property projects. Roads and electricity were quickly brought in; and now the area is all set for a boom.
Hat Yao's location close to the international airport and Krabi's only golf course are big factors in its favour. Although the beach itself is fairly unspectacular by Krabiís high standards, it is nonetheless a beach; and beachfront, or even seaview residential properties in Krabi are almost impossible to find.
But who will be the first to launch? Investors now seem to be playing a waiting game; and rumours of five-star resorts, interest from international hotel chains and even a new regional campus for Kasetsart University have all held sway in recent months. Meanwhile the beach remains - as always - deserted.
One of the prime investors in Hat Yao, Asian Tropical Homes, looks like being the first major company to dip their toes in the water. 'The Cove Krabi' project, if it comes to fruition, will be a genuinely new and exciting project for the province. The first such development of its kind, the plan is to offer a resort and apartments (in partnership with the Marriott group), plus a championship golf course and a marina.
According to the developers, completion date is 2013, although there appears to be no fixed date for starting the project.
A smaller development, Krabi Sunset Exclusive Compound, has already started building its nine seaview villas and condominiums. Owned by the KYMA Business Group, whose CEO, Yoon S. Engchuan Andersson, is originally from the Neua Klong District, this project of small but well-appointed homes, has proved popular and there are now 4 more similar projects underway.
It is surely only a matter of time before others begin to move in. Approval for the Kasetsart University campus proposed for Talingchan sub-district (of which Hat Yao is a part), will no doubt attract further investment. As well as a residential and education centre, there are also plans to build a research station for agriculture, as well as a handicraft centre to promote tourism development in the area.
Although there is not a great deal to see there at the moment, Hat Yao should definitely be on the radar of anyone looking to buy property in Krabi. Seasoned investors will no doubt be wary of the rumours and hype - and rightly so - but a timely purchase in a reputable development could well reap rewards.
UPDATE July 2008: Had Yao is looking a very different place these days. Much of the beachfront is dominated by developments from the Krabi Sunset group, along with a handful of small resorts. The Cove? Yet to materialise... and, according to local rumours, is unlikely ever to be built, due to problems acquiring the land.
Above: The deserted beach at Hat Yao
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