Shanghai resident Daniel Bian drank in the sweeping views over the Thai capital as he lay on a deck chair beside a swimming pool on the 19th floor of a luxury condominium.

"I feel alive. I feel free," said an excited Bian, dapper in tinted sunglasses, flat-topped navy blue hat and a wraparound tunic cinched at the waist, his hair hanging loosely to his shoulders. "This is my dream."

Cooped up in China for three years under some of the world's toughest curbs against COVID-19, Bian is among a flood of mainland Chinese hunting for property buys in the Southeast Asian nation since Beijing opened its borders this year.