Thailand is one of the world’s most popular locations for good living abroad. And there are lots of reasons why. Its still relatively cheap depending on what you eat and drink – although by the same token may I add, it can also be far more expensive.
Now according to website International Living they suggest the following places in Thailand as the best 5 locations to live for an expat and you know what, after living in Thailand, I am not so sure. Here they are.
Chiang Mai: Mountain Views and a Slower Pace of Life, Koh Samui: A Tropical Island Haven, Bangkok: Modern and Affordable, Hua Hin: Relaxed Seaside Retreat, Phuket: A Beach Lifestyle with All the Amenities.
OK, I can buy into Chiang Mai and Hua Hin – they are both wonderful locations, fresh air, nice people and plenty of things to do to live as an expat. But I have to draw huge question marks over Samui, Bangkok and Phuket.
It may surprise you I say Bangkok as after all its been the #1 tourist destination in the world for 2 years, but to live here – unless it’s for work reasons – you have to contend with the worse traffic in the world, super hot streets and a hustle and bustle that will grind you down. It can be very claustrophobic and even Thais living there and admit periodically they just have to escape the capital to relax, get some space and fresh air! For a retired expat, it would be horrendous.
Now Samui, it’s actually my favourite island for a short break in Thailand, being twinned with the beautiful Koh Phangan and being near other beautiful locations like Khoa Tao its perfect to kill time on the beach. But to live full time I just wonder if the small island walls will come crashing down on you now and again and whether a little bit of boredom can set in.
Phuket, well that can be directly replaced with Pattaya as in my view it’s a far better alternative. Pattaya always gets overlooked yet for an expat it’s wonderful. Close links to other islands and just 2 hours from Bangkok if you want a few days city break to marvel at the rooftop bars and fine dining restaurants and bars. Phuket is not a patch on Pattaya from restaurant choice, bars, attractions, proximity to other regions and shopping. In my view, Pattaya has gone forward in recent years whilst Phuket has gone backwards – and it’s not just my view but a number of expats I have spoken to in that region.
So my list: Chaing Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya – if you want the islands use them for weekend breaks as to live on one 365 days a year, the walls will close in..and Bangkok, whilst being good for working and big events and concerts, can be claustrophobic and a rat race in every sense – dipping in and out throughout the year is perfect, but not to live…so What’s your view, as I am sure this will cause much debate and defence among the expat community?