Living in Thailand – Best Cities and Towns
There’s no question about it – Thailand is an adventurous and exciting vacation destination. But it’s also a favorite spot among the world’s expats and digital nomads.
Thailand boasts incredible beauty and an extremely low cost of living. And those are but two reasons why it’s earned our rating as the #1 place to live abroad based experience for its culture, social life, and local markets.
Most people think that Thailand means dealing with the bustling city of Bangkok or living in a remote jungle. But the truth is, there is a lot more to the country.
For expats and digital nomads thinking about moving to Asia, these are the 5 best places to live in Thailand (spoiler alert: Bangkok didn’t make our list).
Chiang Mai for Expats and Global Nomads
Chiang Mai makes the top spot on our list for a few reasons. For starters, it has a deep and rich digital nomad culture. Hundreds of tech-savvy expats live in Chiang Mai. That means that there is an amazing community of freelancers and digital entrepreneurs.
In Chiang Mai, it’s easy to find shared office spaces with other expats that rely on decent internet connections to get their work done.
Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand. With a population of about 130,000 people, it’s the perfect spot for anyone who wants to be inland. If you prefer the coast, it’s probably not for you.
Chiang Mai, like all places in Thailand, draws in expats for its affordable cost of living. Your dollar will stretch a lot further here than it will anywhere in North America or Western Europe.
In Chiang Mai, you can experience the Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, one of the most spiritually significant places in all of Thailand. You can also spend time at the living museum that is the Old City Temples, Wiang Kum Kam, the ancient underground city, and the Bo Sang handicraft village. In Bo Sang, you’ll find authentically handcrafted parasols, a symbol of the Thai culture.
Hua Hin – Thai Beach Resort for International Citizens
We absolutely love Hua Hin for its beach resort vibe. And because of that resort feel, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to live and thrive in a beach community. Hua Hin feels like a small town, but it offers all of the modern amenities that expats love.
Approximately 63,000 people call Hua Hin home. The climate is hot and tropical, so expect to endure some rain and tropical storms. Monsoon season starts in May, but the heaviest periods of rain occur from September to November.
From the Tamarind Market to the Huay Mongkol Temple, Hua Hin is rich with culture and activities. The best part is that with its links to Thai royalty, you can be sure it won’t lose its small-town appeal.
If Thailand isn’t remote enough for your liking, Koh Tao is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand that’s even more secluded and unique. If your goal is to enjoy the experience of true island living, this is the destination for you.
Koh Tao has a very remote feeling, yet it’s full of multi-cultural expats that contribute to its thriving community.
If you like to scuba dive or spend time on the water, Koh Tao is the perfect place to do so. This island paradise is a scuba diving hot spot. It’s also perfect for snorkeling, diving, paddle boarding, sailing, and all sorts of on-the-water excursions.
Do you want to be close to the city without having to live in and deal with day-in, day-out city life? Kanchanaburi offers easy access to Bangkok and provides the authentic Thai experience without having to live in the city of Bangkok itself.
Kanchanaburi is home to the original “bridge over the river Kwai.” It’s a province filled with rich history, mesmerizing waterfalls, and plenty of forests and caves to explore.
In Kanchanaburi, you can enjoy everything from shopping at floating markets on the river to waterskiing and jet skiing. It’s also rich with beautiful national parks.
One of the most interesting things about Kanchanaburi is the Buddhist temple Wat Tham Phu Wa. At the temple, you’ll find a series of grotto shines in limestone caves that depict a series of Buddha statues at different stages of life. It’s a wonder to behold, making a Kanchanaburi a must-visit destination, even if you don’t live there.
Pattaya used to be a small fishing village. Located on the eastern Gulf coast of Thailand, it’s recently been transformed into an international hot spot. Its beautiful beaches attract people from all over the world.
It’s well-known for its incredible nightlife, which makes it an ideal choice for those who want the city experience but don’t want to live in Bangkok.
Walking Street is a favorite in Pattaya. It’s where locals and tourists go to experience the excitement of city life, without having to go into Bangkok. Packed with bars, restaurants, and clubs, Walking Street is full of neon lights, street performers, and a variety of amazing food vendors.
Expats and digital nomads love Thailand for its tropical climate and low cost of living. It’s exotic, it’s beautiful, and – depending on where you go – you can enjoy big-city excitement, small-town life, or island-style coastal living.
The food in Thailand is amazing, and it’s an easy place for expats to get accustomed to. Sure, there are some cultural hurdles you’ll have to get past, but that’s the case with any country that’s not your place of origin.
Looking for an inland city that’s away from the coast? Check out Chiang Mai. Prefer to live near the beach in a place that feels like you’re on a permanent resort vacation? Look into Hua Hin. Want to be near the city without having to live in Bangkok? Kanchanaburi might be the place for you.
Whether you prefer the island style of Koh Tao or the exciting nightlife of Pattaya, you’re sure to be able to find a place in Thailand that’s perfect for you.
5 Other Cities in Thailand Worth Considering
- Bangkok – Capital of Thailand
- Phuket – Beach Resort in Thailand
- Koh Sumai