Author : Kevin Baker (December 5, 2016)
For starters, we are going to eliminate Bangkok from our list of the best cities to live in in Thailand; as we are presuming that you are reading through this article for fresh ideas on which city to live in, other than ending up in Bangkok. There are many benefits to choosing a city over a more rural area; as there are more jobs, more scope for setting up a business and you will be closer to amenities otherwise more difficult to reach than in rural areas.
First up is Nakhon Ratchasima, commonly known as Korat, which is one of the four cities (named ‘the big four’) that are located in Isaan. In this city you are just a short trip away from the Isaan countryside if you need a break in amongst nature, plus you also have delicious genuine Isaan food everywhere you turn. As well as agriculture being Korat’s main economy, you may be surprised to hear that the manufacturing of disk drives also provides employment to around 12,000 people. It is a fast developing city which is now a commercial hub, with many department stores investing in opening branches in this area. This city would perhaps be a good location for opening a business, as rent, land and accommodation prices will be a lot lower than in Bangkok.
Hat Yai, located on the Southern Gulf Coast, would be a good choice for people looking for a place that is a bit different and which has a lot of varied entertainment choices. To start with, what makes this city unique is that it is surprisingly not that popular with western tourists or expats; instead it is popular with Malaysian and Singaporean visitors and expats. To add to Hat Yai’s uniqueness, believe it or not bullfighting is one of this city’s major sporting events. Bull fights are held every month at the Nurn Khun Thong Arena near the airport. If you want to book a hotel room to try Hat Yai out before you move there, make sure you book outside of any Malaysian holiday periods, as rooms will be more expensive then. If you love seafood then this city will be right up your street, as fresh seafood is abundant in Hat Yai.
Living in Nontaburi has distinct advantages, as it is very close to Bangkok which is just a taxi ride or short drive away. Although by living in this city there will be less people and hustle and bustle. This city is often overlooked by travelers and expats alike, but with rent and property prices being lower than Bangkok and the possibility of commuting to Bangkok if you work there, this is an excellent off-the-beaten track place to live. The island of Ko Kret is in Nontaburi, where you can chill out for the day by foot or by bicycle, exploring the small island in the middle of the Chao Phraya river.
You may have been expecting Chiang Mai to be on this list, but instead we are recommending Chiang Rai instead. The reason being is that Chiang Mai is being built up fast, with many expats and holiday makers adding to the population levels. In contrast, Chiang Rai is less built up and a perfect choice for retirement. There are rivers, forests and beautiful waterfalls all surrounded by mountains. If you love walking/hiking then this city will provide endless opportunities. There are countless museums in Chiang Rai including the Ban Dam Museum, consisting of artwork and creations from Thailand’s nationally acclaimed artist Thawan Duchanee.