No doubt, Bangkok’s bright lights have a tempting allure. But don’t forget about small town life in Thailand. For those who enjoy clean air, friendly locals and a laid-back lifestyle, small town living might be for you. Here are 3 reasons why small town living trumps Bangkok’s urban scene.
1. Small towns are cheap.
Living in a small town makes for a dirt cheap lifestyle. My overall monthly expenses in Pua, including utilities, motorbike costs, occasional leisure trips, food (and I eat like a horse) totals at $400 USD. My rent is covered by Pua school, where I teach English.
My salary is $1,000 USD per month plus side income from private tutoring & extra classes. By American standards, that’s barely enough to pay rent. But in a small town like Pua, you can live like a king with that income and still save more than half of your earnings.
No question, Bangkok has a better bar scene than small towns in Thailand. But if you set your budget at $400/month, there’s no way you could participate in the city’s tempting nightlife.
2. Small towns have culture.
Bangkok is a hustling, bustling city with millions of Thai people. Problem is, it’s so saturated with tourists. It’s like living in the western capital of southeast Asia – not a truly authentic Thai cultural experience. And Bangkok natives are apathetic to outsiders. They just aren’t as friendly to foreigners as the natives are in small towns.
If you want to experience real intercultural immersion, it’s much easier in a small rural town. Small town locals become very excited when they see farangs (foreigners). It’s an opportunity for them to learn the coveted English language (and it’s an opportunity for you to learn Thai). That sort of authentic cultural experience is difficult to come by in Bangkok, where scamming tourists is commonplace.
3. Small towns are peaceful.
Admittedly, I’m still drawn to bright city lights (I’m not against escaping to Bangkok or Chiang Mai for a night out with international friends for the weekend). But small town living doesn’t surround you with constant distraction like urban life does. There’s ample time to devote to constructive hobbies: reading, writing, making Thai friends, practicing a foreign language, playing real football.
I never cared much for nature until settling in a small town in Thailand. Pua, Nan is tucked away beside a lush mountain range. Crisp air and the fragrance and sights of budding flowers and fruits abounds. Just a short drive up winding mountainside roads will take you to nearby Doi Phu Kha National Park. It’s nice to hop on the motorbike and cruise up to the mountaintop park for a soul-refreshing getaway.
In Bangkok, you can’t go ten seconds without getting bombarded by someone trying to sell their wares. And they’re likely jacking the price up on what they’re selling because you’re a foreigner. It’s stressful in Bangkok. That’s why I prefer the small town life in Thailand.