Why move to rural Thailand in 2020? | Official poll
Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Living in rural Thailand is incredibly different to what you might experience back in the Western world or when visiting overcrowded tourist hot-spots.
We asked over 300 members from Facebook Group "Rural Life Thailand" about what they thought were the main benefits of leading a rural life in Thailand.
Here is their top 30 favorite things about leading a rural existence in Thailand:
1 More Relaxed Lifestyle
With no clock-watching or time sensitive deadlines to meet, a rural existence is so laid-back it's practically horizontal. For those of us that have previously led a hectic lifestyle back in the Western world, it can be an incredible experience to feel all those years of toil gradually ease away and become just a distant memory.
2 Less Road Rage
Although driving a vehicle in Thailand can be quite a challenge, cases of driver road rage seem to be few and far between. The average speed of traffic in rural areas is much lower than that found in the big cities. This could be put down to inferior roads surfaces, a more significant number of agricultural vehicles present and the dreaded Thailand potholes.
3 Good Growing Weather All Year Round
Thailand's weather is well known for its hot and humid climate. It lends itself to the active gardener who wishes to grow produce throughout the year. With the simple use of netting for shade and careful use of water, many fruits and vegetables can easily be grown all year round.
4 Carrying A Machete
For those who take an active role on their land in rural Thailand, then a machete is often viewed as a must have. Nearly everything seems to grow quickly in this tropical climate, there is always something to cut, trim or chop to keep things in check.
Whether it be a property (buying or renting), purchasing land or getting some hired labor in for a project, costs are generally lower out in the sticks. Due to lower customer demand than in the cities, resources and availability may be problematic issues, but your Thai baht does go a lot further.
6 Home Produce
Budding gardeners who enjoy growing their own produce have it made. There is so much variety of plants & seeds available that it is hard to choose what to grow. Of course, chilies are a given in any Thai back garden, as is the banana,if space allows, but there are so many other possibilities. Eggplants, basil, shallots, and garlic are great vegetable additions, while mango and limes will give you a bountiful crop of fruits.
7 Improved health
Having the opportunity to be outside almost every day of the year, certainly helps to get your backside off the sofa and away from the TV. Fast food chains are few and far between when living in the sticks. You may not have the opportunity to give in to the temptation of a double cheeseburger (unless there is a 7-eleven reasonably close to your village).
8 Fresh Local Market Produce
These local markets are packed full of tasty goodies. You just need to follow your nose to the source and sample what is on offer (unless the smell is coming from pla la - Thai fermented fish, in which case jog on!) Yes there are flies and to see refrigeration is rare, but the produce is generally very fresh. Just get out of bed an hour or two earlier and do your food shopping before the main heat of the day.
9 Lower Cost Of Daily Living
Of course, choosing to live in rural Thailand is cheaper than being in the big cities. Only five years ago the difference in day-to-day living costs was even greater. A combination of western ways and its produce is now commonplace, even in the most remote rural areas in Thailand. You see the latest phones and chic coffee shops everywhere, the same as if you were in Bangkok.
10 Slower Pace Of Life
"Thai time" is everywhere in the Land of Smiles, but it's almost slow-motion in the rural locations. There is no such thing as clock-watching, and if it doesn't get done today then there is always tomorrow, This, of course, can take some getting use to for most westerners, but once you have become accustomed to it, your life begins to feel like one long relaxing holiday.
11 Helpful Locals
Thais are generally accommodating people by nature no matter of your location. But what you usually experience in village life is that the locals go out of their way to give you a hand. On most occasions, they will not accept any form of payment. It's very much I help you, and you help me in the future if needed.
12 Close To Nature
Being away from a busy city lifestyle, combined with the great climate, brings you much closer to nature. Most hours of daylight are spent outside instead of sitting in front of a computer with the air conditioning cranked up.
13 Wildlife Diversity
Whether its animals, birds, reptiles or insects, the wildlife that's available living out in the sticks is almost endless. Yes, some can be potentially dangerous, but on the whole, for any wildlife fan, you are spoilt for choice.
14 Peaceful Lifestyle
Apart from the loud party and temple music occasionally, a rural existence in Thailand offers a real chance to lead a peaceful lifestyle. There's potentially a lot fewer hassles, and things to worry about that would typically weigh you down. You can feel the weight lifting off your shoulders and your body-clock re-adjusting itself.
15 Positive Buddhist Vibe
Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development that strives for a deep insight into the true nature of life. 520 million followers can't be wrong, can they?
16 Less Foreign Tourists
If you enjoy living in Thailand but not amongst endless tourists and other expats, then going rural is an excellent lifestyle option. Correct some places in rural Thailand are very popular with expats and tourists (e.g., Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or Udon Thani) but on the whole, if you get off the well-beaten tourist track then you should find your little slice of peace and tranquillity.
17 Safe With Friendly Locals
There are plenty of unsavory incidents that make the news in Thailand these days. The same could be said about most countries, but those who immerse themselves into a local Thai community more often than not get to experience friendly and very helpful neighbors.
18 Affordable Land
If you are looking for your hard earned Thai baht to go as far as possible, then you do need to consider looking at rural land. Yes, lack of amenities may seem daunting at first, but modern off-grid options are readily available throughout Thailand.
19 No Onerous Planning Regulations
You may need to apply for a building permit in some cases, but generally speaking your hand's aren't tied when it comes to building your very own Thai homestead. Build quality is another issue all together though!
20 Freedom To Do Your Own Thing
Slip into your flip-flops in the morning, grab your coffee and plonk yourself on the veranda. Water your vegetable patch, feed a few chickens, a tasty, healthy early lunch before a snooze in your favorite hammock. Wake up to the sound of motorbike whizzing through the village and then decide what potting around you're going to do in the afternoon.
21 Getting To See The Stars & Incredible Sunsets
Away from the city lights and pollution, you get to witness some fantastic skylines (if the local sugar farms aren't burning off). Budding photographers will be spoilt rotten with so many epic sunsets to capture on a daily basis.
22 Weight Loss
Healthy outdoor lifestyle, being more active, a great balanced diet, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables readily available. Of course, not everyone loses weight living in a rural location, but that's quite often to do with frequent barbecues of tasty fatty pork neck washed down with a few cold Leo beers.
23 Waking Up In The Morning
This one ranks highly for many expats living in rural Thailand. If you get to wake up every morning without feeling a heavy burden or hearing the hustle and bustle of the rush hour traffic outside your window, then you're well on your way to finding rural happiness.
24 Going To Sleep Anytime
Take a midday snooze or two, stay up late to catch the football scores or go out catching fish and rats in the nearby rice paddy. Your daily routine that's been set in stone for decades needs throwing out of the window. Its time for a new more enjoyable one to be started.
25 Life Is One Long Sunday
Even better than that, a Sunday without the thought of dragging yourself to work on a Monday morning. Taking care of your vegetables and washing the motorbike are your priorities now.
26 Being Cold At 23c
When it comes to packing your suitcase for your big move to the rural countryside, remember to pack one jumper, one pair of trousers and one pair of socks. That will get you through the long, harsh winter months.
27 Flowers & Fruit In The Backyard All Year
You reap what you sow. Leading The Good Life doesn't mean you need ten rai of arable land to cultivate. It's quite easy to grow a wide selection of fresh, healthy produce in a small area all year round. For flower lovers, you are in for a real treat.
28 Living In Boxer Shorts At Home
Boxer shorts and flip-flops on and with a fresh brew in hand, you're set for a morning stroll outside before breakfast. If that's a little bit too informal, slip a pair of sandals on, and you're good to go.
29 Cheap Rent
Wow, you can get some fantastic rental prices out in the sticks of Thailand. It just depends on how native you want to go. Prices can start as cheaply as 800tb per month. If you really must have a Western-style toilet and no holes in the roof, then going for a property that costs about 1500tb per month would be money well spent. Fancy living like a king? Then go all in for something around 3-4000tb per month. Searching through an online agency may be required for these types of properties. They can be few and far between unless you are looking around the Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai regions.
30 Eating Outside All Year Round
Barbecue lovers and fans of alfresco will be dining outside to their heart's content. Swarming insects in the evenings may be an issue for some, but there are simple things that can be done to limit the number of bugs that land in your meal.
Moving to live in rural Thailand, of course, isn't for everyone out there. Today there is an ever increasing number of people looking to make a positive change of pace in their lives.
It's a fantastic lifestyle choice that's relatively easy on the pocket. Initially renting somewhere for 6-12 months may be a wise idea to make sure a countryside existence is for you.
Why not just give it a trial go . . . It may just work out to be the best thing you've ever done.
A big thank you to all those who contributed from our Facebook group - Rural life Thailand.
Beautiful rural locations in Thailand worth visiting
Wang Nam Khiao (Thai - วังน้ำเขียว)
Wang Nam Khiao is a beautiful mountain town in Nakhon Ratchasima. Rich greenery & flourishing vineyards sit near waterfalls, fields of flowers, & farmlands. There are magnificent views around every corner. Wang Nam Khiao is renowned for having the freshest air in Thailand.
Sangkhla Buri (Thai - สังขละบุรี)
Located in the north of Kanchana Buri province & close to the Myanmar border, Sangkhla Buri is a prime place to experience a mixture of cultures & communities living alongside each other. Beautiful temples & a teak bridge leading to a beautiful reservoir. There the tops of submerged structures sometimes poke up from the water.
Pai (Thai - ปาย)
A laid back backpackers hangout in Northern Thailand, Pai is a popular & famous riverside town at the base of the mountains. Formerly a peaceful Shan market village, the beautiful area now attracts many travelers looking for a lovely spot to chill & explore. There are waterfalls, hot springs & canyons close by, not to mention the enormous weekly market (held on every Wednesday) where people from different ethnic groups come to sell colorful handicrafts.
Phetchaburi (Thai - เพชรบุรี)
A town with an established royal heritage, Phetchaburi has many impressive buildings & some enthralling caves. The Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park (also known as Khao Wang) & Khao Luang cave temple are the main highlights. Nature lovers will find lots of interest nearby in Thailand’s most extensive national of Kaeng Krachan. A short distance outside of the town, the coastal province also boasts several quiet beaches as well as Cha-am, a beach resort popular with Thai holiday-makers.
Chiang Khan (Thai - เชียงคาน)
A scenic location in Northern Thailand’s province of Loei. Positioned alongside the powerful Mekong River, just across from Laos, the small town is serene with few international tourists. Traditional wooden houses line the river & vendors sell a host of local handicrafts & foods. Wake up early to catch a perfect sunrise over the Mekong, then take to the streets to offer alms to the local monks. Visit historic temples & ramble alongside the river before watching a stunning sunset.
Lampang (Thai - นครลำปาง)
Another gem of the North, Lampang town is a prime place to learn more about ancient Lanna kingdom & involve yourself in the northern way of life. Horse & carts continue to carry people around the picturesque streets & there are numerous old temples & historic buildings to visit. The Wang River basin in the neighboring town, & national parks & beautiful mountains can be found on the outskirts. The pagoda-studded mountains of Wat Chalermprakiat are well worth a visit & only about an hour outside of town.
Khanom (Thai - นครลำปาง) 601 km north of Bangkok
Khanom is located along the Thai Gulf in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. The coastal area attracts very few foreign tourists but is a favorite holiday spot for Thais. There are several delightful beaches & bays to explore, most of which offer superb views of nearby islands & the ocean. You can also explore the peaceful fishing village & dine out on freshly caught seafood. The nearby waterfalls & caves add to its visual appeal.
Ban Mae Or / Ban Rak (Thai - บางรัก)
Ban Mae Or, also known as Ban Rak Thai Village. It can be found in the province of Mae Hong Son. It is the last village before the Thai - Myanmar border. There is a lake next to the town tucked away in the mountains. The local homes are built from rice straw & clay with decorative Chinese style features. Several tea plantations give a boost to the local economy giving this village a unique vibe.
Prachuap Khiri Khan (Thai - ประจวบคีรีขันธ์)
A small town in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan. It boasts double curved bays with beautiful white sands & a mountain that you can ascend for splendid views over the surrounding area. Foliage covered karsts emanate from the waters & 2 types of monkeys live in the town - dusky leaf & macaques monkeys. There are various temples to explore too.
Koh Kret (Thai - เกาะเกร็ด)
Koh Kret is a delightful river village not far from Bangkok. Traditionally a pottery-making Mon village community. It makes an excellent day trip from the capital to see an unconventional way of life & enjoy a much calmer vibe than Bangkok. Peaceful paths lead through lush green vegetation & quaint local homes. There are numerous fascinating religious spots to admire as well as pottery communities, old kilns, and a thriving marketplace.
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