Comparing different places in Thailand

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AsAw
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Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by AsAw » Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:38 am

For anyone who feels like tossing in their two cents:

I'm a few years from retiring to Thailand but until then am going to spend a month in different locations every other year beginning with Hua Hin. I am interested to hear everyone's opinion on what are the pros and cons each location in the country has over the others. I'm new to the Hua Hin Forum so forgive me if this has been addressed before.

Please feel free to share what you think:

Hua Hin has over
  • Bangkok
    Chiang Mai
    Pattaya
    Phuket
    Koh Samui
    etc.
Bangkok has over
  • Hua Hin
    Chiang Mai
    Pattaya
    Phuket
    Koh Samui
    etc.
And so on. What is your personal ranking of each locale and why?

Thanks in advance for your contribution. :thanks:

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by brianks » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:16 am

Gosh, get out of the big city with all the traffic and congestion. Why are you not considering some places out and away from all that congestion? I do enjoy driving down the road here where I live in the south between Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat a great deal. Lots of deserted beaches and roads with almost no cars on them. Anything you might want from farang land is available just an hour away in Surat or Nakhon including excellent medical care. Widen your search.

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by buksida » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:24 pm

:agree:

Each place you've listed is a tourist trap (over crowded and over priced), why not look further afield into places that resemble real Thailand a little more:

Kanchanaburi, Sai Yok
Bangsaphan, Ban Krut
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Prachuapkirikhan
Chumphon, Ranong
North of Chiang Rai


There are plenty of great places here and they are usually the ones that the hoards don't go to!
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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by RCer » Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:43 pm

I'm currently in Khao Tao. Small place not far from Hua Hin. I'd be further away but need the quick access to Bangkok hospital, at least for now.

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by VincentD » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:01 pm

Bangkok - crowded and polluted as ever, but at least you can get from point A to point B in a reasonable amount of time these days. Thirty years ago there were no expressways, trains or metered taxis. Mayhem. :)
Chiangmai - nice back then, was staying there for over a year back in 1988-89. No bars, airport only operated during the day and was not set up for international travellers. Wororot market parking was as bad then as it is now.
Pattaya - Sodom-by-the-sea.
Phuket - nice back in the early 80's. Could see the whole of Patong beach in one stretch, not a single hotel on the beach side of the road. Last trip was a couple of months before the tsunami, won't be going back. It's going the way of Pattaya.
Samui - was there late 70's. No airport, but they did have the 'express' ferry from Surat Thani. Bus trip from Haadyai to Surat Thani was interesting, they still had vehicle ferries over some rivers back then and we had an armed escort on board for part of the journey due to the insurgency. Bungalow on the beach (basically just a thatch hut - bathroom/toilet was in a seperate block) was 20 baht/night. Ice came from a local factory and was a standard yellowish colour. Stayed at Bophut beach, not a single soul in sight. Absolutely quiet at night. Went back again years later through the airport and was appalled at the pace of development. Scratched of my 'will visit again' list.

I like the Eastern Seaboard, but Ban Phe (after Rayong) is getting overly developed.
Mae Phim beach is nice, there is a small community of expats similar to the cross-section you'd find in Hua Hin.
Another place further up is Kung Wimarn Beach (Nai Ya Am/Chantaburi) that is getting popular with the locals. You can go for your swim then pay a couple of baht to use the beach shower facilities. Hawker food also available, with one or two restaurant-style places. Rumor has it that many local tv stations make some of their series here. Or at least, used to. 12.6036872, 101.8745448
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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by laphanphon » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:07 pm

Hua Hin has over.....nothing.....wouldn' live in HH, even with free housing
Bangkok.....HH, nothing over BKK, except a beach "view", but I wouldn't swim in (HH)

BKK ... Love it, but too expensive to live where I'd have to, to enjoy it.

If you gave me free housing, I wouldn't move to these either:
Chiang Mai
Pattaya
Koh Samui
..........except Phuket....nice beaches, but too expensive now.

Bangkok has over ...... everything, except a seaview.
Hua Hin .... too many expats / tourist, congested, expensive, crap beach
Chiang Mai...too many expats / tourist, congested, unhealthy air half the year
Pattaya....sh*thole....too many expats / tourist, congested, crap beach
Phuket.....expensive
Koh Samui.....too many tourist, expensive, crap beaches

Kanchanaburi, Sai Yok ..... possibility
Bangsaphan, Ban Krut ..... possibility, no shopping for everyday living
Nakhon Si Thammarat ..... very possibility
Prachuapkirikhan ..... live here now, been discovered, and going down hill
Chumphon, Ranong .... best of the list
North of Chiang Rai .... no, unhealthy air half the year
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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by centermid7 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:28 pm

OP - all you have done is listed the farang ghettos. Of those listed Hua Hin is the best IMO.

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by AsAw » Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:08 pm

Cheers everyone for the enlightening contributions. You have opened my eyes to places I had never even heard of ... being a Thailand novice and all. I will definitely devote time to learning about all of the places you have listed.

You indicate that the places I asked about are tourist traps and farang "ghettos" and I don't doubt it, but there must be something about them that attracts expats since they are so crowded. I know some of the obvious reasons (girls, bars, restaurant variety, availability of Western products, etc.), but I'm curious to learn from insiders some of the more nuanced differences between the places (if they exist).

Upon retirement, I imagine that at first I'd likely want to spend at least a year or two in one of the more "developed" areas of Thailand - warts and all - until I get adjusted and establish my bearings. As far as congestion is concerned, I've lived in Seoul, Hanoi, and currently SoCal, so I'm used to that. I used a motorbike to get around Hanoi, so I can't imagine I'd be overwhelmed in Thailand (please feel free to set me straight if necessary). I don't mind crowds and in fact enjoy the opportunity to interact with a variety of people ... provided I can get away from it on occasion.

I guess the reason I'm leaning toward Hua Hin (or surrounding areas) early in the process is it seems to best meet these criteria - infrastructure, enough (but not too many) people, enough Western stuff to scratch an occasional itch (not literally, of course ... well, hopefully not literally), close enough to Bangkok to hop on a plane to other destinations in Asia when the mood strikes, yet far enough away to delve into Thailand's "hidden" natural treasures.

That's enough rambling from me for today. Again, I appreciate everyone sharing their expertise and hope you'll add more. It truly helps.

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by Dannie Boy » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:17 am

AsAw wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 10:08 pm
Cheers everyone for the enlightening contributions. You have opened my eyes to places I had never even heard of ... being a Thailand novice and all. I will definitely devote time to learning about all of the places you have listed.

You indicate that the places I asked about are tourist traps and farang "ghettos" and I don't doubt it, but there must be something about them that attracts expats since they are so crowded. I know some of the obvious reasons (girls, bars, restaurant variety, availability of Western products, etc.), but I'm curious to learn from insiders some of the more nuanced differences between the places (if they exist).

Upon retirement, I imagine that at first I'd likely want to spend at least a year or two in one of the more "developed" areas of Thailand - warts and all - until I get adjusted and establish my bearings. As far as congestion is concerned, I've lived in Seoul, Hanoi, and currently SoCal, so I'm used to that. I used a motorbike to get around Hanoi, so I can't imagine I'd be overwhelmed in Thailand (please feel free to set me straight if necessary). I don't mind crowds and in fact enjoy the opportunity to interact with a variety of people ... provided I can get away from it on occasion.

I guess the reason I'm leaning toward Hua Hin (or surrounding areas) early in the process is it seems to best meet these criteria - infrastructure, enough (but not too many) people, enough Western stuff to scratch an occasional itch (not literally, of course ... well, hopefully not literally), close enough to Bangkok to hop on a plane to other destinations in Asia when the mood strikes, yet far enough away to delve into Thailand's "hidden" natural treasures.

That's enough rambling from me for today. Again, I appreciate everyone sharing their expertise and hope you'll add more. It truly helps.
If you like to be in reasonable traveling distance to BKK and yet within striking distance of some of Thailand’s “hidden treasures” then Hua Hin or just south of it, might be as good a place as any to start with. Assuming you are going to rent (at least initially), then you can find somewhere that rocks your boat and see how you feel after the initial settling in period. After a year or so, you should know whether the area offers what you want - some people like solitude - others prefer to be close to a thriving community - the benefit of choice!!

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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by laphanphon » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:54 am

As DB states, you can live anywhere, within reason, and have the best of both. Just need to prioritize.

I lived in Udon Thani for 16 years, not exactly by choice, but since a large metro area (relative to Thailand, and small countries), had a mix of everything anyone would want. I hated the congestion of the city, so lived 15-20 kms outside of, and not even in a village, so enjoyed the best of both worlds. Very rural with easy access to everything and anything needed. Supplemented by online shopping, or trips to Krung Thep .... :D

As soon as able, I moved closer to the surf, which is more in line with my original retirement plan. :cheers:

A lot will depend on your budget, and what western comforts you want provided. For me, that's simply food, which luckily, I can source anything I need, and cook it up, better than most restaurants. With the exception of reasonably priced beef steaks. :roll: No need or desire to be in any city that provides, just close to some shopping, for everyday living, though not much you can't get online.
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Re: Comparing different places in Thailand

Post by AsAw » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:58 am

Thanks everyone. Good to know there are so many choices. I imagine I'll start off basing in Hua Hin and spend a month or so in different places three or four times a year until I get a feel for different parts of the country.

Of course, the permanent move is still years off so hopefully it's still a decent place for retirement by then.

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