Big City vs. Small Town in Thailand

Big City vs. Small Town in Thailand: Pros and Cons

Thailand is known for its undeniable beauty, warmth, and hospitality. From bustling Bangkok to white sandy beaches on the coasts, it’s a country that offers plenty of experiences for all types of travelers. But when it comes down to deciding whether to visit one of Thailand’s larger cities or smaller towns, the choice isn’t always so easy. In this blog post, we’ll explore both sides with a look at the pros and cons of visiting either a big city or small town during your travels in Thailand – helping you come to an educated decision about where to go!

With around 3.6 million migrants living in Thailand as of 2022, making up 5.2% of the total population, moving to Thailand is becoming increasingly popular among expatriates

Key Takeaways

  • Big cities in Thailand offer more amenities, such as restaurants and shopping centers, as well as greater access to public transportation.
  • Small towns provide a calmer atmosphere with fewer people and lower crime rates.
  • Both big cities and small towns have their advantages when it comes to the cost of living, job opportunities, entertainment options, and more.
Big City vs. Small Town in Thailand

Thailand is a nation with a diverse landscape populated by a plethora of people, InterNations, a Berlin-based online network that connects ex-pat communities, conducted a study of people living abroad in 52 countries and found that Thailand was among the top ten best places for expatriates to reside in 2022!

But, beyond the physical characteristics of the country, particularly in regard to rural and urban living, there are many factors to consider when contrasting life in either a small town or a big city. This blog post will delve into the pros and cons of both lifestyles in Thailand in order to help those looking for further information on their potential relocation decisions. It is our hope that this article will enable individuals to make an informed decision on which life they are more inclined towards smaller towns or bigger cities.

Living in a Big City in Thailand

When most people think of Thailand, they picture white sand beaches and lush jungles filled with exotic wildlife. But there is so much more to this amazing country than meets the eye! I recently had the opportunity to experience life in a big city in Thailand, and I can tell you first-hand that it was an incredible experience. From the vibrant night markets to the delicious street food, from relaxed rooftop restaurants and endless exploration opportunities – living in a big city in Thailand is truly something special.

The Pros

Here are some pros:

1. Access to amenities and services

Living in a big city in Thailand has its advantages. Access to amenities and services is one of the biggest advantages, providing citizens with high-quality education and health services, convenient public transport systems, fine dining opportunities, and options for leisure activities. The diversity of options for daily activities also allows individuals to live exciting lives. With tonnes of different markets and shops available, residents are able to find anything they need, often at very low prices. The wonderful landscape views around the cities add a great bonus that many people appreciate.

2. Job opportunities

Living in a big city in Thailand can offer many advantages if you are planning on working there. One of the biggest advantages is the vast number of job opportunities that can be found. A big city offers a wide range of jobs, from corporate positions and business openings to casual work in the service and hospitality industries. The chances of finding suitable employment are abundant, and chances for career progression often come with it. Alongside these job opportunities, living in a major Thai city also brings with it other benefits such as excellent transport links and access to world-class amenities and facilities.

3. Cultural diversity

Moving to a big city in Thailand can be an exciting experience full of new possibilities. One of the main advantages of living in a big city is the cultural diversity that one finds there–it provides the opportunity to interact and share experiences with those from different backgrounds and to expand one’s worldview. Moreover, such cities often contain many attractions such as historic sites, nightlife, shopping districts, and much more which can be enjoyed by all inhabitants.

The provinces of Thailand offer endless opportunities to explore the incredible cultural diversity of this nation. From the vibrant city life of Bangkok to the more traditional districts of Lamphun and Nakhon Si Thammarat, there is something for everyone. An ideal way to experience this unique culture is through a visit to the remarkable Sukhothai Historical Park and the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, which is an ancient city!

Combining preserved ruins with stunningly beautiful landscapes, these parks represent ancient history in a way that is truly captivating. There are plenty of activities and recreational activities available, from island hopping to renting a bike and exploring the historic grounds; making it an unforgettable getaway for people of all ages.

The Cons

Here are some cons:

1. High cost of living

Moving to a large city in Thailand comes with a unique set of advantages, as well as some disadvantages. One of the biggest obstacles to living in such an urban area is the high cost of living. Expenses like rent and food take up a larger portion of your budget due to higher prices than those found in more rural settings.

2. Traffic and pollution

Living in a big city in Thailand has its disadvantages, the most significant being traffic and pollution. Traffic can be unbearable, especially during peak hours; there will seemingly always be queues of cars on the roads and plenty of honking happening. Pollution is also an issue that is not to be underestimated; air pollution dominates the urban landscape due to the congested living environment, while loud noise and garbage often choke the streets.

3. Noise pollution

Living in a big city in Thailand can be a thrilling experience but also come with its own set of challenges. One impact of living in big cities comes from the amount of noise pollution which can make everyday life more difficult, particularly in highly populated urban centers. The constant hum of traffic, construction, industry, and air travel have been found to be linked to various issues like sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, hypertension, and tinnitus. To minimize these effects, people living in these areas may need to take steps such as soundproofing their apartments or making sure to take regular breaks outside of the city center.

Living in a Small Town in Thailand

Are you yearning for an adventure? Are you ready to break away from a hectic and stressful life in the city and get off the beaten path? If so, then living in a small town in Thailand could be your ticket to finding joy, relaxation, and balance. From lush rainforest to exotic beaches full of white sand, come explore with us this magical land.

With its warm climate, delicious food, captivating culture, and hospitable people – just to name a few reasons – Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Here we will unpack what it’s like living in these picturesque towns that are seemingly stuck out of time.

The Pros

Here are some pros:

1. Lower cost of living

Living in a small town in Thailand is an attractive option for many people due to its lower cost of living. The relatively favorable exchange rate between the Thai baht and many other currencies, as well as the inexpensive basic commodities within Thailand, means that one does not need a large amount of money to live comfortably. With a low cost of living, one needs to work fewer hours or even pursue multiple job opportunities if desired. Small towns also bring their own set of advantages such as a strong sense of community and often a healthy balance between leisure and work that is not always found in larger-sized cities.

2. Close-knit community

Living in a small town in Thailand has its upsides, not least of which is the close-knit community found everywhere. The locals are friendly and willing to help newcomers become acquainted with their surroundings. Moreover, smaller towns tend to be quieter than cities and less chaotic; this makes for a more relaxed lifestyle. The cost of living is also usually lower compared to that of a big city, meaning money can go further making life in a small town a more attractive option.

3. Peaceful environment

Living in a small town in Thailand can offer one much peace and tranquility. It is the perfect place to unwind after long days of work or school, as there is usually much less hustle and bustle than what you would find in bigger cities. This also means that it can be easier to get to know your neighbors, which may make it a great place to raise a family. Plus, there are often countless attractions to explore nearby – from local markets to national parks, and more. In short, living in a small town in Thailand has an abundance of appeal that should make it seriously considered by anyone looking for a pleasant environment to settle down in.

The Cons

Here are some cons:

1. Limited job opportunities

Living in a small town in Thailand can present some challenges. Without the bustling city life of Bangkok, job opportunities may be limited, requiring those living in rural areas to drive further distances to major cities for work. Moreover, limited access to public transportation and amenities may make daily living more difficult than it is in an urban area. Those with business dreams or entrepreneurial goals may find the resources around them inadequate for flourishing their endeavors. Nevertheless, many find solace and peace residing in smaller towns away from big city hustle and bustle.

2. Limited access to amenities and services

Living in a small town in Thailand can have its challenges. Although the pace of life may be slower and more relaxed, access to amenities and services is often limited, with some essential staples potentially difficult or even impossible to find. This lack of options could prove to be an issue for those requiring specific products or centralized services like banks and medical facilities. Living in a small rural town carries certain inherent differences from living in a large city, so prospective residents should research their new hometown thoroughly before settling down.

3. Boredom

Living in a small town in Thailand can have its cons. Chief among them is the possibility of boredom setting in. Without the hustle and bustle of city life, it can sometimes be a struggle to find activities to occupy one’s time. 

Moreover, since small towns usually lack the bigger entertainment venues available in metropolitan areas, making plans for weekends or evenings out might be more difficult to do on a regular basis. For those who crave stimulation and variety, small towns may provide too little of it for long-term satisfaction.

Comparison of the Two Lifestyles

Comparison of cost of living

Living in Thailand offers many unique advantages as compared to many other countries, however, settling down in either a big city or small town can drastically affect your lifestyle. The cost of living should be taken into serious consideration when considering this major decision. 

Small towns are typically much more affordable than Thailand’s bustling metropolitan cities such as Bangkok, including rent and utilities such as water and electricity. However, the cost differences between big cities and small towns in Thailand vary depending on region, perhaps most notably in northern Thailand.

You can go to Chiang Rai, Thailand’s northernmost province, which has the atmosphere of a complex mountain range and valuable Lanna culture, or you can go to Ko Ngai, Thailand’s perfect paradise island. Ko Ngai is possibly Thailand’s most island paradise! The jungle-covered island has no roads and only a handful of chic, boutique-style bungalow resorts.

Chiang Mai is also one of the popular tourist destinations which has had an effect on its prices elsewhere making it rival to those found in Bigger Thai cities like Bangkok or Phuket. Ultimately, whether you decide to move to a big city or small town in Thailand depends on your budget and preferences!

Comparison of job opportunities

A comparison of life in Thailand’s big cities and small towns largely involves the question of job prospects. Numerous employment opportunities exist in larger cities, due to the vast array of businesses represented within them. There may also be a greater number of specialized positions available in metro areas, giving talented individuals more options to pursue their career aspirations. On the other hand, small towns are generally more welcoming to outsiders and can offer closer communities with a slower pace of life.

Despite this attractive lifestyle, employment options may be limited or involve salary levels that do not match up to those offered in the big cities. Depending on a person’s goals and preferences, each type of settlement offers advantages that must be weighed before making a move to Thailand.

Comparison of cultural experiences

Thailand provides a distinct contrast in cultural experiences between its bustling urban areas, such as Bangkok, and its more tranquil rural towns. In Bangkok and other large cities, the pace of life is much faster and there are countless attractions to explore. From crowded street markets selling unique wares to world-renowned monuments and entertainment venues, Thailand’s larger cities offer an unparalleled array of activities to enjoy. 

On the other hand, visiting rural communities gives visitors a glimpse into the simpler side of life in Thailand; small towns are generally slower-paced than their larger counterparts and provide more opportunities for locals to socialize with one another throughout their days.

Krabi town may seem unappealing to a casual visitor, but look slightly further and you’ll discover that the province hosts quite a few stunning points of interest. Tourists based in Krabi tend to stay here as much because of its infrastructure as for its beauty. Those looking to experience two distinct aspects of Thailand should take a trip to Koh Tao, which is revered for its variety and indulgent spaces. When on the island, travelers should start by appreciating the grandeur of Koh Samui — with its many fine spas, hotels, and bungalows — before traveling onto the more natural remainder of Koh Tao.

Big City vs. Small Town in Thailand FAQs

What are the job opportunities like in big cities in Thailand?

The larger cities in Thailand offer a variety of job opportunities for those looking to access the country’s bustling economy. For example, teaching remains one of the most popular occupations as there are plenty of educational institutions, such as universities and international schools, which offer teaching positions. 

In addition to these more traditional teaching roles, other career paths, such as digital marketing and Accounting, have opened up with the influx of international businesses that have moved into Thailand in recent years. 

Moreover, jobs available in creative industries continue to grow steadily due to increased interest from overseas investors. In short, anytime someone looks for work in Thailand’s major cities they can find plenty of options and possibilities that cater to their interests and skills.

Pro tip: Here are tons of options for ex-pat jobs in Thailand that you can check out!

Is the cost of living in big cities in Thailand higher than in small towns?

There can be significant regional variations in the cost of living in Thailand. For example, the cost of living in cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai is generally higher than in smaller cities or rural areas, due to factors such as higher demand for housing and other necessities.

What kind of amenities and services are available in big cities in Thailand?

Thai people love festivals. There are many colorful festivals taking place around Thailand throughout the year. Many of them are derived from things like religion or the lunar calendar.

One of the most important Thai festivals is the Light Festival (Loy Krathong) held in November every year alongside the Chiang Mai Yi Peng Lantern Festival, which is famous for thousands of lanterns flying into the night sky.

Held in April, another culturally significant Thai festival is Songkran, during which a three-day nationwide water fight takes place. It is also known as the Thai New Year and serves as a symbol of renewal in Buddhism. It is a great feeling to join in the world’s biggest water fight!

What is the cultural experience like in big cities compared to small towns in Thailand?

The cultural experience in Thailand’s larger cities is vastly different from that of its smaller towns. As mentioned earlier, larger cities offer a buzzing nightlife and endless attractions to explore.

On the contrary, traveling to rural areas allows for a more tranquil experience – you can find yourself exploring local markets or enjoying the slower pace of life while learning more about Thai culture.

What is the peace and quiet like in small towns in Thailand?

The experience of living in a big city is often quite different than living in a small town. In big cities, the pace of life is usually faster and there tend to be more attractions and activities available compared to rural areas. On the other hand, visiting rural communities allows visitors to take part in slower-paced activities such as exploring local markets or trying an array of traditional dishes.

Small towns in Thailand tend to be much more peaceful than their larger counterparts due to fewer people, less traffic, and a slower pace of life overall. This makes it a great option for those looking for a relaxing stay away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The peace and quiet are often accompanied by a sense of tranquility, allowing visitors to spend time in nature or take part in activities such as yoga or meditation.


If you’re looking to live in Thailand on a budget, following the tips and tricks in this blog post will help you save money. From negotiating your rent to exploring local markets for food, there are many ways to cut costs without sacrificing your quality of life. While each lifestyle has its pros and cons, we recommend living in Thailand if you’re looking for an affordable place to call home. To learn more about living in Thailand or other countries around the world, subscribe to our newsletter today.

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