Best Alternative Places to Live in Thailand

Tara Abhasakun

19 Apr 2024

These are the best places to live outside of Thailand's main cities.

Choosing a place to live is always hard. When making decisions, taking into account what sort of community and environment we really want to live in is paramount. The most obvious is not always the best. 

Thailand offers a wide range of places to reside for both city lovers, and those who crave a remote lifestyle. These include towns and provinces with attractive outdoor activities, beautiful natural scenery, and more.

The following are seven of the best places outside of the main cities in Thailand to consider calling home.

Pai, Mae Hong Son

Known as a paradise for backpackers and digital nomads, Pai is not just a tourist destination. Many expats have made this mountainous town in Thailand’s northern Mae Hong Son province their home. If you’re looking for somewhere in Thailand with a creative, artistic expat community, but without the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Pai might be ideal for you. One cool spot to visit is the Malamong Art Café, where you can admire beautiful landscape art while sipping coffee and herbal tea. The best thing about living in Pai is having access to Huai Nam Dang national park. The park provides a scenic space for hiking and camping, and is home to the Pong Dueat Pa Pae Hot Spring.


Located near the Cambodian border, Trat is a charming town that serves as a gateway to the beautiful islands of Koh Chang and Koh Kood. With relatively few expats, Trat is a place that still feels authentically Thai. It’s perfect for those who want to truly feel that they are in rural Thailand. Partly due to Trat’s tranquillity, coral reefs in the surrounding waters are healthy and vibrant to see if you enjoy snorkelling. Trat province is home to the Mu Koh Chang National Park, a marine park with 52 islands. The best thing about living in Trat is the ability to take a ferry out to tourist-centred islands such as Koh Chang when you want to be pampered in a luxury hotel, while still living in a place that feels quiet, peaceful, and truly Thai.


Known for its lush forests, Kanchanaburi is an outdoor lover’s haven. Kanchanaburi province has waterfalls, hiking trails, and elephant sanctuaries. If you’re looking to live surrounded by nature, Kanchanaburi can offer you access to the activities and wildlife that you crave. One major attraction is a Mon tribal village. The Mon are an ethnic group believed to have originated in China before spreading to various parts of Southeast Asia. In this village in Trat, the Mon people still live with their rich cultural traditions. The best thing about living in Kanchanaburi is having access to the River Kwai, where many people love to go kayaking.

Udon Thani

Udon Thani offers an authentic experience with northeast Thailand’s unique culture, combined with a thriving international community. The province features various colourful festivals, including the Tung Sri Muang Festival, which marks the birthday of the beloved late  King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great. History geeks will love the province’s proximity to the prehistoric site Ban Chiang. Udon Thani also offers the modern convenience of an international airport, with Bangkok just one hour away. The city is a 23-minute drive from Nong Prajak Public Park. The best thing about living in Udon Thani is close access to agriculture. Those looking to promote sustainability can buy produce from places such as the Udon Organic Farm.


Known for its stunning limestone cliffs and crystal-clear waters, Krabi town and province offer a serene coastal life with access to some of the most beautiful beaches and islands in Thailand. This includes Koh Lanta and the Phi Phi islands. Krabi is a popular tourist spot, however, it is quieter and less commercialised than Phuket. In addition to its beaches, Krabi also boasts several exciting caves to explore, most famously the Tiger Cave, which features 1,237 steps you must climb in order to visit. The best things about living in Krabi are its easy access to beautiful places to swim, and wildlife. The province is home to the Khao Phra - Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary. The main attraction here is the famous emerald pool, known for its crystal clear water. The sanctuary is also home to hundreds of bird species, such as the Malaysian crested fireback.


Thailand’s southern province of Songkhla is home to several natural sites. These include beaches, waterfalls, and Thailand’s largest natural lake, Songkhla Lake. The people of Songkhla are ethnically diverse. Thai, Chinese, and Malay culture all influence the province. There is also religious diversity, with Buddhists and Muslims both comprising large parts of the population. On top of the diversity, the food in Songkhla is famous. Hat Yai, a city in Songkhla, is known for its iconic Hat Yai style fried chicken. If you want to live in a diverse place with great food and natural scenery, Songkhla province is for you. The best thing about living in Songkhla is being able to feel the province’s rich cultural diversity and history everywhere. For example, in Songkhla’s Old Town, one can view colourful street art and architecture with Chinese and European influences.


Known for its hot springs and unspoiled natural beauty, Ranong province is located on the west coast along the Andaman Sea. It’s offers easy access to the pristine islands of the Andaman archipelago. If you want to go exploring, you can take a longtail boat out to admire lush mangrove forests. You can also spend a day fishing with the villagers of Baan Talae Nok, learning their traditional fishing techniques. The highlight of living in Ranong is this ability to live among people who still live a traditional way of life, while also having access to the coast.