You can never really run out of places and attractions to see in Thailand. With spectacular beaches, ideal weather, affordable prices, and an interesting and well defined culture, there are too many destination options to list. Regardless of where you go in Thailand you can probably find something enjoyable to do and you’ll always find a good value on accommodations and activities. But there are places that you just have to have on your bucket list and I’ll break them all down below.
It’s been said that Pattaya has more prostitutes per square foot than anywhere else in the world. I don’t see how it’s possible to back that statistic up; after all it’s not like there’s a field inspector doing a census as we speak. Never the less we can all agree that there are a lot of prostitutes in Pattaya. This isn’t necessarily a selling point; some would even say it’s a bad thing. But just because you live in or near Pattaya doesn’t mean you are always surrounded by bar girls. As long as having a lot of beautiful prostitutes doesn’t petrify you, Pattaya is a great spot with many things to do, affordable pricing, and a large expat community.
Pattaya and Jometien beaches aren’t the greatest, but they’re still beaches and Koh Larn is a beautiful place that is only a 30 baht ferry ride away. There are thousands of empty condos and houses to rent so you can usually find a deal and Pattaya isn’t large enough to where you’d ever be too far from things. There is always something to do in Pattaya, but without the congestion of Bangkok. It’s also only a 75-90 minute drive to Bangkok which is a nice feature in its own right. Though you may not find a “nice girl” in Pattaya you can certainly take a nice girl with you to live in Pattaya. The downside is that you may not want to brag about the fact that you live in Pattaya given its reputation of being a whore’s town, and there are certainly places in Thailand with more natural beauty. But it’s a fun place, it’s a relatively safe place, it’s cheap, it has beaches, and the party never stops!
Chiang Mai has a lot going for itself. It’s a major city so it has plenty to do and you can find everything you need. It’s among the cheapest places you’d consider for living long term and there are plenty of expats to make friends with. Situated in Northern Thailand, the extreme heat waves are much more mild there than throughout the rest of the country, which makes it a perfect fit for seniors. On the downside, it’s a hike from Bangkok and there isn’t nearly as much of a crazy nightlife there, but the good far outweighs the bad unless you’re a night club addict. Chiang Mai has a nice mix of bar girls, good girls, and college girls.
Bangkok is the ideal place to live in Thailand if you are in the market for the highest paying job available in Thailand or you’re a very frequent global traveler and need a home base. The night life, the shopping, and the food are second to none, and for my money it’s the best spot in the world for those three traits. There are so many women in Bangkok, there’s no way you won’t find exactly what you’re looking for. The job market for expats actually has a pulse, which is saying something compared to the rest of the county. The airport gets high marks for one of its size; it’s very easy to use Bangkok as a jump off point so many travelers do choose Bangkok as home base. The high’s are high in Bangkok, but the low’s are low. For such a beautiful country, you’re really getting the worst of Thailand when it comes to scenery. Bangkok is congested, the air quality sucks, the traffic is nightmarish and the cost of living is high compared to the rest of the country. IT’s a business hub and you can meet very interesting people from all over the world in Bangkok, but unless you’ll be working there it may not be your first pick. Rather, it’ll be a place you get used to traveling in and out of and you’ll get a kick out of spending a day or two there.
Phuket is incredibly beautiful. If you want to live in the nicest place that can accommodate all of your needs, Phuket is your spot. There are two downsides to living in Phuket: 1) You’re a flight away from Bangkok, the bus ride is out of the question. 2) Its expensive - The cost of everything is inflated in Phuket; you can generally do all of the things you can do in Phuket for about half of the price in a place like Pattaya. So your cost of living is doubled purely for the beauty of the place. But hey if you have the money, knock yourself out! Phuket is a place where every day you can marvel at how drop dead gorgeous the scenery is and you’re a ferry ride away from some of the most exotic island beaches in the entire world. The girls are also beautiful, and they have a very unique look to them that many expats appreciate. It’s a major city so the nightlife is great and there are plenty of activities to partake in. If it wasn’t for the price it would be stupid not to live in Phuket, but it is almost always about the price, and the value you get for your money in Phuket just isn’t the greatest when you compare it to other Thai hot spots.
Phi Phi is a set of islands south of Phuket. The boat ride from Phuket isn’t too bad, maybe an hour and a half or two hours. Phi Phi town is very popular with young European travelers. There are many bars and cheap enough guest houses in the area near the pier. It’s a fun and interesting little town with plenty of bars, restaurants, food stalls, internet shops, dive shops, and retail vendors. The beaches on the main island, Phi Phi Don, are nice, but you don’t go all the way down there for just for those beaches. You go to see some of the nicest beaches you’ll ever see by taking a long tail boat (tour or private) to check out Maya Bay and Bamboo island with a couple of other spots to see. The entire area has incredible rock formations that you just don’t see in many places in the world. Maya beach attracts too many tourists, but if you get there early in the morning before everyone else its paradise. Not enough people go to Bamboo Island; the color of the water there is hard to believe!
Ko Pha Ngan
A quick boat ride away from Ko Samui or from Ko Tao, there isn’t much you have to know about Ko Pha Ngan. It holds the Full Moon party once per month where hordes of young European travelers get wasted and dance at clubs on the beach. IT’s a wild time, and once you wake up the next day you’re ready to get back to wherever it was you were headed.
Ko Saumi has stunning beaches and it’s a prized honeymoon destination because of this. It’s also one of if not the most expensive destination in Thailand, but it’s the ideal place for a romantic getaway if you want to splurge. Ko Samui has a little bit of a nightlife going for itself, with some beer bars and even some night clubs. But you wouldn’t go to Samui just for the girls as there are much better places for that. You go to Samui for the incredible scenery and the beautiful beaches, more than likely with a special someone.
I’m including Khon Kaen, but its representative of the greater Isaan region. Isaan is very cheap and there are a tremendous amount of “good girls” to meet. Isaan isn’t tourist friendly in the least bit though and limited Thai speaking skills would become a nuisance. Khon Kaen is a major city with everything like movie theatres, large shopping malls, bars etc, so If I was going to live in Isaan I’d live there. You have the best chance of being able to meet other expats in Khon Kaen compared to other places in Isaan, as there is a fairly large community of them. The nightlife is subdued for the expat; as the entire nightlife scene caters to Thai’s. Most in the expat community there are married, so this also impacts the nightlife scene. There are still plenty of places to pick up beautiful girls, and there is a semi-active pay for play scene. It’s just not going to feel as easy as it would in the major cities unless you speak decent enough Thai or you’re good looking and a quick draw with your Google translator app on your phone. Never the less, the affordability and the sheer number of available beautiful non-prostitutes in the area has to be appealing.
Ko Chang/ Ko Koot
Ko Chang and Ko Koot are islands off the coast of Trat, a province located a few hours east of Pattaya on the gulf of Thailand. You can take a boat from Trat to Ko Chang which is pretty close by or you can go further in the same direction to get to Ko Koot. You’ll want to check each island out if you ever get the opportunity. Ko Chang is much more developed and there are actually multiple sections of along the beach of Ko Chang that have a spread of hotels, restaurants, and bars. The most popular of which is White Sand Beach. White Sand beach is a quick enough ride from the pier and it has the most hotels, bars, and restaurants of anywhere on Ko Chang. There’s actually a section of bars with bar girls in White Sand Beach; I would guess there’s about 10 bars in this section with about 50 girls working each night.
If you head down the coast from White Sand Beach further away from the pier you can find some amazing beaches with very few people on the beach. I actually go as far down as possible to ensure that I’ll have the beach all to myself. But there’s plenty of stuff to do on Ko Chang in addition to the beaches. I went on a 6 hour hike up and down the highest point on the island and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in all of my time in Thailand. Ko Chang also has waterfalls, elephant treks, and many island tours start there in the morning. The beaches are great, but they’re not world class either. However, you get a good mix of everything in Ko Chang, it’s been developed enough to have options, but not too much so where you can’t relax. Ko Koot is much less developed but has impeccable and gorgeous beaches. The accommodations can be expensive on this island and there isn’t as much to do, but if you’re looking to get to a beautiful beach without flying and with very few people, Ko Koot is the one.
Ko Tao is about an hour and a half ferry ride from Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s known for two things: a beautiful beach and great diving/snorkeling. I think it’s an ideal place if you want to just relax and go diving for a few days. It’s a backpacker haven thanks to an assortment of cheap, all be it non-luxurious bungalows. They have a few nicer places to stay if that’s what you’re looking for, but that’s not really what Ko Tao is about. There are restaurants and bars along Sairee beach, but it’s certainly not party central. The diving is legendary in Ko Tao and it seems like most people who go there do so for the diving. Some of the diving shops actually give you free lodging if you dive with them. The beaches are postcard worthy; but Ko Tao is the place for you if you dive or want to learn.