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My experience living in 3 different cities in Thailand

I can’t believe I lived in Thailand as a digital nomad for 3 months!!!!!!

I talked about going on this trip for soooo long that the fact it actually happened still somehow hasn’t sunk in. 

I’m actually getting to live out my dream of traveling full-time, living in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and getting to experience so many fun adventures and different landscapes!

And I’m so glad my first stop in my digital nomad journey was Thailand!

Thailand has so much to offer. From the bustle and hustle of Bangkok, and the lush mountains of Chiang Mai, to the beach and party vibes of Phuket and Koh Phangan. 

People have asked me which city has been my favorite, but it’s so hard to choose because they all were sooo different. So I’m gonna give you an idea of what each one was like, what I loved, and what I didn’t like too much.


Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and one of the most bustling cities I’ve ever been to. There are so many people going on about their days, selling all kinds of things from shops or just stands by the sidewalk, lots of construction going on, and lots of tourists exploring temples and markets.

There are also a lot of neighborhoods with their own style and vibe, especially areas dominated by different cultures. Some areas feel more authentic with locals walking to work and living everyday life, while others feel more touristy and you see more travelers.

LOVED: I loved exploring so many beautiful temples and visiting a few floating markets in Bangkok, as well as how busy and full of life the streets of Bangkok are. Also, it was one of the best cities to get a fair price on taxi fares to move around.

DIDN’T LIKE: Drivers (especially motorbike/scooter drivers) don’t really follow all traffic laws and crossing the street was always a bit scary and dangerous.


Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai is a northern Thailand city full of luscious mountains and old cities. It’s a very popular destination for digital nomads and people looking for a budget-friendly vacation because food, accommodations, and even transportation are cheaper here.

From Chiang Mai, you can also easily visit other northern Thailand cities like Chiang Rai and Pai, and even visit the Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet. It’s also a great destination if you’re more adventurous and want to do fun activities in the jungle, like water rafting or playing with elephants at a sanctuary. 

LOVED: I loved how safe, walkable, and quaint Chiang Mai felt, as well as being so close to nature and elephants. The weekly Sunday night markets were a highlight of living in Chiang Mai for sure. And I also loved eating Khao Soi, which is a northern Thailand soup dish made with egg noodles, crispy noodles, coconut milk, and yellow curry, to name a few of the main ingredients. It’s usually made with chicken and it’s not too spicy, although you can make it as spicy as you want! 

DIDN’T LIKE: There is very little I didn’t like about Chiang Mai, if anything at all. I guess if I had to choose something to dislike, it would be that it’s pretty quiet at night. There isn’t too much nightlife, although they do have a few bars and an open nightclub area.


Koh Phangan Thailand

Southern Thailand is a whole other vibe. Each city/island had its own vibe but overall it was all very beachy and somewhat more carefree. Phuket is a very big island with lots of beaches to explore and the cutest little town called Old Town. This is where I spent most of my time and I loved the colorful buildings and small-town feel. Phuket is also great for booking boat tours and going island hopping to some of the most iconic and beautiful beaches. 

Koh Phangan felt very different from Phuket. This small island is famous for its monthly Full Moon parties and it gets PACKED with young travelers ready to spend the night dancing by the beach with buckets full of alcohol. It’s a great night to mingle and meet new people, but once the party is over, everyone leaves to other nearby islands like Koh Samui, or back to Bangkok/Phuket/Krabi.

LOVED: I loved island hopping and walking through Phuket’s colorful Old Town, as well as partying at the beach during the full moon in Koh Phangan. I loved the salt in my hair and the sun kissing my face.

DIDN’T LIKE: Phuket was bigger than I thought and unless you rent a scooter it’s a bit expensive to try to explore a lot of the island because tuk-tuks are more expensive than other cities and even grab taxis aren’t that cheap, especially when traveling alone you can’t split the cost with anyone else. But if you’re not a budget traveler, can split the costs, or know how to drive a scooter/motorbike, then this might not be a problem for you. Explore away! I also wish I had stayed longer in Phuket.

Like I said, each city I lived in had its charm and I’m so glad I got to experience all of them! I would definitely love to return to all of them and do all the things I didn’t do this time around, and maybe come with a bigger budget. 😆

I hope this blog post gives you an initial idea of these 3 cities and what you can expect from each. 

To learn more about budget-friendly things to do in each city, I recommend reading these blogs:

12 budget-friendly things to do in Bangkok

8 budget-friendly things to do in Chiang Mai

10 budget-friendly things to do in Phuket

Is there one that sounded more fun to you? Which city is more your vibe? 

Heads up: As a way to earn passive income, this post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through one of those links, I might get a commission at NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support! 💕

Maya Bay Thailand

August 4, 2022

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