The first time I stepped foot in the Land of Smiles was around 2005 and I had just come through a fairly rough personal period of my life. I had literally woken up two days prior and decided to just check out of western life and leave everything else behind. Plane ticket in hand, I boarded a Thai airways flight and hoped for the best. What follows is my personal experience of living in Krabi Thailand for the next 18 months.
Why The Sudden Move
Call it a midlife crisis. Hell, call it a personal break down. However, what I had just experienced at the hands of my de-facto partner had been a demoralizing experience. Looking back, the experience of dealing with a major relationship break-down and the ensuing property settlement, and court hearing, basically broke me.
Like most men, I ended up walking away with almost nothing but the clothes on my back. Unfortunately, in many western nations divorce proceedings are really weighted heavily in the woman’s favor. I don’t hold this against them…it’s the way western society is…but gone, in the blink of an eye, was everything that I had worked hard for.
My growing, exploding, discontent, led me to say “screw it” to the west and book an immediate departure on the next available flight I could afford…and it happened to be Thailand.
Thailand Was a Shock to the Senses
Given everything that I had just been through, I viewed Thailand through the lens of a scorned man. I was surprised, to say the least, when my first foray into the exotic, sweety, Bangkok brought a vastly different experience.
The Kingdom of Thailand seemed to operate differently to the West and the chains of the “nanny state” seemed to have been shucked. Gone was the endless list of rules. Gone was the over-regulating every issue. Gone were the over girding laws that seem to give rise to every social interaction in the west.
Instead, what Thailand had was a sense of personal responsibility and ownership of your own problems. Sure, the country was not without its problems, but you didn’t have a sense of entitlement and expectation of government support that is pervasive in countries like Australia.
Additionally, people were actually being nice and respectful to me in a way I had not seen for years.
Why I Ended Up Living in Krabi Thailand
Throughout my time in Bangkok, I was regularly travelling around the Kingdom and immersing myself into Thai culture. The exotic smells, colors, food really expanded my horizons and, along with the Buddhist underpinnings of society, saw me start to heal.
My travels had me exploring the north around Chiang Mai as well as most of the islands down south where the tropical breezes perfectly match the temperature of the local Singha beer. However, there was one place that dragged me in, comforted me, and gave me a home for the next 18-months.
Krabi welcomed me with open arms and, my limited time there, gave me so much joy and happiness.
What Was it Like Residing in the Tourist Town?
Firstly, there is a vast difference between living in Ao Nang, the main tourist area, as compared to residing in Krabi Town itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love both areas for different reasons, but I chose to settle and rent in the Krabi Town area for a more peaceful existence.
However, having a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene nearby is an exhilarating experience. Any time you feel like socializing you can simply grab a taxi bike down to Ao Nang and enjoy the tourist scene.
Condo Rental Process
Renting a condo was ridiculously easy and I never really had to jump through the same hoops, and checks, that I would normally have to in the west. Thai landlords typically require a deposit of two months upfront on a 12-month lease agreement. At that point, sign the lease agreement, pay the required money and move in. The whole process took me around 2-days to arrange from start to finish.
Additionally, rent is largely negotiable in Krabi, and I managed to talk my rent down from 18,000 Baht a month to 12,000 with little effort. It was actually shocking how cheap the rents are if you are prepared to compromise on your western standards a little.
Dining Options for Living in Krabi Thailand
Food is a big part of the culture in Thailand and Krabi is really no different in this respect. You can find everything from high-end western restaurants to Thai street food carts and everything in-between.
In an attempt to lose some weight, I largely avoided most of the western fair and stuck primarily to Thai restaurants and street carts. Looking back at my records, I was paying around 25bht a meal in those days. Sure, prices have risen a bit, but you can still find a great street food meal at the 75-baht price point.
On the western side, expect to pay anywhere around 150-250 baht for decent meals in places such as Irish pubs and restaurants.
What Are the People Like?
This was probably one of the major positive points to me of the whole experience for me. I consider myself a broken man when I first arrived in town and my faith in people was at an all time low. However, the Thai people picked me up in their arms of warmness and welcomed me with a laugh and a smile.
I still miss the genuine interest in your life from the locals. Sure, they can be incredibly direct with their questions of…Have you gained weight?…..What did you eat last night?…..Do you have a girlfriend? But it is also genuine interest in you as a human being.
In closing, I can’t recommend enough the experience of living in Thailand generally and Krabi specifically. My time in the town was incredibly relaxing and came with a price that I would never have found in the west.
Additionally, the mix of peaceful relaxation and ready access to a bustling tourist area was the perfect mix for me. It allowed me to live cheaply and to splurge on access to western amenities when I so desired.
Ultimately, where you choose to live is a highly personal decision, but Krabi is a fantastic place for most to consider. Retirees, especially, seem to fit in very well there mixing their time between the quieter Krabi Town and Ao Nang.
I hope my time in Krabi has been instructive for you and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.