In Pictures: My 5 Favourite Things About Life in Thailand

In November of 2015, Vivien and I flew to Thailand, to what we romantically called our ‘new life’. An expat life. A life of new experiences, travel and adventure, while we are still young enough to enjoy it! And most importantly, a far more affordable life thanks to the cost of living that on average, is a third of what we paid back in Australia.

We’ve settled in Hua Hin, on the Royal Coast of Thailand, but we certainly haven’t let the grass grow under our feet. There’s just so much to see, do and experience here that makes everyday life a joy. Here’s just a few of my favourites…

1.  Our Home

©Michael Cullen
Michael’s Hua Hin home and tropical garden.


Hua Hin has undoubtedly proven to be an excellent choice for us. As is sensible, we rented for the first four months as we got to know the area. We felt so comfortable here that we knew we wanted to settle in for the long term. And when we found a little two-bedroom, two-bathroom pool villa we knew we’d found our home.

©Michael Cullen The outdoor living space offers views of the private pool.

It was 10 or so years old when we bought it. It’s in a quiet and tidy street, about three kilometres from the beach as the crow flies and 10 minutes’ drive to central Hua Hin and all its facilities. We bought it for $140,000 and it came fully furnished—down to crockery, cutlery and household linen—which was great because we sold all of that before we left Australia. I certainly love our home!

2. Travel in Thailand

It’s no wonder that Thailand welcomes over 35 million visitors a year—it has so much to offer no matter what you are after. Like many Australians, we love a road trip and have now completed quite a few. The 2,000 kilometre round-trip from Hua Hin to Chiang Mai was a great adventure. Bo Sang’s annual Umbrella Festival stands out as the most colourful experience.

©Michael Cullen
The Bo Sang Umbrella Festival in Chiang Mai.

3. Travel in Southeast Asia

Hua Hin is about a three-hour drive from Bangkok airport which means we can travel throughout Southeast Asia exceptionally easily. But we don’t even have to take to the skies to explore other countries. Earlier this year we journeyed by train from Hua Hin to Malaysia which, to our surprise, was a breeze. There are so many highlights from that trip but I particularly loved exploring some of Malaysia’s lesser known towns and cities like Taiping and Ipoh.

©Michael Cullen
Exploring the shop houses of Ipoh’s Old Town.

4. Exploring Thailand’s Rich History

Being able to walk streets steeped in history and explore the rich culture of Thailand every day is a joy.

This Buddha at Sukhothai Historical park is an
impressive 11 metres wide and 15 metres high.

Visits to the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, both must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are a stand-out memory for me. I so loved delving into the history of these former Thai capitals as it helps me better understand Thailand’s ancient culture and people.

5. Thai Food

Most every city and major town in Australia has a selection of Thai restaurants, so the exquisite flavours of the local cuisine will be no stranger to many Aussies. Our time in Thailand has taught us that there is so much more to discover and taste—and I’m certainly not tiring of this fantastic and diverse discovery tour.

©Michael Cullen

A stand-out dish for me—among the many I’ve savoured—was this prawn and turmeric soup which was freshly prepared for us as part of a food tour. The tour cost $50 for four hours of sampling dishes at seven different locations. It was more than worth it, the food was spectacular and we were so full that we couldn’t eat for 24 hours after the tour!

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