Italy and the Thailand they are physically separated by over 11,000 kilometers and several flight hours; culturally from very different mentalities. All this, however, is not enough to make them incompatible. On the contrary.
Here I have changed many aspects of my life, but not only because I eat coconuts from my garden every day, I can take a dip in the crystal clear sea or go to find Lotus, my best elephant friend.
The change it induces Thailand it has to do with much deeper levels of our way of being, not just with the concreteness of everyday life. It is the energy that this land transmits and the values of this people that translate into their daily behavior.
It is a popular destination for its landscapes and its people, but partly also because Life cost here it is lower than in most Western countries. From rent and daily transport to entertainment and medical expenses, the average expense in Thailand is lower than in any western city, be it Rome, Milan, London or Paris.
I have many Italian friends who have moved here and are perfectly integrated: some have made this choice for work, some for love and some simply for passion.
But how do you move to Thailand?
I would like to answer: with a spirit of adaptation, a great desire to change and a predisposition to spirituality, respect and kindness. But beyond the emotional baggage, I know very well that people want to know the practicalities: where? How? And above all, why in one city rather than another?
After all it is about a vast landwhich covers an area of over 513 square kilometers, practically double the size of Italy, and has almost 70 million inhabitants, so it’s better to narrow the field.
It is the capital, a huge one metropolis where modern skyscrapers and shopping malls sit alongside traditional markets, rickety stilt houses on the Chao Phraya and ancient temples. Bangkok is a fascinating contrast, and for this very reason it is a city that offers everything one could wish for, from gourmet restaurants with three Michelin stars to typical clubs, from Western clothing stores to Thai boutiques, from the neighborhood bar to the lounge bar with disco on the terrace of a skyscraper with a breathtaking view.
For many foreigners who want a place to live in Thailand, Bangkok becomes a magnet, especially for Westerners who are looking for a compromise between living in an Asian country, with a lower style and cost of living, but still in a urban and super modern context.
First of all, because it is equipped with a international airport very well connected with the whole world, which allows you to reach it, even from Italy, without necessarily having to stop in Bangkok. Second, for the beauty of its territory: here the nature is amazing and there are miles and miles of white beaches that plunge into a crystalline sea and warm all year round. Pollution, except for rush hour traffic in Phuket Town, practically does not exist because there are no industries or factories nearby, but the absence of activity does not mean a lack of services or basic necessities.
Here there are virgin forests and places where life goes on like a hundred years ago, because the natives still have that forgotten smile and kindness, but at the same time you can find everything from the golf course to spare parts for the latest model of cold extractor to make juices, as well as a hairdresser and a gym!
Many retired people, who have already traveled and worked all over the world, and want to enjoy nature, away from metropolitan life, choose Puket, but also – and this is especially true after the pandemic – many digital nomads and people who can safely remote work online.
Another place where many digital nomads have decided to relocate in recent years is Chiang Mai, a city in the mountains of northern Thailand, which has a cooler climate than Phuket. If you are a lover of the mountains and less of the sea (in Chiang Mai it is completely absent!) this is certainly the most suitable place for you.
It was once a quiet religious town, but today it is large and developed enough to offer various services and opportunities, with the beauty of the mountainous nature a few kilometers. Life in Chiang Mai is more relaxed and slow-paced than in Bangkok, and thanks to its location it allows easy access to many outdoor adventures, such ashiking on what is the highest mountain in Thailand (the Doi Inthanon, 2,565 meters), the rafting for creeks or rock climbing.
Since it is a very popular destination by digital nomadstoday has become crowded with cafes and co-working spaces, perfect for expats working online.
In terms of connections, however, it is a city well connected internally, but less internationally, and in fact to get to Chiang Mai you almost always have to make a stopover in Bangkok.
After Phuket, Hua Hin is the second most loved Thai seaside paradise by foreigners. Located about three hours’ drive from Bangkok, overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, it was one of the first seaside destinations, if not the first, of the wealthiest Thais of the 1920s. This is why it is full of resorts and villas, and a very positive atmosphere surrounds its wonderful beaches, perhaps less pristine than those of Phuket.
In addition to the stretches of sand, Hua Hin also boasts a wealth of water sports, several world-class hospitals, lovely holiday homes, as well as shops and restaurants.
Many people consider Hua Hin a more fashionable alternative to Phuket, but still calm and relaxing, in true Thai style. To reach it, the nearest airport is Bangkok.
A SPECIAL GUIDE
One day a fortune teller told me: “You will completely change your life”. I was in Thailand. He looked me straight in the eyes, in silence. “In a few years you’ll move here to an island in the South and live in a big house between the sea and the forest. You and this earth are connected. Here is your destiny.”
Lucia Giovannini, inspirational speaker and bestselling author, fell in love with this land and its spirituality twenty years ago, making it her second home where she lives and works for most of the year. In the volume The heart of Thailand, published by Sperling & Kupfer, and from which the text published here is taken, leads the reader to discover the soul of a people and a world that opens up continuous unexpected glimpses of nature and inner research. Together with the places she loved the most, the customs, the cuisine, the kindness and the smile of this country, the author also recounts the testimonies of the people who have decided to leave Italy to move here, with their experiences and their valuable advice. A sentimental journey that knows how to touch deep chords.