How to Adjust to Life in a Small Southeast Asian Village
After spending months in places like Pong Noi by Chiang Mai and Old Town on Koh Lanta, in addition to various Balinese villages, I have become accustomed to village life.
Here in Pong Noi, Thailand, Kelli and I are house sitting in a sleepy village of a few farang expats and mostly Thai. We love it.
Picture a home bordering Doi Suthep National Park. The house sits at the end of a quiet cul de sac with the forest sitting behind the backyard.
Living in a village is quite unlike being in heavily touristed areas and urban centers of course.
Follow these tips to enjoy village life in Thailand.
Follow Expats or Tourists Who Live in Villages Long Term
I am a village rube compared to my friend Peter Beckenham.
He has lived in a remote village in Northern Thailand for years with his Thai wife.
Peter knows the deal as far as day to day life in a quiet little community with its rustic, old school feel.
Follow folks on social media and through their blogs to get a feel for what it is really like to live in an off the beaten path spot.
Be Prepared to Encounter Animals or Insects
Last year in this very spot I evicted:
- an 8 inch long Scolopendra centipede
- a Thai bird eating black tarantula
- a large scorpion
I also witnessed massive winged termite swarms and had to dispatch of 30 plus cockroaches from under the bathroom sink.
2 large Tokay Geckos moved into the house too. For a minute.
Village life in Southeast Asia means frequent interactions with wildlife. Bugs, fruit bats, cobras, pythons, you name it, and depending on the remoteness of your location you need to accept that you and the animals you care for will tend to have encounters with local wildlife.
2 chicks and a mama hen were killed by a spitting cobra when we house sat in the rural Balinese village of Jimbaran, well away from the 5 star resorts most folks associate the town with.
Appreciate the fact that you are visiting the animal’s home. Respect these critters. Live in harmony with creatures in SE Asian villages.
Respect Village Culture
After 10 PM we head inside if chatting with expat buddies.
Sound carries through the tunnel like set up with narrow village streets here. Rather than wake early risers during evening hours we respect village culture.
Kelli and I also know we may awake at 5 AM some days if roosters feel particularly throaty.
I greet neighbors – none of whom known English because hell, we’re in a Thai village guys – with a few basic Thai phrases, lighting them up with smiles.
Learn at least 3 to 5 basic words or phrases in the native tongue. Make the effort to integrate just a little bit for a more pleasant experience. Be a good guest. Connect with local villagers by speaking a bit of their language and by learning their ways.
Roosters crowing early in the morning.
Cobra skins in your driveway.
Observing old Balinese women making intricate floral offerings.
Watching Thai women prep Pad Thai for the day.
Living in Southeast Asian villages is incredibly fun for me.
Enjoy the experience.
Few people get to spend weeks or months in quiet little villages in Southeast Asia.
- appreciate differences from an energy of gratitude
- have fun observing village life and how it contrasts from life back home or even big city living in Southeast Asia
- connect with locals to enhance your fun factor
Check out this guide from Rough Guides for some rocking and remote Southeast Asian villages.
Have you lived in a quiet Southeast Asian village?
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