Why I am Living in Ubon, Thailand

Ubon

I love this photo as it really captures how smashed I was for 3 days straight during Songkran.

Inspired by Dan’s excellent wrap up on why he is living in Bali, I thought I’d jot down some notes on why after 29 months of bouncing around Asia, I have decided to call Ubon Ratchathani my home.

We need to go back 2 months; Myself and my ex-girlfriend of 4 years decided to split ways. The split happened suddenly and I was stuck as to where to go. The Thai Songkran festival was just around the corner so I decided to get the bus down to Ubon and celebrate it here, while I decided where I was going to go next. I had no intentions of staying in Ubon long term, yet I’ve now seriously fallen in love with the place and see a future (at least a year or 2) for myself here.

This isn’t a post to connivence you to check out or move to Ubon. In fact, Ubon city is pretty darn ugly and compared to Bali, there’s very few things to do here. There’s also very little infrastructure for foreigners in Ubon – which for most people is essential – yet for me, this is one of the biggest attractions.

There’s also the language issue. Very few people in the North East of Thailand speak English and unless you speak good Thai, you are limited as to who you can meet and hang out with here. Most expats in Thailand seem to hang out with other expats all the time – which I think for most part is due to communication problems (sadly, very few expats in Thailand speak good Thai). However after 5 years of learning to speak Thai, I am very comfortable hanging out and meeting Thai friends. In fact, I prefer to hang out with locals verses most expats; I get their jokes, and they sometimes get mine :) Being able to communicate in Thai is probably the biggest reason Ubon is best suited for me, yet wouldn’t necessarily be the best location for others.

Why Ubon? Why settle down?

I guess I’m at that stage of my life where I’m ready to settle down and have some routine, and Ubon is great for that. I work in the mornings, I exercise in the afternoons and I socialise with friends during the evenings. I will still continue to travel regularly – yet I now really like having my own base (I absolutely love my own wardrobe hahaha!).

Anyway… that’s enough rambling on… let’s get into some pictures that I hope will paint a bit of a picture of what my life in Ubon is like…

Ubon

This is my bachelor pad. It’s a small studio apartment in the center of town that costs $120 per month. Cheap as chips!

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My Honda Click – I love this machine and rely on it daily to get myself around town.

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The swimming pool I visit daily. I often hook up with friends here and we talk for hours.

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The first gym I actually enjoy visiting. The staff here are amazing and it’s like I’ve got 2 personal trainers who are always teaching me how to lift weights properly. Membership for the pool and gym is only $90 for 3 months.

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Although Ubon city is ugly, 10 minutes in any direction outside of town and your blessed with beautiful countryside.

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Although now it’s the rainy season… and I’m often getting caught out in the rain!

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There are some excellent restaurants in Ubon, and this is a late night fav of mine as it’s open until 5am.

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There are also a few bamboo floating restaurants that make for a nice change of scenery.

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Roasted isaan style fish at the bamboo place. This was to die for… hmmmm :)

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Not all food in Isaan is equal. This guy is selling BBQ toads!

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I never used to like working in Coffee Shops, yet this coffee shop is different. The owner and all of the staff are like my second family now, and I average 40+ hours per week here.

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While we are on the subject of food, let me introduce some dishes I have on a regular basis. The first is my high protein breakfast consisting of chicken with garlic and eggs.

Ubon

For lunch I normally dine at Fuji the Japanese restaurant or MK – a Suki style place. Above is the beef salad at Fuji and is delicious!

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I am currently on the Slow Carb diet (I’ve lost 10kg already and I’m now building muscle – more on that on another post). I get one day off per week where I can eat carbs, and I never miss having this home-made burger.

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Ubon is blessed to have one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever dinned at, and I always come here on my cheat day. Franco, the guy above, is the friendly owner.

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The smoked salmon and home made bread at Spagos is amazing!

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And the best thing about living in Ubon…. are my friends. After years of moving around on a regular basis, it feels great to finally start building meaningful long-term relationships with friends.

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John and Callum – 2 solid friends who enjoy a party!

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My usual crew. We always have a great time.

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My girls.

Anyway… I hope this gives you some insight as to why I’m now basing myself here in Ubon :)

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