I live in Ranode, which is just on a little strip of land between Songkhla Lake and the Gulf...there is always a nice breeze here and I would reckon we have the best air quality in Thailand -- as long as one of my retarded neighbor doesn't decide that 'today is the day' to burn plastic garbage. The weather on this side is overall much nicer than Phuket because of the monsoon reversal, which leaves Phuket rainy most of the year. It can really come down here in December and January, and we had really bad flooding the last two years. Most of was due to bad land use planning, though. We've been lucky this year as the only serious weather we got was that overblown storm Pabuk, which got way more attention than it deserved. The people here are typically nice and accommodating, albeit a bit excitable. I lived in Phuket for 15 years and it was nice to come over here and not feel like I am getting ripped off at every turn. The public transport here is very good overall, though some of the drivers are reckless. There are only a few farang living here, but we all keep in touch to some degree. Songkhla Town and Hat Yai are other nice options if you want something with nightlife and an expat theme.