It's a problem down south too, though more infrequent. The smoke from slash & burn and uncontrolled forest fires in Sumatra, a regular problem for Singapore and peninsular Malaysia, occasionally reaches as far north as Hat Yai.
Ay reason you're looking at Thailand? If I had my time again I sure wouldn't choose Thailand. I'm here for family reasons, so I have good reason to stick with it and make it work, I also find the general cordiality of the local culture, even amongst the youth, to be agreeable, but the smoke problem detailed in this topic is just one of the many unpleasant aspects of life here (although this is only really a serious problem in the north). There are sure better places to live. Maybe a nice new topic for you to start?
I guess I've went through a bit of a cycle related to how I see being a foreigner here, and how I relate to others. At first I didn't know what to make of it, and the initial shock took a long time to wear off, a few years. Gradually it became normal and I gave it less and less thought. Of course to the people I'm meeting I'm just as much a foreigner as I ever was, except for being able to speak some basic Thai, and maybe seeming a little less freaked out about anything unusual, a rat running by or a strange smell or whatever. All this does tie back to this discussion. How someone takes being singled out as a foreigner could depend on how someone sees being one. If it just seems normal the subject would be less likely to come up. According to the norms of Thai culture, at least in Bangkok, you don't go around saying hi to random people, which would naturally not work out well in any city or else that's all you'd do all day long. If a visitor seems lost on the train or something such I offer to help them, so some exceptions make sense, but ignoring local cultural norms would generally seem odd once you've adapted them. I'm from a rural area in America, Pennsylvania, and there it would be less unusual to walk around saying hello to everyone.
My Filipino wife and I got married by a judge in Cebu in February. It cost us P7,500 for the judge. We had a reception at a local restaurant for about 20 people. Her son and friends decorated the place for us. I believe the entire cost was less than P6,000. There wasn't any alcohol in the cost. A great time was had by all.