I live in Thailand and I've been into aquaria for a few years.
A year ago I stumbled upon a National Betta Fish Exhibition/Competition and couldn't believe how unusual some of the exhibits were. These Betta fish were way more beautiful than any I have seen in pet stores around the world.
None of the fish at the show were for sale, but I set about trying to find who the breeders were; its surprisingly difficult - the average pet store Betta fish here is ordinary, basically they are the breeders' rejects.
Anyway I was eventually able to start my collection of extraordinarily beautiful betta fish which I source mainly from a competition breeder who has now become a friend. The top specimens from each careful pairing can fetch $20 - $50 (US). I now have 26 Bettas all around the house. They are interesting creatures - varying in personality and they seem to take an interest in human life observed through their glass windows. My kids think I've lost my mind. They are probably right.
Living in Thailand makes keeping these fish relatively easy. We can keep them outdoors of course, although mine are all in the house with display lighting. We don't need heaters and nobody here uses filter systems for Bettas, just very regular water changes.
Looking forward to chatting with other Betta keepers from time to time.