Living in Thailand Expat Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Have you ever dreamt about living in Thailand? With a world-class, vibrant nightlife, scuba diving sites, tropical temperatures, and low cost of living, you’ll see that Thailand is one of the best destinations for expats. They have been attracting incomers for decades, offering the convenience of urban life.
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular locales for good living overseas. And there are lots of reasons to relocate to this country. For pennies on the dollar, you can get a year-round tropical climate and access Thailand’s modern comforts and conveniences, including affordable, high-quality life and medical care.
However, there’s something special about this corner of the world. Guess what! It’s an exotic place to live a comfortable lifestyle without headaches and extra expenses. In no doubt, Thailand is a country with souls. You can dine out on delicious Thai food, go to the cinemas, and enjoy beach weekend.
As a newbie traveling to another country, you should be carried away with the extravagant lifestyle. [Thailand’s lifestyle is vibrant, friendly, and rewarding. This way, you should be wary of the kind of outdoor activities you engage in. Besides, you’ll often hear newcomers express their surprise at how easy it is to find world comfort in Thailand.
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered in this article. Our primary aim is to explain the concept of living in Thailand in today’s modern world. While we’re explaining this concept, we will also walk you through the pros and cons of living in Thailand. Are you ready to check what we’ve unleashed for you? If you answered yes, read further for more details.
Rundown of Thailand popular Expat Havens
As said earlier that this country is a place where you can experience ancient traditions; there are many places for expats to visit. While still enjoying the comforts of home, it’s quite essential to explore different outdoor activities. But where do you want to start from? Worry less as we’ve listed them.
Chiang Mai: Slower Pace of Life and Mountain Views
This is located near the foothills of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is one of the most popular places for those expats seeking a calmer and more cultured way of life in Thailand. As the center of northern Thai, this place is home to hundreds of Buddhist temples, with a rich history dated back to 800 years.
Meanwhile, with an average temperature of around 77 F during the cool season, Chiang Mai seems to hold the best weather in the country. Aside from this fact, you’ll find impressive dining options, movie theaters featuring first-run films, western malls, and many others, to mention a few.
Koh Samui: Tropical Haven in Thailand
When it comes to experiencing the ideal beach abroad, many expats would love to visit Koh Samui. The palm-lined beaches, year-round tropical weather, Azure Ocean, and other affordable outdoor activities make for an ultra-easy living and comfortable lifestyle.
Just an hour-and-a-half flight from the Thai capital of Bangkok, this is a popular place for everyone looking to enjoy amazing life in Thailand. More so, you can enjoy excellent life and access quality healthcare, where a basic doctor can charge you nothing less than $25, while there’s plenty to keep you busy.
In addition, you’ll definitely see foreigners coming to Koh Samui because of the sun, sand, and sea. Also, they are affordable, and you can also find a quiet beach and enjoy the surf or sunset. Meanwhile, it’s home to more than sixty-three thousand people, dubbed for a good reason along with tourism and fishing.
Bangkok: Modern and Affordable in Thailand
Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, was the former Chinese trading port situated along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. With gleaming skyscrapers, luxury hotels, and world-class public transit, the benefits of living in this city cannot be overemphasized. Today, a lot of foreigners flock here for a multicultural vibe.
However, in Bangkok, you can enjoy a bowl of noodles for as low as $2 at some of the best street food stalls in Asia. On the other hand, you can spend about $100 or more if you want a pick from one of the city’s classiest restaurants. That’s why you see a majority of expats choosing to live in the heart of the city.
Hua Hin: Wonderful Relaxed Seaside Retreat
This place is known as the country’s quiet fishing village. It’s a place to enjoy a great night market in the town. Not only that, but you can also get your shopping fix and stop at one of the area’s seafood stalls to get the day’s freshest catch. For more than a decade now, Hua Hin has hosted an annual jazz festival featuring local and international musicians.
Phuket: A Beach Lifestyle with Amenities
Nothing quite prepares you for the beauty of Phuket, especially when approaching the region by air and exploring the jangled-topped mountains. Meanwhile, this Thailand’s largest island is home and paradise to many expats. So, if you truly want to enjoy your lifestyle, this is the best place to create your adventure.
Again, Phuket offers easy-going lifestyles depending on your preference and choice. Similarly, one of the biggest draws for many expats is the comfortable and convenient lifestyle. Also, you can enjoy some of the best seafood, just like the Hua Hin place, while clubs welcome newcomers and offer cycling to sailing, top-notch medical care, and other amenities, to mention a few.
Pros and Cons of Living in Thailand
The Southeast Asian country of Thailand is about the size of California. Here, you can enjoy a nice space along the Indochina Peninsula while boarding Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia. When you look at many international lists of countries, you’ll see that they have their benefits and cons, while Thailand is no different. Without further ado, let’s walk you through the pros and cons of living in Thailand.
1. A Kingdom filled with Natural Beauty
If you’re a fan of grand outdoor adventures, then you should be looking to relocate to Thailand. In fact, you’re going to find beaches all over the places that are worthy of being on a postcard. Thailand has strange rock formations, isolated islands, and limestone cliffs that provide unique vistas worth exploring. Even the cities offer their natural beauty as there’s an intriguing mix of activities.
2. Thailand’s Incredible Food
Thailand’s food continues to remain one of the most popular choices in the world. In Thailand, you’ll find sweet items like coconut milk matching with chili paste and different salty combinations. Again, natural ingredients are stable in the country, combining herbs and vegetables that dominate the menu.
3. A Relatively Safe Country
If you’re an American thinking of relocating to a safe country, Thailand is one of the best options. On the other hand, you’ll need to monitor the website of the State Department to determine whether the country has any alert regarding worldwide cautions of living in Thailand as of today.
4. Variety of Housing Options
In Thailand, you’ll find various housing options even if you decide to live in the city. Alternatively, you can rent an apartment if you want and take advantage of the traditional housing market in the country. However, if you’re unable to speak the country’s language, finding a place to live can be difficult.
Moreover, some landlords may haggle in English if they choose to raise the price of the apartment. So, ensure to learn the local language before relocating to Thailand as of today’s digital world. Moreover, it may be helpful if you hire an interpreter to negotiate the price on your behalf.
5. Becoming a Vegetarian
This can also contribute to one of the first things that’d make you love the country. This is because; you can be a vegetarian in Thailand without disturbing yourself or disturbing the government. This means you can make your way over to the “Jai” stall to have plenty of options to choose from. In addition to this, you can live in Bangkok if you don’t like the idea of this advantage.
6. Friendly Community
In Thailand, you won’t be alone if you decide to start living here. This is because the locals are friendly and you can enjoy different outdoor activities with the citizens. More so, Thailand and Bangkok are the international hubs for unique cultures and traditions. Also, if you attend a dinner party during your first day, it is unusual to have everyone at the table.
7. Plenty of Opportunities to Have Fun
As said earlier, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun in Thailand. While you’re enjoying different outdoor activities, you can go out and have fun with the citizens. However, you can also see new art galleries in the city or take a stroll through the local market if you want.
1. Minimum Qualification to Retirement
Thailand offers a retirement visa that can make it very for expat to migrate. Meanwhile, there are some qualifications that you must meet before the government can approve your stay in the country. You’ll need to earn at least more than 60,000 baht per month to qualify for this process, and that money must go through a new Thai bank.
2. Weather in Thailand
The weather in Thailand has its fair share of days where the weather feels like it is perfect. Also, you can discover that when you start living in Thailand, nearly about 50 percent of your time will be stuck managing conditions. Moreover, the rainy season can create havoc when you’re trying to get around.
3. Violence Can Strike Anytime
Surprisingly, violence can spike in Thailand without proper information from the government. Aside from this fact, the numbers of physical attacks or issues with property theft are not as common as they are in the developed countries. Also, when you first move to this kingdom, ensure you go out with friends.
As history disclosed, the Thailand government promised an election in 2016, but King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in 20216 to make the election canceled. Not only because of this fact, but the government decided to postpone the elections for three years to celebrate the loss of a monarchial system that reign for more than seventy years in power.
4. Negative Attitudes Directed Towards Foreigners
Since the citizens believed that their country is safe and beautiful, they develop negative attitudes directed towards expats. This means, if you wear bikinis in Thailand as an expat, you may not be safe as the citizen look down on such person. That’s why you need to be careful of your actions and dressings.
5. Language Barrier in Thailand
Most expats in Thailand will likely encounter a language barrier when they first arrive. Although almost everyone in the urban areas can speak English but most locals do not speak it very well. Instead, they prefer to speak and communicate in Thai, which means that not speaking Thai can make it seem like an alienating experience.
Top 10 Hard truths of Living in Thailand
To round up the search and understand more about living in Thailand, these hard truths are useful. Although Thailand is a land of smiles but you should consider this fact as important before planning your relocation. Moreover, there may be bumps along the way. Regardless of this, below are the truths.
Thailand Visas Can Be a Pain
There are many visa options to relocate to Thailand, but this could be a pain in the neck at times. Between the Non-BB visa, Tourist visa, Elite visa, retirement visa, Smart visa, and education visa, you can usually fernangle a long-term stay in Thailand. You should ask yourself why you need to relocate to Thailand.
Corruption Is Like a Business in Thailand
When you think of Nigeria as a corrupt nation, don’t be surprised that this West-Africa country has its brother named Thailand. If you call it corruption, they call it business in Thailand. In fact, the country has a long history of independence and hasn’t been tainted with a lot of western influence.
Surprisingly, most Thais will be delighted to remind you of this fact. However, the downside is that your perception of western efficiencies and customs will be challenged whenever you want to do justice to the country’s corruption.
Thais and Paperwork Are 5&6
Thai bureaucracy and the Thais love paperwork a lot. So, don’t be bewildered when you have seen tons of paperwork with simple tasks. Despite computers and the modern world banking system, you’ll still see many paperwork generated at the expense of perfectly good trees in several quantities difficult to fathom.
Business Can Be Challenging
Despite the US NGO voting system, Thailand could be quite difficult for an expat to do business. If you finally see one, it can also be expensive. So, we will advise you to free your mind from anything you’ve learned about starting or doing a business in Thailand. In this sense, do it all yourself at your peril.
Bar Girls Never Loved You
While many westerners seem to gravitate to Thailand to indulge in the local pleasures, a long-term relationship can be challenging. Even though you see beautiful girls that want you, don’t be deceived, as they don’t love you. Meanwhile, you’ll have better luck on Tinder dating; Heaven forbid while taking out on a date can allow you to know your partner better.
Don’t Lose Your Control with Food
Stamp your feet, and don’t lose control with Thailand food. As mentioned earlier, Thailand has incredible cuisine, and with this in mind, it’s better to point at the absurdity of the situation repeatedly. This means, losing control will not help your situation but cause a problem.
Queues and Waiting Are Normal
It’s no doubt that queues (lines) and waiting are just a normal way of life in Thailand. Whether waiting in the immigration queue at the airport, or a public hospital, your wait is just a function of all the other systems that lead to delays in the country. It might be well-argued that it’s not only Thailand that practices the system of queuing as you can experience that in other countries.
Two-tier Pricing Policy
If you go to any small restaurant in Thailand, there are two-tier pricing policy systems that you’ve probably never noticed as an expat. Of course, the menus for the tourists have the same food items at higher prices. However, if you go to any national park in the country, the entry price for foreigners can be as much as 1000 percent higher. This is just a fact in Thailand, much-debated, and you probably just need to accept this fact as an expat.
Constant Change in Services
As an expat, you don’t need to refer to something done in the past as the normal way it should be done in Thailand. Immigration rules, business rules, road rule enforcement, and negotiation with police are subjected to constant change. So, the way the country treats some things may be different every time.
Moving To Thailand Will Do Wonders
Like many expats will tell, moving to Thailand will do wonders! The truth is; moving to this country is no doubt the best option for an expat. The foods are wonderful and cheap while the cleaner in your home comes once a week. And your life will have little stress, and with little stress comes a healthy lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions about Thailand
If you’re planning to move abroad for the first time, it’s quite essential to know the frequently asked questions by some expats. This will guide you through the process and understand what you need, why you need them, and the purpose they serve. Without much talk, let’s review some of the questions.
When is the best time to go to Thailand?
Depending on your travel interest, the best time to travel to this country will always differ. Ultimately, the cool season between November and February seems to be the most pleasant time to visit Thailand as the temperature sits around the late 20s.
Is getting to this country easy?
If you follow the guidelines stated in our articles, you’ll find Thailand easy to relocate. From Australia, you can use daily direct flights scheduled to depart from the major cities to Bangkok. You can refer to our article about moving to Thailand for more information.
Can I hire a car in the country?
Of course, yes! You can hire a car in Thailand. Meanwhile, to drive in Thailand, you must have a valid international license or a driver’s license in English from your home country. Also, unlike in Australia and the United Kingdom, vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road in Thailand.
Are things expensive once I arrive?
Thailand is considered an expensive country, but you can enjoy a moderate budget while living in this country. Of course, you can live an expensive lifestyle, but even those seeking luxury will find the prices in Thailand expensive. So, things are not really on the high price.
What is Thailand’s currency?
Since its inception, the Thai Baht is the official currency of Thailand. However, you should know that each Baht is divided into 100 satangs, and a typical meal in the country will cost approximately 150 Baht. So, get used to this currency and its value before you arrive in the country.
Do I need a passport to get to Thailand?
Just like other countries, Thailand is no different from using a passport. Australians with a current passport valid for at least six months after departure may travel through Thailand for about thirty days without requiring a visa.
Do I need travel insurance in Thailand?
Of course, every traveler will need travel insurance. Whether your kind of holiday is found within the secure grounds of your beachside resort, small accidents can arise without insurance. But with travel insurance, peace of mind is guaranteed.
Living in Thailand as an ex-pat has plenty of benefits and disadvantages. When you’re moving to the country, it’s essential to consider various pros and cons. Nonetheless, you’ll enjoy living in a beautiful country that has an amazing natural landscape, nature reserves, beach islands, and more.