Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats part 2 – Part one is here.
Pros and Cons of Living in Thailand
If you are thinking about living in Thailand or have already made up your mind, then it would be a good idea to read this article first. There’re always pros and cons of each decision we make in our life, so this article aims to help you understand the perks and downsides of settling and living in Thailand as an expat.
Low Cost of Living
Thailand is a very affordable country to live in. Upper-income countries like the United States and Germany, where it costs an average of $10000 per month to maintain a living standard, cost around $4000 / month (1USD = 35 THB) to maintain a similar living standard in Thailand. That leaves you with about 6 extra months of travel money every year.
Easy Visa Acquisition
If you are from an upper-income country, you can get 1-year multiple entry visas on arrival at the airport for free – no strings attached. If your country isn’t listed, don’t worry! You can apply online before you arrive and print out your visa. If you are arriving by land, you will have to apply for a visa before your arrival.
The weather is nice year-round, with temperatures averaging around 30°C/86°F with little fluctuation between seasons. The rainy season can range from November to February, with an average of 200mm/8in rainfall every month, but it’s usually dry for the rest of the year with very few short rain showers.
Thailand is a large country, and you can definitely find yourself some incredible landscapes to explore in Thailand. Desert coasts, white sand beaches, limestone cliffs that jut out into the ocean – there has a little bit of everything to offer.
Authentic Culture and Thai Hospitality
There is much more than the touristy parts of Thailand to explore. The culture is matrifocal and humble, which isn’t something you can say about most touristy places in Southeast Asia. You’ll be blown away by the kind and genuine people you meet in Thailand.
Thailand has some of the most dangerous roads globally, and not just because they allow foreigners to drive on the left side. It may be that Thais just don’t care about safety as much as we do. I’ve seen cars driving the wrong way down a road and motorcycles weaving through traffic with no hands.
If you don’t bring your work permit into a police station every 90 days to have it stamped, the fine is 2000 baht. It’s also illegal for foreigners to work in 77 different jobs, most of which probably sounds boring to us. I think it’s silly, but most Thais support the law.
I’ve been stuck in traffic for 3 hours, once. If there’s construction, a parade, a funeral, or just too many people going somewhere at once, expect to wait an hour or two to get to where you need to go.
I studied the language in high school, and I’ve been speaking it for almost a decade now. Yet I still can’t read or write more than a word or two without consulting a dictionary. There are 44 consonants and 36 vowels, making over 100 distinct sounds in two languages.
I’ve lived in New Orleans, so I know hot and humid. But Thailand takes it to another level — we’re talking sauna with a chance of drowning. The sun always shines here, too; even on cloudy days, the heat is unbearable. This way, at least, Thais and foreigners are equal.
Which One Is Best For Expat, Thailand or Cambodia?
For most people, it comes down to the question of what they like and where they can afford to live. Some Expats like the modern amenities and conveniences available in Thailand, while others prefer the atmosphere of Phnom Penh; some love Bangkok’s nightlife, and others love Siem Reap’s.
The first question to consider is whether you want to live in an urban center or a smaller town. If it’s the former, then Thailand wins hands down, with Bangkok being by far the largest city in that part of Asia and having all the main amenities you’d expect from a capital city.
Although Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia, it’s a very small city by world standards and doesn’t offer much in terms of modern conveniences for Expats.
You might want to consider that if you’re planning on retiring in Thailand or Cambodia, then your money probably won’t go as far as it would at home. The cost of living there is much lower than in the West, but not as low as many think. One of the main expenses will be food since supermarkets are almost non-existent.
Another important factor to consider is where you’ll get your health care. Many Expats in Thailand opt for private health insurance instead of public healthcare, which can be both difficult and costly to access. Cambodia is a poorer country, so public health care centers are few and far between.
If you’re planning on raising a family, then Thailand is probably your best bet for overall good quality of life. Many Expats choose Siem Reap or Phnom Penh as their home base, but both these cities lack the education and employment opportunities you’ll find in Thailand.
In Southeast Asia, both Thailand and Cambodia have been attracting many expats from worldwide. This is because of their beautiful tropical weather, exotic food, and the ever-friendly locals. So, depending on your choice and what you crave, refer to this guide to understand what country best meets your needs.