Living In Thailand

The Good and Bad of Living in Thailand

Thailand is a country that many expats are flocking to for its rich cultural opportunities and its low cost of living. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before deciding to move to Thailand.

Why Consider a Life in Thailand?

For one, the cost of living in Thailand is much cheaper than what you would find in most Western countries. If you would like to have more space to call your own, or you would like to be able to live near the city center for an affordable rate, those would be great reasons to look into one of Thailand’s cities. Many people are able to take a job with fewer hours and still make their rent and other expenses while you stay in Thailand.

And besides, there are many unique experiences to Thai culture that attract visitors. The food, the language, and the customs are all great things to experience while you live in the country.

Safety in Thailand

Safety is another perk of living in this country. There is a lower level of crime than you would expect in many other big cities. 24 hour stores and nightlife in Bangkok make the streets bright and safe at all hours, as long as you stick to the major transportation infrastructure and areas where there is a lot of traffic. As with any other place, you should just use your common sense to determine what you need to do to stay safe. And especially, keep an eye on your valuables; while you aren’t likely to be subject to a violent crime in Thailand, pick-pocketing can be a common problem in tourist areas.


Throughout Bangkok and suburbs, there are major train and metro lines that transport a large mass of people each day. If you are trying to get out to other areas of the country, you could take small minivans to reach your destinations. One challenge of Thai infrastructure is that you might need to make several minivan connections to reach destinations to the far North or South of the country. But the benefit is that these trips are often very affordable. If you need to do a visa run to renew your visa, that often requires a cheap bus trip over the border to Burma or Laos.

If you are wondering, “how long can I live in Thailand?”, that will depend on your country of nationality and your job status, so check with your state department for more specific details. Many countries get a 90 day starter visa to Thailand, which can be extended if you apply for a work visa.

Social Life in Thailand

Living in Thailand is a social experience, where you will meet many different kinds of people. Depending on where you live, locals can be very friendly and curious about you and your culture. As long as you are respectful and open-minded, you will have no trouble making new friends. There are also many other expats in Thailand in many towns, due to the popularity of Thailand as a place to settle in. You might find yourself on outings to a local night market, or at a local restaurant with colleagues, or exploring the nightlife if you are in a bigger city.

Cultural Challenges

Of course, successfully living in Thailand will take a certain type of person. It can be difficult to navigate a new country if you don’t speak any of their language. The food may be different than what you’re used to, and it can be hard to order food when you can’t read menus. There’s more food cane spice than what you’d expect. Some houses may not have fully equipped kitchens. There are also social customs to get used to, such as the Wai and other polite social gestures. Some people would consider these as cons, but others delight in learning a new culture and becoming comfortable despite cultural barriers.

Where to Live in Thailand

A common question is about the best places to live in Thailand. There are a few different places that people choose to live within Thailand. Of course, Bangkok is familiar to most outsiders when they enter the country. It is a good choice if you are looking for a faster paced city with more Western comforts. Chiang Mai is another option for travelers who want to experience a more immersive culture. Chiang Mai, which is in the North of Thailand, is more influenced by Laotian culture as well, since it’s nearer to the border.

Those who like the beach scene might want to try one of the Southern cities, like Phuket, bordered by many beautiful beaches. You don’t need to live in one of the biggest cities to have a great time; there can be many benefits to choosing a smaller town that has access to a major city when you need it. It’s often the best way to live in Thailand cheap, and you might have a more authentic experience. It’s hard to answer what the best cities to live in Thailand are, because all locations have their own charm.

English In Thailand

English is widely spoken and understood throughout Thailand. This is truer of the cities and true to varying degrees in rural or remote areas. Still, almost any Thai person you’ll meet will have a working knowledge of English.

It’s advisable to bring a translator when tackling administration, though, when you you’re opening your bank account or getting a local driver’s license, for example. Almost all road signs are translated into English (more or less successfully).

There are many notable English-language local papers published in Thailand.

Asian CorrespondentChiangrai Times, Chiangmai Mail (Northern Thailand), Hua Hin News, Hua Hin ReportHua Hin Today

In Bangkok:

Phuket News, Phuket Gazette, Business Day, Daily Xpress

There are even French and German newspapers.

Cities are also home to bookstores that sell new and used English books. Any Hollywood movie played in theatres would be played in English with Thai subtitles

More Resources From Thailand