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Pros And Cons Of Living In Thailand

So you’re thinking about living in Thailand? Considering a job there or perhaps retirement? Or simply looking to escape the rat race to sunny beaches and chilled beer?

I’ve lived here for 6 years now and I came in blind. All I knew was there were nice beaches and hot weather and that was good enough for me. Luckily, it all worked out. I’m sat here typing away in my little condo in Asoke nursing a bloated stomach from overdoing it with the Gai Yang and Som Tam I ate earlier. (Worth it, though!)

So is living in Thailand right for you? This article will answer that question.

I’m going to create a big ol’ list of the pros and cons of living in Thailand. This will be skewed from my perspective as a white male from a European country in their mid-30s. As much as I’ll try to keep it relevant to everyone, I’m sure my biases will seep through anyway so bear that in mind.

Got all that?

Ok… Let’s start with the good stuff.

Pros Of Living In Thailand

1. Lots of sunshine

A few months ago, I visited friends and family in England over the festive period. I had a grand old time, as you tend to do when seeing old friends and drinking liver-threatening amounts of alcohol. I questioned myself… Did I want to live a continent away from all these people? I got my answer the day I left.

It was early January, after the fun of Christmas had ended and real-life had set back in. It was freezing cold, it got dark about 3.30pm and everyone’s face looked miserable – including mine. Two days later I was back in the copious sunshine of Thailand and I had a huge smile on my face.

I’m not the kind of person who tries to get a tan and I don’t even like being out during the day here, but simply being in a sunny country makes me SO MUCH happier. I assume it’s to do with Vitamin D levels or something but I’m no scientist.

It’s worth reading this about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) if you haven’t heard of it already. People do feel more depressed in countries with less sun.

2. You can eat out every night

In the UK, eating at restaurants is a special occasion. I used to consider myself a food buff but I wasn’t eating out more than once a fortnight. Hard to when a decent meal for two with drinks is £40-50. Typical after work dinner for me was frozen pizza from the supermarket.

Thailand is a whole other ball game. The standard grub at street food stalls costs 40-60฿ (£1-£1.50) for a plate of fantastic Thai food. These street food places are everywhere and they are awesome (more on that later.) But even if you wanna go big, a sit-down meal for two of 4-5 dishes with rice and beers won’t run you more than 300-400฿ (£7-9).

In fact, eating out is so cheap that most Thai “rooms” (hard to call them apartments) people stay in don’t even have a kitchen! It is just expected food will be bought on the way home!

3. It’s safer

When I lived in England I was always aware that an unwelcome fracas was never far away. Look at someone the wrong way, knock over the wrong guy’s beer… that kind of thing. Even walking down the wrong street after dark can land you in trouble. In Thailand, I don’t worry.

This may be me living in my expat bubble. Violent crime exists in Thailand (and if you go looking for it, it’s much more likely to end up with knives and guns being involved!) but foreigners tend to be insulated from this kind of thing.

Renting a condo with security in a nice bit of the city isn’t expensive. And the typical yaa baa addict doesn’t have the required English language ability to perform a mugging on a white dude.

Don’t get lairy or go out looking for trouble and you probably won’t find it. I feel perfectly safe walking around in Thailand and I can’t think of a single incident of crime, not even a tame pickpocketing, among anyone I know since I’ve been here.

4. Access to beaches and mountains

Thailand is a tourist hotspot because it’s a damn good place to be a tourist. Whether you want party islands, quiet beach towns, motorbike trips through the mountains or gorgeous national parks, the country has it all. So when you’re living in the middle of it, you get easy access to all these things.

For me, it was the beaches that drew me here. As you’d guess, I still love them. There are several places that are reachable for just a weekend from Bangkok (Hua Hin, Pattaya, Koh Samet to name a few). It’s amazing to have 3 days off and be able to plan a quick jaunt to paradise.

Next thing you know you’re three years in, know a bit of the language and the insider info and you’re zipping around to cool destinations off the beaten track, having the authentic experience every transitory backpacker wishes they were having.

5. The cost of living is (mostly) cheaper

I don’t know if you plan to come over as a 40,000฿ a month English teacher (inadvisable unless you’re particularly frugal) or have a placement at your international corporation where you’re earning $10,000 a month with accommodation and schooling included.

Either way, things are cheaper for the most part. Here are a few notable examples (conversions are done in my head so they are possibly approximate/wrong).

Can of coke = 14฿ (£0.30)
10 minute taxi fare = 60฿ (£1.40)
Plate of street food = 40฿ (£0.90)
Beer at Thai-style bar = 90฿ (£2)
5kg bag of jasmine rice = 140฿ (£3.50)
1-hour Massage = 200฿ (£5)

Typically, anything made in Thailand is cheap, anything imported is expensive. So cars and electronics are actually pretty costly. Craft beer is another item that won’t be found cheap and (good) Western food can often cost just as much as it would in a Western country.

One of the nice things about Bangkok is your lifestyle can be as stingy or extravagant as you like. An evening on the town can be sipping yaa dong on foot-high stools in some neighbourhood soi or washing down your Michelin star grub with fancy cocktails in Thong Lor. The city’s got it all.

Check out this link for a more detailed breakdown. Actually this is a really useful website and you can use it to compare to the cost of living in wherever you are now.

6. Making friends is (relatively) easy

This might be my big city bias talking, I have only lived in Bangkok during my time here, but it’s pretty easy to make friends in the Big Mango.

Bangkok has a large expat population. A quick Google tells me the Caucasian American/European/Australasian population (ie. English speakers) is nearly 100,000.

These people are often new to the city and looking for friends themselves. It’s not like when you move to a new city in your home country where the people you meet have a few friend groups they spend their time with already. The other side of the coin is that it’s very easy to lose friends too, as I’ll go into when we get to the “Con’s” section of this article.

One more thing, unlike a lot of countries (looking at you Japan), Thais are very friendly towards foreigners. It’s easy to make Thai friends (or girlfriends/boyfriends). English is spoken everywhere in Bangkok (although with varying proficiency) and Thais are more than happy to have a chat when you’re out and about.

Is it the same up and down the country? Well, I hear similar things in Chiang Mai with its lively digital nomad/remote working scene. Go even more rural and you’ll probably need to learn Thai to meet people. No bad thing of course. I know people who have practically mastered the language by living at a tiny village upcountry.

7. It’s never cold (and rarely rains)

Thailand a tropical country so it doesn’t experience seasons the way we do in the west. Days are slightly longer in July and shorter in December because it’s just north of the equator but the similarity ends there.

Thailand’s seasons are broken into ‘hot’ (about 5 months), ‘wet’ (about 5 months) and ‘cool’ (0-2 months). It has a typical temperature of 32-38°C year round which drops to 20-25°C for a week or two during the cool season. That’s pretty much it.

So it never gets cold here. Those freezing winter days where leaving the warmth of your duvet seems so impossible that you hit snooze five times?They’re a thing of the past here. When I wake up in the morning I spring out of bed. There’s no reason not to really. Staying in during the winter months because it’s dark and cold outside? Again, it’s not a consideration.

It does rain here but not in the way you’re used to. During the wet season, from June to November, there is high rainfall. But this comes in the way of storms which, while very severe, only last for 1-2 hours per day. It’s only an issue if you get caught in it. Even then, perfect time to find some shelter and let the whole thing blow over with a singha/cappuccino between your hands.

For me, the weather is 90% perfect here. The only disadvantages I’ll save for now because we’re in the happy “pro’s” section where everything about Thailand is wonderful…

8. The bum gun

[pic coming soon :)]

The above photo is what is affectionately known as a “Bum Gun”. You’ll find one of these next to every toilet up and down the country and they are AMAZING.

No more smudging and scraping stuff off after a number 2. These things will shoot water out and make you feel clean as a whistle every time you go to the bathroom. It’s like having a shower after you poo, essentially. You do use a little tissue at the end for drying and general clean up, too, by the way.

It’s a mystery to me that these things have not caught on across the world. It seems to be strictly a SEA phenomenon with the only other places I can remember seeing them being Vietnam and perhaps Indonesia/Bali. Although in Japan they do have those crazy panels on their toilets which serve a similar function. There is also something called a bidet which I’ve heard is used in Europe but I don’t know much about that.

In short, once you get to use these you will wonder how you ever lived without them.

9. Thailand has mastered cutlery

As you’re reading this in the English language, I’ll go ahead and assume you’ve lived your life happily eating meals with the trusty fork and knife combo. You’ve probably tried Chinese or Japanese cuisine at least once, so you know how chopsticks work. Well, Thailand have got them all beat. Seriously.

In Thailand food is served with a fork and spoon. The idea is you scoop the food onto your spoon with the fork. Spoon in right hand, fork in left. Knives are reserved for the kitchen, you won’t see them at your table. You won’t need them either because the cutting has all been done before the food gets to you.

Anyone who’s lived here a while starts to realise the superior nature of the fork and spoon pairing and begins to use it for their own cooking and even when they visit their home countries. It’s just better. It’s easier. It’s more convenient. The only time I ever feel the need for a knife at the table these days is if I’m eating steak or something that obviously requires a serrated edge.

10. Getting stuff repaired

If I go to an Apple shop or equivalent in the UK I experience a sense of dread. Listening to the repairman/technician tell me about the problem is accompanied by a feeling that I’m being screwed over and will be met with an enormous bill. My feeling is usually correct.

In Thailand, it’s remarkable how cheap these things costs and how little you seem to get screwed over.

For one example, I once spent a sunny long weekend riding a scooter around a picture-perfect island somewhere in the south. I crashed it (stupid, I know) and caused a lot of cosmetic damage to the front. I took it back to the rental place expecting an angry face and a hefty bill. The guy only asked for 280฿!

Another example is getting your phone screen fixed. Drop your iphone on the concrete is usually a recipe for disaster. In Thailand, you can go to MBK and find an abundance of shops that will do the job in 30 minutes for less than 1000฿. The same job in England would cost more just to get someone to take a look at it.

11. 7/11s

7/11s are these little grocery / corner shops that adorn about a million streets and sois around Thailand. Those who live in Thailand love these little places, and those who don’t always find it a little confusing why they are so cherished.

They offer amazing snacks or other on-the-go food options. Thailand is a country with few kitchens. There is a big eating out culture here, which doesn’t necessarily mean sit down restaurants it can just mean picking something up on your way home from a street food cart, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or a 7/11. Here’s a shot of what I’m loving at the moment, it’s a toasted spinach and cheese danish at the measly price of just 35฿!

[pic coming soon :)]

What makes them even better is they are EVERYWHERE, they are open ALL THE TIME, and you can get roughly the same stuff in each one.

You can be moseying around a new area of Bangkok, safe in the knowledge there’ll be a “seven” somewhere nearby where you can pick up a chilled strawberry milk with crisps. Even if you’re spending the week in some province you’ve never heard of before, simply ask the hotel where the nearest seven is to stock up on supplies. They are that omnipresent!

[pic coming soon :)]

12. Thai food is amazing

Thai food is frickin’ awesome. Everyone’s tried a pad thai or a gaaeng kiao waan (green curry) at least once in their life, but few people are prepared for just how rich the tapestry of Thai food actually is. I’ve spent 6 years immersed in it and still find new dishes I’ve never had.

Thai food is rice heavy with sharp flavors centred around the four pillars of sweet, spicy, sour and salty. The spice can be very intense to the point where most restaurants have ‘thai spice’ and ‘foreigner spice’ to prevent complaints from angry tourists who think they can handle native levels of spiciness!

Some of my favourites are pad see ew which is wide noodles stir-fried in soy sauce with carrots, Chinese kale and usually chicken or pork, khaaw muu yaang which is grilled (or barbecued) pork neck and also dtom kha gai which is a coconut milk curry that really shows off some of the unique flavors of Thai cooking like galangal or kaffir lime.

In addition, the fruit is plentiful, cheap and amazingly varied. You can find street vendors offering things like Mangosteen, Watermelon, Papaya and other tropical goodies that taste extra fresh in the hot weather!

Cons Of Living In Thailand

1. Sport is on at weird times

If you’re coming from Europe or North America then the time zone difference is annoying. To Western Europe you’re looking at 6 or 7 hours depending on whether the clocks have gone back or not. Mostly, this is something you’ll forget about when you’re living here, but there are a couple of exceptions.

The first one is when you want to call, chat or skype with friends and family back home. It’s not always easy to arrange a time as you’re working on totally different schedules. Even when you do get onto a call, it’s kind of awkward to be speaking to someone who’s just woken up when you’re on your 4th bottle of Leo. Manageable, though.

Where it becomes a real problem is if you’re an avid follower of sports. Trying to co-ordinate watching a football game around your life is a real kick in the teeth, particularly when you already suffer the misfortune of being a Tottenham Hostpur fan.

For example, a Premier League football match at 12.30pm on a Saturday is broadcast at 6.30pm on a Saturday evening. It can be a great evening in but can also ruin your night out.

A game at 4pm on Sunday might then be 11pm in Thailand and make for some tired eyes Monday morning. And when it comes to Champions league games, well they’re on at 2.30am or 3.30am in the morning and, as you’d expect, are an absolute nightmare to get up for.

As an aside, it’s very easy to find online services to watch your favourite sports here. The only issue is the darned time difference!

2. You’re far from friends and family

Visiting home is difficult from Thailand. English speakers have to deal with 12-24 hour plane rides to their country of origin (Australia + New Zealand excepted) so you’re hardly popping back every couple of months

This means you miss weddings, funerals, stag parties, even just regular meetups with your old friends. The first year isn’t so bad, but the longer you live here the more you will drift apart from people.

Yes you can visit home, and people don’t change, so you can still roll back the years with ol’ Jeff from secondary school. But Jeff’s only free to get out of babysitting for one of the nights you’re back, a couple of weeks goes by in the blink of an eye and it’s rarely more than just a whistle-stop tour.

And the reality is most people don’t go home more than once every two years or so – at least that seems to be the case with Europeans and Americans that I know.

For some though, this is an advantage. I have known people who desperately wanted to escape their hometown or get away from an unpleasant situation. Living a continent away will give you a fresh start if that’s what you’re looking for.

3. Poor job opportunities

If you like the idea of living in Thailand but don’t have a concrete plan on how you’ll earn a living out here then you’re in a tough spot. Here are your main options, I rarely meet expats who fall outside of these categories:

– Non-qualified teacher. The lowest of the low. Anyone with a degree can get a job here and teach, but you’ll be earning around 30-40,000฿. A tough wage to live on if you’re used to a Western way of living and you hanging around with Western expats. That said, it’s still a pretty high wage for Thailand and more than livable for the frugally minded.

– Qualified teacher. If you’ve studied for a PGCE or equivalent then you’ve opened the doors to a flourishing international school market. You can earn between 60-150,000฿ which gives you a lot of disposable income and a pretty cushy lifestyle (providing you don’t work at a school that demands insane hours and workload.) I fall into this category by the way, if you were wondering.

– Remote income. This is the holy grail as far as I’m concerned. Anyone who can earn an income through a computer screen can live anywhere. The only issues in Thailand are visa related. Expect visa runs every three months and awkward conversations with immigration officers who ask why you’ve been a tourist in Thailand for 4 consecutive years!

– International corporations with offices in Bangkok. People who work for these companies earn excellent wages and enjoy comfortable lives. The tricky part is getting one of these jobs in the first place. Typically they are desirable internal placements so there’s little chance of applying for a job like this if you’re already on the outside.

For more information, check out my article on the salaries for typical jobs that expats do in Thailand.

4. State schools are rubbish

The quality of education in Thailand ranges from mediocre to godawful, depending on who you ask. Only a consideration if you have kids, but a pretty big consideration if you plan to come with little ones in tow.

You’re looking at class sizes of 40+ students, “exams” that everyone passes, teachers with little in the way of professional standards and nothing in the way of internationally recognised qualifications.

Your only passable options are international schools. Unfortunately, these come at a price tag not dissimilar to those of private schools in Western countries. The ways around this are to work for an international school that lets your sons or daughters attend or to have a generous work package that includes school tuition fees.

5. Roads are dangerous

Thailand is still a developing economy, and like many developing economies, the roads can get pretty hairy. This is hardly the Mad Max-style roadways of somewhere like Indonesia, but the fact is that education on safe driving is not up to scratch here.

Check out the following clip. It’s from Rama II, a major road that runs southwest from Bangkok to other provinces and is known as being particularly dangerous.

Pretty bad, right? And that’s not an isolated example. I once experienced a minor crash on this same road because my van driver didn’t leave enough room behind the next car. I was fine but it does make you think you’re one idiot away from a nasty and avoidable end.

TIP: If you do move to Thailand, I would think carefully before succumbing to the temptation to get yourself a motorbike or scooter. Everyone who gets one loves it and thinks they’re invincible until they dislocate a shoulder, crack a pelvis or get a lung crushed. Sooner or later it seems everyone has a bad crash. The risk is not so high if you’re just using your bike to zip around a small rural town though.

6. Your friends will move away

In 6 years here I can count probably 3-4 really good friends I’ve made that have then moved away. It’s a fact of life here. People move back home, they go off for a new adventure. Life as an expat is rarely stable.

This is one of the reasons why I think it’s somewhat easier to make friends out here, it’s not like people are stuck in the same old groups they’ve been hanging out with since school, but it’s mostly a negative to be honest. You can spend 1 or 2 or 9 years hanging out with your best buddy, get to know them really well and feel like you have a friend for life, and then one day he’s decided he’s off to work in Brazil and you never see him again.

The most common reasons often centre around wives and husbands and kids and such things. Thailand is not the best place to raise a kid and is an absolutely awful place if you can’t get the fees of a decent international school included in whatever work package you have. It’s also a tricky place to meet a partner if you’re female or not interested in Thais.

7. Unstable political situation

Thailand has a democratically elected government under a constitutional monarchy. The head of state is the king but he has little influence over actual decision making, and the people vote for who they want to represent them in government. There are, unfortunately, a couple of twists here.

The first is that the military hold an amount of power that is more in line with a Banana Republic than a modern democracy. One estimate puts the number of attempted coup d’etats since 1912 at a whopping thirty. In 2014,  my first year of being here, the military took control of the government due to political unrest between the supporters of the two major parties and the country has been under the governance of a military junta for the last 5 years.

In 2019 (earlier this year as of time of writing), elections were held to reinstate an elected government. This is where we arrive at the second, unfortunate, twist. The leader of the military junta changed the constitution (which was voted for and ratified by the people in a referendum) to allow the military to directly appoint 250 members of parliament with the other 500 being voted for. This puts the military in a very strong position to hold power even in the “democratically elected” government.

This is merely a snapshot of the political issues here. It’s safe to say that many Thais are pessimistic about their country’s predicament.

Does this affect the life of an expat? Not massively. It’s not something I think about much and has had no direct impact on my life so far, but I can imagine for certain people you would not want to live in a place that suffers from these problems.

8. No legal recourse

If you want to live in Thailand as a foreigner, it’s best to assume that you will never use the legal system for anything. You will not understand the language, a lawyer that can speak English well enough will cost you and even then, expat forums are littered with tales of courts being overly favourable towards the Thai in any Thai vs foreigner dispute.

To give one example, if your landlord doesn’t refund your deposit it’s probably best to just take the hit. There are countless cases of farang business partners who are expats losing everything to their Thai partner in the courts. Property or assets being kept in a divorce is rare as well.

That’s not to say this is always the case. Thai employment law is very strong and protective of workers, there are lots of example of foreign expats suing companies for wrongful dismissal and such. But on the whole, be wary of having to use the legal system.

Personally, I know I’ll never purchase property here or open a business and probably not even get married for these reasons.

9. Pollution/air quality

The worst time for air quality in Thailand comes early in the year. During the dry season, when farmers burn their fields and there’s little wind or rain around, the skies turn from a brilliant blue to a fuzzy grey.

AQI levels reach above 150 PM2.5 which is considered “unhealthy for all person’s”. At this point, you can’t see much further than a few kilometres and even looking down the street you might notice a slight grey ‘haze’.

Step outside and breathe a lungful of the air and you’ll notice a musky, sulphuric taste on your tongue. People start walking around in masks, schools don’t let their students outside and sometimes simply cancel school entirely.

This isn’t limited to Bangkok, either. This year I went to Kanchanaburi, one of the most rural places in Thailand and surrounded by national parks, the air quality that was worse than Bangkok!

That said, most of the year is fine. It’s currently wet season as I’m writing this and the AQI is 25 (just checked) which my app tells me is “good” and perfectly safe. By way of comparison, the small Northern English town I come from has an AQI of 7 right now. Make of that what you will…

10. Supermarkets aren’t as good

If you’re an avid cook or enjoy the fruits of 21st-century capitalism then you may find grocery shopping in Thailand a disappointing affair. The selection is good for the main staples, but more esoteric choices are hard to find and anything imported has a considerable markup.

My first example is herbal teas. If I go to a Tesco in the UK, I can make my way to the tea aisle and be greeted by row after row of amazing herbal teas. Vanilla chai, chamomile sleep aids, mint explosions… that kinda stuff.

The herbal teas at supermarkets in Thailand are limited to maybe 10-15 choices whereas in the UK you get ten times that. In addition, because these are imported, the price is at least double. So I’d be looking at 200-250 baht (=£5-6) for a box of tea that might cost £2 back home.

Another example is wine. There is plenty of wine in Thailand, although a bottle of red is more of a hi-so (classy) thing to do rather than what bored housemums quaff while spending their Tuesday evening watching Gogglebox.

So the choice is limited and the price is much higher. The absolute minimum you can get a bottle of wine for here is about 300 baht (£7-8) and most wines go for a minimum of 500-600 (£12-14). A big increase on what you’d expect to pay in the UK and I assume other Western countries.

The way to get around all this is to simply embrace the Thai lifestyle and drink and eat things that are produced in the country. If you can shift your tastes from bread, beef and vino to noodles, rice and Singha then living in Thailand is very affordable.

11. Traffic (in urban areas)

Yet another Bangkok-focused ‘con’ (why do I even live here??), the traffic can be excruciatingly bad in the Big Mango and other urban areas like Chiang Mai or Pattaya.

Central Bangkok is nightmarish for congestion. The Asoke intersection has a 240-second wait for each of the four roads to be able to pass! Bottlenecks like this are dotted around the city and cause traffic to just pile up. It’s so bad that I don’t take taxis any more, although I’m lucky to live near good public transport links.

Traffic is bad almost all the time with the worst of it coming at rush hour in the evening from 5-7pm. Traffic is acceptable after 9-10pm at night, which makes for a smooth ride home from a night out, or before midday on weekends when no-one has woken up yet.

The other option you have is to go by motorbike or take a motorbike taxi. This gives you the option of weaving in and out of the cars and slicing through traffic like a hot knife through butter. The downside is it’s dangerous and a nasty accident will happen sooner or later. Personally, I don’t recommend it.

Public transport links aren’t terrible. I live on an MRT (subway) stop and it does the job most of the time. They do get crowded at rush hour though and they are not cheap compared to the general cost of living.

12. It’s always humid/sticky

So the “pros” section gets two entries for weather, namely that it’s sunny all the time and doesn’t get cold here. Actually, the weather here is far from perfect because it’s too damn hot and humid!

Thailand is always hot. You’re looking at year-round temperatures of 32-38°C even in the “cool” season. Urban areas are hotter (like anywhere) because of all the concrete, so Bangkok is often the hottest place in Thailand. The northern mountainous regions are cooler though which makes Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai an attractive place to live.

Everywhere, however, is humid. When humidity is low you get a dry heat which isn’t too unbearable, especially in the shade.

The high humidity of Thailand is the muggy, sticky weather where you sweat buckets all the time. I am used to it during the evening but you’ll rarely see me outdoors in the daytime.

You do get used to it. You will have air conditioning at home, at work and almost any shop or restaurant you go to, which helps. You’ll develop coping mechanisms too. Thai people routinely shower 2-3x a day and I recommend you start doing it too if you move here.

One final issue…

One thing I won’t be discussing but is an important part of moving here is the dating / romantic scene. This depends so much on your preferences and lifestyle that I don’t want to give one-size-fits-all advice. It’s safe to say that if you’re a rich dude who likes Asian prostitutes then you’ve probably found paradise. For anyone else, the answer is a lot more nuanced. Maybe I’ll make another article on this sometime.

So looking at all that, it seems that there are as many “cons” as there are “pros”. Not my intention when I started this list I can assure you!

I’m perfectly content living in Thailand and I see myself here for the indefinite future. So I guess you can say that for me the particular “pros” in this list outweigh the “cons”. For example, I don’t have kids, I have a cushy job here and the political situation I can ignore. On top of that, I LOVE living somewhere that is sunny all the time and it’s great that I can eat out all the time and I love Thai food. So weighing it all up its a good choice for me.

For you? Well, you’ve got to decide for yourself. Hopefully, I’ve given a decent rundown of what it’s actually like to live here and what the real “pros” and “cons” are.

Did I miss anything? What do you love or hate about living in Thailand? Please let me know in the comments!

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Comments (17)

  1. I have a girlfriend in Bangkok and thought about moving in to live with her. I dont have a degree so is there any good paying jobs I can find ?

    • Realistically, an expat without a degree is going to struggle to find any kind of work, let alone well paid work. Your best bet might be building some skills to make money online? It’s a really tricky situation though, unfortunately.

      • What about bars and hotels ? I do have experience on these fields. Are those jobs easy to get and are the pay good for expats ? Do appreciate you taking your time to reply tho. Thanks!!

        • To the best of my knowledge, there are plenty of jobs in the higher end bars and hotels where a fluent English speaker is a must. You see plenty of Westerners working in these kind of places in the tourist and urban areas, often you’ll see a Western manager with a group of Thai staff. The pay will probably be decent for Thailand but may seem unimpressive if you’re comparing it to what you might make back home.

          I don’t have much experience on how hard these jobs are to get though. I imagine many, particularly those working in chain hotels or restuarants, transferred from abroad after already being with the company.

  2. I’ll be looking for a bolt-hole next year when I turn 60 after 12 years living and working in the Middle East. To be 100% sure I don’t fall foul of HMRC, I plan to stay out of the UK until at least April 2022. I’ve done the TEFL online recently (though no teaching experience per se) and I have a Masters degree. I plan to look for a teaching job somewhere in Thailand – what do you think the opportunities would be?

    • With a degree and a white face you will definitely be able to find some kind of teaching job, particularly if you’re willing to live outside of the major urban areas. The pay will be livable for Thailand, but not ideal for Western spending habits. In the more desirable areas like Bangkok you may struggle however.

      Also, you will have age working against you unfortunately. Many Thai schools prefer a fresh, young face for whatever reason.

  3. I am an experienced teacher with a bachelor’s degree in education. I am also ESOL certified. I am an American. How likely is it to get hired by a tier 1 international school without any experience in an international school? Thank you for any advice you may be able to offer.

    • A bachelor’s is a good start for applying to tier 1 schools and providing your experience is in your home country then you can probably get one of these desirable and well paid jobs. The issue you might come across is that the best international schools use IB or A-Levels as a curriculum (and the earlier years equivalents) which are rarely taught in America and may be required in some cases.

      The only way to find out is to apply. And now might be a pretty good time as many schools are struggling to hire due to the pandemic.

  4. Hi Tim
    Your article was very enlightening.
    I am hoping you can answer a few questions for me.
    1. Do you have any tips on the best way to learn Thai (language)?
    2. You mentioned the issue about dating/romance. What can be expected for a foreigner in terms of finding a Thai partner?
    Thank you so much in advance for any advice!

  5. Me and my boyfriend are thinking of moving to thailand and were wondering how easy it is to gets jobs, we are mid 20’s both with bachelors degree, is it easier to get one in bangkok than the smaller regions?

  6. Hi! i’m planning to move here very soon but I’m worried that I might not find a good joob. I’m a Filipino and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology. Do you have any idea what is the basic salary of Medical Technologist or anyone who works in the Medical Field? Thank you! Nice content btw

  7. I’m an American with a bachelors degree and I’m working on my TESOL certification. I’m currently an English teacher in Japan and by the time my I finish my contract I’ll have 3 years of teaching experience. What would my job prospects be like if I decided to relocate to Thailand?

  8. Hi Tim,

    Me and my partner (soon to be wife) are looking to emigrate. I would love the idea of moving to Thailand but she is less keen. She is a fully qualified Primary School Teacher with experience, so I assume would qualify for a decent pay and relocation package through TES. I am just looking for some more experiences from yourself. Would you say that Thailand is generally ‘safe’? I am more about her welfare then my own as I will be fine. Also, she is a practicing Christian, would this be an issue in a primarily Buddhist country?

    Any info is fantastic.


  9. Tim what is the oil and gas situation like? I have no degree but in oil and gas management for over 25 yrs. I am 50 years of age now.

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