Living In Thailand

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Thailand is a beautiful and fun country where you can have a fantastic lifestyle as an expat. There are some great options depending on the type of lifestyle you want to have, and all of them will definitely be budget friendly. You will enter into a kingdom that has delicious foods, night markets, legendary beaches, and a nightlife that cannot be beat. It’s also home to a school of massage that will rebuild and repair your body, and never break your bank account.

Living In Thailand

To get you up and running, head to Thailand for a month by booking accommodation for the entire month, from low cost apartments to luxury villas. Check out these:

You may also want to hire a car for awhile. Compare rates here.

Where The Expats Are In Thailand

This is a popular location for many expats and they are scattered throughout the country.

Below you’ll find the three most popular destinations for expats, and each of them have their own vibe to consider.



Aerial View Of High Rise Modern Building At Business Zone in Bangkok
The cost of living in Thailand vs. US is favourable for anyone looking to relocate.

The bustling capital of Thailand is an excellent place for an expat to live.

There is a fantastic transit system that’s recently been built, allowing you to live anywhere in the city with quick access to everything.

Here are some of the more popular areas for expats:

Sukhumvit Road

This is a major road in Bangkok and is probably where you’ll find most of the expats gathered around.

It goes on for quite a while and has a blend of luxury condos, international restaurants and boutiques to find just the right unique gift.

There’s also a major nightlife scene with something for everyone.

For those that are looking for well designed hospitals and international schools, this is also the place to be.


This is the business heart of Bangkok, so expect skyscrapers and multinational corporations that leads to a vibrant expat community as well.

The business center will also include equal parts nightlife activities and there’s a slew of bars and clubs to enjoy in this area that’s catered to an expats liking.


For those looking for what may be trendy and a bit more upscale, then there’s this neighborhood that’s a mix of the new generation as well as expats with a bit more affluence.

You’ll find the latest chic bars and restaurants boasting the best new flavors out there.

You’ll feel as if you’re in a more cosmopolitan setting in this area.

Thonglor Soi 5 is the epicenter of this area and should be a must see for any expat.

Recommended tours:

Chiang Mai

This is a popular spot when you’re looking for tranquility and peace of mind.

This small town is still packed with activities and amenities so don’t let it deter you as an option because you think you’re missing out.

In fact this is an excellent option for those that are looking for spirituality and a much calmer setting.

Old City

A great area for expats is the heritage of the Old City.

This feels as if you’ve time traveled to a special moment in time and it’s quite well preserved as well.

You’ll be able to on a daily basis walk through the labyrinth of temples and restaurants, enjoying the local food and the Lanna culture which means the land of a million rice paddies, but is also rich in its artistic history as well.


The complete opposite of the Old City would be this modernized neighborhood.

If you’re looking for that Thai lifestyle, with a blend of what’s trending next, than this is the place to live and explore.

There’s plenty of restaurants and hip bars, as well as local boutiques showcasing the latest in fashion.

There’s also a slew of co working spaces combined with cafes and art galleries making it the best place for those that have a creative spirit.

The Riverside

Another option for those that are looking for peace and relaxation is this area near the Ping River.

You will be able to escape from the chaos of city or town life in Thailand and take a step back.

There’s a picturesque view of the river wherever you are at and it’s a perfect place to enjoy a meal or drink outdoors.

As the sun starts to set, you can head to Thappaya Gate which is where all the fun happens in the evening.

This includes a blend of bars and restaurants as well as live performances.

Recommended tours:


Yanui Beach Phuket Thailand With Kayaks On The Beach
If you’re after a more relaxed beach lifestyle, look at Phuket and compare the cost of living in Thailand.

Of course your options wouldn’t be complete without including Phuket which is the perfect option for all our beach and nature lovers.

For those that want to experience the serenity of what Thailand can offer, they should consider Phuket.

Recommended tours:


If you’re looking for expats and their communities, look no further than Patong.

This is the heart of the nightlife in the area and has a huge and clean beachfront to enjoy.

Lined on the beachfront you will have plenty of living accommodations from guesthouses to high end resorts.

There’s plenty to do with a plethora of clubs, bars, and restaurants that gives something for everyone’s budget.


Those that might be looking for a more family friendly environment can experience that through this area.

You’ll get access to some pristine beaches and chill vibes, as well as plenty of options for food that’s both Thai and international.

There’s also plenty of luxury villa options here as well.


Maybe you’re looking to get away from everything, and you can consider this nearby fishing village.

Don’t think there’s going to be a lack of amenities as it’s got plenty of modern conveniences as well.

You will get a healthy lifestyle here as it has fresh seafood at plenty of restaurants with the fresh catch of the day, and a market that’s a true treat of free local produce and spices.

You’ll feel like a native in no time.

Also read:

Cost Of Living In Thailand

Wat Pha Hidden Glass Phetchabun Province
If you’re looking for a lower cost of living in Thailand per month, head away from Bangkok to a smaller city or province.

Thailand can be very cheap and it always comes down to what you’re looking for.

But with day to day activities, you’ll quickly see just how little everything can cost.

Of course do keep in mind there are some places that will be a bit more expensive, such as major cities over small downs.


Let’s look at the rent, and you’ll quickly notice there’s quite a range, and it’ll be the highest starting amount here.

With that said you can easily find some serviced apartments and studios for around $500 per month.

From here you can see rental prices going up all the way to $1,500 per month, but if you can afford it, be prepared for quite a luxurious place to live.

Food can be cheap, but you will want to eat at some local restaurants.

Expect to budget around $300 per month for food alone.

Utilities will be based on your accommodation but it will be around $50.

Transportation will not even approach $100 per month if you stick with the extensive public transportation system.

Chiang Mai

This will be the most budget friendly option here and will be able to stretch your funds the furthest here.

You can find some fantastic accommodations for only around $300 per month and they can even be fully serviced, meaning laundry and cleaning is covered.

This also means food budgets will also be a bit smaller as well as utilities, so you can expect to pay around $200 and $40 per month respectively.

Chiang Mai isn’t a large city so transportation can be done with a scooter or local ride sharing apps.

It’s also quite a walkable city so you can expect to pay around $50 per month for transportation.


Thai Food On A Table On The Beach In Thailand
Tasty and affordable Thai food is one of the pluses of living in Thailand.

Phuket falls in between the options discussed and you’ll see around $400 per month for accommodation with utilities being similar to Bangkok.

Food budgets will also fall in between at around $250 to get everything you need.

Transportation may be a bit pricier because it can be a touristic area so expect to budget around $100 per month.

For luxury options, check out these two:

Visa And Residency In Thailand

The Royal Grand Palace
The Royal Grand Palace in Bangkok.

Tourist Visa – This is the most common option and allows for a stay of 60 days, which can be extended to 30 days.

After that you’ll need to leave the country and reapply, but it’s also not much of a hassle and can help keep you there long term.

Business Visa or Work Permit Visa – You can come and conduct business in Thailand and this can be up to 12 months and multiple entry as well.

Do keep in mind this will typically require sponsorship from local Thai businesses to obtain.

Retirement Visa – Thailand has an excellent option for those that are over 50 years of age.

They can get a long term stay visa that lasts up to a year and can continuously be extended.

Keep in mind that this type of visa requires both a minimum deposit amount, which can be around $25,000 USD, as well as a certain amount of money coming in per month.

Investor Visa – Thailand is one of the options that allows for investment into the country to allow for residency.

This means you are allowed to be a property owner, or need to have funds deposited into a local Thai bank.

You can also own Thai bonds as well as a way to fill the requirements.

This can be an option for those that are seeking a more permanent path.

Residency In Thailand

The three best ways to obtain residency is through a retirement visa, investor visa, or marrying a local Thai citizen.

The requirements can vary, but typically it all can begin after three years of consistent residency and visas.

You will also need to pass a Thai language proficiency test, and get a clear criminal background record check as well.

In addition, you will need to financially be able to support yourself, and those amounts can vary and are required even if looking to marry a local Thai citizen.

Finding Accommodation In Thailand

Modern House With A Swimming Pool
If you’re keen to live in Thailand as an expat, a luxury villa can be affordable.

Thailand is very expat friendly so there are plenty of ways to find accommodation in Thailand.

There are various types of options when it comes to living in Thailand.

Hostels and Guesthouses: These can be excellent starter places that you can get in Thailand where you can get hotel – like amenities and be in close proximity to key parts of the city.

Always check with the hostels directly to see if there’s any specialized pricing for monthly rent.

This is also a great option that can include regular cleaning and even include or have discounted laundry.

You can initially go through common booking sites out there for travelers when you initially book.

Homes and Townhouses: There are plenty of homes that are available for rent (and even some for sale) that are a detached house, single or multi family dwelling.

Prices will vary and range depending on location and the condition of the home itself.

Apartments and Condos: those that are opting in for a more city lifestyle can choose these options.

There are more and more luxury high rises being built, that come with a slew of amenities, such as in house gyms, concierge and pools, but will still come at reasonable rental prices, especially when compared with back at home.

Additional Tips When Looking For Accommodation

Thai Suburban Area With Modern Family Houses
The cost of living in Thailand is very low compared to many other countries.

Check out expat forums focused on Thailand, as well as social media groups.

There are a lot of real estate agents that can help support you in your search for the perfect location.

They can help navigate any nuances for you and still help you snag a great deal.
Don’t be afraid to aggressively negotiate lease terms.

It’s common practice in Thailand, and make sure to get everything on paper.

You want to be clear with your requirements and preferences and make sure everything is agreed upon ahead of time.

This can be from utilities being include, to the type of internet you want to ensuring its pet friendly.

Consider renting with another expat as well, because you may be able to budget for a much more luxurious and spacious accommodation.

It is quite common in Thailand to have roommates.

At the same time, if you’re thinking of staying for the long term, do consider learning some Thai language as that will help you out with dealing with the property manager or landlord.

Healthcare Options In Thailand For Expats

woman having a Thai Massage
One of the benefits for expats living in Thailand is Thai massages are affordable.

For those that are coming to work in Thailand, there’s a good chance that their employer is going to have them assigned to the public healthcare system, which is great news.

The healthcare in system is actually quite advanced, even the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) which is their public healthcare system.

Even if you aren’t employed, you can pay a premium to get into the scheme as well.

Once you’re a part of this healthcare becomes extremely low cost and even sometimes free.

A regular consultation at a doctor will be on average $1.

Yet their private healthcare system is also quite excellent, and Thailand is even home to some worldclass recognized facilities.

If you want a VIP status, less waiting times and the latest in medical options then this could be a great choice for many.

It still wont be as costly as one may think for an expat, and as a comparison a general consultation will start to be at around $15.

Of course you want to make sure that you consider international health insurance that can be quite accommodating overseas.

Depending on how much health insurance you will need, this can run you a couple hundred dollars per year.

Make sure when you’re getting the health insurance that it will be accepted when you are in Thailand.

International health insurances can be specific to a country or a regional area, and you want to make sure in case you need to use it, that it will actually work

Finding Work In Thailand As An Expat

Koh Phi Phi Don Thailand, Longtail Boats
The average cost of living in Thailand is affordable and you can live by the beach.

For those that are looking to come for work, there are some routes you can take.

A good idea is to learn the local language as quick as possible, and show your ability to speak Thai when applying as well for some positions.

English Teacher – Of course this is a popular option throughout Southeast Asia, and Thailand is no different.

There are a slew of options but you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree and some type of certificate to teach English as a second language.

This can be a lucrative option depending on how much experience you have.

Tourism – Due to the extensive popularity of Thailand to the world, there’s always a path through tourism and hospitality.

If you are a highly qualified individual in this industry, then it could be very possible for you to find work here, as there’s always a huge demand for this type of work in Thailand.

IT – While not such a growing industry as others throughout the industry, it is still something of note, and the technology industry continues to rapidly grow.

That means those with the right type of qualifications and experience can easily find work in Thailand as an IT professional, especially software developers.

Keep in mind that you aren’t required to work to stay long term, and you can simply come in as an investor.

Final Thoughts For Those Who Want To Live In Thailand

Haad Yao Beach In Koh Phangan, Surat Thani
Haad Yao Beach in Thailand.

This is a beautiful country that is quite open to expats from all over the world.

It’s always a good idea to make sure that you, as an expat, understand and appreciate the culture that Thailand is known for.

It can be a place of wonder, and also a lot of fun at the same time.

If you think you’re aligned with Thailand, then there are plenty of ways for you to make it a more permanent setting in your life.

Plan Your Trip

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Roger Szlatiner
Born and raised in New York City, Roger has always had the desire to see what the world had to offer. After building out his career in the corporate world and obtaining his Master of Science in Technology, Roger felt that his true passion came from writing and sharing his experiences with others. He is currently working on publishing his first book which is a mixture of his travels and working within different industries and cultures, and the crazy that comes with that. He’s spent the past couple of years writing content and poetry as well. When asked where his favourite travel locations are, he’ll immediately reply ‘anywhere in Southeast Asia’. Everything from the controlled chaos to the variety of places to see and food to eat kept him in the region often. When he’s not on his next trip, you can find him living between Indonesia and Vietnam.