Living in Thailand

Condo in Phuket Thailand has hundreds of cities and thousands of villages ... any of which can be a good place to retire depending on your likes and requirements.

For purposes of this web site in general and especially for this section we define expat as:

Someone who has decided to leave his country of birth and reside in another

The locations we have selected to cover in this section are those which expats seem to like for numerous reasons. Each area has one or more unique advantages.

Need a reference? Maps of Thailand

Living in Thailand.

What does it really mean?

  • For some, living in Thailand means becomming totally immersed in the culture, living Thai style in a Thai village or neighborhood, speaking Thai the majority of the time, experiencing the country as Thais do.
  • For others, living in Thailand means a cheap place to live in retirement; socialize and recreate with an international community of westerners.
  • For most, living in Thailand falls somewhere in between. Different locations offer, or perhaps induce, a different level and frequency of involvement with the local community.

The Catch 22 of housing in Thailand

Areas of Thailand and Living Costs

Area Locations Features Living Cost
Bangkok Shopping, dining, nightlife, entertainment, golf. A diverse cosmopolitan city of 10 million with attractions for every taste ... almost a way of life unto itself. Expensive to Moderate
North Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Mountains, milder climates, 600 - 750 km from Bangkok, access to Burma or Laos. Lanna people and hill tribes. Moderate to Inexpensive
Northeast Nong Khai, Udorn
Korat, Khon Kaen
Mekong River, access to Laos or Cambodia, 300 - 600 km from Bangkok. Laid back, unique food and nice people. Moderate to Inexpensive
East Gulf Pattaya, Chon Buri
Rayong, Sattahip
Shopping, golf, beaches, Ko Chang and Ko Samet, scuba diving, westernized - 150 - 300 km from Bangkok access to Cambodia. Moderate to Inexpensive
West Gulf Hua Hin, Cha-am, Prachuap Beaches, sailing, scuba diving nearby, golf, nightlife - 200 - 400 km from Bangkok. Hua Hin and Cha-am are touristy. Expensive to Inexpensive
South Phuket, Krabi, Chumphon, Trang Shopping, nightlife, entertainment, golf, sailing, scuba diving, Ko Samui, Ang Thong, Ko Lanta, Ko Phi Phi, Khao Lak. 500 to 600 km from Bangkok. Mixed touristy and common. Expensive to Inexpensive

Safety in Thailand

Riding tuk tuks and motorcycle taxis or crossing busy streets vie for the most dangerous activities in Thailand. Seriously, Thailand is an extremely safe place. Common sense will make it even safer.

While there are some fine folks partaking and providing libations and services in the girlie bars, those areas seem to attract the dregs of society. Jealousy, greed, drugs, arrogance and stupidity are behind most problems that westerners have with each other and with Thais.

Thailand has organized crime, but it is directed more toward, protection, economics and drugs than intimidation of "farangs", who tend to be ignored. However, getting involved with the local strong men is not recommended. Trying to "set things right" can also get you in trouble.

Generally, In Thailand

  • You can walk safely on most streets late at night
  • Seniors are generally respected as a matter of tradition
  • Pleasantness usually returns pleasantness
  • Thais tend be extremely helpful with directions and such

Food and Water Tap water is becoming safer but bottled drinking water is cheap. Most homes, condos and apartments have water delivery services available.

Eat the food ... eat lots of it. It's good, it's fresh and it's cheap. Most western food is mediocre or expensive ... sometimes both. Ethnic cuisines are widely available in Thailand, especially in Bangkok.

Financial Issues in Thailand

  • Thailand has relatively modern banking facilities
  • ATMs are prolific
  • No-cost passbook savings acounts with ATM card withdrawal are easy to open
  • Wire transfers are rapid and straight forward
  • Bank checks may require weeks to have funds credited
  • Credit cards are widely accepted, although some merchants charge a premium

National Parks in Thailand

Each area of Thailand has national parks, wildlife refuges and marine parks. Thailand has dozens of major parks that offer white water rafting, nature treks, camping and sight seeing. Nature lovers will especially like the following parks:

  • Doi Inthanon in the North (Chiang Mai Province)
  • Khao Yai - covers thousands of sq km. Access in Central and Northeast provinces
  • Khao Sok in the South (Surat Thani Province)

Caveats and Cautions - Much, if not most, of the information contained in these pages is opinion filtered through the points of view of some of us who have lived in Thailand for years. We pepper our factual tidbits with information that we or others have found useful. You may have an entirely different perspective or experience.