How to live in Thailand
If your looking for information on how to live in Thailand then you have come to the right source. While i'm not about to write a whole book about how to live in the land of smiles I can just offer some advice and basic costs of living in Thailand that you might not find anywhere else. If you do need further advice or have a question about ways to live in Thailand or have a question about life in Thailand then please use the comments section to ask your question, I will respond personally to each one.
What visa do you need to live in Thailand
There was a time when people would live in Thailand continuously using Tourists visas but since the Thai government started cracking down on the practice the common way to stay here without leaving the country is that of the Language school. Doesn't hurt to know a bit of Thai also. The other most popular way is to retire here on a retirement visa. There are other ways but these are the ones that I suggest especially if you've never lived here before. If your looking for more information visit the Thai Visa page.
Where in Thailand you should live
Your probably not reading this page because you don't know where to live in Thailand and if you've already made up your mine that's cool. Move onto the next section which might help you better. But if your still undecided then let me tell you about the best place to live in Thailand, Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai is located in the North of Thailand and without the tourists it's a relatively small city though still bustles with life albieit more on the slow side. In fact nearly every province in the North of Thailand has a place that is perfect for someone.
Chiang Mai is a great place to retire in Thailand has been for a long time now it's relatively cheap in fact you could live here on $10 a day! Chiang Mai is so easy to get around on scooter, traffic is bearable and cheap eats are easy to find. There is a huge expat community here so it's easy to make and find friends with similar interests.
Cost Of Living In Thailand
Everyone lives life to a different budget and that can't be more true in a place like Thailand. Some people might like to live in an expensive condo or someone else might like to live in a cheap apartment in the ghetto. Whatever your choices I've made my own choices for my standard of living which is OK, not flashy, but I sleep comfortably in air conditioning have a girlfriend, kik, and go out 2-3 times a week. I've made a few trade offs but one thing I'm not trading on are (comfortable bed, good food including western, and getting laid by as many sweet Thai girls I can find).
What I'd like to show you is a basic Cost of living calculator for living in Chiang Mai (which would be the same as if you lived in Phuket or Pattaya) if you live in a more rural area of Thailand take 15% off the estimates below if you live in Bangkok then add 45% to the figures below.
Your standard of living would be something like an air conditioned studio apartment approximately 30sqm you would eat Thai 5 days a week and Farang food 2 days a week. You'd go out to the clubs or pubs twice a week. Ride a scooter everywhere and head out of town once every few months. You also pay for your visa/requirements and health insurance (a must!). Obviously if you have a g/f which you pay for things increase. Take a look at the chart below for what I usually spend.
*Assumes you own your own motorbike and if you have a kik she owns hers
Live In Thailand
Live In Thailand
Live In Thailand
girlfriend plus Kik
As you can see having a Kik or basically a girl your sponsoring (typically for university) can be expensive as much as twice as it would cost your girlfriend (if you can get them to live together which i've yet to be able to do), now I've had kiks that you don't pay anything for and then there are ones you spoil like this. All depends on your budget really.
How do you earn a living in Thailand
How do you earn a living anywhere really, you either work or you live off Social Security. Me I've never had benefits from anywhere so the only way I've made money anywhere is by working. But working in Thailand doesn't mean you have to be a teacher! Even if your a professional poker player you could still live in Thailand but of course your work is poker. No one makes money sitting around doing nothing, even retirees had to work and pay taxes for decades to be eligible for those benefits.
If you decide to be a teacher in Thailand which most people who are not retired do then please keep the following things about Thai people in general in mind.
Thai people and students especially, lack both self esteem and courage. You will be tested every day to encourage students to speak. Thai kids all cheat and you'll expect that every piece of work they hand in will have several other pieces of work that all look exactly the same. Thai people will be running the show and since there is no tenure here you can't speak up no matter how stupid and even incompetent their way is, you will have to suck it up until you can't stand it anymore. Unless of course you enjoy that sort of challenge.
Me I don't have the patience to deal with kids for a life of teaching. If you don't want to be a teacher and you have some good skills you could find a good job in Thailand. But there are many different ways to make money in Thailand. Plenty of people open businesses I'd say 95% of foreign owned small businesses in Thailand are in the restaurant/entertainment services but maybe you don't have the capital or the will to create something that big then you could always do something online, there are thousands of people who live and exist in Thailand living solely of Internet revenue (myself included). This really isn't the page to go into too much detail on how exactly to do this but maybe this video will help.
The reason why I don't think teaching is a very good career to have in Thailand is simple economics. Although inflation is relatively low it still hovers around 4% annual. And if you get a teaching job it's rare that you will ever get a raise for most teachers so your standard of living will gradually decrease each year.
What's accommodation like if you live in Thailand
Best advice I can give you is to book a hotel in Thailand first before you decide on what condo apartment or house to live in. Just because the room looked lovely on the Internet when you were sitting at Starbucks back in Houston when you arrive it could be next to a house with barking dogs and a mattress that is harder than steel. Sure use the Internet to map out the general area you want to stay but there is nothing like walking down the street to see exactly what it's like.
If you live in Thailand you should learn the language
The Thai language isn't really that difficult, most of the common expressions in Thai are made of compound words so if you know 1000 words in Thai you can basically say 6000. If you really want to learn the Thai language Quickly then I suggest you start with the Thai Alphabet as a starting point because it's the gateway to being proficient in the Thai language.
If you want a good quality of life, friends with Thai people, being self sufficient and also being able to get in and out of any situation you need to know the Thai language, this is even more recommended if you are on a limited budget. Think about all the money you could save, scams you can avoid and if your single the girls you can talk to. There are plenty of Thai girls out there that want a Farang boyfriend but have never had one before because they don't speak English, why limit yourself to the small 10% of girls that can communicate with you while people like me get the other 90%. Statistically speaking you can trust a Thai girl more if she doesn't speak English.
Fun things to do in Thailand
Everyone comes to Thailand for a different reason, some come for the abundance of young single Thai girls others come for the friendliness of Thai people but everyone comes here for the easy life and cheap living. No matter what your budget is in Thailand or what your after there are a million plus fun things to do in Thailand for everyone. I'm sure if your already looking for how to live in Thailand then you already know the fun things you want to do in Thailand. But if you do enjoy the nightlife please visit the Thailand nightlife page on this site.
Advise on how to live in Thailand
As for any advice I can give people who want to live in Thailand it's not that hard. Before you get the Visa, the apartment etc Make sure you have your funds sorted out. Make sure you have the money you need to live in Thailand. Even if your due for a pension soon make sure you get it before you decide to move to Thailand. If your looking for a job sure you'll need to come here first but don't make any big commitments until that's certain. People complain about how arduous and difficult the Thai Visa system is but it's nothing compared to trying to earn a living here.
Once your here and even before you come make a concerned effort to speak the language. Some people can do well here without the language skills but they all wish they could and jelous at those who can speak well like me. If you decide to have a kik do it on the cheap after a few months or so she'll leave herself if you don't pay her enough. Good, that's what you want, changing the kik adds more fun to having one otherwise your basically just having another girlfriend.Oh yeah don't forget if you come to live in Thailand or already here sign up to my newsletter to stay in touch.