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How to make money in Thailand

If you want to live in Thailand your going to need to have an income, unless you are super rich, your more likely to be like everyone else, earning a meager wage in your own country and just dreaming of living in Thailand. You can live in Thailand and earn a decent money. But how do you make money in Thailand, especially when Thai people have trouble making money?
There are numerous ways to make money in Thailand and depends on your previous skill sets and budget.
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For me I like the idea of flipping websites or trading stocks something of as little effort to me as possible because we all know I’d prefer to be chasing Thai girls than doing actual work. But if your not the playboy then maybe you want to check out the follow list of ways you can make money in Thailand.

10 Ways to make money in Thailand

#1 Teaching English in Thailand

Teaching English in Thailand is a decent and fair way to make money in Thailand, it does have it’s pitfalls though. Most people who come to Thailand see Teaching English as an easy way to make money and more often than not are not trained to do so. There are many trained teachers who come to Thailand seeking a teaching job, but it’s not for everyone. Most English teachers make around 30,000 baht per month, this is a good wage in Thailand and you can live of that but the hours stress and general unwillingness to learn from the Thai students may have you questioning why you decided to take the job. The perks however are you get 4 months vacation per year while still getting paid, though on a meager teachers salary there’s not much you can do in that period of time. If your trying to make a lot of money in Thailand Teaching English is NOT the way to do it. In order to teach English you’ll need to get a TOEFL certificate and do some training, the market is very competitive and don’t expect pay rises as you gain experience. For Thai people the salary you get will seem high to them already and will be unwilling to pay more, you can make extra money and perhaps more money if you do private tuition or open your own language school.If you don’t already have your TEFL certificate you can get it at the Online TEFL course.

#2 Open a Bar in Thailand

Like most of the people who come to Thailand seeking the thrills of the beer bar scene the dream of owning their own bar is too much to resist. Unless you have run a bar before though I highly recommend you don’t open a bar because your more likely to lose money than you are to make money. The bar business in Thailand is very competitive both for the foreign market and the local market. Popularity can come and go in an instance and if you are opening a beer bar then your going to have to deal with Thai bar girls and they are in a breed of their own. The number of successful bars run at about 10% for the rest of the 90% lose almost all the money they invest. If you open a bar that caters to foreigners and tourists you are at the whim of the current political climate and whether tourists come or not, 4 months of the year will be extremely quiet and likely to lose money 4 months running.

#3 Sell on Ebay In Thailand

Many people are selling Thai wares on Ebay these days. Probably the cheapest setup costs of all ways to make money except for scamming. Thailand has some really cheap products that you can sell from clothes to electronics. Finding the right product to sell though will take some time to master. Many a backpacker has come here and sold fake items on ebay to raise some money, but in the end selling pirated goods can’t last long you’ll only get yourself kicked off ebay. Some successful punters have made entire businesses that sell goods on ebay like the silver jewelry man in Bangkok who now has 30 employees and sells from ebay and expanded into his own website. If you are shrewed and know your way around the Internet (a computer programming background or marketing background will help a lot) you can make a lot of money from selling on ebay.

#4 Writing a Blog in Thailand

You can make money out of writing a blog/website about Thailand, in fact it doesn’t even have to be about Thailand, if you are new to Thailand then I wouldn’t suggest you start a website about Thailand because you still have a lot to learn about the country and any advice you wish to impart is not going to compete against people who have lived here for years. Try starting a blog about something you know very well, you’ll need to invest lots and lots of time in order to make some money, just like this blog you’ll need to spend days on end pumping out articles and information until you figure out what works for you. You need to stick to a subject matter that you know very well and won’t tire of. You can make money by putting ads on your blog. Very few people can make money this way but if you are persistent and with a bit of luck you can make a good living in Thailand by simply typing away every day.

#5 Pimp your Thai Girlfriend
Selling your Thai girlfriend to other foreigners can be extremely lucrative and a way to make a lot of money in Thailand, is that something you really want to do though? Many a foreigner either corrupt young girls who aren’t in the business or find someone who already is and then get customers through the Internet as well as bars. If you can find a young good looking Thai girl and somehow convince her to do this for you, you can make a lot of money. Have a few girls working for you and you’ll make tonnes.

Why would the girl be willing to do this though, well if she loves you she’ll do anything to keep you here, the threat of you going back to your own country because you ran out of money is usually enough to manipulate her to do this for you. Be warned though, this is illegal and the chance of your Thai girlfriend contracting a disease or simply moving away with one of the customers is very high. To keep her in line you’ll need to be prepared to beat her into submission. Only a few people have what it takes to make money this way. You could try craigslist but it’s way easier to pimp her out on Thai Sideline Website.

#6 Scam Foreigners in Thailand

Many foreigners in Thailand purely exist off the backs of tourists. Not legitimately either, tourists are scammed left right and center and not just by Thais. There are many scams in Thailand that foreigners are involved in too. Some illegal, some just questionable. However there are many people who simply live in Thailand day to day making money by scamming both Thais and foreigners.
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#7 Open a Restaurant in Thailand

Opening a restaurant can be a very risky business adventure anywhere in the world and Thailand is no exception. 90% of restaurants fail in the first year and most don’t make a profit until their 3rd year. You need to gain enough regular customers as well as passerby’s in order to turn a profit. You’ll need to also deal with Thai employees who are notorious for not showing up to work and leaving you to do everything. It may take you a year to find the right workers who are dedicated and share the same vision as you, it will also take the same amount of time to figure out the right dishes for your particular market. The cost of opening a restaurant in Thailand runs at about 1-3 million baht for your average restaurant depending on the style. You are more likely to succeed in a restaurant business if you target Thai people at low cost and do volume than you are to do high costs and serve foreigners.
If you don’t speak Thai at all or very basic I don’t suggest you open a restaurant here unless you have a very faithful partner who shares your vision and is as dedicated to you. Former restaurant experience isn’t necessary but will help you a lot. Be vigilant with costs as well as employees, be prepared to fire people on the spot and have backup plans in place for employees. Hiring family in Thailand can be much better than hiring someone you don’t know.

#8 Open a Guesthouse in Thailand

A really great way to make money as well as get affordable accommodation in Thailand is to open a Guest house in Thailand. The most successful guest houses are ones that keep their place looking fresh and clean and put the money in for good pain and quality tiling. Having a good personality is needed for success as being friendly to guests is what keeps people coming back. If you plan to open a guest house you’ll need to start a Thai company in order to buy the land to build your guest house.

Do not buy a guest house from someone else unless you’ve seen the books and it’s been profitable for many years. If you build your own guest house make sure you make the rooms larger than other guest houses in the same area, this way if you charge the same price you’ll have a newer guest house with larger rooms and you’ll be full. Other places can’t make their rooms larger so they will never be able to compete against you. In the beginning be prepared to spend a lot of money on advertising. Thailand gets a lot of regular visitors from around the world and if you can get a regular customer base you’ll have a really good occupancy rate.

To make sure you survive you’ll need to ensure you pay for the land in full and only borrow no more than 50% of the cost to build the guest house. That means your investment is 75% of the cost of the guest house. Any less than this and you will have problems paying the mortgage during the low seasons and might find yourself folding your business and losing a lot of money. Keep costs down by living in one of the rooms yourself as well and don’t serve breakfast and have no more than 20 rooms. Keep it small and intimate, and have public verandas so guests can mingle together on their own floors. Making friends is what a guest house experience is about.

#9 Retire and live of your pension in Thailand

For most people over the age of 55 who have worked in their own country and were offered a pension fund or contributed to their own pension fund they are able to live in Thailand comfortably provided they make at least 65,000 baht per month. For many a retiree who loves Thailand if they have a pension living in Thailand is a breeze, the cheap medical facilities makes Thailand a good place to live. If your over 55 though and don’t have a pension and no savings then living in Thailand is going to be a pipe dream, you are more than likely not even able to get a retirement visa, without a visa you can’t stay in Thailand. If you have any questions regarding the retirement visa please ask them at the new Thai Visa.

#10 Get a regular job in Thailand

I know it sounds dull and the money is 5 times less than what you get paid in your own country however if you have a good skill or trade like a computer programmer or English marketing skills you can get a regular job in Thailand that makes enough money to live and establish a life in the land of smiles. Hours and days worked are similar to what most Americans work but if your from Europe and Australia you may think your being overworked. Most of all the jobs available to foreigners are located in Bangkok so if you don’t mind living in the big city and have the right skills then getting a regular job may be something for you.
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There are more ways to make money in Thailand and when you live in Thailand you come up with any number of money making ideas. It boils down to what you actually want to do and if living in Thailand you aren’t happy doing what your doing then why be here at all. Find something that you enjoy and try to make money by doing just that, what you love.

ANY INCOME STATEMENTS, OR EARNINGS OR INCOME EXAMPLES, ARE ONLY ESTIMATES OF WHAT WE THINK YOU COULD EARN. THERE IS NO ASSURANCE YOU’LL DO AS WELL. IF YOU RELY UPON OUR FIGURES, YOU MUST ACCEPT THE RISK OF NOT DOING AS WELL.
PLEASE READ OUR EARNINGS DISCLOSURE BEFORE ACTING ON ANY ADVICE OR INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THIS SITE.

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About Chris

Chris founded Living Thai and author of the books Learn the The Thai Alphabet and How to make money in Thailand also the Blueprint for Living in Thailand. Chris started this blog with the aim of educating westerners on how to have the best time in Thailand, to make new friends and to vent his frustrations Chris is also fluent in both written and spoken Thai.

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19 Responses to How to make money in Thailand

  1. Joe Kiss February 20, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    “#5 Pimp your Thai Girlfriend”

    Dont you think to publish something like this is offensive and disrespectful to Thai people?

    Your should be ashamed of yourself….

    • a thai April 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

      what Joe Kiss said was true. think carefully before making that kind of post. it is really rude although i agree that it’s true.

  2. Sam Blonde March 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Yeah I don’t think you should publish your #5 suggestion either, it’s pretty sic and the article would be much better without it.

  3. acc May 19, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    Pimp ? How you think? even we are Thais yes we are low knowlegd but we all are humankind. you come to our Land and want to live in our home but you treat with us like sleve .Go back to your contry and live there .you are a dog man just a dog

    • Chris May 20, 2012 at 3:18 am #

      lol that is so funny! concidering that 99.9% of the girls are pimped out by Thais! Wake up.

    • Old Black John July 15, 2012 at 7:03 am #

      acc, Come on darkling, Thai girls have been selling their stuff for 100′s of years…Way before the white boy arrived. AND Thai men are very into playing pool all night while their wives and girl friends sell their asses. Face it baby you sell we buy win-win.

    • Old Black John October 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      @acc: Don’t be upset. Most farangs treat Thais far better than Thais treat them. Thai’s are humans and yes they have feelings but money is number one to them and if the farang knows this he will be OK. You see so many young beautiful Thai girls 18 to 35 with ugly old, fat white men because of money. The girl is happy to send mama money, the white man is happy he’s banging a beautiful girl that wouldn’t look at him in his native counyry. Also frangs pay much more taxes and spend much more money then the average Thai to the government. You say go home….I am home.. Bless you. Old black John.

  4. acc October 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    old black john ; I so sad with your comment .you didn’t know THAIs. one day you will know that what you’ve done it’s so very bad. How do you think if we can do the same thing with your family?

    • Robiewest May 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

      Soon you will acc… Thailand will rise and conqour the world… Viva los Siam !!

  5. lakky January 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Cannot blame anyone talking bad about Thai girls, cause its sad but true, almost new Thai generation likes to work less and play more..
    But Chris, you are not really a professional to publish something like this in public..it shows what kind of people you are..

    • Chris January 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      I don’t know what you mean by “professional” you mean a doctor? I doubt you make more money than me (this subject) and as for Thai girls well who is a professional? as for not being a professional, I created the most read blog on Thailand and Thai girls there is, perhaps that gives me the clout to write such things.

      • lakky May 2, 2013 at 8:27 am #

        Ok Chris, i understand…this is how you make money, and i cant do anything about it, cause you didnt make it specific to anybody, you just use the word “thai girls” so you re not guilty by law.
        Anyway, thanks for bringing us to the world, making us more money from the representation in your article, all good, thanks!

  6. Jimmy May 2, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    What about working as a diving instructor?

    • Chris May 2, 2013 at 7:21 am #

      Good way to make money especially if you own the instructor school. But unrealistic for the majority of people none moreso than I.

      • Robiewest May 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

        How about a swim instructor? Most Thais don’t know how to swim… ie: 2004.
        Plus it’s another window of opportunity to bang hot impretionable Thais.
        Damn I’m smrt…..

        • Chris May 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

          What a great Idea!

  7. enzo September 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Having been sent this link.from.a.former.associate, its obvious that the sex trafficking reference, was actually a sarcastic , albeit insensitive and meant to provoke a response. I can say having been stationed in s.e. asia for many years combating human trafficking, suxh coments about prostitution are not a laughing matter , as trafficking and the like is created by the demand of prostitution. I have worked with the top psychologist and law enforcement and ASEAN, and the abuse, mafia control, and views on women in general in thailand, and yes, the old men coming to thailand for this purpose keep this destructive lcycle going sadly. When we were in thailand as monitors for a study to present on that which goes on so much in s.e. asia, we met and interviewed in prisons, drug rehab houses, sex workers, mafia etc., and the sadness and destroyed lives are nothing to forget:(
    Its easy for one who lives tbeir life rationalizing it as they do no wrong as ao many are doing and selling themselves, but they do not care to see what webon the front lines did. When u have a daughter and ask what ahe wants to be when she grows up, you dont hear her say, a prostitute. ! That is not a wish and anyone who tells u its ok, doeant have compassion, and no amaount of argue with them will make them see otherwise. I always wonder how sad and lowly a man must be to have to resort to paying money so a girl would look at him, truly embarrassing. , then again have you ever seen an old thai man walking the streets hand in hand with a young yank girl, the reverse of what u see in thailand? Doubtful, and you dont want to see it either.

  8. Marie December 28, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Can’t blame you talking bad about our country because what you wrote does reflect some parts of our society. Instead, I must thank you for publishing this as it gives us, Thai people, a courage to start doing something about these issues.

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