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What it’s really like living in Thailand

For many a guy (and some girls) living in Thailand is the ultimate dream yet it remains a dream for so many out there because they just can't do it. Whether it be commitments like kids a house or otherwise the dream of living in Thailand is just that, a dream. But for me I live that dream day in and day out in one of the best countries to live in the world, Thailand!

For me I live in Thailand and have done so for the past 3 and a half years and it remains the best decision of my life. But what is it really like to live in Thailand day in and day out is it like living anywhere else and does the attractions of what it was like as a tourist still alive or has it waned. When you live here you don't do the elephant treks or the jet skis on the beach you work and live a life like you would anywhere else except for one difference for me at least you have a lot more sex! For most of the guys that I know who live here their sex life improves 1000% and it doesn't matter how old you are in fact the older you are the more the improvement! And more than likely the majority of the guys reading this blog living in Thailand is about having as much sex as you can!

What it is like to living in Thailand

I didn't move here for the sex though, my Dad and my step mom lives here in Chiang Mai and since I really hadn't spent much time with them for several years I thought it would be a good move. Actually I moved back to Australia for a few months and it was so dead boring that I honestly couldn't wait to get back to Thailand. After taking a job in the city I lasted about 2 hours before I left and booked my ticket back to Thailand. No job no ideas all I wanted to do was learn to speak Thai fluently and figure out a way to live in Thailand.

Everyone I know who lives in Thailand works and if they don't they are looking for work. They may work on the Internet for themselves, maybe they work remotely for a company overseas, they teach, they own businesses here but everyone works. Even retired people I know work. Working in Thailand isn't just about the money especially for the older guys it's a way to stay active and not fall into the drunken binge and beer bars. Actually it was only in Pattaya that I found dudes who live in Thailand and do absolutely nothing at all and have no motivation to work. They are either already loaded or they are just running through all their savings before they jump off a building or get on the dreaded plane ride back home.

Living in Thailand can be stressful sometimes and I think the guys who live here actually mellow out and obtain the Mai Pen Rai attitude of the Thais or they end up on the computer becoming a moderator for Thai Visa because they just can't hang with the rest of us. If you're really wound up when you arrive in Thailand go do a soapy massage 20 times or more before coming out and planting your roots here. Women are advised to try Yoga.

I've lived in Thailand for almost 4 years now and I can tell you now it isn't easy. What makes your life more forfulling here is either getting a girlfriend who can speak English which I highly advise against but a lot of dudes do but the other thing is to learn Thai. Life for me in Thailand is so much easier than most because I speak the language. I don't get scammed and I can talk the craziest Thai out of beating the crap out of me. Learning Thai in Thailand is what everyone here should do. I don't know about you but I used to hate the fact that people would come to my country and couldn't speak the language. Especially in my home country Australia where Xenophobia is as common as Vegemite. Do yourself and the rest of us a favour learn the language and your life in Thailand will be improved immensely.

Now like I said about the girls in Thailand, when you're on vacation you'll do the go go bars the beer bars and pick up a bunch of sexy Iisaan girls who will love you long time but the guys who live here actually stay away from those places unless of course they live on Sukhumvit or in Pattaya, for the rest of the guys lets say the majority of guys who live in Thailand they prefer the Thai pubs and a few Farang haunts. Life in Thailand is more about making relations than it is about paying out 3000 baht for some young Isaan minx.

Living in Thailand is really a dream come true but it does have it's downsides. You get food sickness a lot, it's so hot in the summer months that you can't help but spend your days sitting in front of the air conditioner. Thai's don't have a real good sense of community so things like noise polution and trash in the streets is extremely common. Respect your neighbor is not something Thai people say. No matter how long you live in Thailand how well you speak Thai and involve yourself in the community Thai's will never accept you as being Thai!

Living in Thailand: Population

There are roughly 67million Thai's living in Thailand which comprise of 4 main ethnic groups located in the 4 regions of Thailand the Lanna Thai's in the north, the Isaan group in the east, the central Thai's which comprise the largest ethnic group in the center of Thailand and the southern group located in the South. Each have their own culture and customs.

Living in Thailand: Languages

The central Thai dialect is the official language of Thailand but it's common that outside of Bangkok and the central region that people speak different dialects. It is mandatory for all Thai students to learn the central dialiect yet in my own experience I've seen schools in remote areas even schools just an hour out of Chiang Mai that teach their whole lesson using a different dialect. This is unfortunate for the children as when they get to University nearly all of the lessons are conducts in the central dialect which must make learning difficult for students who didn't have an opportunity to learn the central dialect fluently. English is the official second language and is compulsary for every student to take until they finish High School. By the end of High school most students can read and write English with a decent proficiency however they do lack the speaking skills. 99% of street signs (names) are bilingual and are easily read however other signs like those for dead end street will not be written in English! When living in Thailand you'll meet so many Thai's that have a good command of English but you will rarely meet Thai's who are truly fluent. It's best if you learn to Speak Thai.

Living in Thailand : Visas

Getting a Visa in Thailand is an easier process than in most western countries Thailand is very open and understanding that many westerners wish to live in their country. Most newcombers to Thailand no matter what their age choose to do an ED Visa or Education Visa where they sign up to a school and can renew their visa for up to 3 years. After 3 years however you must leave the country and reapply for the visa and can come upon some secrutiny so after 3 years you should look for another option, volunteering is another alternative though typically only those who have lived here know where to go to get that kind of Visa. It's possible if your over the age of 50 and put some coin in the bank can you get a retirement visa however you will need to maintain a regular income that you will need to shop proof of. Finally the all coveted work visa which allows you to work in Thailand and pay taxes. The benifit of paying taxes is after 5 years of doing so you will be able to apply for Thai citizen ship provided you speak read and write Thai.

Living In Thailand: Studying Thai

Like I said before if you want to live in Thailand then it is necessary to learn Thai, not everyone speaks English and those who do don't speak it that well. You want to get your Thai up to a proficient level so that you can enjoy your time here. Imagine living in your country without speaking the language, how much fun would you have there? Despite what people say Thai isn't really that difficult a language, it's very simple and straightforward requiring very little in the way of grammar. I recommend you learn the Thai alphabet first before even trying to learn any Thai. Learn the letters yourself then make sure you practice with a Thai to get the pronunciation down. If you can say all the letters in the alphabet correctly you will have an increased understanding when you learn the words and you'll be able to say words much clearer than if you didn't know the alphabet at all. The best way to learn Thai outside of study is to learn Thai from your girlfriend.

Living in Thailand: Housing

One of the great things about Thailand is how cheap you can get accommodation for, Bangkok can be super expensive especially around the sukhumvit area but even still you can find even in those expensive places a fantastic high rise condo for $1000USD a month! Looking for something cheaper you might only pay $100 a week including utilities. Live away from Bangkok and your likely to pay $100 a month making Thailand extremely affordable. Though don't expect the same standards as you would in the west unless you're paying top dollar Thailand is still a third world country and although things are improving all the time buildings are still substandard and lack proper plumbing and wiring.

Cost of Living in Thailand

I say to everyone that I recommend you make about 100,000 baht a month, most guys I know do more than that in Thailand but there are plenty more that do less some guys survive on 20,000 baht a month which can be done but they won't be saving a penny and it's unlikely they'll have health insurance. I've written posts here about how much it costs to live in Chiang Mai and how much it costs to live in pattaya.

Accepting Thai Culture

Thai's are very similar to westerners in some ways but completely different in other ways, they have to what seems to us as some strange customs. For example pointing of the feet actually anything to do with the feet is bad news. Thai's lie, lying is a way of saving face and making others feel better, you'll meet people all the time who are lying to you which in a strange way is showing you respect. Thai people don't give you the whole "I have an uncle who does this" story. They are subtle in their lies but it drives us westerners crazy. An interesting culture difference is that Thai's are unable to say the word No. If they don't know something they would rather spin you some BS lie to you than to give you the truth that they don't know. That's why getting directions in Thailand can be such a pain ass because they will never tell you that they don't know.

Having relationships living in Thailand

No matter what kind of relationship you are looking for in Thailand you'll find it, if your a girl and you like Thai guys or foreign men maybe your a tom and want a Dee or maybe your a Dee looking for a tom maybe your just a plain lesbian you'll find it. If your a gay man easy done, maybe your a straight guy looking for a young Thai girl no problem, hey maybe your a straight guy looking for a Ladyboy or maybe in fact your a western Ladyboy looking for a straight man. You can find any sexual orientation in Thailand with ease in fact it was the Thai's who have invented the new sex the Gay Tom. Finding a partner in Thailand is pretty easy if your not easy meeting people or have a hard time approaching men or women then I suggest you try the use of one of the Thai Dating Sites.

Where to live in Thailand

If you love the beach then live down the islands like Phuket, if your a city boy then live in Bangkok, if you just want to slay whores then live in Pattaya if you want an all rounded lifestyle and love the mountains then live in Chiang Mai. If you love the farm life then live in Khon Kaen or Korat.

Living in Thailand can be stressful if you don't take the Mai Pen Rai attitude, it is hot, traffic congested people congested and extremely frustrating. But it's also beautiful fun and very cost effective. No matter the reason for you coming to live here in the land of smiles I garuntee that you'll love it!

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

11 Responses to What it’s really like living in Thailand

  1. Mambo June 23, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    100 000 baht a month…jeez Chris thats 37k pa net in Oz dollars. People retire in Oz on a lot less. The old age pension (and i know that aint much to live on, is 28k for a couple!). Your own Chiang Mai budget was 32 000 bht and a third of that was social stuff…. and youn were advocating dropping that if you didnt want to let the mongrel of the leash. They only want 800 000bht for a retirement visa, and weirdly less than that again if you have a wife. Sure we each spend different, live and eat different places etc but some costs are pretty uniform (visa, health, petrol). I do make more that 100 000bht a month but most montsh would spend 60 000 at a real push, and like you I eat Thai, shop at San Pakoy market, but go to the cheaper Thai/Chinese karaoke’s a few nights. For Chiang Mai 100 000 will get you oodles of noodles. One thing you forgot to mention is the higher initial costs, especially if you ar erenting an empty/apartment house etc (bond, tv, fridge, bed aka the work bench…the essentials).

    Mind you better to aim high that too low…the amount of whingers here who stay with no visa, or spend half their life working out how to show they have a monthly income sufficient for a spouse/retirement visa is incredible.

    • Mambo June 23, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      Sorry meant to add that 100 000 is a good Bangkok budget…but most places in the north CM and CR you could easily drop a third or a quarter.

    • Chris June 23, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      If you’re at retirement age sure, but if your in your 20’s or 30’s you really need more so you can save.

  2. Quick Question June 23, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I heard it’s possible but I’ve never met a foreigner that has acquired Thai citizenship. Visa seem easy to obtain, but many require you to leave every 90 days or check in at Immigration depending on the visa.

  3. NothingToDo June 25, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    “Women are advised to try Yoga.”
    hahahah love it!

  4. ChiangMaiGuy June 25, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I must admit I know of very few who have an income of 100,000 and more likely the average is 60,000 (you can live very well on a lot less) but then I know many folk who are early-retired not like many of the 20s and 30s on here who have a long way to go and, as Chris says, need to save something for a ‘rainy day’.

    The most important thing to face is ‘culture shock’ and that is a story/thread by itself!

    • ChiangMaiGuy June 25, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      PS your comments about sex are spot on – take that away and see 99% of farangs leave! well, to be fair, it’s the combination of ‘three’ (in this order)

      cheap living

  5. Tyler July 3, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

    Try Goa India. Much cheaper also not so tacky with all the sex/

  6. Tyler July 3, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Goa has the most gorgeous beaches & the people are just as nice. The cost of living is much cheaper then Thailand. You can rent a bike as little as 2$ a day & a room for around $8 a day. Really give Goa a try you will not regret it. I rent a 1 bedroom flat with air con & big ceiling fans close to the beach for $90 per week. October to late March. You are going to love it.


    • Cass September 22, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      Thanks! All the sex stuff is tacky and makes me lose faith in the male gender. The author is a tool.

  7. kevin March 5, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    I live in bangsaen.boreing.but cheap to live. Have thai wife house paid.work markets with pension etc.50000. Month.keep off the tourist trail. Go to kosamed now and again weekdays only.english pound here no good.if u can make some thai bhart.makes life cheaper.

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