Is Thailand a good place to live?

Is Thailand a good place to live?

Thailand is a beautiful country, full of culture and history. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most visited places in the world! You can find just about anything you’re looking for here: beaches that stretch for miles, bustling cities with lively nightlife, incredible food from street stalls to elegant restaurants.

But how does Thailand stack up as a place to live? A lot of people want to know if they should consider living there or not. Let me help answer some questions…

How do most foreigners move to Thailand?

A very common way for people to move to Thailand is to teach English as a foreign language. With English being a required subject in all schools and with adults increasingly needing English for business, there has been a surge in the demand for native English speakers.

Since Thailand is such a beautiful country and the cost of living being so affordable, many people are choosing to teach English in Thailand and staying for many years. You will also find many people who worked or visited Thailand in the past and fell in love with it are coming to settle down for retirement.

For anyone looking to teach abroad in Thailand you should look into doing a TEFL course which can give you access to long term Thai visas and you can make money as you explore the country.

Is Thailand a good place to live many buddhist monks walking in a ceremony surrounded by many people

Is it dangerous to live in Thailand?

Thailand is not a dangerous country. Thai people are very laid back and reserved, and with it being predominantly a Buddhist country, they respect everyone and everything. Of course, there are crimes. Bad people do exist in Thailand too, but it is unlikely you will have any problems unless you create problems.

Petty crime such as pickpocketing or overcharging foreigners happens in most countries around the world. You will never be in harm’s way, so you should not fear robbery or fighting.

Be wary of police stopping you and saying you did something you didn’t do. If they fine you and ask you for the money on the spot, you must refuse and say you will go to the station to pay. Since police have a very low salary in Thailand, they sometimes create allegations to get money from people.

Where to live in Thailand for a month

If you are only staying in Thailand for a month, we would recommend seeing multiple places rather than being in the same spot!

You could stay on some of the famous tropical islands, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samet, to name a few!

Head to Phuket for a full moon beach party. To Bangkok for some shopping. Go clubbing in Pattaya’s crazy Walking Streets. Or see the sights and eat some great food in Chiang Mai.

Is Thailand a good place to live busy street full of traffic and people walking

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Thailand?

You can live comfortably in Thailand for less than $1000 per month. A one-bedroom condo will cost $250 plus utilities, and food and water will cost from $4 to $15 per day, depending on where you eat.

Almost all Thai people eat out for most meals or pick up street food. There are street food vendors on the side of every road, in the markets and even ones that drive around neighbourhoods daily.

Cooking at home is not very common in Thailand. When it is cheaper to have your dinner cooked and prepared for you in seconds, it doesn’t make sense to spend more and to cook the food yourself. It is a fantastic system, especially when you work long hours, which most Thai people do.

It is something I wish the Western countries would adopt. To eat out in Ireland, you could spend €60+ for two people, but in Thailand, for the same meal, you could spend €15 and go home full!

Eating out often is a nice change for most foreigners who move to Thailand because it is something we simply cannot afford to do all the time back home.

Can foreigners live in Thailand?

Yes, all foreigners are welcome to Thailand. In 2019, over 40 million tourists visited the Land of Smiles. This shows how famous Thailand is for its tourism. But people do not come just for the white sandy beaches and tropical islands. Many people arrive in Thailand for work and retirement.

It is possible for these people to stay in Thailand for extended periods of time. Many foreigners come to teach English, work for Thai companies, study in Thai universities and settle down.

Is Thailand a good place to live mountians and jungle covered in fog

Can you live permanently in Thailand?

Yes, Thailand offers Permanent Resident status for people who meet certain criteria. It can be categorised into business, family and retirement.

  • Hold a Thai non-immigrant visa for three consecutive years before applying.
  • You must hold a non-immigrant visa at the time of your application.
  • You must meet at least one of the following criteria:
  • – Invest a minimum of 3 million Thai Baht (approx $90,000) into a Thai company, organisation or Thai stock market.
  • – Work/ Business reasons with a Thai organisation. You must earn a minimum of 30,000 THB per month if you have a Thai spouse and/ or 80,000 THB if you are single. You must also show proof of tax statements for the previous three years.
  • – Family: You must be married to a Thai passport holder and/ or be a parent or legal guardian of a Thai child under 20.
  • Be an expert or academic in a certain field.
  • Retirement: Be over 50 years old with a clear criminal background. You must have at least 800,000 THB ($24,000) in a Thai bank account for at least two months before application and/ or have a monthly income/ pension of 65,000 THB ($1,950).

When these criteria are met, you are free to apply for a Permanent Residency in Thailand. Only 100 citizens from each country are given Permanent Residency in Thailand each year, so you may not be lucky the first time.

Best places to live in Thailand for foreigners

Is Thailand a good place to live soi cowboy street in Bangkok at night glowing in red neon lights and people filling the bars out into the street


Bangkok is home to 10 million people and is a giant city. It is full of the hustle and bustle on every street. There are gigantic shopping malls with every brand you can think of: restaurants serving every cuisine and one of the best nightlife scenes in the world.

If you are someone who loves the big city life, Bangkok is where you should go if your dream is to live in Thailand. Many expats are drawn to Thailand’s capital for the world-class lifestyle but are warned, the cost of living is always higher in the big city compared to living in the countryside.

If you are thinking about doing a TEFL course in Bangkok, here are some common questions we get asked all the time.


Life in Phuket is slightly more laid back than in Bangkok. It is down south and blessed with world-class beaches. There is a party atmosphere in Phuket which attracts many world travellers. Being a favourite tourist destination means the prices can sometimes be higher than cities and towns in the north of the country.

If you are a fan of western culture and beach life, this city might be for you as it has many European bars and restaurants owned by many expats.

Expats do live in Phuket to be by the beach and the nightlife, but many expats who prefer the quiet life tend to settle to equally as beautiful cities around the country such as Isan or Rayong.

Is Bangkok a good place to live temple in chiang mai with mountians in the background

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s most historical city. It does not have beautiful beaches as it is located in the centre of the country, but you can visit the amazing Chiang Mai Grand Canyon if you fancy getting wet.

The Old City of Chiang Mai is very beautiful. You could spend days gazing at the ancient walls and ruins. The night markets and Thai food in Chiang Mai are also famous. Even the nightlife here is awesome, with great clubs such as Infinity Club.

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a lovely town by the beach and home to many resorts and golf courses. It has similarities to Phuket and Chiang Mai but on a smaller scale. The walking street in Hua Hin is very lively, and the clubs keep partying all through the night.

If you want to be removed from the action but still keep a finger on the pulse, then Hua Hin is a great place to be. You can live around the city normally and make full use of the beautiful beaches and go into the town centre when you are bored for some crazy experiences.

Is Pattaya a good place to live street full of neon lights for restaurants in Pattaya


If you are a lover of partying and clubbing, then you have to be in Pattaya. While Phuket has the famous Full Moon Party, Pattaya has the every night party where people are out having a good time every night of the week.

The Walking Street in Pattaya is covered in pubs, bars, clubs and more. You could go every night and find something new. You will be pulled left, right and centre by the promo staff trying to get you into their club, it can be crazy at times, but it is an experience!

Pattaya also has some epic beaches for you to recover on after a night out on Walking Street. There are great Thai restaurants all around but also many Western bars and restaurants for you to choose from.

Being a favourite tourist spot for many people, you will see many tourists in Pattaya, which can take away the authentic feeling of Thailand. Pattaya is like the Ibiza of Thailand but even crazier!


Krabi is a fantastic place if you want to live in Thailand but not be around the hustle and bustle. The area is quiet, beautiful looking and full of friendly people.

Not only has Krabi got stunning jungles and wildlife surrounding it, but some magnificent beaches, including Ao Nang beach, which can get pretty busy during the tourist season. Also, Krabi has many small islands to visit, like Koh Hei or Phi-Phi islands which are like paradise.

Living in Krabi can be nice as it is more secluded from tourists than Phuket and Hua Hin, and the cost of living is very affordable.

Is Thailand a good place to live guy sitting on a mountain above Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is very small, and the whole island is like one big party. There are many tourists around, but still, it remains a great place to live in Thailand. With some lovely places to live and a pleasant, peaceful atmosphere, far from the crazy nightlife that goes on in places such as Pattaya or Patong beach area where it can be quite dangerous, especially for tourists.

The south of Thailand is an area that many people recommend to live in if you want a ‘real’ Thai experience. The majority of the population speaks and lives like Thais, so it will be less culture shock than living up north near Bangkok, where more foreigners dominate the local culture. You won’t

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is an excellent place to live for people who like an island lifestyle or want a quieter environment when living in Thailand. It can get swamped during the tourist season, so it would be good to handle that kind of pressure and enjoy meeting new people from around the world.

Koh Tao has some stunning beaches and tranquil spots for a relaxing holiday. Staying on Koh Tao may be too quiet for some people as there is not much nightlife to speak of unless you venture into the large town of Sairee, where most of the foreigners hang out.

Nakhon Si Thammarat Province

If you want to live in Thailand and experience real rural Thai life, then Nakhon Si Thammarat is the place to be as it has not been developed by tourism and international people who want to buy holiday houses. It’s a very friendly province with large communities. The locals are hard-working, honest, warm-hearted, generous and polite people.

Is Thailand a good place to live white temle at chiang rai

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is a great place to live in Thailand as it has all the modern conveniences of life, fantastic tourist attractions and cities but still managed not to lose its own culture – which is becoming less common these days. The climate is lovely, with cool mountain weather during the rainy season. The city is immaculate and quiet, great for children to grow up in.

Some great things to do in Chiang Rai are mountain biking, trekking, bungee jumping, visits to the local villages, and many waterfalls such as Namtok Mae Surin. Chiang Rai has a substantial expat population who help promote this place as one of Thailand’s best places to live.

Where are the cheapest places to live in Thailand?

If you are coming from a Westernized country, then everywhere in Thailand will appear cheaper overall. Bangkok is, of course, the most expensive city. This includes rent, food and lifestyle in general. So, if you are looking to save money, head to any other city, preferably a non-tourist city.

Prices all over Thailand are relatively similar. You can eat for $1 – $2 and find a nice place to live by yourself with a pool for around $250. Chiang Mai is a good place to go for a cheaper cost of living in Thailand.

You will find that many of the big shopping malls with big brands are almost more expensive than your home country, but for day to day living, any town or city in Thailand is very affordable.

Many Thailand residents prefer Krabi Province if they’re looking for reasons to live in Thailand and want a tranquil setting with small towns. Koh Tao is a trendy place to live in for expats who enjoy the luxurious, isolated island life that’s still close enough to transport.

The south offers many rural communities, which are much cheaper than the north and definitely have their own charm. If you don’t mind living around tourists, Chiang Rai has many American residents who call this area home because of its excellent amenities, charming atmosphere and tremendous cost of living!

Is Thailand a good place to live a boat on the beach at krabi

Living in Thailand pros and cons?


Thailand’s tropical climate is a plus and also a minus. The humid climate in many areas of Thailand can be uncomfortable.

Some people hate it while others enjoy it and even look forward to the rainy season every year. The wet season starts from May and ends in October – this may appear quite a long stretch, but believe me, once you start getting used to it, you will love it! Plus, it’s only sweltering throughout most of the country for about two months. 

Language Barrier:

This can be hard for many people as communication can often be fractured, especially in serious situations, such as an accident or misunderstanding.

Many Thai people can speak English, but many cannot, and most foreigners that come to Thailand do not speak any Thai. If you plan to stay long term, it would be in your best interest to take some Thai language lessons. You will begin to pick up the language naturally over time also.

Once you make an effort to speak Thai, you will gain some respect from the people you talk to, and they won’t see you like a simple ‘farang’.

Is Thailand a good place to live a food market with fish meat and fruit


Now you must know Thai food is exceptional since most cities worldwide all have Thai restaurants serving this beautiful cuisine. With some favourite flavours being spicy and sour, here are some honourable mentions to Thai cuisine – Som Tum, which is a spicy papaya salad, is very popular in Thailand with the locals. Tom Yum Goong, a spicy and sour shrimp/ prawn soup and of course, Pad Thai, which are fried noodles


Thailand is a very safe country to live in. There are no areas or dangerous streets to avoid, like in many countries back home. You rarely hear of any attacks.

Thai people are very laid back and have respect for everyone around them. It is not in their nature to do anyone harm or misfortune.

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