Living in Thailand is an opportunity very few people have the option of doing, and even fewer take advantage of. We asked a few people living in Thailand or who have lived in Thailand to give us a quick summary of their experience living in Thailand.
Having spent a year living in Thailand personally, I have included my honest opinion of life in the Kingdom. As they say, the good, the bad and the ugly, so if you want to see that, you can skip ahead by clicking here.
Living in Thailand by Ben
It’s always a good time to be living in Thailand. I love the food, people and country. There’s never a worry about what you’ll find when you walk down the street or turn on the TV. There is so much to see, from Laos to Cambodia and Myanmar – everything is just a bus ride away! And Bangkok always has something going on, whether it’s champion boxers fighting in Lumpini Stadium or punk rockers wrecking hair salons in Silom Road. If you’re not too sure what you want to do, just ask a local! They’re always friendly and open to giving advice. And if you’re looking for a job, there are plenty of opportunities for foreigners here – just go on the internet and ask the other ex-pats you meet!
As for me, I had no idea what to do after graduation, but a friend of mine was teaching and loving it, so I decided to apply for jobs in the school system. Now, three years later, I’m still here and have taken up residence on the island of Koh Samui with my girlfriend. We both work at language centres -mine teaches exam preparation English, and hers does business English. We are both Canadian but sometimes miss our family, friends and holidays back home in the cold. But Thailand is where we want to be right now.
I’d say you have a good chance of finding work here too if you’re looking for a new experience. I studied marketing at university, which hasn’t been of much use to me in my current position. But the experience of living abroad and doing something you love should outweigh that – use it as your opportunity to learn a new skill! So, if you’re taking your next semester off or have just graduated, go for it and get out here.
I’ve no doubt you’ll be happy with whatever choice you make- don’t worry about it too much and enjoy yourself. That’s what I’m doing!
Living in Thailand by Laurence
I just love Thailand. It’s such a beautiful country. The food is non-stop delicious if you like spicy, and the people are the nicest people in Asia! And it’s so cheap here – I can live like a king! You come here for a few years, and you’ll never think about moving back home! Thailand is the best place in Asia for an English teacher. I mean, with a little luck, you can make huge savings in just a few years and buy your own place! That is something I couldn’t imagine doing back in California.
Here in Thailand, I own a two-bedroom condo! It’s amazing. And that is why I adore living here.
I just have to say, though: This isn’t California, and if you are looking for an American city with American amenities, this isn’t it. Sometimes, people I meet ask me what my opinion is of Bangkok – “Is it like Los Angeles?” And my answer is “no” – it’s not. Bangkok is a Thai city, with all that comes with the modernity of Thailand. I mean, what would you expect?
The food here is amazing! The people are so friendly, and they love Americans! And everything is just so cheap! If you want to go out and buy a beer, it’s only $1.50! Or you can pick up a nice piece of chicken for about $0.70! And the Thai girls are so beautiful – I mean, just look at my wife!
Probably my favorite decision I ever made was coming out to live in Thailand. I have tried to convince family and friends back home to do the same, but it just isn’t for them, which I totally understand, it’s a big change and can be scary when you have stayed in the same town all your life and everyone you know is nearby.
For those thinking of living in Thailand or anywhere in Asia, all I can say is try it out! Don’t go with the intention of staying for 10 or 20 years. Come out for a year and get a teaching job and see if it suits you. The first couple of months will be crazy and sometimes tough adjusting, but trust me, when you find your feet and start to enjoy the experience, you will love it!
Living in Thailand by Emma
I love living in Thailand as a TEFL teacher. I work mostly online since schools have been mostly closed the past year.
It’s the type of job that I can do from anywhere, so it’s perfect for my lifestyle. In fact, many people who live in other countries are interested in finding a way to make money working remotely. They might be thinking about teaching English or tutoring students online. But before you quit your job to pursue a new career as an online teacher, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons.
Number one: You can live anywhere.
Once you have access to an internet connection and a computer or smartphone, anyone can work from anywhere in the world. With tech advances, it’s easier than ever to connect with students from any location.
I know many teachers who work from a tropical beach, but it can also be done in big cities like Bangkok, Tokyo or Bali. The point is that it’s possible to set up business anywhere, and the sky is the limit on what you do once you’ve found an online teaching platform that’s right for you.
I chose to continue living in Thailand because I love my apartment, I have made amazing friends here, and it’s just so much cheaper, so I am saving up like crazy right now. I won’t go into specifics about my income and expenses, but my rent, for example, is only $200 per month!!
Number two: You can make a lot of money.
With TEFL, you’re not making great money from the get-go, but it’s definitely possible to make more than you could at a regular job. You’re also able to save up your “rainy day” fund for when months go by without any income at all.
When I’m teaching online, I only work three or four days per week from my home in the tropics. The rest of the time, I can travel, meet friends and still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that’s affordable.
I know many teachers who made their dreams come true by living overseas while earning an excellent salary as an online teacher. They saved up enough money to live anywhere and truly enjoy life.
Number three: You can build a business.
The perks of working online are numerous, but the biggest one that I’ve found is that it’s easy to build something bigger than just being an online teacher. My blog, for example, was started as a way to promote TEFL jobs openings, but it has since grown into a well-known resource for teachers, schools and companies.
I hope that my blog can help other teachers find their dream jobs and make some money or even build a business from the ground up as I did. While TEFL is still not an easy way to make money, it’s one of the better options out there.
There are also cons to living in Thailand, though.
Number one: One con of being an English teacher living in Thailand is that the work can be sporadic because many schools have been closed this past year. This has meant many students have moved to online English lessons, so teaching online should be something you are willing to adapt to.
Number two: Homesickness can be tough if you are very family orientated like I am, but it does go away eventually. One way to combat this is to plan a trip home for the holidays or for your family to come to visit you during one of the Thai national holidays.
Number three: You can get sucked into a party lifestyle. While it may sound good, and it is great fun, it is not something you want to become part of your everyday routine. So many people living in Thailand begin hanging out in bars every day. While it might not seem a big deal when you begin needing a drink every day, it usually only gets worse and not better. The main reason for this is boredom and loneliness. Find ways to keep yourself active, be it work or sports and also try to befriend locals and ex-pats to meet socially (outside of bars if possible).
Overall, living in Thailand was a good move for me, and I will be here for the unforeseeable future. If you are reading this, it means you’re thinking about it, which is great and let me tell you, and you are very welcome to Thailand!
Living in Thailand by James
I enjoy living in Thailand, but it’s hard getting used to the constant heat. The best time of year to be in Thailand is during the fall and winter when the temperature is perfect. You can just go swimming in a pool or on the beach for some relief from the heat. Almost all good condo complexes have pools which are amazing.
I also enjoy living in Thailand because they have delicious food and amazing beaches, which are a refreshing escape from the other countries that I’ve been living in. It’s also enjoyable because there are always things to do and it doesn’t get old like in other countries.
If you’re looking for an interesting day trip near Bangkok, I recommend going to Kanchanaburi and take a tour of the River Kwai Bridge, which is the same bridge from the movie “The bridge over the River Kwai.”
I’m a teacher, and I’ve been living in Thailand for about a year. Thai people are some of the most giving and generous people I’ve ever met. For me, Thailand is paradise!
Thailand has everything from beaches, jungle, mountains, temples– a true island paradise on earth! There’s plenty of opportunities for living comfortably in Thailand as an English teacher.
Living in Thailand by Kev
I’ve been living in Thailand for the past few years, and I absolutely love it. Thais are always very friendly, and the food is some of the best in the world! Sure, my job isn’t exactly what I expected it to be. It’s more like a meat slinging gig at McDonald’s meets The Office. But that doesn’t matter because I get to play with kids all day who don’t speak English.
I’ve had such a great time here, but now it looks like it’s time for me to head back home next year. I’ve been here for a little over three years, so it’s not surprising that I’m starting to feel homesick.
The fact is, I’m a bit of an ex-pat addict. It hasn’t always been this way, and my first time overseas was in my early 20s in China, and I hated it and swore I’d never go again… but I had a few better experiences in Europe and Asia, and now I live in Thailand, and it is my home, the only place where I can truly relax and be myself. I will defiantly live in Thailand again, but unfortunately, I must return home for a few months.
My advice to people is to take the leap. It doesn’t have to be Thailand. Living abroad is a very liberating feeling, no matter which country it is. The feeling of having new experiences every day, getting lost and meeting new people are all a part of the adventure so embrace them. Don’t be scared of them.
Living in Thailand by Alex
To live in Thailand as an English teacher is one of the best, fulfilling life decisions I’ve ever made.
Based on my personal experience of living in Thailand as an English teacher was a fantastic opportunity for me to grow as an individual. You’ll become completely immersed not only in the culture but the lifestyle of Thailand.
It’s truly incredible what this country has to offer and how hospitable Thai people are. Plus, it’s a great location for those who love exotic tropical climates and foods! I have been back in the States now for about three months, and it’s definitely starting to get cold. I think of the 25°C/ 80°F we had every day down there in Pattaya, Thailand and then feel chills just thinking that soon enough, I won’t be able to walk into Walmart without wearing a jacket! Lol
The reason why I left was so that my wife could finish school and develop her career. It’s not like we will never ever go back. In fact, I can guarantee with 99.9% certainty that we will one day return to Thailand for a visit or maybe even longer!
You get to have adventures and experiences that most people might never have in their lifetime.
Why? Because Thailand is a largely Western-friendly nation. English is the second language, and you can get by speaking only broken Thai to natives (though I recommend trying to learn the language as best you can). The country has a lot of ex-pats from all over the world who live there permanently.
It is super easy to travel around Thailand, some cities such as Pattaya don’t even have a subway system, but the buses and taxis are so cheap!
If you like being adventurous, the food is amazing, and there are beautiful beaches to take a dip in.
Living in Thailand as an English teacher was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I would definitely recommend it to almost anybody!
Remember, when you’re living in Thailand, you’re not on vacation. It is your home, so be respectful.
Living in Thailand by Sandi
First of all, living in Thailand is a lot of fun. Second of all, there are tons of things to do for English teachers. Thirdly, it’s really easy to make money here. Fourthly, it’s one of the best countries in the world. Fifthly, it’s not expensive at all. Sixthly, the food is good. Seventhly, there are a lot of beautiful girls here.
There are millions of things to enjoy in Thailand, and you can spend your time in many different ways, but first, I want to talk about some everyday issues that you may consider before coming over here.
This isn’t America or Europe, so you shouldn’t act like it is. You are in a new country, a new culture, and you should respect that. Do not make a scene when you speak English to someone and they do not understand. This is their country which you are in, and you should be expected to speak in Thai and not expect everyone to speak your language.
Sorry, it is just something I see very often, and it annoys me, and I just want to let anyone who is like that who’s reading, don’t ever travel!
Another thing that bugs me is making faces or noises around Thai food. Yes, many people eat things you aren’t used to, and that’s normal to them. But it’s like you’re looking down on people when this happens as if our burger and hotdog eating is a thing to aspire to!
Okay, rant over and back to the beginning. I’ve personally had a good time living in Thailand. I won’t stay here forever, and that has nothing to do with living in Thailand. I am just one of those people that cannot settle in one place for too long. I have been living here on and off for about 4 years, and I am thinking of trying out Japan or South Korea next.
I had a great teaching job in Rayong for a short time. The money was good, and I made about $2,500 one month. It wasn’t always like that. The language centre I was in was down a teacher, so I volunteered to take as many of their lessons as I could. I worked over 60 hours some weeks, but I enjoyed teaching, so I didn’t mind.
After Rayong, I moved to Hua Hin, which was nice. There were more things to do and a better nightlife. I only stayed there for a month as a vacation. I spent many a night on the Walking Street, made great but crazy friends.
Next was Bangkok which I am living in currently and must say is better than I was expecting. You think of 10 million people living in one place, and you imaging chaos, but it’s nice and lively. There’s never a lack of things to do, places to go or people to hang out with, which is perfect for me. Living in Bangkok is probably the best of the three, but I will definitely return to Hua Hin for another vacation and to the there cities.
Living in Thailand by David
I retired and moved to Thailand a number of years ago. Many people are coming to live in Thailand, and while it isn’t the most developed country in the world, the lifestyle and cost of living are hard to beat. It is also a country that encourages foreigners to move to the Kingdom because it needs a capital injection.
One thing I see happen too often to people that come to Thailand to retire is they get lazy and stuck in a rut. They will hang around the same bars each day and never venture far.
It is important to keep active. A morning swim in the sea, walk along the promenade, take a trip to the next town for something to eat. Taking up hobbies is another great trick to beat boredom. I love to draw, so I can always do that when I don’t feel like going out.
I have been planning on living in Thailand ever since I first came out here over 40 years ago. It wasn’t a whim. It was well thought out and planned to a tee. This is something many people do not do. They hear it’s a great place to live and just try their best to adapt when they didn’t have much previous experience in the country.
Living in Thailand by Ryan
I’ll never forget walking off the plane and getting hit by the humidity like a frog jumped down my throat. I’m Irish, so heat and sun and humidity are alien to me.
I spent a few nights in Bangkok before I had to attend my TEFL training in Pattaya. Bangkok scared me a little bit. I was all alone, it was a vast city, and I just didn’t do any research beforehand on what to do in Bangkok, so I got bored pretty fast. It was my own fault I didn’t enjoy Bangkok because I didn’t plan my stay there very well.
I did return to Bangkok a couple of times after this with a friend and had a great time! It is better when you have someone to show you around and knows the best places to eat and visit. We got to see the aquarium, Madame Tussauds and do a bit of shopping in the massive shopping malls.
I eventually made it to my school in the small town of Rayong, where I would spend the next 11 months. It was nice and relaxed compared to the mayhem of Bangkok. My school was in a shopping mall with nice restaurants, a Starbucks and a cinema. The other teachers were great, and we got along. There was no school on Wednesdays, so we all went to the pool that day and enjoyed a few drinks by the beach in the evening.
My most fond memory of living in Thailand is when three of us rented a boat with a Thai driver who took us island hopping for a day. Two of the islands were completely uninhabited, so we were the only people on this island, which was amazing. Snorkelled in the crystal clear water and kept moving to new islands. We got dropped off at Koh Samet, the main island in the area, where we chilled on the beach for the day before heading back.
The only bad thing I can say about living in Thailand is that you come across rude people. Now, the majority of people were fine, and I know every country has rude people, but it was something that annoyed me. By rude, I mean the people who don’t like foreigners were not afraid to let you know they don’t like you. I asked a Thai friend what it was, and they said it is this thing is called ‘sucking teeth‘, where you make a noise by pressing your tongue to your teeth and sucking in the air. It is the equivalent of giving someone the finger, I guess.
Anyway, it wasn’t a big deal, but I just found it rude, but I should have just ignored it.
Apart from that, I had a great time. I had to return to Ireland due to the pandemic, but I plan to move back to Thailand when things calm down.
Wrapping it up!
If you are interested in living in Thailand and want tips on how to make it a reality, leave a comment or check out our TEFL course in Thailand, which is held in Bangkok over 4-weeks, and we help organise job interviews for you to stay long-term in Thailand while earning money!