Thailand is a very large country, life in Koh Samui is not the same as life in Chiang Mai, and life in an inland city is completely different from life in Bangkok. Therefore, the positive and negative aspects of living in Thailand will also be different depending on where you decide to move.
It is not easy to find a job in Thailand as a foreigner. It is a very protective country and many jobs are not allowed for foreigners. Many expats come to Thailand to work as English teachers or are digital nomads working online. Most of the jobs available are in the tourism sector, but they generally do not pay well. Salaries are generally low, even if they are in line with the cost of living, and it is very difficult to obtain a visa and work permit. Thailand can be an interesting country to start your own business, but you have to deal with laws and a completely different culture than we are used to.
While it is true that Thais are friendly, open, hospitable and very tolerant of foreigners, it is also in their nature that they tend to take advantage of farang, when the opportunity arises. It is very easy to make superficial friends, but to have a chance of making native friends, you have to learn the Thai language, which is quite difficult.
Remember that there are two different ways of applying the law in Thailand: one for foreigners and one for locals. What is allowed for Thais is not necessarily allowed for farangs. For example, the rules of the road that locals do not follow, while foreigners are punished. Farangs have fewer rights than Thais and they can only rely on their money.
The lifestyle in Thailand is relaxed and decelerated. This slow pace can annoy North Americans and Europeans who can not understand why Thais do not care about being on time. Most Thai people do not speak English, so conversation is difficult. Therefore, those who decide to move and work permanently in this country must learn the language, which is not an easy task.
Even if prices continue to rise, Thailand remains an affordable place to live, especially if you eat and live like a Thai. On the other hand, if you want to live in a good apartment, eat in a good restaurant, and buy imported food, be prepared to spend as much as you would in your country and more. Thailand is a heavily tourist country and in the most popular areas prices can be double or triple those in non-touristy areas of the country.
Thai food is world famous and cheap (local products are inexpensive). It is very good and varied: meat, fish, vegetables and tropical fruits. Health is a private matter and therefore you have to pay for it. The hospitals and private clinics are of a very good standard. It is a very safe country with a very low crime rate.
Traffic in many Thai cities, but especially in Bangkok, is appalling, and this is probably the biggest drawback of living in the capital. Traffic jams are a daily phenomenon, and although the Thai government professes to want to solve the problem, the situation worsens every year. On the other hand, public transportation is functional and economical. This enormous traffic causes heavy pollution in Bangkok. A gray blanket spreads over the whole city and does not dissipate.
The weather in Thailand is extremely hot and humid throughout the year, and it is easy to lose track of the seasons. Although it does not rain every day, it rains very often. It is jokingly said that there are 3 seasons in Thailand: hot, hotter and very hot. So you can wear a t-shirt and flip-flops every day of the year. It seems that Bangkok is the hottest city in the world.
Living and working in Thailand – pros and cons
Living in Thailand, pros
- Low cost of living (lodging, food, transportation, etc.)
- Good weather (sun practically every day)
- Relaxed and stress-free life
- Very attentive, helpful and respectful people
- Low crime rate
Living in Thailand, cons
- Difficult language (language barrier)
- Relentless heat and humidity
- Corruption and bureaucracy
- Political instability and rapidly changing laws
- Difficulty finding work and low wages
Living in Thailand, conclusion
Living in Thailand is difficult because Thailand discourages foreigners who want to live there permanently. All foreigners, including those who work, are married to a Thai citizen, or are retired, must deal with immigration on a regular basis.
However, once the paperwork is done, living in Thailand can be a pleasure: beautiful landscapes, beautiful architecture, good food, good weather and a relaxed life.
For those interested in living in Thailand, I recommend reading the article: Moving to Thailand
For those interested in working in Thailand, I recommend reading the article: Working in Thailand