Best Places for Expats to Live in Thailand
Posted by Stephen Whitfield
Are you tired of “paying your dues” at your job? Are you bored of the 9 – 5 corporate world?
You know what I’m talking about: the traditional understanding that loyalty in a job will eventually pay off and lead to a better life.
The desperate belief that saying “yes” to your boss and working hard will somehow lead to something better someday. But why live in hope when you can escape now?
More and more people are choosing to quit their hectic jobs to chase a dream of international travel and enlightenment. This is perfectly demonstrated by the growing number of expats who come to live in Thailand and experience its diverse culture.
There is absolutely no place on Earth that can match the land of smiles. Yes, there are risks, of course; but the fundamental Thai cultural values mean foreigners are considerably safer in Thailand than many western countries.
So, why do so many foreigners come to live here and what are the best places to visit or live in Thailand?
Without a doubt Bangkok is one of the best cities in Asia; with huge numbers of expats coming in every month at an increasing rate. What makes this city vibrant is its ability to combine to both Thai and western culture. The result is a happy fusion of people, tastes and trends.
The majority of expats choose to live in the city center because of the easy access to public transportation - Bangkok has an elevated sky train and an underground MRT. This part of the city also has the best condos, restaurants, malls and shopping centers.
Expats can venture out for delicious Thai food, to go to the cinema, bars, sports bars and fancy restaurants at a reasonable price. Bangkok is a multicultural city so a variety of cuisines are available, particularly in Downtown Bangkok. Here, the scents range from the spices of South Asia to the delicious lamb dishes of New Zealand.
2. Bangkok Nightlife (Sukhumvit)
The sex industry is a major attraction for sex-pats in Bangkok and walking down Sukhumvit Street can give you a fair idea about it. Bangkok is a 24/7 city and it’s best to discover all aspects of it - whether good or bad. After a busy day of bargain hunting at the city's bazaars, watch the streets really come to life.
3. Khaosan Road
Khaosan Road is the hippie center of Bangkok, and expats are drawn to it as a hub of activity. It’s a great place to make contacts as you end up meeting other expats or backpackers sharing their experience of living in Thailand - all over a bottle of local beer. With drinking culture comes accidents, but Bangkok is also home to one of the best hospital services and expats appreciate astoundingly affordable costs for top-quality care for as little as $40 - $50. However, it's still important to have the right insurance.
This Northern city is dripping with culture, with historic buildings and astounding architecture around every corner. Even though it is relatively isolated, Chiang Mai has a lot of character that reflects the Thai culture. It’s an exotic place where it's normal to spot orange robed monks collecting alms at dawn – yet it’s comfortable for westerners to live here without extra expenses.
No matter which part of the city you are in, a quick glance upwards will always remind you where you are. Doi Suthep sits proudly in the mountains and is visible from most parts of the city. Trucks gather in the morning near Chiang Mai University and the Chiang Mai Zoo to start a 16 km ride up the hill to the temple. The temple has a beautiful gold chedi in the upper part of the temple, and from there you can see the whole of Chiang Mai laid out before you.
2. Cost of Living
The cost of living in Chiang Mai is very low. A small flat could cost around $ 100 - $150 pm with a decent neighborhood, but if you’re looking to live like a local the cost could be much less. Food could be as cheap as $1 for Pad-Thai in many cafés and is often available with a cup of coffee for a dollar or so. Life in Chiang Mai is quite laid back and the best way to explore the city is by motorbike, which could be bought for $500 or rented for around $100 a month.
3. Vegetarian food
If you’re a veggie then this city could be the right choice for you. Not only do they have Thai vegetarian foods but also varieties in Taiwanese, Chinese and of course some Indian restaurants.
Hua-Hin has grown over the years from primarily being a tourist destination to one drawing in expatriates from across the globe. With its fantastic climate, famous golf courses and friendly local atmosphere, Hua-Hin is becoming a favourite for those wanting to experience life in the laid-back lane.
1. Way of life
Phra Ratchawang Klai Kangwon is an ancient aristocratic residency that lies 3km north of town. Translating to 'far from worries palace', the regional slogan reflects the typical expat experience of Hua-Hin.
The markets are cheap, with many night bazaars along the coastline. In addition to the customary Thai tailors, the town is a centre for contemporary art with several small galleries featuring pieces by local artists.
With the beach close at hand there’s no way that you can get away from some delicious fresh seafood. The cuisine in Hua-Hin caters to both Asian and Western tastes, making it a top holiday destination for all nationalities.
Phuket is a tale of two sides. Expats can enjoy an easy-going lifestyle or spend their nights club hopping until the sun comes up.
In Phuket you can enjoy the best seafood in South of Thailand and dine at restaurants specializing in everything from Italian, Indian to Japanese. The warm weather in Phuket is a big draw for westerners who dream of beautiful sunset dinners.
2. Quality of Life
There is little trace of the 2004 Tsunami as everything has been replaced by fancy looking beach view hotels and resorts. A sea view apartment could cost somewhere around $1000 per month, whereas a little further away from the beach you can get a flat for $600.
One of the best things about Phuket is its proximity to one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand – The Koh Phi Phi islands is a spectacular place to relax and enjoy the nightlife at the same time. There are also other, more sedate islands around Phuket, all within easy reach.
Whatever your budget, there’s something for everyone in Thailand's different regions.
Now it’s your turn to think about why your life seems grey in the UK, and consider the wonders and colours that could be in store for you in Thailand!!!!
Author ( Mani K) - Find me on G+
Before you go - does your insurance plan cover you? Contact Medibroker's team of independent international health insurance advisors who specialise in finding the right plan for you to discuss your options.