Authored by Maarten Cox
While we don’t have a choice over the country we’re born in, these days we often do have control over whether or not we choose to stay.
There are 195 countries in the world today, which presents endless possibilities for those wishing to live overseas. But, when it comes to setting up your life in a new country, Thailand has become an incredibly popular nation.
A true expat hub, Thailand boasts a low cost of living at a very high standard, a high quality of healthcare, a huge range of opportunities for travel, and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere – after-all, it’s called the land of smiles for a reason!
Having moved to Koh Samui, where I am just one of the 500,000 expatriates who have made the move, the following are five reasons you should consider living and working in Thailand too!
5 Reasons to Consider Living & Working in Thailand
#1 The People
If considering a move to Thailand, you won’t find a more welcoming country. The Thai people are benevolent, polite, smiling, and always see things on a bright side.
After-all, it doesn’t matter is a country has the best beaches in the world (which Thailand does!), or the best food – if you’re living in a place where you’re surrounded by miserable people, you’re going to find you return home with miserable memories.
Thailand is famous as the land of smiles, and their positivity and friendliness is evident everywhere. Locals go out of their way to engage and interact with you, and to help you if you need assistance – whether you’re lost and need directions, or need a ride.
Helpfulness is a very big part of the Thai culture – that’s just the way they are inclined! English isn’t always widely spoken, but even if there is a language barrier, they’ll still go out of their way to help, and make an extra effort to communicate.
#2 The Ecology
Clean air, wildlife, plenty of quiet corners for chilled walking (if you’re in Bangkok, though, it’s getting harder!!). If there’s one thing you should know about Thailand, it’s that it is made up of beautiful sun-drenched, tropical islands!
Personally, for me the benefits of the sea and the sun are obvious: it’s great for mental health, and for physical fitness, and offers a huge range of exciting activities, as well as the opportunity to relax on the beach when my head is full and refuses to work on!
And when it comes to working and living in the country, the ecology makes for a very high quality of life.
Thailand’s beauty isn’t strictly limited to the country’s coastline though, and its stunning natural landscapes continue inland to well over 100 official national parks.
Do you know that there are still tigers, elephants, leopards, gaurs, bears roaming free in many national parks across Thailand? Do you also know that 10% of all marine species in the world can be found across the country’s 22 marine national parks? Also, Thailand is the best bird-watching destination in mainland Asia.
Why would you not want to live permanently in this place?!
#3 The Prices
Thailand is well known as a very easy country to experience on a budget. Even first times travelers can easily spend under 50 USD a day, and that includes your hotel, activities and transportation!
But, when you’re living in Thailand permanently, it becomes even cheaper.
If you rent in the low season, and sign on for a long term lease, a really good house (2-3 rooms, kitchen, swimming pool) costs ~$430 a month.
A plate of rice with shrimps will go for as little as $1 (of course, it’s a lot more expensive if you commonly visit Western restaurants aimed at tourists), and soup costs even less.
Getting around in Thailand is very cheap if you stick to buses. Taxis and other forms of transportation can get expensive over time, but the public buses are very easy to use and will cost you very little, about 20 cents per ride.
You can even ride a day train for under 1.50 USD, while the night train will cost you about 16 USD. Keep in mind your budget and pick the transportation you need at the time; it’s okay to indulge sometimes!
#4 The Internet is Good
For those who work for themselves online, choosing a country with reliable, high speed internet is important, and this alone is why many expats and digital nomads choose Thailand.
SE Asia has great internet in general, though I recommend using mobile internet in Thailand. Almost everywhere throughout the country has 3G or 4G networks, and local SIM-cards work perfectly as a portable WiFi hotspot.
You will need a regular SIM card at 49 baht – the easiest way to set it up is to walk into a phone salon and buy a SIM card there, and choose from one of their data packages, which the sales desk can set up for you.
The 3 major mobile companies in Thailand are True Move, DTAC and AIS.
#5 Great Healthcare
Thailand’s healthcare is so good that it’s actually is one of the world’s leading destinations for medical tourism.
Even better, the majority of procedures here cost 50% to 70% less than the same treatment in the western world.
With over 1,000 public and private hospitals, Thailand has great healthcare, and medical infrastructure in hospitals geared to foreigners is excellent.
Additionally, the majority of the country’s doctors have been educated in either the western world or Singapore meaning they speak fluent English.
Choosing Your Region
Photo credit: Twang_Dunga (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Bangkok is the most convenient place for living a remote worker’s life in Thailand, but not everybody likes the hectic pace of city life. Almost all expats settle in either Koh Samui, Phuket or Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai has a more pleasant climate than the south of Thailand, and is less of a frenetic city than Bangkok. Though if you’re looking for a base with good infrastructure by the sea, of all Thai islands, Phuket and Koh Samui are your best choices.
Koh Samui has an ideal balance between nature and infrastructure: there are developed areas like Chaweng and Lamai, and there are not so developed ones – Taling Ngam, Pang Ka, Bang Kao.
You can choose between hiking, throwing yourself into the energy of bustling tourist regions, but then escape to quiet beaches with almost untouched nature.
Granted, Bangkok is a great base for traveling around the country and the greater SE Asia surrounds (check out this Bangkok to Koh Tao route guide), so make your choice based on the lifestyle you’re after.
So, are you ready to make the move?