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Pros and cons of living in Thailand

Cita Catellya



Thinking of moving or retiring in Thailand? Moving to another country can seem exciting, especially when you’re moving to a country as beautiful as Thailand. Living in a country filled with postcard-worthy islands, lush jungles, delicious food, eclectic nightlife, and interesting culture may sound like a dream. However, just like in any other part of the world, there are both good and ugly parts of the Land of Smiles. There are indeed many advantages to choosing Thailand as your home, but there are also several things that might be a deal-breaker for you. It’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons before you actually move to the country.

So, to help you decide if Thailand is the place for you, here are the pros and cons of living in the Land of Smiles!

Pros of Living in Thailand

1. Thai food is incredible

Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. If you’ve tried famous dishes like pad thai or tom yum, you might have an idea of just how distinct and bold the flavour of Thai cuisine is. Most Thai dishes have a blend of four flavours: sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. The spice can be very intense for most foreigners, which is why some restaurants have ‘thai spice’ and ‘foreigner spice.’ Besides being delicious, most Thai food is also healthy. Natural ingredients are a staple in Thai cuisine, with vegetables and herbs dominating the menu. The cooking process, either stir-fried or steamed, also helps retain the nutritional value. In addition, there are a wide variety of Thai dishes, so you’ll likely never get tired of it.

Thai food - pros and cons of living in Thailand

PHOTO: jcomp from freepik.

2. A wide variety of housing options

There’s a great selection of accommodation available in Thailand. From traditional Thai housing and villas to condos and serviced apartments, you can find almost any type of housing that you may want to have. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can live comfortably in a modern apartment near a city centre. However, if you are okay with living outside of the usual metro area, you can find some incredible deals.

3. A hub of international culture

Thanks to the many business opportunities in the tourism industry, Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for expats. That’s why today, the Kingdom is a hub of international culture. You’ll find people from different nationalities who are also new to the country and are looking for friends. There are numerous expats groups you can join throughout the country. These clubs usually have gatherings or events, which will help you to make friends pretty quickly and easily.

4. Beautiful nature all around you

Thailand’s unmatched natural beauty is one of the reasons why it’s popular among tourists. The country has it all – picturesque beaches, secluded islands, party beach towns, jungle-covered mountains, beautiful waterfalls, stunning national parks, and more. Even the cities are unique, with an interesting blend of ancient and modern, as well as colourful markets and stunning gardens. Therefore, living here means you get easy access to all of these things. The best thing is, travelling within Thailand is ridiculously affordable and easy.

Nature - pros and cons of living in Thailand.

Aerial view of Phang Nga bay with mountains at sunrise in Thailand. PHOTO: tawatchai07 from freepik.

5. Plenty of opportunities to have fun

Another pros of living in Thailand is that there’s always something happening in the country for expats to enjoy. The nightlife is lively, with beach bars, nightclubs, full moon parties, restaurants, and night markets open until late. Therefore, you can go out and have a good time almost every night. You can also visit art galleries, stroll through the local market, or see a movie. If you like being outdoors, you can hike a mountain during the weekend or simply relax and soak up the sun on a beach or a resort somewhere in the country. In addition, Thailand is full of festivals and unique events that you surely can’t miss, such as Songkran and Loy Krathong.

6. Friendly and welcoming people

Thai people are known to be very friendly and welcoming towards foreigners, making it easier for you to adapt to your new life here. It’s easy to make Thai friends, especially if you’re in a big city like Bangkok, where English is widely spoken to a certain extent. Most Thais are happy to have a chat with you or to help you in some way.

Cons of Living In Thailand

1. Bad traffic in urban areas

The first cons about living in Thailand is the traffic. Traffic in the country can be a nightmare sometimes, especially during rush hour from 5 pm to 7 pm. Of course, not all areas in the country have excruciatingly bad traffic. However, you’ll likely have to deal with road congestion in most urban areas where expats live, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. Fortunately in Bangkok, public transport links, such as BTS and MRT, are pretty good, so you can always rely on them.

Pros and cons of living in Thailand | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Jason Goh from Pixabay

2. Language barrier

It’s true that many people in urban areas like Bangkok can speak English to varying degrees of proficiency. However, not a lot of people can speak English well. Also, government departments in the country, as well as some businesses, usually deal with matters in Thai instead of English. This can make you feel alienated if you can’t speak Thai. When you have to sign a document or deal with the government, it’s best that you hire an interpreter or translator. It’s also good to start learning at least basic Thai before you move to the country.

3. Uncomfortable extreme weather

Thailand’s weather can be both pros and cons. When you visit Thailand for a holiday, the weather may seem perfect. It’s almost always sunny and doesn’t get too cold. However, when you start living here, you’ll realize that the weather is always hot and humid! When the humidity is low, the heat can be pretty bearable, but Thailand’s humidity is high almost all the time. Therefore, it can be sticky, muggy, and uncomfortable. In addition, the rainy season tends to have unpredictable weather. It can create havoc when you’re trying to get around or plan activities. The good news is, you will eventually get used to it. Also, air conditioning is everywhere – at work, almost every shop and restaurant, and at home if you decide to have one.

4. Dangerous roads

Another cons of living in Thailand is the deadly roads. The Kingdom is still among the world’s unsafest countries to drive in. Due to the chaotic streets and poorly maintained roads, there are lots of accidents here. The number of deaths and injuries on the roads are high, despite numerous government safety initiatives over the years. Even if you drive carefully, there’s always a chance that you’ll encounter other irresponsible drivers on the road. Therefore, if you’re an absolute beginner in motorbikes, it’s better to avoid riding one. But if you really want to, always wear a helmet and protective clothing. Make sure to have the correct license and motorcycle insurance as well.

Pros and cons living in Thailand

PHOTO: Anemone123 from Pixabay

5. The farang price

Due to a dual pricing system, prices of things and services can be significantly different for Thai people and foreigners. Foreigners, or farangs, typically get charged much higher prices than normal. The dual pricing system might be fine for most tourists, but you’ll find it annoying when you live here. You won’t only find this dual pricing system in tourist attractions but also in your everyday life. For example, many taxi drivers will claim that their metre is broken just to charge you an excessive amount.

Hopefully, this list of pros and cons can give you a picture of what it’s actually like to live in Thailand and decide if it’s the right place for you! All countries in the world have their own pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide if the good can make up for the bad.

Want to know more about what living in Thailand is like? Check out our article on the etiquette and rules in Thailand.


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Cita Catellya is a journalist and content writer who covers a range of topics from medical and property to leisure and tourism. Her career began as a copywriter, where she worked with several brands in Indonesia to help them increase their online presence.

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