Common expat varieties in Thailand 2022

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Thailand has a lot to offer and it’s no surprise why so many foreigners want to live here. Some folks come for a short vacation and never want to leave. Despite the pandemic, it seems like the amount of expats is growing every year and they come from all over the world. So here’s shortlist of the most common expats in Thailand in 2022, in my humble Thai opinion.

Editor’s Note: This list is a follow up to 2020 article here. Of course, we know not every foreigner fits neatly into one of the categories below. The list is meant to be more humorous than offensive, so please take it with a big pack of sugar and salt…

Nothing is perfect. We Thais understand that perfectly. But to the chronic hater/complainer, nothing in Thailand will satisfy them. Nothing. They will always find something to complain about, even the smallest of things. The food isn’t worth the price, the weather is too much for them or life is so much better back at home. (Then why don’t you go there?) It’s easy to spot these negative Nacys online, lurking on social media and internet forums (like the one for this article). Sometimes you can hear them complaining at a bar or somewhere in public with their sympathetic expat buddy. They probably need a hug and a Thai smile.

In most situations, they’re here just to have a “good time” rather than a good vacation. It’s easy to spot them, too. They can be found in popular locations like Patong, Patpong, Nana and Pattaya. From time to time, they’re labelled as pedophiles — something you don’t want to be attached to your name. Also, they’re known for getting into trouble for all the wrong reasons. Most travellers will buy some sort of souvenirs to bring back home like an elephant t-shirt or a night-market trinket; but for sexpats, it’s some sort of STD. Yikes.

English teacher
There is a fair share of English teachers in Thailand. You can find a few different types of them all around Thailand: backpackers who want to stay here longer, bored housewives who want something to do, older expats who want extra cash, and the professionals who really love to teach. If they’re someone with a TEFL certificate teaching at a language center, their pay isn’t so high compared to more qualified teachers working at international schools. Those positions are more competitive and could offer upwards of 100K per month. Not bad.

Thailand is not only a popular tourist destination, but also a popular place to retire. You can live a simple life in Chiang Mai or live by the beach in Phuket. A lot of things are affordable in Thailand, including food, drinks and accommodation, but it has gotten more expensive over the years. The pandemic has also been a driving force of inflation. Considering living in Thailand after retiring? Make sure to do your due diligence and try visiting different cities in Thailand before you take the plunge.

Some highly skilled and experienced expats live in Thailand, primarily in Bangkok, where they work for large international corporations on incomes that would make them wealthy in any country. They live a good life, there’s no doubt about that. Some are living here alone, while others are living with their families. You can find their kids attending international schools. They usually rent a nice condo in the city or a house with a nice yard and enjoy the services of a live-in maid and a personal driver. Life must be nice for the cream of the expat crop.

Wife seekers
Love is in the air. Similar to the sexpats, they’re here on a mission: to find the love of their life (again). Some will find one and take her back home. Others will stay here forever, living out the last of their golden years in the Land of Smiles. There are a few reasons why they prefer Asian women over the ladies back home. More submissive, polite and obedient? Slimmer and younger than the former love of their life? It might look good on paper or the internet, but there are a few problems that come along with it. First, bar girls don’t love you. Second, some are “interested” because you seem to have deep pockets. We’re not saying you should expect the worst, as there are couples who genuinely love each other. We just want you to be careful.

Digital nomads
The up and comer, especially in the digital world we live in. You just need a laptop and a free WiFi signal, right? Self-titled “digital nomads” value working at any place they can, especially in resorts with scenic views, and freedom is everything to them. They can be doing literally anything: graphic design, trading stocks, drop shipping and anything else that can be done online. Because they don’t need an office, you can find them roaming around the country with their laptops and a cup of coffee. Notice that guy by the beach working on his laptop? Or that gal who’s set up shop in a corner of the local cafe? Or the tan backpacker with a selfie stick and a bikini-clad Thai girl walking down Sukhumvit Road filming his latest vlog episode. You know who you are. Let’s be honest: paradise ain’t so sexy when you’re bound to a computer screen 24/7 and get sand in your electronics, is it?

What’s your take?
There you have it, my Thai take on common expats I see in Thailand in 2022. I know this list isn’t exhaustive and not every foreigner fits neatly into one of the above categories. So what’s your take? How many types of expats have you met when in Thailand? Or what sort of expat are you in the Land of Smiles? Let us know in the ThaigerTalk comments section down below!



Pete is a writer for The Thaiger, and he writes various topics from news, travel and property. His main focus is writing about Thai news, and what is happening in Thailand.