Are you planning to relocate or retire in Thailand? Moving to another country can seem exciting, especially when you are 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 can seem like a dream. However, 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 could be a deciding factor for you. It is important that you weigh the pros and cons before settling in 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!
Benefits of living in Thailand
1. Thai food is amazing
Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. If you’ve tried famous dishes like pad thai or yum yum, you may have an idea of the difference and the daring flavor of Thai cuisine. Most Thai dishes have a mixture of four flavors: sweet, sour, spicy and salty. The spice can be very intense for most foreigners, which is why some restaurants offer “Thai spices” and “foreign spices”. Besides being delicious, most Thai dishes are also healthy. Natural ingredients are a staple in Thai cuisine, with vegetables and herbs dominating the menu. The process of cooking, sautéing or steaming, also helps retain nutritional value. In addition, there is a wide variety of Thai food, so you will probably never get tired of it.
2. A wide variety of accommodation options
There is a large choice of accommodation available in Thailand. From traditional Thai accommodations and villas to serviced condos and apartments, you can find almost any type of accommodation you want to have. If you are willing to spend a little more, you can comfortably live in a modern apartment close to the city center. However, if you are okay with living outside of the regular metropolitan area, you can find some amazing 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. This is why today the Kingdom is a hub of international culture. You will find people of different nationalities who are also new to the country and looking for friends. There are many expat groups you can join all over the country. These clubs usually hold gatherings or events, which will help you make friends quite quickly and easily.
4. Magnificent nature all around you
Thailand’s unparalleled natural beauty is one of the reasons it is popular among tourists. The country has it all: scenic beaches, secluded islands, party seaside towns, jungle-covered mountains, beautiful waterfalls, stunning national parks and more. Even the towns are unique, with an interesting mix of old and new, as well as colorful markets and beautiful gardens. Therefore, living here means that you have easy access to all of these things. The best thing is that traveling in Thailand is ridiculously affordable and easy.
5. Lots of fun opportunities
Another advantage of living in Thailand is that there is always something going on in the country for expats. 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 to be outdoors, you can hike the mountains on the weekends or just relax and soak up the sun on a beach or at a resort somewhere in the country. In addition, Thailand is full of unique festivals and events that you should not miss, such as Songkran and Loy Krathong.
6. Friendly and welcoming people
Thais are known to be very friendly and welcoming to foreigners which makes it easier for you to adjust 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 some extent. Most Thais are happy to chat with you or help you in some way.
Disadvantages of living in Thailand
1. Bad traffic in urban areas
The first downside to living in Thailand is traffic. Traffic in the country can be a nightmare at times, especially during rush hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Of course, not all parts of the country have extremely bad traffic. However, you will likely have to deal with traffic congestion in most urban areas where expats live, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. Fortunately in Bangkok, public transport, such as BTS and MRT, is quite good, so you can always count on it.
2. Language barrier
It is true that many people in urban areas like Bangkok can speak English to varying degrees. However, few people speak English well. Additionally, government departments across the country, as well as some businesses, typically handle questions in Thai rather than English. It can make you feel insane if you don’t speak Thai. When you need to sign a document or deal with the government, it’s a matter of hiring an interpreter or a translator. It is also good to start learning at least basic Thai before moving to the country.
3. Extreme uncomfortable weather
The weather in Thailand can be both pro and con. When you visit Thailand for vacation, the weather can seem perfect. It is almost always sunny and not too cold. However, when you start living here you will realize that it is still hot and humid! When the humidity is low, the heat can be quite bearable, but the humidity in Thailand is high almost all the time. Therefore, it can be sticky, heavy, and uncomfortable. In addition, the rainy season tends to have unpredictable weather conditions. This can create havoc when trying to get around or plan activities. The good news is that you will eventually get used to it. Plus, air conditioning is everywhere – at work, in almost every store and restaurant, and at home if you decide to have one.
4. Dangerous roads
Another downside to living in Thailand is the deadly roads. The Kingdom is still one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Due to the chaotic streets and poorly maintained roads, there are a lot of accidents here. The number of road deaths and injuries is high, despite numerous government security initiatives over the years. Even if you drive safely, there is always a chance that you will run into other irresponsible drivers on the road. Therefore, if you are an absolute beginner on a motorcycle, it is better to avoid riding one. But if you really feel like it, always wear a helmet and protective clothing. Also make sure you have the correct license and motorcycle insurance.
5. The farang the price
Due to a dual pricing system, the prices of things and services can be very different for Thais and foreigners. foreigners, or farang, are generally billed at prices much higher than normal. The dual pricing system may suit most tourists, but you’ll find it boring when you live here. You will not only find this double pricing system in tourist attractions but also in your everyday life. For example, many taxi drivers will claim that their meter is broken just to charge you an excessive amount.
Hope this list of pros and cons can give you an idea of what it’s like to live in Thailand and decide if it is the right place for you! All countries in the world have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to decide whether the good can outweigh the bad.
Want to know more about life in Thailand? Check out our article on etiquette and rules in Thailand.
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