Pros and Cons of Moving to Thailand
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world for a reason. The scenery is spectacular, the people are friendly and visitors are never more than a longboat trip away from a fun activity.
However, expats need to be prepared for the fact that, like anywhere else in the world, there are pros and cons to living in Thailand. For example, underdeveloped areas may lack infrastructure and be home to few English speakers. Here are a few of the main points to consider before moving to Thailand.
Accommodation in Thailand
+ PRO: Variety of housing
There is a wide range of accommodation available, from traditional Thai housing to modern apartment blocks or villas.
- CON: Can be expensive
If you can’t speak Thai, affordable accommodation can be tricky to find. If you are an English speaker, the landlord will automatically try to charge you a higher price. No price is fixed in Thailand, and that’s just the way it is. Try to get a Thai-speaking person to go with you and do the bargaining on your behalf.
Lifestyle and culture in Thailand
+ PRO: Multicultural population
Because of the many business opportunities in the tourism industry, Thailand has drawn in numerous expats over the last 20 years. Krabi, for example, is filled with an array of interesting people of many different nationalities. Expats are almost guaranteed to be exposed to many different cultures and meet people from all over the world.
- CON: Language barrier
Almost everyone speaks a little English but not many people speak English well. Again, this largely depends on location, but government departments country wide will tend to deal with matters in Thai, and being unable to communicate can be frustrating, not to mention alienating.
+ PRO: Local festivals
It is an incredible experience taking part in unique events and ceremonies such as Loy Krathong and Songkran.
- CON: Occasional disruption
At times, the festivals can get a bit tiresome. By the third day of Songkran, one gets really fed up with having to constantly dodge water.
Nightlife in Thailand
+ PRO: Lots to do
Thailand is filled with beach bars, full moon parties, restaurants and night markets. Shops close late at night so expats can barter to their hearts' content at all hours in most areas.
- CON: Few dance parties
Depending on your area, there are very few ‘Western style’ nightclubs or places designed specifically for dancing the night away. Bars and beach parties are more common.
Low-season activities in Thailand
+ PRO: Off-season perks
During low season, there aren’t as many tourists around so it's easy for locals to get discounted tours and affordable accommodation in hotels. It's also much more enjoyable to take in Thailand's attractions without having to contend with huge crowds.
- CON: Variable weather
Plans to experience Thailand's natural beauty off-season can easily be laid to waste by the weather. For example, when the weather is rainy during low season, the water gets rough and the tides bring jellyfish, both of which make swimming unsafe.
Weather in Thailand
+ PRO: Gorgeous summers
The ocean is beautiful and warm, the weather is sunny during the high season – Thailand is a very typical tropical paradise.
- CON: Uncomfortable extremes
The weather is often uncomfortably hot and the rainy season can last a long time, beginning around April and sometimes ending as late as December. During this time, weather is unpredictable, making it difficult to plan activities in advance.
Healthcare in Thailand
+ PRO: Affordable treatment
Expats with a work permit and who pay social security will qualify for free (or heavily discounted) healthcare from any of Thailand’s public hospitals. Private GPs are relatively inexpensive.
- CON: Few resources
Most public hospitals are understaffed and medical personnel are overworked. Be prepared for long waits to get medical treatment. Some private hospitals are well known for taking advantage of expats and charging extortionate prices.
Cost of living in Thailand
+ PRO: Cheap local goods
Thai food, petrol and general items are inexpensive. It is easy to live a simple life on a medium to low salary.
- CON: Costly imports
Any Western style food is very expensive, as is alcohol. One can quickly spend a lot of money in Thailand if not paying attention.