There many different type of expatriates in Thailand.
Here are the types -
1) Expatriates that were sent here to work from their home country or they got a job from a company here before they moved here.
These expatriates get good and comfortable accommodation with utilities all paid for. Their kids are studying in international schools.
Some have a car or a car with driver and gasoline are all paid for too.
Free return tickets for the whole family to go home for holidays every year. Some get first or business class tickets.
Their salary will at least be the same as their salary back home plus benefits and allowances.
Usually they are here for 2 to 3 years term before going back to their country and job for them is still avaliable.
2) Expatriates that come here for long holidays, 1 - 2 years so as to see the country. While they are here, they will get a job.
It's cheaper to do it this way then making many trips here and uses a lot of time to see Thailand.
Annual vacation in home country can be less. While working here, there are long weekends and public holidays so can travel in Thailand.
Thailand has many public holidays compared to other countries.
Usually these group of expatriates are the Japanese. Westerners are less now unlike before as it's not easy to get a job now.
There are many Japanese factories here even Japanese tour companies; head hunters and magazines publishers.
Big hotels need Japanese sales managers as well as front desk staff. To hire these Japanese here is much cheaper than hiring them direct from Japan.
Big department stores have Japanese customer service staff too.
Japanese have no problem getting jobs here but their salary is much lower than those in Japan.
Some Japanese men may marry a thai girl then settle down here. But very few Japanese girls marry Thai man.
3) Expatriates men that work from home as jobs are from their home country like web master; graphics designer etc
Their customers are all overseas.
Some are married to thai girls and have kids.
4) Expatriates ladies that married to Thai men who are business owners or holding high positions in the company.
5) Expatriates that come over here and do their own business. These are usually men and very small percentage are ladies.
6) Expatriates that comes over here to look for jobs as they like Thailand. Reasons are known to them.
7) Expatriates on refugee status or applying for refugee status as UN office is here and Thailand welcomes ALL nationalities.
8) Expatriates who are retired and financial capable who spent 6 months here because of cold weather back home then goes back for 6 months.
Some pay millions baht on long term lease for a house by the beach. There are many in Phuket and Prachuab Khiri Khan Province.
Some are members of Thailand Elite card and membership fees starts at 1 million Baht. There are many benefits for them starting on arrival at airport etc including visa.
I'm not sure if the price has gone up or not as this program was started during Thaksin Administration.
9) Expatriates retired here and hoping exchange rate is favourable so as to enjoy their life.
10) Expatriates on missionary or charity organization helping out here.
11) Expatriates here to study on religious or exchange program or university or hospitality.
That are the types of expatriates in Thailand.
Therefore all are living in different types of accommodation; cities; lifestyles etc thus cost of living is different.
There is no rule of the thumb here.
Depending on your taste as Leo or Carlsberg or Kirin or Fosters or Budweiser etc are different in prices.
Here again some might love wine then it's house wine or better wine. Perhaps burgundy or Bordeaux. Some may like ice wine.
Some may like cognac then it's normal brands or Cordon Bleu or Louis XIII.
If whisky, then normal one's or Johnny Walker Black or Chivas Regal or Royal Salute.
Like wise for champagne, do you want Don Perignon or normal brands.
Likewise for food, one may take a 69 baht pork chop at the side of road with umbrella with dust flying around as "vitamins A to Z" sticking to your food that makes it more delicious or a nice sirloin steak that cost 2,000 baht and above.
One can have a 40 baht salad with choice of dressings or Cesar salad toss at the side of your table or a soft shell crab salad.
One may stay in a 300 baht hotel room and you hear foot steps outside your room when every one walk past.
You can hear the sound of tv or chatting from the next room.
While some like to stay in hotel room with private swimming pool or jacuzzi.
Quiet, clean and nice bed sheets, fully carpet and full facilities.
Some may just like to dream away during the time with cold beer while some love to read and subscribe to articles via the net or grab a book at bookstore.
One will be restricted to quality and type of English or Japanese books outside Bangkok.
If those who are into classical or opera or foreign artist concert will have a hard time getting original CD and DVD.
Those who are outside Bangkok may not get foreign plays or concert.
As for housing, there are so many types. 1 can get a small studio room at 2,000 baht or nice bungalow house in a private estate.
One can buy 3 bundles of vegetables in market (talard nut) for 20 baht and must quickly eat them fast or it get rot. If not wrap in newspaper and put in fridge.
One can buy 15 baht big bottle of oyster sauce or better sauce at 80 baht.
Cooking oil is 48 baht or Canola oil for 90 baht for a big bottle. If you are into olive oil extra virgin then price is higher.
3 in 1 coffee is cheaper price than select coffee bean to grind and use coffee machine or moka pot. Price is wide difference even for coffee beans like blue mountain against espresso.
Quality and type of food is different, thus prices are different.
As you can see, all of us are different lifestyle and cost can varies a lot.
Therefore if you need tips; suggestions; ideas; advise etc, it's difficult to point the right direction with general question.
From all the posting of topics here, I can narrow down the type of expats that read or post in this forum.
You need to know what kind of expats you are? What kind of lifestyle you like etc
Oh if you are the type that need to pray, be it temple or church or mosque etc
Then you may like to live near the place of worship.
As for transport, there are many types here or if you prefer to drive.
I live a totally different lifestyle from many expats members here.
I get the best of both worlds.
Thanks to many friends around the world, family members and GOD.
I have a constant flow of resources always.
I wish and hope all of you are happy, peace in your heart and healthy.
Keep smiling and smile like the Thais for they have the best smile!