Living in Thailand guide

Find out all you need to know to relocate and live in Thailand with the expat guide

Our selection of articles for expatriation in Thailand

Opening a bank account in Thailand

Thailand provides a wide array of options in terms of banking institutions and, as many expats are drawn to the Land of Smiles ...

The healthcare system in Thailand

It is advisable for anyone moving to Thailand to purchase health insurance before travelling, as visitors who are unable to pay ...

Post-COVID-19 changes in Thailand

According to a survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in July 2020, 94.51% of Thais are against the idea of allowing foreigners ...

Working in Thailand

Although some jobs aren't permitted to foreigners in Thailand, there is still an array of career opportunities in this ...

Sports activities in Thailand

You will be amazed to find out that Thailand has a lot to offer for all the adrenaline and action buffs. Beyond the numerous ...

Retiring in Thailand

Thailand has a lot to offer, and it is easy to fall in love with the Land of Smiles with its rich culture, gastronomic foods, and ...

Working in Phuket

The tropical island of Phuket is very popular among foreigners who are looking to integrate Thai culture and the beach into their ...

Working in Pattaya

Pattaya may not be as idyllic as some of Thailand's other beach destinations, but it is still one of the most popular thanks ...

Working in Chiang Mai

The ethnic diversity, breathtaking scenery, and a multitude of festivals and attractions in Chiang Mai attract more and more ...

Work visa in Thailand

To be able to work in Thailand and stay in the country without needing to apply for visa extensions regularly, you will first ...

Studying in Thailand

There are many internationally accredited university degree programmes at Thai universities that are conducted in English ...

Starting a business in Thailand

There is a lot of potential to start up a successful business in Thailand if you have a strong business plan and ample funds ...

Tourist visas in Thailand

Tourism is a significant economic driver in Thailand, and in December 2018, the country attracted 32.8 million tourists, which ...

Resident permit in Thailand

It is possible to move to Thailand permanently so long as you meet certain criteria established by the immigration authorities ...

Relocating to Thailand

If you are planning to relocate to Thailand, you may wish to ship your belongings and furniture, especially if the costs are ...

About Thailand

Divided into 76 provinces, Thailand covers an area of 513,120km² and shares land borders with Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. Its buzzing capital of Bangkok ' with its extensive entertainment, shopping, cultural and gastronomic options ' is the main attraction, and the city serves as a central travel hub in the region.

Thailand's climate

Thailand has a tropical climate with two main seasons ' a dry season and a wet season. However, these can vary depending on which part of the country you are in. The dry season generally lasts from November to May, and it can get extremely hot between March and May. Then the south-west monsoons can be expected from May to October, but the rain tends to fall in heavy, short bursts, so you will still enjoy the sunshine during this period.

However, in most parts of the country at most times of the year, it is often hot and humid compared to western climates, although it can be cooler up in the jungles and hills in the north.

Demography of Thailand

According to the World Bank's data bank, there were 68.9 million people living in Thailand at the end of 2016, and the highest population density can be found in Bangkok where there are over 9 million people.

Most people in Thailand practice Buddhism, although the country's southernmost provinces have a population of about 80% Malay-speaking Muslims and there is an ongoing ethnic conflict and separatist insurgency in this region.

Languages in Thailand

The official language of Thailand is a tonal language called Thai ' sometimes referred to as Siamese Thai, Central Thai or even Bangkok Thai ' and is taught in most schools. While almost everyone will understand this, many different ethnic and regional dialects are also still spoken. These are of particular tone in the north, north-east and south of the country.

Written Thai is based on an alphabet adopted from the Khmers in Cambodia, which is said to have been standardised during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng. Fortunately for expats, road signs are written in both Thai and English.

English is also considered to be a second language to many citizens, especially those living in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and on the islands, as a result of the booming tourism industry in these places. Words and expressions of a Thai-English hybrid have started to emerge amongst the younger generation, and this way of speaking is referred to as Tinglish or Thaiglish.

Politics in Thailand

The end of the absolute monarchy in Thailand was in 1932 when Thailand became a constitutional monarchy, whereby the King's legal authority was largely curtailed to that of Head of State. Since this date, the Prime Minister has been responsible for managing government affairs, but the monarchy remains a deeply revered institution.

Thai politics have been highly polarized, and there have been various clashes and shifts between representative government and authoritarian rule since 1932. Many people argue that, in spite of frequent changes in government, coups and mass uprisings, the monarchy ' which was the moral authority of the nation under the much-loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej ' helped to maintain a degree of peace, unity and stability. King Bhumibol was very popular with his people and held great sway over his seven-decade reign but, after decades of political turmoil, a coup in May 2014 resulted in the military taking control of the government towards the end of his life.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who leads the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), seized power in this coup from an elected civilian government, and was appointed Prime Minister by the military-appointed parliament. Thailand's military has seized power 12 times since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932.

King Bhumibol passed away in October 2016 at the age of 88 as the world's longest reigning monarch, and his son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, known as King Rama X, who is the 10th monarch of the Chakri dynasty, was proclaimed King in a ceremony that took place 50 days after his father's death.

The constitution has recently been altered at the request of the new king, and the changes restore royal influence over essential procedures and at times of severe political crisis. This new chapter introduces a different electoral system and, under the new system, experts believe that Thailand is more likely to have fractious coalition governments, and membership of the Senate will essentially be determined by the military-elected government and be bound to follow the military's 20-year blueprint for Thailand.

Thailand's economy

Thailand's economic growth rate and status among leading powers in the region have arguably slowed as a result of the recent political swing between the military and civilian rule, as well as sluggish global and domestic demand. However, it is still South-East Asia's second-largest economy, and it is making progress in reducing poverty. In 2013, a new minimum wage policy was introduced, as well as new tax reforms that were designed to lower rates of middle-income earners. There is relatively low inflation and low unemployment, and government spending on infrastructure has helped to give the economy a boost.

Thailand had a GDP of USD406.84 billion in 2016, and the Thai economy is expected to grow by 3.2% in 2017. The country is highly dependent on its industry and service sectors; and exports ' including processed foods, electronics, automobiles and parts, and agricultural commodities ' account for about two-thirds of its GDP. Tourism and foreign investment also play an invaluable role.

Social life in Thailand

Due to their Buddhist religion, which preaches humility and modesty, the Thais are mildly conservative in most parts of their life. They understand the world and the variations in views and behaviours around them. They understand distinct cultures and aliens, so uncommon behaviors are recognised in general.

The cost of living in Thailand

The cost of living in Thailand is undepictable, depending on the place you live in. It will also vary according to the level of comfort and lifestyle you prefer. For the average person, it will cost around $800/month. Also, if you are looking for luxurious living, around $1,000-$1,500/month would suffice - these already includes the rent, food, internet access, leisure, and shopping.

Useful links:

ADB ' Thailand's economy
Tourism Thailand ' History and culture
Thai Language

Quick Information

Capital : Bangkok
Official Languages : Thai , English
Currency : Baht
Area : 514000 Km2
Population : 67089500
Calling Code : +66
Timezone : Asia/Bangkok

Share your Expat Experience in the Guide

As an Expat.com member you can share your own experience about your expatriation by writing some articles in the Expat Guide.
Formalities, Visas, Work, Bank. Share your tips or your knowledges about the new country where you chose to live, or about your own country.