Living Large in Thailand

I have read blogs and watched countless vids on expats going to Thailand to live decently on small incomes, such as social security. Thats great and I can totally see the benefits. However I am trying to learn about the possibility of living in Thailand on larger incomes. For example I currently live a comfortable middle class life on 90 grand a year. Im wondering if expats ever move to Thailand to essentially jump up a "class" level? My motivation for Thailand is to live in a major city for significantly less than the cost of a US comparable. Im looking to live better have my dollar go further and have great housing accommodations.

Thailand , especially Bangkok caters for all budgets , there are fabulous houses and apartments available through out the city. Check out the newly built Mahanakon Tower , now the tallest building in Bangkok Showrooms for top of the range cars and world class restaurants are in abundance .  Iv eaten street food for $1 on khaosan road and had a meal for 2 at Lebua State Tower for $700 
The world is your oyster , or prawn , depending on your budget .

I live in Chiang Mai. It is the second largest city in Thailand but can't quit compete with the opulence of Bangkok. Even so I am aware of elements that indicates that there is opulence in Chiang Mai. For example, the founder of Red Bull energy drink resides here. There is a Lamborghini car club in the city. There are some international schools here that attract very wealthy people. I heard of a man spending at least a few million US dollars to build a home for his children while they are attending one international school. There is also a Four Seasons resort here that always charges the most for all of their events. And of course, like anywhere in the world, there are those who are very happy to separate you from your money.   Up to you

Hi Ems5yen
There are all kinds of expats in Thailand, some here on SS or smaller incomes, some working overseas making good money & living here when not working, some working in Thailand on short-term or long-term company assignments and others who are retired here on 6-digit annual incomes.

Yes, you can rent a nicer condo in the best part of Bangkok for 1/3 or 1/2 less than you can in US if that is what you mean by jumping up a class level. And, you don't need a car if you're close to a BTS sky train station, so that's more savings. But, if you mean trying to run in a higher class circle of people, it's no different than the US, you will have to go to the more expensive places to meet them or try online millionaire dating sites... just kidding... You can live very nicely on $3,000/mth. I live in a 2BR high-rise in one of best areas of BK for less than $1,000/mth, pay elec, water, internet, cable TV, eat out at upscale restaurants several times a week and go for drinks and still don't spend more than $3,000/mth. That leaves me with lots of extra money to take trips inside and outside the country.

If you're 50 years of age, you can get a yearly extension of stay visa also called a retirement visa. If you're not 50, you may need to leave the country every 30 days. Also, the $90k you mention, would that still be your income in Thailand? Do you work virtual? Because, you're supposed to have a work visa to work in Thailand usually sponsored by your employer. You may be able to fly under the radar if working virtual as long as your income is deposited into a US bank account then transferred to a Thai bank and/or withdrawn from an atm.

Kindly... Zeus

Pretty obvious question in my opinion.  You will of course will have a higher standard of living for the same amount of money here in Thailand.  Resorts, spas, restaurants and a variety of other amenities will be more affordable while vehicles and a few luxuries will cost more but on the whole your life will be much more interesting if you are a little adventurous and willing to spend a little.

Will you be leaving your annual income behind or bringing it along when you move to Thailand? i.e. Your cash flow and resourcefulness will be a factor. Also, "class level" may not necessarily be connected to annual income. There are so many factors to take into consideration. Really, beyond that observation, I don't really have a good answer to the good question you pose. 

When I live at my crib in Bangkok, I feel wealthy in many ways, taking into consideration (if you will) a three-way path, which is a balance of love, creative freedom and material necessity. When I live at my crib in Toronto, I get up for work every morning and step on a treadmill right there in the middle of the good old rat race, which is OK, too, because I try to maintain that threefold balance. For me, it is a little easier to keep this balance in Thailand -- life is exciting again -- but that's just me because I am a musician guitar player road dude -- i.e. I have been designed for travel, change, stability despite instability. I have even hit the street on occasion. My principles don't change despite the class level that I happen to have stumbled into from time to time. 

If you can bring your cash flow with you and keep doing your research like you are doing now, you will probably at least enjoy a slight elevation in the bigness of life. Visit.  dcb

Total newbie- want to retire around Udon with my 19 year old son. He would work. Are his choices pretty much teach English or math? He’s good at both. I will be sleeping, visiting cultural attractions and doctors! Are we looney to think we can survive in Thailand on $4000 USD A MONTH? Plus we have a cat and Germaine shepherd.

davidcolinburt :

Will you be leaving your annual income behind or bringing it along when you move to Thailand? i.e. Your cash flow and resourcefulness will be a factor. Also, "class level" may not necessarily be connected to annual income. There are so many factors to take into consideration. Really, beyond that observation, I don't really have a good answer to the good question you pose. 

When I live at my crib in Bangkok, I feel wealthy in many ways, taking into consideration (if you will) a three-way path, which is a balance of love, creative freedom and material necessity. When I live at my crib in Toronto, I get up for work every morning and step on a treadmill right there in the middle of the good old rat race, which is OK, too, because I try to maintain that threefold balance. For me, it is a little easier to keep this balance in Thailand -- life is exciting again -- but that's just me because I am a musician guitar player road dude -- i.e. I have been designed for travel, change, stability despite instability. I have even hit the street on occasion. My principles don't change despite the class level that I happen to have stumbled into from time to time. 

If you can bring your cash flow with you and keep doing your research like you are doing now, you will probably at least enjoy a slight elevation in the bigness of life. Visit.  dcb

Sorry, I was trying to reply. I would need to learn the tax advantages and penalties of bringing all cash over, but would prefer to do that if it makes economical sense.

huntleyl :

Total newbie- want to retire around Udon with my 19 year old son. He would work. Are his choices pretty much teach English or math? He’s good at both. I will be sleeping, visiting cultural attractions and doctors! Are we looney to think we can survive in Thailand on $4000 USD A MONTH? Plus we have a cat and Germaine shepherd.

$4,000 US is sufficient... especially in Udon... but how are you going to earn the money? Your son will need a work visa and a job. If teaching, he will need the proper qualifications & certifications. I cannot offer any advice on how to get animals cleared to bring into country, but the more things you add, the more you will complicate your move. You will need to show sufficient income or show 800,000 THB in bank account to get a retirement visa to stay in the country. You have lots of things to work out before moving here.

I have a union pension plus SSI disability. I will retire early at 55. I also have $50K in investments, plus whatever proceeds I get when I sell my house.

huntleyl :

I have a union pension plus SSI disability. I will retire early at 55. I also have $50K in investments, plus whatever proceeds I get when I sell my house.

That's great.. then you will qualify for retirement visa just on your income most likely... and, your son may qualify for a dependent visa under your retirement visa until he finds a job maybe...  Will have to do a little research on that. Can google it...

Thanks. I have just contacted the closest Thai embassy (near Portland, OR), so hope to get current details from them. I can drive from Seattle to Portland in a day.

I will take my income with me. I already work remotely so i just need high speed/super reliable internet. As far as leaving every 30 days...I do have family in japan and that is also a motive for me to come to Thailand, a lot closer than east coast usa. I could go visit them, for a long weekend once a month. But id have to factor that in to my budget.

I will take my job/cash with me. Toronto, cool im up in Montreal weekly for work/play. Its a winter wonderland there right now. How is your internet connection when you are in Thailand?

ems5yen :

I will take my income with me. I already work remotely so i just need high speed/super reliable internet. As far as leaving every 30 days...I do have family in japan and that is also a motive for me to come to Thailand, a lot closer than east coast usa. I could go visit them, for a long weekend once a month. But id have to factor that in to my budget.

Internet is good & reliable in Bangkok.  Your income is excellent for Thailand... You can live in nice high-rise condo in good location in Bangkok. When you get closer to moving, you can private message me and I would be happy to share the different areas that I think are good along the sky train line and if you wanted would be happy to show you around once you are here. You can read more about me on the posting "Please Share Your Thai Expat Story".  I started that posting it in an attempt to get other expats to share their stories, but only one other person has shared so far. I stopped over in Tokyo for a week on my last trip back to the states, it was awesome...
Good luck with your move...

Thank you for all your help! I shall check out those postings!

Internet is OK. This also depends on where you would like to locate. In Bangkok, there are peak usage times when the internet can become slow. There are some places such as the marine park island called Ko Tarutao where I had no internet. I can't recall if my phone worked or not. There was no electricity in the day hours and the monkeys were always picking fights with me and the minutes felt like hours. Aside from remote places like that, the internet is OK. Other forum participants are more knowledgeable than i am about the details. 

So, you work in Montreal. Great city! I played many concerts there when I was in a Francophone band called CANO. I have friends there. Still a winter wonderland? We were supposed to get hit with a storm in Toronto but Old Man Winter just gave us a nod and moved on. We are feeling hints of spring weather coming on -- robins hopping around between patches of snow. 

Anyway, should you decide to live in Thailand, you will do well. Have a visit and do the homework and math. It gets hot in Thailand, so you might consider living near the sea somewhere. Cheers.  dcb

I like what you have wrote here and sense you have an interesting story to share in regards to a thread called "your expat story" only if you are willing of course. I think you have a good story to share.

are you mail or female?
are you over 50?

are you a beach or city person

many questions and no real background on you

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