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The 10 best things about living in Thailand

March 3rd, 2008 | Thomas | Thailand, Travel | 29 Comments »

Following on from my slightly negative (but honest) post on the 10 most annoying things about living in Thailand, as promised here are the ten best things about living in Thailand as I see them, again in no particular order.

Kao San Road, Bangkok

1. The people

Thai people are generally exceptionally friendly, accepting, smiley and non-aggressive. They also go out of their way for foreigners on a regular basis, and generally accept our regularly idiotic behaviour with little more than a smirk.

2. The food

The food here is cheap, tasty, varied, and comparatively very healthy. You can eat a delicious local meal for little more than $1 /50p. The range of cheap fruit deserves its own mention – wow!

3. The weather

Warm & sunny with a few months of warm & wet. You normally get about a 6 month stretch of continuously blue skies in the dry season. Perfect for the avoidance of cold, dark, miserable, drizzly and generally pants weather like I experienced in London for 12 years.

4. Driving

As the Thais do, you can get in any vehicle without any idea how to control it, and hit the road. Cool for hiring things and “learning as you go along”. The maximum fine you face for any kind of ‘driving error’ (lack of license, helmet, or know-how etc.) is usually about £3/$6.

5. Buddhism & monks

The predominant religion is Buddhism, simply the coolest ‘mass religion’ in existence. This obviously influences the general ambiance of living here and also makes you think briefly before killing mosquitoes/ants and other biting insects.

6. National Parks

There are hundreds of these dotted all over Thailand, and they are wonderful places to spend a day and/or night.

7. The islands & beaches

As we all know, Thailand has some of the most stunning islands and beaches in the world. Wherever you live in Thailand you’re not that far from a decent beach and the costs of internal flights are coming down thanks to the likes of Air Asia.

8. The cost of living

You can live like a king here and still spend about a quarter of what you’d spend in London eating baked beans and living in a dump.

9. Thai women

This has been put in a separate category not because I consider Thai women to be inhuman – as Tina has suggested below, but merely because it was the first thing mentioned when I questioned a few male friends in Thailand. I should add that I am happily married and do not look at, or think about Thai women myself.

10. What is your number 10?

What have I missed out? If you’ve visited Thailand or you live here, please feel free to suggest something YOU love about it by submitting a comment below!

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Comments

29 Responses to “The 10 best things about living in Thailand”

  1. Tina
    March 4th, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

    Are women not “people”? I think you should check with your male friends how they classify “Thai women”? Because you already have a category called “The people”-in my opinion “women” belong to this category.

  2. Thai QA
    March 5th, 2008 @ 3:51 am

    Hmmm, how come it was easier to agree with the other post??

  3. Thailand Musings
    March 5th, 2008 @ 4:32 am

    Not sure I agree with #4 – driving in Thailand is definitely taking your life in your hands.

    My #10 would have to be shopping and all of the great markets. I know it’s usually women who love shopping, but the markets in Thailand are so great and have such a huge selection. You can literally find anything and everything, especially at the larger ones.

  4. jan
    March 5th, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

    #10 mix of cultures. living in thailand, espacially in bangkok, is the closest you can get to traveling without moving places.

  5. Thomas
    March 5th, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

    Monks are also people but they deserved a special mention of their own 🙂

  6. Vern at ThaiPulse
    April 5th, 2008 @ 6:44 pm

    I think just the sheer number of things to do in this country. There is so much that one lifetime isn’t enough! – Great post… Vern

  7. Elke
    April 9th, 2008 @ 3:57 am

    I don’t live in Thailand, but I hope soon I will be able to find a job and go over… it’s the general feeling you get when you’re there. Traveling on a bike trough the north, where a simple smile and a fantastic thai meal with a cool Singha can make you feel like the luckiest person in the world. To be able to be happy with small things. Thai style!

  8. Tina
    April 9th, 2008 @ 9:06 am

    Dear Elke,

    It’s funny you write that because I just thought about it the other day…the things I will miss about Thailand when I leave. And the Thai smile is definitely one thing I will miss tremendously. When I have a bad day I just out into the street and smile at the first person I see and they always smile back. In Denmark where I grew up people think you are up to something suspicious if you smile at them in the street (and you don’t know them).
    I always feel blessed that I have been able to live here for several years of my life.

    Best wishes,
    Tina

  9. Kathrine
    April 13th, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    I agree! The smiles are the best. Big friendly smiles.

  10. Stephanie
    June 3rd, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

    I’ve been thinking about living temporarily in Thailand…how do I go about getting a job there?

  11. Thomas
    June 3rd, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

    Hi Stephanie – it obviously depends on what skills/qualifications you have (and of course what kind of work you WANT to do, but most foreigners starting off working in Thailand either teach English, or start as volunteers and then get a job working with an NGO.

    Here are two previous posts on doing an English teaching qualification and volunteering in Thailand:

    htp://www.earthoria.com/voluntary-work-in-thailand.html
    http://www.earthoria.com/celta-course-chiang-mai.html

  12. Diane
    December 17th, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

    One of the best things about Thailand for me was the massage. For about $15 you can have a full-body massage in a pleasant, clean, non-threatening environment. Heaven if you have back pain. Chiang Mai is becoming a centre for (low-cost) alternative health treatments.

    I felt a sense of freedom in Thailand, that I could get up in the morning and do whatever I wanted to do. (Luckily, nothing I wanted to do was particularly offensive to the Thais.) The mai pen rai attitude helped me see my own life in a different light, and allowed me to let go of some of my worries.

    Thanks for all your stories and information. They brought me back to a place that I miss. Best of luck in your future adventures.

  13. Thomas
    December 23rd, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    Hi Diane,

    I would agree with you about the massages, I used to love going for massages every week, and they are one of the things I miss most about Thailand. However, I used to pay 99 Thai Baht an hour for a massage at Wat Umong. This is about 3 dollars – and it was one of the best places to go in my experience. You can read about the Wat Umong massages here: http://www.earthoria.com/massage-at-wat-umong-chiang-mai.html.

    Good luck and hope you continue to enjoy Thailand!

    Tom

  14. Dot Andrew
    December 24th, 2009 @ 6:09 am

    I love all the above but it’s the flowers, the birds and the light; walking around Chiang Mai and meeting locals I find fascinating. It’s the incongruencies and the contradictions that make life such fun.

    I can also afford to live here!

  15. J Free
    January 28th, 2010 @ 7:09 am

    I hate when a Thai wants to show you something or wants you to sit somewhere. They feel they have to take you by the arm like a child and lead you there. So stupid. It’s rude to put your hands on people you don’t know well.

  16. ken hutton
    January 31st, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

    I have found the comments are almost the same as i felt when i was there in nov/dec 09. the people are generally nice, but not always.
    I think Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are the best places. Chiang Rai in particular, the people are the most friendly of all the places i have been I met the nicest guy there who took me all over the tourist places around Chaing Rai, for 600b, all day .covered a large area in his truck taxi. A more friendly and calm , patient person would be hard to find any where when travelling.
    I found some of the other tour operators in C.M, a bit pushy and aggresive, in the end i walked away, and i think i copped some abuse, simply because i coudnt choose who would be the best because of the haggling that went on between them.
    and the weather at he that time was just right, warm, making it pleasent to walk around.C.M is the place where i could be happy to live out my life .

  17. Justin
    February 16th, 2010 @ 11:09 pm

    Hi all, I am 52 years old, I have early retirment package from my work, I worked for 30 years in the company. I just like everyone love to live the reset of my life there,
    but I am worried about money, I can afored 2500 USA dollers per month for the rest of my life without working.
    do you think 2500$ is enogh to have comfortable life in Thailand?
    I would like to hear your comments.

    Regardes. Justin (San Diego, California, USA)

  18. Thomas
    February 17th, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    Hi Justin, I used to live very comfortably there on 500 – 700 USD a month. For 2500 dollars anywhere outside of Bangkok you will live like a king, and in Bangkok you would live very comfortably.

    Good luck!

    Tom

  19. 10 Things I love about Stockholm « escapious.com
    March 18th, 2010 @ 11:31 am

    […] by my friend Thomas Wilkinson’s “The 10 best things about living in Thailand” on his blog Earthoria, I thought it would only be fair for me to share my thoughts on the […]

  20. esperanza
    May 24th, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

    i love thailand

  21. David
    August 16th, 2010 @ 1:19 am

    There’s some good things in thailand some of my favourite things are

    1.seafood resturants !! GREAT

    2.Beaches/islands yeah great also

    3.parks and stuff yeah intresting !!

    4.Elephants !! yeah

    5.hot weather yeah but sometimes too hot

    I’m sure theres other stuff i did but can’t remember ?

  22. Claire Davidoff
    November 23rd, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    About #4 its totally not true especially the fine part! When were you in Thailand? The fines were like that 20 years ago,now its much more. About the $2500, it really depends on youre usual lifestyle. If you’re a money spender or not. $2500 is approx. 75000 ?. It also depends where you live. There are appartments ranging from 5000 ? to 500,000?.

  23. i love thailand
    January 15th, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

    my no. 10 would be the islands such as phuket but phi phi island is my favourite

  24. ACHELU EMMA
    May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    now are thai women in human in nature ,character ,lifesyle.to other human race
    is it true when ever thaipeople (monk) pray to their god , one law is no marriage is, how do they multiply in country

  25. Ajarn
    August 5th, 2013 @ 5:30 am

    Some positivity:

    I have the greatest landlady on the planet.

    In the UK a ‘good’ landlord is anyone that DOESN’T attempt to rip you off by stealing your deposit, and manages to keep your home somewhat functional.

    Here, my landlady has taken care of me when I’m ill (feeding and helping me clean/bandage the wound I got courtesy of not crashing into a shit Thai scooter driver), my home is fucking incredible compared to what the same money would get me in the UK (essentially, I’m in a mansion for the money that would get me an understairs cupboard in a cheap part of the UK).

  26. lily
    August 11th, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    Having lived in Thailand for the last 4 years, I was on a level I spoke Thai pretty ok and had a Thai social network. I can only say that things have changed, prices, the mentality, not to forget political situation
    .I moved to Spain, everything is better, except for the massages and fresh coconut. 🙂

  27. Thomas
    March 20th, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

    Hi Lily – so did I! I moved from Chiang Mai to Barcelona. And I really miss the massages too…

  28. Lindsey
    May 26th, 2015 @ 10:57 pm

    My husband and I are considering living abroad with our four kids (11, 8, 7, 5) just for the experience and to save some money for a year. He is a software architect so he can work anywhere as long as he has internet. From the research I’ve done, thailand is top of my list. You said things have changed…would you recommend it for a young family for a year?

  29. Lindsey
    May 26th, 2015 @ 11:06 pm

    Are there any other cities/countries that would be safe, cheaper than the US, and fun for a family that you would recommend?

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