Expat Thailand

Thailand is one of the most beautiful and exotic places in the world. With fantastic beaches, warm and friendly people, affordable prices and the modern city of Bangkok, many expats have flocked to Thailand for decades to enjoy this jewel of Asia.

Thailand offers many opportunities for expats, while visa requirements have gotten stricter over the years, there are many ways for expats on a small budget or working for a corporation to spend some of the best years of their life.

The Thai people are some of the friendliest in the world and smile profusely. They will make you feel at home. While there are certain times when culture shock can occur, for the most part, the Thai people truly appreciate foreigners and respect you as guests.


The climate in Thailand is much different than in the states. Thailand has a monsoon season that rainy, warm and humid. This season lasts from May to September. The other part of the year, the climate is much dryer and cooler. During the monsoon season, it will rain buckets. Whether you have an umbrella, rain coat, etc, you will get soaked. If you drive to work, traffic can also come to a screeching halt due to the unending rain during the monsoon season. It can take in certain situations hours to reach your destination by car during a torrential downpour.

During the drier season, the weather can be phenomenal and many travelers come for a few weeks to enjoy Thai hospitality and wonderful accommodation near beaches. You should pack clothing that dries quickly such as cotton and don’t forget an umbrella


During 2006, there was a military coup of the parliamentary government. While no violence has come from this coup, the exact direction is not entirely known. However, it should be know that business and life is going on as normal and the new leaders do not plan to change anything drastically.

You can find out more information regarding the current government at the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington D.C.

Information is also available at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok.

Tax System

Taxes in certain circumstances can be high, but the low cost of living offsets these high taxes. In order to work in Thailand, you must first have working papers and permits. The tax rate for individuals is a progressive rate which maxes out at 37%. Corporate taxes are a little lower at 30%. Besides income taxes, there are other taxes such as a value added tax (VAT) and a property tax.

More information on the tax system of Thailand can be found in A Summary of Thailands Tax Laws.

Medical Care

For expats that are concerned about health care, before coming, make sure you get a full check up. Thailand has excellent health care facilities and for the most part it is much less expensive than the states. In fact, one of the growing industries in Thailand is medical tourism. Medical tourism is a term used for travelers looking to visit Thailand to have surgery or a medical procedure such as cosmetic surgery done. In America, the cost of these procedures can be prohibitive, however in Thailand these procedures are usually only a fraction of the cost.

Many public and private hospitals are modern and have advanced equipment. There are also many clinics especially for foreigners or expats. While these are little more expensive, the service is usually catered to foreigners and the doctors and staff speak very good English. Pharmacies are a plus in Thailand; you do not need a prescription to buy any drug they sell. These pharmacies are usually overseen by a doctor with good English skills. Overall, most expats will be quite satisfied with the healthcare in Thailand.

Real Estate

Unfortunately, for those looking to invest in real estate in Thailand, you will endure many obstacles. Investing in real estate in Thailand is very difficult and for the most part less secure and transparent than many places in the world. Corruption is rampant in Thailand and almost institutionalized. The government also restricts foreign ownership to most foreigners. For instance, you can not own wholly some real estate and can only be a partner with 49% or 39% of the holding.

Renting an apartment is far easier and while prices are extremely affordable, if you want quality, you will need to pay a premium. Most apartments are much lower in cost than in the states and for the most part, newer apartments are modern and have all the conveniences. You can expect a nice apartment with easy access to the center for only a few hundred dollars per month. In the center, for $1,000 you can find a very attractive apartment.


Shopping is a treat in Thailand. There are plenty of great shopping malls, markets and delicious food stands all over the city. Besides modern shopping areas, you can find many markets that focus on the residents of Thailand. Prices are extremely low and you can find bargains almost anywhere you look.

As far as nightlife goes, Bangkok is legendary for nightlife and for most expats, it is a major draw. There are plenty of bars, nightclubs, gentleman clubs and lounges to hang out with your friends. Thai food is also excellent and no matter where you go, you will surely be pleased with the quality and taste of the food.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Thailand is very affordable. While not as affordable as a few decades ago, you can still find great bargains on shopping, accommodations, night life and food almost anywhere you go. For most expats, finding a job as a teacher or working for a corporation should be enough to live comfortably. If you have a decent paying job in the states and are transferred to Thailand with a similar salary, you will live like a king. Thailand is much cheaper in almost every aspect, which makes it one of the top draws for expats all over the world.

Web Sites Expats in Thailand

Thailand Guru

Thailand Guru is one of the best expat information sites about any county.

Thailand Country Guide

Country guide to Thailand from ExpatForum.com.

Chat Thailand

Popular Thai dating site.

Blogs from Expats in Thailand

The Lost Boy

Very well written blog by a twenty-something British expat in Phucket.

Bangkok Expat Mama

Bangkok Expat Mama is a transplanted Floridian who is raising children in Thailand.

Extradition from Thailand

Thailand signed numbers of extradition treaties and protocols with the United States

The Extradition treaty between Thailand and the United States of America was signed on December 14, 1983 and entered into force on May 17, 1991

Here is a list of additional treaties between theUS and Thailand:

A Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drug opened for Signature March 25, 1972

A Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts opened for Signature February 24, 1988

The Bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in Criminal Matters was signed March 19, 1986

The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft opened for Signature December 16, 1970

The Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation (Montreal)opened for Signature September 23, 1971

A Bilateral Treaties Involving International Prisoner Transferwas signed October 29, 1982

Map of Thailand