An Expat Guide to Thailand

May 24, 2024 | 5 Min Read

Table of Contents

Thailand is one of Southeast Asia's most popular tourist destinations, offering beautiful white sandy beaches juxtaposed with high-paced dynamic cities. With Thailand’s low cost of living and the potential for experienced professionals to earn high salaries, it is no surprise that this combination attracts thousands of eager expats every year. 

Expats can easily settle in Thailand due to its thriving international communities. Thailand has one of the largest expat communities, with approximately two million foreigners calling it home in 2023. As a result, expats in Thailand's main cities can quickly make new friendships and build their own support network. Thai people are also known to be extremely friendly and welcoming; despite having language barriers, the hospitality from locals makes Thailand an easy place to warm to as an expat. 


Whether you’re a digital nomad looking to work in remote rural locations or an expat seeking employment in one of Thailand’s buzzing cities, we have you covered with the most important things every expat should know about relocating to Thailand. 


Before starting your role, it's important to make yourself familiar with Thailand’s working culture. This can help you immensely when trying to settle and understand the dynamics of your new company. Thai work culture places great importance on respecting hierarchical structures and authority, which will influence communication channels within your company. Thai work culture also values personal relationships, so making the time to develop strong connections with your colleagues and management is essential for a positive work environment and professional growth.

Thailand’s cost of living is lower than in many other Western countries. Studies show that on average, expats in Thailand spend up to 47% less on living expenses than in the US.

Transport is very affordable and reliable, with train tickets and taxis starting at ฿30.00 TBH ($0.83 US Dollars). Utility bills, local food, and healthcare are also quite affordable, but imported products can be significantly more expensive. 


Expats living in Thailand's major cities can expect to have a higher cost of living than those in small rural areas. When comparing the cost of living in Bangkok, one of Thailand's popular tourist and expat destinations, it is still 68% lower than living in New York and 47% lower than living in London. 

Thailand has multiple types of accommodation options that cater to different budgets and lifestyles. You will find a choice of small one-bed, studio apartments or serviced condos equipped with swimming pools and beach views. There are also more suburban-style townhouses which expat families might prefer. Most properties are rented fully furnished, making it easy to move in without additional costs. Rent can start at ฿16,878 TBH ( $427 US Dollars) for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, while similar accommodation outside the city starts at ฿8,551 TBH ($235.18  US Dollars).
Expats moving to Thailand with their families may face challenges in finding the right school. It is not impossible but some regulations in place can be hard for expat families. In public schools, the main language used is Thai which can create a big language barrier for new expats. Many public schools also require foreign nationals to pay tuition fees, while Thai families do not. As a result, expats commonly choose to send their children to private international or bilingual schools. For more on the education options available in Thailand, explore our guide here.
Thailand is known as one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia, with violent crimes rarely reported against foreign visitors. However, expats should still be aware of the dangers when it comes to pickpocketing in high-traffic areas and public transport. It’s also important to be vigilant for potential fraud, which is common in Thailand for tourists and expats. This could be anything from scams on credit cards to fraudulent accommodation agreements.
Expats can avail of both public and private healthcare in Thailand. While Thailand has plenty of specialist healthcare professionals in hospitals, they are short of general practitioners, which can result in long waiting lists for appointments. This combination also makes it harder for expats to find a reliable GP. In private hospitals, uninsured patients must provide proof of funds before receiving treatment, so you should have reliable international health insurance in place before you go. 
With Allianz, our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health coverage and access to our Expat Assistance Programme, providing confidential support for physical and mental well-being 24/7. Contact us today to learn more about our international health insurance for expats.