Going to live in Thailand

When reading internet flora about Thailand I also read questions or remarks about going to live in Thailand. And I must say after living almost 20 years in Thailand I still love living here. Thailand is giving a lot, but there are some things that Thailand will not be giving. You could call it long term stability. Let's have a look!

Personal relationship

Most people who are going to live here will have or end-up with a relation with a Thai. Realise a few things .... the Western and the Thai culture are very different and never the 2 will 100% meet. If you lucky you come to 70% and you both will have to work hard for that. And both will have to accept the other 30%.

The language

Thai is not an easy language to learn for most foreigners (and even some Thai). Not being fluent in the local language will be a barrier in life. Again even if you do not speak / read Thai fluent it will still be OK when living here. But you will have to accept the problems as of result of that. Not only with your partner but also with making friends and socialise in life.


Foreigners need a work-permit for working. And many jobs are exclusive for Thai nationals only. That will make a bit more difficult to generate income. Also foreigners can not own a company 100%. And there is no real retirement fund, no real unemployment welfare. You really have to take yourself all the way.


Foreigners are not allowed to own land. So that makes it a bit more tricky to have a house here. Yes of course you can always rent a house or buy a condo, but most people want to "own" a house. Now of course there are all kind of ways of "owning" a house. But in the end you do NOT own the land.

Again lawfully

With all kind of things it is more difficult for a foreigner to get it. Like a driver-license, registering a car or motorbike, getting a loan, getting a post-paid telephone bill, getting a bank account (and officially foreigners do not get intrest), exporting money is not simple, getting a credit-card and many more small things are just not 1-2-3 to do for an foreigner. As you will never become a Thai.

Another lawfully thing

The law and the enforcement of it is not very trustworthy to say it polite. And you may enjoy the fruit of it sometimes, but someday you may also enjoy the other side of the coin. Freedom is great, but your neighbours also have that freedom to start a karaoke bar or a waste management dump. Like at our house we are renting now, the neighbours (5m from our bedroom window) are in the very early morning cooking with wood-fir and charcoal. So at between 4:00am and 5:00am we have to close the window.

Thailand the land of the free people sound great, but it also means that many people do not give a hoot about drinking and driving. Just because there is a very weak law enforcement, your beloved one could be killed in traffic. The law is not always enforced and that may look relaxed. But they could start to enforce the law tomorrow if they want. Or only against you, if someone asks.


Hospitals can be good but mostly it are private hospitals that are good. And they are not cheap. Can you effort that? Living upcountry? Big chance that there are no private hospitals nearby. For me the nearest private hospital is about 250 km away.

Staying here

Theoretically you could become Thai, but most people are living here on a "Extension of Stay" or a "One Year Visa". That means every year you will have to jump thru the hoops & loops of being granted to stay here. Theoretically the government could decide to kick all foreigners out some day. And be aware the government here is not very stable. And even when living here for many years at the same place, you still have to report every 90 days to the local immigration. And your house owner has to register that a foreigner is staying in his house. And if you stay somewhere else and come back to your house you officially have to register again. It makes you feel a bit like a criminal.

Getting old

Think about health-care, income and yearly getting a new extension of stay. After 40 years living here and you not have enough money anymore by law? Bye bye.

Land of Smiles

Thailand the Land of Smiles is said. Thai are always smiling but there are many different smiles. With different meanings. And yes the Thai are always polite and make a wai. Well .... until .... read the newspaper and realise that Thai have not always a good reason to smile. Thailand is within the top 3 of deadly accidents on the road. And there is high murder rate in Thailand, as wel as rapes are not uncommon. Once you take off your pink glasses you will see that not everything in Thailand is a sweet smile.

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