Out of all the millions who visit Thailand every year, there are those who are so hopelessly captivated by its charms that they turn their stay into a more permanent one, and here’s why.
As appealing as it is to wake up in the freezing cold darkness and head to work, for some it’s too much. In Thailand, there’s no need to worry about the weather. Sure, there’s a rainy season, but more often than not a short downpour of rain is followed by days of blistering sunshine, and not a snowman in sight. Bliss.
Making the switch from tourist to expat almost reveals a whole new world of food. Gone are the tourist trap restaurants and the same old pad Thai, and instead you begin to acquaint yourselves with local joints and regional delicacies, not to mention the deliciously fresh fruits and vegetables. Sure, you might miss you mother’s Sunday roast, but it’s hard to miss it too much when you’ve bought yourself a veritable feast of freshly cooked foods for just a few dollars.
For tourists in Thailand, it can be difficult to have any significant or meaningful interactions with the people who live there, other than asking for your food not to be too spicy. But the more time you spend there, the more the locals let their guards down. Friendships begin to be formed, relationships prosper and suddenly, life gets easier and a little less lonely so far from home. Thai people are extremely kind, positive and generous people, and the bonds you form with them whilst living here are really something to cherish.
Living in Thailand doesn’t mean your traveling days are over — it means they’ve just begun. Whether you’re working here, retired or being a digital nomad, Thailand’s many holidays and long weekends provide ample opportunities to spread your wings and explore. Friends and acquaintances living here also prove to be an invaluable network, offering advice on what to do, where to go and where to stay, which helps to turn a good getaway into a great one. You’re never too far away from a gorgeous beach or scenic natural park here, which is one of the greatest benefits of living here.
Obviously, comparatively speaking, the money you can earn in Thailand is much less than you’ll probably earn back home, but relatively speaking you’re guaranteed to be more well-off, and much more handsomely paid than your Thai counterparts. Rents and utilities are a fraction of what you’d be paying back home, and food prices are much cheaper too, leaving you with more disposable income to do with as you please. The thought of one day going home and paying the price for “Thai street food” there doesn’t bear thinking about…
It has everything
The thing about Thailand is that it has everything. Great food, great nature, big cities, paradise islands…there’s no need to travel further than its own borders. Things getting a bit too quiet out in the country? Hop on a cheap flight to Bangkok and come back when you’ve had enough. Fancy some new clothes? Head to your local Central, where there are more brand names than you can shake a stick at. Thailand has everything you could possibly need, which is why so many people decide to stay and call it their home.
Most people may only be able to take in one or two of the major festivals whilst they visit, but those of us lucky enough to live here get to experience it all. Chinese New Year in February, Songkran in April, Vegetarian Festival in October, Loy Krathong in November and even the Thai version of Christmas in December – we who live here get to live each of these events, which are truly windows into the culture of Thailand and its people and are richly rewarding experiences.
The growing feeling of familiarity
Visiting Thailand, with all its unpredictability and alien cultural practices, can be a bit of a shock for a traveler, but the more time you spend here, the more you begin to understand and accept them. It doesn’t come quickly, but those moments when you finally feel familiar with your surroundings and like more of a local than a tourist are some of the best you’ll have here, and will make you feel like Thailand really is a place you can settle in and call home.
Massages back home are pretty darn expensive, but here in Thailand you could get several a week and still not have to worry about how much you’re spending. Masseurs in Thailand have magic hands and, even if you’re not a fan of the traditional, often painful Thai massages, there’s often tonnes of other massage options available to enjoy. Stress melts away, knots are soothed and you’re ready to start another day in paradise.
Whilst most people think Thailand to be a little chaotic, the reality is in fact that it’s really quite convenient. Want to go somewhere? There’s a taxi or motorbike taxi around the corner. Want to eat or drink something? 7-Eleven is never too far away. Whereas many cities shut down after a certain time, or things have to be planned ahead, Thailand caters for those who live in the moment, making it a convenient and easy place to live.
Whereas places like Pattaya might have expats who you’d rather stay away from, most corners of Thailand have their own expat communities who are friendly, approachable and who help to make living here that little bit easier. From after-work drinks to tips on things to do, expats provide a sense of home and familiarity in a place so far away home, and are invaluable networks for anybody who lives here.