Where Do Expats Live In Thailand

Living in Thailand as an Expat: 10 Best Cities To Live In

If you’re looking for a new and exciting place to call home, look no further than Thailand! This Southeast Asian country is a popular destination for ex-pats due to its rich culture, delicious food, and year-round tropical climate. But with so many cities to choose from, where do ex-pats live in Thailand? This blog post will discuss where ex-pats live in Thailand.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and the Thai islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao are where most foreigners living in Thailand make their homes. However, because Thailand is so well-liked by foreigners, you can rest assured that wherever you settle down in the country, you will find a community of friendly ex-pats.

Key Takeaways

  • Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Bangkok are the top three destinations in all Thailand for foreigners.
  • It is illegal for non-Thai to own property in Thailand in their own name.
  • Bang Lamung District in Lop Buri province, Thailand, topped the charts as the city with the cleanest air quality in the country.
Where Do Expats Live In Thailand

Why Move to Thailand?

When it comes to deciding where to live as an ex-pat, Thailand is a country that should definitely be on your list. The country has a lot to offer, from its stunning natural beauty and tropical weather to its high standard of living and great quality of life. There are several cities in Thailand that are popular among many ex-pats, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for you. Whether you’re looking for a bustling metropolis or a laid-back beach town, Thailand has it all. So why not take the plunge and see what this fascinating country has to offer? You might just fall in love with it.

Relocating to Thailand

Moving to Thailand may conjure specific images of beautiful beaches with white sand and giant limestone formations, or it may conjure images of dense, verdant rainforests hiding large, meandering elephants. Expats from all over the world move to this country in the hopes of experiencing life in one of the most dynamic areas of Southeast Asia.

The country’s varied topography and exciting way of life are two of the main draws. Thailand is a land of contrasts, where Expats can enjoy both the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and the laid-back atmosphere of the islands. And with its welcoming culture, it’s easy to see why so many people choose to make Thailand their new home.

10 Best Cities To Live In Thailand as an Expat

Thailand is a land of beauty, culture, and friendly people, making it an attractive destination for ex-pats from all over the world. While there are many wonderful cities to choose from, here are ten of the best places to live in Thailand and spend your ex-pat life.

1. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, found in northern Thailand is the second-largest city, located in the northern part of the country. It offers a traditional way of life that you can’t find anywhere else in Thailand. The city is filled with sacred Buddhist temples (wat) and handicrafts that are made by local artists.

The locals are very receptive to visitors and new residents, having been previously influenced by Burmese and Chinese migrants. They offer hikes through remote villages as a way to share their way of life with the world. In addition, the locals are always happy to share a meal or conversation with travelers, making Chiang Mai an incredibly welcoming place to visit.

 However, Chiang Mai still bustles with live music and nightly markets that offer residents the best of city living without the frenzy of Bangkok. As a result, it’s the perfect place to experience Thai culture without feeling overwhelmed by crowds or chaos. Whether you’re looking to explore Buddhist temples or simply enjoy some delicious street food, Chiang Mai has something for everyone.

2. Koh Samui

If you are interested in a beach lifestyle, Koh Samui is one of the best, it is a beautiful island located off the coast of Thailand. The island is only 25 kilometers long and 21 kilometers wide, making it much more manageable than Bangkok. Ring roads connect the island’s palm-lined beaches to its major attractions, among them an international airport. Koh Samui provides a more relaxed way of life, but it also allows those with an adventurous spirit to try out things like bungee jumping, elephant trekking, and mountain biking.

The island is home to some of the world’s best diving spots, and its clear waters offer amazing visibility for scuba divers. In addition, Koh Samui boasts a variety of fantastic restaurants, offering everything from Thai street food to fine dining. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventure-filled getaway, Koh Samui is the perfect destination.

3. Bangkok

Bangkok is the Thai capital and is one of the most bustling cities in the world. You’ll find it hard to leave Bangkok too long because there’s always something new to see, even if you’ve lived here for years. The bustling city, with energy and opportunity, and it’s quite literally a city that never sleeps. There are endless things to do in Bangkok, whether you’re into shopping, nightlife, or simply exploring the many temples and historical sites. If you’re looking for an exciting and vibrant place to live, Bangkok is definitely the place for you.

The city life is very modernized and offers many conveniences for foreigners living in Thailand, from international food markets to shopping malls and movie theaters. Everything you need is within the city center. Bangkok is an excellent choice for those looking for a place to have a convenient lifestyle, settle down, and make friends! With its diverse population and an endless array of things to do, you’re sure to find your niche in this vibrant city.

4. Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a beautiful beach resort town located on the Gulf of Thailand. The town is very popular with tourists and retirees alike. Hua Hin is widely acknowledged as one of the safest and most pleasant beach resorts in all of Thailand.

The town is not overrun with tourists or even Thais; it is a peaceful, happy place ideal for retirement, unlike many other coastal destinations. Hua Hin has everything you could want in a beach town: lovely beaches, great restaurants, exciting nightlife, and plenty of shopping.

There are also many activities to enjoy in the area, including golf, tennis, fishing, and hiking. If you are looking for a peaceful and enjoyable place to retire, Hua Hin is a perfect choice.

5. Phuket

Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is a laid-back beach town where life moves at a slower pace. This makes it an ideal place to retire or raise a family. In addition, Phuket enjoys beautiful weather year-round, with warm temperatures and sunny skies. And of course, there are the beaches. With their white sand and turquoise water, Phuket’s beaches are some of the most stunning in all of Southeast Asia. Whether you’re looking for a place to retire or just somewhere to escape the rat race for a while, Phuket is definitely worth considering.

While Thai cities like Bangkok are bustling metropolises, Phuket is a laid-back beach town where life moves at a slower pace. This makes it an ideal place to retire or raise a family. In addition, Phuket enjoys beautiful weather year-round, with warm temperatures and sunny skies. And of course, there are the beaches. With their white sand and turquoise water, Phuket’s beaches are some of the most stunning in all of Southeast Asia.

Additionally, it is a laid-back island where people live in the moment and take things as they come. There is no major culture shock for people moving there, as all the amenities you might need for modern living are at your doorstep. In addition, the cost of living in Phuket is very affordable, which makes it an ideal destination for retirees or people looking to Start a new life. If you’ve always dreamed of living on a tropical island, then Phuket is definitely worth considering.

6. Krabi 

Krabi, Thailand, might not blow your mind if it’s your first time visiting. The area known for its beaches, rocks, and hills is relatively small. When compared to other popular tourist destinations, Krabi town doesn’t stand out. But the province is large, and it contains many scenic areas worth exploring. The infrastructure is the main draw for most ex-pats.

Being close to both Koh Phi Phi and Lanta is a major perk of Krabi Town. You won’t waste your weekends sitting around doing anything because there’s so much to do.

You can find nearly deserted roads with breathtaking vistas if you venture inland, away from Krabi. This is a stunning part of Thailand, with its rice paddies and rocky mountains. The nearby Pha Nga province is home to dramatic landscapes formed by mountains and rocks, complete with hidden caves and waterfalls.

Krabi Town and its surrounding area are less crowded and bustling than Phuket and Pattaya. Taking some time out to relax is simple. Most of the islands in the vicinity are protected as national parks, which deters tourists.

Krabi Town may not have as developed of infrastructure as Chiang Mai, but you can still find just about anything you need there. Various establishments, including retail outlets, eateries, and watering holes, are available. Thai food is delicious, but if you get tired of it, there are plenty of other options, like pizza and burgers.

7. Chiang Rai

Sounds of monks chanting or the tinkling of temple bells are sometimes carried on the wind as part of temple rituals. Chiang Rai is bursting with rural appeal thanks to its wide open spaces, rice paddies, and views of the surrounding mountains.

Further, into town, you’ll find wide streets lined with trees, historic buildings, ancient temples, and a large lazy river that helps to create a relaxed atmosphere.

The pace of life in Chiang Rai is undoubtedly more laid back. I’m a few hours away from Chiang Rai, but I can see why so many people love this city. And because of the vibrant art scene, it’s the perfect place for a vacation.

It is a popular tourist destination for both Thais and foreigners due to its reputation as a cooler alternative to Bangkok.

The months of May, June, July, and August, as well as September, are known as the wet season because of the lush greens that cover the landscape and jungle.

December, January, and March usher in the chilly season, with average highs of 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rest of the year is typically sunny and hot. On average, April is the hottest month of the year, clocking in at 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Koh Phangan

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, the Full Moon Party is definitely the place to be. This legendary event takes place on the island of Ko Pha Ngan in southeast Thailand, and every month, Haad Rin, on the southeastern peninsula, comes alive with a rowdy, all-night celebration that coincides with the lunar calendar. Sunrise Beach is where most of the action is, and its beach bungalows are popular with the traveling community.

Hat Khuat and Hat Thian are two of the more tranquil white-sand beaches located up north. If you’re looking for a party, the Full Moon Party is definitely the place to be. But if you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation, you might want to check out one of Ko Pha Ngan’s other beautiful beaches. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy Thai life!

9. Koh Lanta

Ko Lanta is an island district located off the coast of the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. The coral reefs, mangroves, limestone cliffs, and lush forests make up its distinctive landscape.

The semi-nomadic sea people known as the Chao Leh make their home on the southern end of the largest island, Ko Lanta Yai, which is part of Ko Lanta National Park. The park is home to both the Khao Mai Kaew cave system and the Khlong Chak Waterfall.

Ko Lanta is a popular tourist destination for both Thai and foreign visitors alike. With its stunning natural beauty, it is no wonder why. So if you are ever in Thailand, be sure to check out Ko Lanta!

10. Koh Tao

Koh Tao, a small island off the coast of Thailand, is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. The island is best known for its beautiful beaches and its clear turquoise waters, which make it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

There are many different beaches to explore on Koh Tao, each with its own unique character. Mae Haad Beach is a great spot for people-watching, as it is home to a number of restaurants, bars, and dive shops. For those looking for a more secluded experience, Southerly beaches like Chalok Baan Kao Bay offer villas and palm trees lining the shore.

In the northwest corner of the island, visitors can find Koh Nang Yuan, an islet with breathtaking hilltop views. No matter what type of beach you are looking for, you are sure to find it on Koh Tao.

The reef off the coast of the island is home to a wide variety of marine life, including whale sharks, stingrays, and turtles. Hawksbill and green turtles congregate at this location annually for the purpose of reproducing. If you are looking for a tropical island getaway with plenty of things to see and do, Koh Tao is the perfect place for you.

Visas and Registration in Thailand

It’s simple to travel to Thailand. The Visa on Arrival policy and the Visa Exemption program makes it possible for citizens of a wide range of countries to visit the Land of Smiles without first obtaining a visa. These choices provide visitors with the opportunity to extend their stay for up to 30 or 45 days.

Tourists are visitors to a country who are not permanent residents. Tourists are not permitted to engage in any kind of work or official business while in the country. A tourist visa is not valid for business trips, so business travelers must research alternative visas.

Travelers who wish to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days must apply for a Tourist Visa at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country.

Where Do Expats Live In Thailand

Where Do Expats Live In Thailand FAQs

Is Thailand Expat friendly?

Thailand is a great place for ex-pats to live. There are many attractions, especially if you are a nature lover. The country has some of the best beaches in the world, which is why many people love it. Thailand is also known for its islands and resorts that are great for relaxation. The people of Thailand are very friendly and welcoming, which makes it a great place to live. The food is also amazing, and there is a huge variety to choose from. Overall, Thailand is an excellent choice for most ex-pats looking for a new place to call home.

What is the cleanest city in Thailand?

Thailand is a beautiful country with many scenic cities to visit. However, when it comes to air quality, not all cities are created equal. In March 2022, Bang Lamung District in Lop Buri province topped the charts as the city with the cleanest air quality in the country. With an air quality index of eight points, Bang Lamung District is the clear winner when it comes to the cleanest city in Thailand. So if you’re looking for a city to visit that has great air quality, be sure to add Bang Lamung District to your list!

Can a foreigner buy property in Thailand?

Owning a piece of paradise is a dream for many people, and Thailand is certainly a place that fits that description. With its stunning beaches, lush jungle landscapes, and friendly people, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to this Southeast Asian country.

If you’re considering purchasing property in Thailand, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, it is illegal for non-Thai citizens to own property in Thailand in their own name.

However, foreigners can purchase condominiums free and clear (Freehold) and landed properties with long-term leases (typically 30 years with options to extend) on the land on which the property is built.

So if you’re looking to buy a piece of Thailand to call your own, there are definitely options available to you. Just be sure to do your research and work with a reputable real estate agent to make sure everything goes smoothly.

What is the safest place to live in Thailand?

Krabi is one of the safest places to live in Thailand. The crime rate is low and the cost of living is reasonable. There are plenty of services and amenities available, and the community is strong and supportive. If you’re looking for a safe place to live in Thailand, Krabi is a great option.

Where do retirees live in Thailand?

Some retirees may find that the slower pace of life in the countryside is more appealing, but others discover that living in a city provides more opportunities for socializing and staying active after they have retired.

Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in Thailand, is a popular choice for retirees because it combines the conveniences of modern life with the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Because of its location in a valley that is surrounded on all sides by mountains and its temperate climate, the city is an ideal place to live throughout the entire year.

In addition, Chiang Mai offers a wide range of amenities and activities, from shopping and dining to golfing and hiking. The Expat Club, which meets monthly, is just one of the many social organizations available to foreign residents. For those who prefer a more relaxed lifestyle, the city also boasts several beautiful temples and parks.

Retirees looking for a beachfront lifestyle often choose to settle in one of Thailand’s many islands or coastal areas. Phuket, Koh Samui, and Hua Hin are all popular choices, offering beautiful scenery, warm weather, and a wide range of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and sailing.

While each of these areas has its own unique character, they all offer a friendly atmosphere and a sense of community among foreign residents.

Facebook groups serve as a convenient way for ex-pats to stay connected and share information about events and activities taking place in their area. Whether you’re looking for an active social scene or a more laid-back lifestyle, you’re sure to find your perfect retirement destination in Thailand.


Although each city has its pros and cons, these are the 10 best cities to live in as an ex-pat in Thailand. If you are considering making the move to Thailand, be sure to do your research on the different cities and find out which one would be the best fit for you.

And if you need any help along the way, feel free to reach out to us – we’re always happy to help! Subscribe to our newsletter for more information about living in Thailand or check out our website for other helpful articles.

Similar Posts