Who hasn’t spent a holiday relaxing on a pristine golden beach in Thailand and thinking: Wow, if only I could live here? Well, for many, such a dream can actually come true and you can find yourself calling this beautiful country home. Thailand is a favoured destination for expats hailing from across the globe and all walks of life, and it’s no surprise when you consider the many advantages of taking up residence in the Land of Smiles.
For one thing, there is the warm tropical climate, bright sunshine and picturesque landscape, which includes swathes of jungle, dramatic limestone outcrops and, of course, those golden beaches fringed with palm trees and lapped by clear, cool waters. Then of course there are the temples, the festivals, and the buzzing nightlife which can be found everywhere from Chiang Mai to Krabi and, of course, the vibrant tourist isle of Phuket.
From Mai Pen Rai to Jai Yen and Sabai Sabai
But perhaps the biggest draw of all – apart from those sugar-white beaches and the azure sea – is the Thai people themselves, with their ever-ready smile, their gracious manners and calming Buddhist philosophies such as mai pen rai (never mind), sabai sabai (which has many layers of meaning, from contentment to happiness to comfort) and sanuk, which can probably best be translated as ‘fun’ and is a crucial part of every Thai’s lifestyle. Getting to know Thai people, their habits and their viewpoints is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding aspects of a move to Thailand, though stressed-out, overworked Western expats may find it hard to come to grips with ‘Thai time’ – also called rubber time, for its remarkable ability to stretch – and the relaxed way in which they do everything, even business.
Thailand’s Gilded Expatriate Lifestyle
Another obvious benefit of expat life in Thailand is the fact that you can probably ‘live large’ in Thailand more than you could in your own country. Depending on your job and attendant income you could find yourself residing in a two-storey rental house with stunning sea views and a pristine swimming pool; a home looked after by a maid, a gardener and even a driver. Many expats in Thailand, particularly in Pattaya and Bangkok, live in pristine gated communities and there are more of these high-scale developments being built all the time, a clear sign of the allure of Thailand for well-to-do or up-and-coming expatriate workers. Worried about schooling? There is no need. Families can enjoy access to a number of impressive international schools which provide children with an education every bit as prestigious as the one they would receive in the West.
Not only that, because of the burgeoning development of the likes of Pattaya, Phuket and even Koh Samui, developers are unveiling an impressive stream of new attractions and real estate projects, ranging from blocks of luxury flats to water parks and shopping centres. Yet despite this constant progress, which brings with it plenty of opportunity for investment, expats need not worry that life in Thailand will become as sterile and familiar as life back home. The richness of Thai culture, its many colourful festivals and its exotic cuisine – arguably the most mouth-watering food in the world – remain as constant reminders of the hypnotic exoticism of the Land of Smiles and serve as powerful incentives for wanting to relocate to this slice of earthly paradise in South East Asia.