What Living in Thailand is Really Like

A common question I get asked is “What is it like living in Thailand?”.

My answer to that question is best summed up in the following picture:


But what is life like for me living in Thailand? Well let me tell you.

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living in thailand

It’s like living in a bubble

As I don’t own a TV, I hardly know what is going on around the world. Whether a drone is being dropped on a school in Afghanistan or police in American are beating up black people – it doesn’t really affect my life. I don’t visit news sites and unless something comes on my Facebook or Twitter feed, I have no idea what is going on, nor do I want to know.

I am living in this ignorant bliss completely unaware that the whole world is fucked. I just stroll along each day listening to Joe Rogan podcasts eating $1 noodles giving 0 fucks while making huge gains in the several Bangkok gyms.

I don’t get stressed out like I once did in the UK about Russia starting WWIII or all that shit about the recession affecting our lives, global warming etc. Sure these are important topics but they are all out of the scope of my daily life, they either don’t affect me right now or are things I have no control over.

After I went ‘dark’ from the news, the biggest worry of my life is whether Nok is going to increase the price of her somtam from 30 baht to 35 baht.

Thailand is not scary

Every time I go home people ask me if Thailand is dangerous, whether you can drink the water, use the ice and stupid stuff like this. Thailand is pretty advanced and the people who usually ask these types of questions are people living sheltered lives.

As long as you don’t ride a motorcycle, be a douche bag and look both side before you cross the road, living in Thailand is a piece of cake. It is not scary, the culture is a friendly one and people for the most part are nice.

I need western friends

As I don’t want to learn the Thai language, I find more and more that you need western friends when living in Thailand. I’m quite an introvert and usually think everyone is a wanker until they show me otherwise, but having western friends you can talk to on a regular basis is very good for the mind and mental psyche.

If I haven’t spoken to someone in a few days I do feel a slight mental deterioration and an urge that I must talk to someone. I get a jittery feeling that I need some sort of advanced dialogue.

Luckily I play badminton, squash and tennis almost daily with friends so this never is a problem any more.

A friend of mine who lived here before said you meet people who have been in Thailand way too long, and seem a bit off. After living in Thailand myself for a long time I think not having mental stimulation is a big part of it.

Many guys have come here in the past and fell in love with Thai women, they had no western friends when they arrived and years of speaking in broken English has made them go a bit wonky mentally.

It’s very important to be around people you can have banter with or talk to for a few hours.Most Thai people I know have a good understanding of English but our cultures are very different to get a meaningful conversation going in English.

Money ain’t shit

Earning a western style salary living in Thailand is like:


Asides from bill bar scams in Nana or Soi Cowboy, I almost never worry about the price of anything. Most beers will cost $1-$6, food $1-$15 and I can catch a taxi to wherever it is I want to go without thinking twice.

You do get that kind of ‘living like a King’ complex here, I feel I get treated a little bit better at hotels and posh restaurants than I would back home. I can buy a bottle in the bar or club and it won’t cost more than $45.

Having said that, I don’t spend more than a $1000 living in Bangkok, but don’t blink twice when I get given a menu.

Trusting people is hard

With the introduction of cheap flights and super successful Thailand travel blogs like mine, bring with it some weird kunts. I’ve met some really creepy people in my time living in Thailand, some who have scammed others out of money, been a victim of scams or other types of drama.

When moving to Thailand most people don’t really know anybody and the barriers for making friends are lowered as a result. People quickly meet each other and become ‘good friends’.

You need to be careful with that, I feel I am a good judge of character but some people are total newbies when it comes to this and end up getting scammed or hustled.

You need to have a routine

If you don’t have a routine in place, Thailand can become the devil’s playground, especially for single guys. I’ve known people living in Thailand who went broke after a few months because the lack of a routine/self control. This is the first time in their lives they are free of work and study and have no idea what to do with their time.

So they end up drinking every night, meeting girls from Thai dating sites and all the other stuff  people get up to when living in Thailand. The thing is you really need a routine in place have a sustainable life in Thailand.

My routine is something like this:

  • 10am – knock one out
  • 10:15am – Have my breakfast and bullet proof coffee
  • 11am to 2pm – Work on my online projects
  • 2pm to 2:30pm – Eat lunch
  • 3pm to 4:30pm – work on my online projects
  • 5:30pm – Hit the gym and play sports for 2 hours
  • 8pm to 11pm – have dinner or meet friends or read a book
  • Midnight – Knock another one out and go to bed

This is hardly an epic daily routine but it’s one that ensures I am living in Thailand for a long time. A large percentage of people who come here just wake up at 2pm, eat and spend their whole time on the Internet until it comes time to drink and head out into the Bangkok nightlife.

living in thailand

While this is fine and pretty awesome for short-term stays of 1-3 months, if you really want to be living in Thailand for longer periods of time you need a proper routine, else you will go crazy or spend too much money.

Even stuff like learning Thai, Muay Thai, joining a gym and going tovarious Bangkok Meetup groups is a good way to get a routine sorted. A routine does not have to involve work.

Freedom is amazing

I have no boss, my mom isn’t telling me to put the jizz filled socks under my bed in the wash nor do I have any responsibilities. I can do what I want, when I want. I am the man!

This gives me a sense of relief and calmness. While you can obtain ‘freedom’ back home it comes at a much higher cost. You need to be in the rat race for several years saving up, apartments are expensive, everybody around you is in the Matrix mindset and nobody encourages you to do what you want (which may be to live in Thailand).

Instead they tell you to keep working the job you hate to earn money because that’s how we play the game. Ain’t nobody got time for that –ain’t nobody!

The people I interact with have subscribed to the same philosophy of life as me, the energy and vibes are almost always positive and we kind of support each other doing our own thing.

The idea of buying a house, getting married, having children, getting a job with a pension is stupid to us. We would rather live in the now and do what we want then play it safe and do what society tell us.

Common sense is all you need living in Thailand

Before you decide to live in Thailand, read a few blogs and websites to understand how things are done. There are many people who move to Bangkok and before they know it are dating a Thai bar girl and eating through their savings.

Understand the culture, what is expected of you, common tricks such as Bangkok taxi scams, how to act and you will be fine. Even in 2015 it amazes me how many people don’t even do the basic amount of research before coming to live in Thailand.

Thai visas are the biggest stress I have

Visas anywhere in the world are annoying but even more so when living in Thailand. I am currently on a tourist visa which lets me stay for 3 months before I need to leave and re-enter. This is cool at first because you can visit other countries but after a while it gets pretty tiring.

When you’re living the life of Riley, 90 days comes up pretty often, you could get an education visa but I am not to big on learning Thai.

Here was a report on my last Thai visa run in Bangkok.

England is shit – but I don’t hate it

Another thing people ask me when I go back home is:

“I bet you must hate being back?”

The first time I left Thailand and went back to England, yes I hated being back. The reason I hated it was because I still had a job in England and knew that living in Thailand was not even a possibility then.

Now when I go back I really enjoy it.I get to see my friends and family, live rent free, eat all the stuff I can’t get living in Thailand and just do a whole lot of nothing. I am going back soon and am really looking forward to it.

One reason I enjoy going back is because I no longer see England as a prison sentence, I am free to walk in and out as I see fit.

While the grass is certainly greener in Thailand, I think the “I would never go back to my home country, it fuck sucks” attitude is not necessarily the best. It only makes you depressed or angry when you do leave Thailand.

That’s what living in Thailand is like for me, what do you guys think? Have anything to share?

32 thoughts on “What Living in Thailand is Really Like

  1. Damnhomie
    25 February, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Damn HOMIE u basically just cAnt cut it in the western world. It happens, you feel worthy in Thailand, but Ur not shit back home. I know a lot of ppl like you. Most live in flipland or thailand. Must suck being somebody who gets no respect. Beeeeeyatch!!!

    1. 25 February, 2015 at 8:41 am

      Dunno mate, I enjoy going back to England I just don’t like the price of things and the fact it’s a rat race. Not sure what ‘not being able to cut it’ means. Why would I want to pay high taxes and work in job that takes up all of my week? Who would want to cut that lol.

      Your comment sounds as if living in the west is a slog and not fun – why would I want to live somewhere like that? Why would you?

      1. ronP
        2 March, 2015 at 5:50 am

        I love it when people view moving to the 2nd/3rd worlds as a down grade! Just agree with em, you don’t need anymore wankers invading! cheers 😉

    2. rowdyone
      13 March, 2015 at 3:09 am


      1. rowdyone
        13 March, 2015 at 3:11 am

        haters gotta hate

  2. Keith
    25 February, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Wow—-Great post Harvie! What does it matter where one is “happiest”? If you are happy living in the same little fishing village you were born, then stay. If you are happiest flying to the other side of the globe and living in a foreign culture, so be that way too. It’s not about succeeding where you happen to find yourself, it’s about succeeding in the place (and through the ways and goals) that make you “happiest” in the end. To those Haterz who don’t understand that….all my love and best wishes.

    1. 25 February, 2015 at 4:44 pm

      Well put Keith. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  3. Keith
    25 February, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    Now back to bashing the Backpacker and Digital Nomad Crowd! 🙂

  4. Pascal
    26 February, 2015 at 3:47 am

    good article and good point that you need some western ppl to talk to or youll go bonkers

  5. a raul
    26 February, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    You need a solid life to get another kind of life in Thailand.. If the prospect of returning to the West feels like a failure, you get to stressed out when you try to build somerhing here. Learn a little bit of thai (shows an effort) and never, never get involved with a bargirl.

    1. ronP
      2 March, 2015 at 5:55 am

      a raul, bar girls can be an absolute blast! It’s up to YOU and your boundaries that ensure both parties are having FUN! If you can’t control your self then maybe you shouldn’t associate with any females, bar girl or not! Cheers 😉

  6. Pat
    26 February, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    The net warriors will always come in and claim that ”you can’t cut it in the west”

    These idiots, from my own experience of meeting types like this are usually the same fools who moved to Bangkok on the strength of meeting some bargirl, and love putting the expat world to rights, as they are experts at this.

    So what if you can’t ”cut it” in the west? Is that so necessary if you’ve made a life in Bangkok? Mayb

    1. Damnhomie
      27 February, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      To me it’s taking the easy way out. It’s much easier for a westerner to live in Thailand or any asian country (besides China I guess). Asian women loooove western men it’s almost like it’s cheating. I just don’t have much respect for the farang who move to these places with the justification “oh it makes me happy”. Eh, I guarantee if women showed you more attention in the western world where you came you would never leave. It’s basically lying to yourself.

      I have no problem with visiting. Hell I been whoring all over recently and been loving it! Dominican Republic, Mexico, USA and it’s been great. I’ll be visiting thailand soon(hence the visit to this site) and I am really excited.

      Being that I visited places like the DR I seen men say the same thing “it makes me happy”, “oh I got girls in the states I just like it here” bla bla. I call bullshit. You moved there for a reason, you gave up… Now you want it easy. Anyway hate to put it out like that it just annoys me. I would like it if ppl were honest with themselves. Like me, I love whoring, it’s a new hobby of mine. Do I get chicks? Yes. Do I prefer whores? HELL YA! I consider it a phase I need to finish before I get married. And thailand is going to be my final hurrah and I would have done everything on my single bucket list.

      1. 27 February, 2015 at 5:27 pm

        I never mentioned girls in my article or the fact that they were the reason for making me happy. The biggest factor is the cost of living and the fact I can work less to spend more time doing the things I enjoy and being stress free. I have more time to socialize, eat better food, play sports, read and take up martial arts than I ever did in England. I do all this with less effort than needed in the UK.

        What did I exactly give up on? Being a slave to a company? Giving up my life to work in a box for 40 hours a week? I don’t have a bucket list because my life is a bucket list.

        Many people work 11 months of the year and take their one month holiday to to thailand, DR or wherever to live the life they really want to live. This makes them feel okay about whoring or doing whatever it is they do because they have ‘earned it’. The thing is you are bring tricked by the Matrix, you don’t need to ‘earn’ anything, this is just a game and they have tricked most of the population into thinking like this.

        This is why people spend more time in the workplace with people they dislike than their children or loved ones.

      2. Dave
        1 March, 2015 at 6:13 am

        You sound really foolish “Damnhomie”. First off on “Asian women love western men its almost like cheating” yeah theres tons of average looking girls and whores that love western men. The true top notch girls in Thailand will be as hard if not harder to pull for a farang then the girls in any western country. Just the average looking girl in this country is alot more appealing then the average looking fat white girl. The actual 9-10s in this country arent just gonna be all over some fat white guy just like in the west.

        Theres more to the country then whores. The weather is amazing year round. The nightlife outside of the redlight districts great. The local food and international food is great. For 2-3k a month in Bangkok you can live great compare that with New York/LA/London the lifestyle isnt even close.

        Calling it “giving up or taking the easy way out” is a joke. Not everybody wants to work 60+hours a week and be stressed out all the time. Theres diff ways to live life. Some people enjoy having tons of free time and not having bill after bill.

        Keep enjoying your 2 weeks of vacation time a year. While I “take the easy way out” and enjoy my entire life as a vacation.

        1. Damnhomie(s)
          1 March, 2015 at 11:39 pm

          We aren’t going to see eye to eye on this. I prefer being challenged in the so-called “rat Race” where I strive to better myself each year. Instead of just “surviving” in some third world where I have no common interests with the local population. And yes the local population will most likely look at you negatively because they see you as some westerner living off them.

          Unfortunately we just see life differently, and that’s ok, I shouldn’t have come on strong, but I can’t stand people who brag about their amazing life’s in 3rd worlds for reasons I posted before.

          I also really enjoy my life in LA, where I am luckily well connected to the nightlife, day life, life…. Perhaps if I wasn’t enjoying myself so much I would see why a 3rd world would be appealing.

          I guess now is a bad time to ask for advice for my upcoming trip in Thailand though? Lol. Ah well, if that’s so then I have my mouth to blame. If not I would love to chit chat.

          1. 2 March, 2015 at 9:17 am

            Nothing wrong with asking for advice, I am always happy to help mate.

  7. Pat
    26 February, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Oops accidentally posted to early…..

    (cont’d) Maybe you were fed up of cutting in the west, hence seeking a new life abroad

  8. 1 March, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Great post man. I totally agree with you about finding intelligent friends to interact with… After several months of shallow conversations in broken English I’m ready to lose my mind. Here in Nha Trang it’s mostly Vietnamese and Russians so when I find someone who speaks good English I end up talking their ear off haha poor bastards.

    In regards to the Visa. You mentioned you are into martial arts. I believe you can get an education visa from a muay thai gym in BKK. Might be better then taking a Thai language course.

    1. 1 March, 2015 at 10:49 am

      There is only one gym that gives you an education visa and they are pretty far out from where I want to live. An overstay looks like a tempting option for 20,000 baht.

  9. Kdog
    1 March, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    ”Damnhomie” sounds like a fucking loser. Enjoy your 2 week a year getaway you office drone dipshit.
    I love how people immediately think shit like that when you move to a country like Thailand. Maybe it justifies and makes them feel better about their lame ass, 9-5, miserable, sack of shit life.

    Good article Harvie.

  10. Jason
    1 March, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks harvey great article. I’ll fwd to my friend who I think needs more english speakers where he is.

    @damnhomie glad your bucket list is almost finished so you can kick the bucket after working like a slave all your life. If not kicking the bucket then enjoy being the working drone again working for someone else.

  11. Frankie
    2 March, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Great post. In depth, fun & easy to read. Thanks Man!

  12. John Doe
    2 March, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for that article. I inwardly nodded a little whilst I read it but some aspect I don’t really understand. For me, I also want to achive that kind of lifestlyle.. one is free, has time to read, workout whatever. But the thing is that you said you don’t put effort into learning their language. This means in my conclusion that you don’t have any long-dated goals regarding this country. Means, you don’t want to have a family over there with a Thai girl. Have you any thought about that? I think it is good to live just in the present because (referring Taoism) we only have this littly moment and future/past are just constructs. Anyway..

    1. 2 March, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      Hey mate, I don’t think I will ever get married or had kids (I don’t plan too). As for learning Thai, the more I tell people I don’t want to learn the more advice I get which compels me to learn it. I am not sure on my next play but I think I will eventually start to learning Thai. Perhaps 1-2 private lessons per-week.

      I don’t have any long-term goals in general, as long as I have at least 2 years worth of saving in the bank to live without working, I don’t really plan further than that. People plan for their retirement at 21 and spend the next 40 years planning for the future, I try not to fall into that mindset.

  13. Herpes
    3 March, 2015 at 9:48 am

    As a poker player playing mtts, best is to play nights so. sunday mil starts at 3 AM for instance, so the routine can be fked up

    1. 3 March, 2015 at 10:23 am

      That’s why you play cash games!

  14. 6 March, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Firstly just want to say great post dude. But….couple of things don’t make sense.

    First if you only spend $1000 a month in Bangkok it’s impossible that you don’t look at the price of shit and on that budget, perhaps you wouldn’t if you go to the same places all the time but I doubt very much you’d just walk into a new place without checking the prices first.

    Secondly, I stopped jacking off the day I came to Thailand, you’re basically saying “I don’t get any”. Lastly from your comment from the first guy, you don’t like England cause it’s a rat race…huh? You live in the same Bangkok I do? Again great post dude, but a few things that just don’t make any sense.

    1. 6 March, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Hey Chris, good points. To clarify:

      As to the $1,000 budget. This is what I like to spend each month. I can go over and it’s no big deal. For example, if I want to fly to Japan or eat some really expensive food – I will do that. The budget is more of a place holder to ensure I don’t spend my savings too fast, as you know you can spend a lot of money in Thailand in a short amount of time.

      I am quite a minimalist guy but if I need to spend 5,000 baht on a tennis racket or new pair of shoes, I won’t be penny pinching or crunching numbers.

      Did I mention something about jacking off? can’t see it but if I did it was probably me trying to add humor. Don’t worry, I jack off in every country that has a stable Internet connection.

      1. rowdyone
        13 March, 2015 at 3:18 am

        good blog man
        keep the good times going

  15. foo
    13 March, 2015 at 8:59 am

    in life you get to learn the best lessons, by making the biggest mistakes, go ahead, live simple, get by, but, when you 39, you’ll be surprised how fast the years went.

    may get bit harder to live like a teenager, long term, and then will be a bit late to have had more ambition.

    but, I admire, your idealism, to find a different way in life. just don’t end up the starving artist, tend to not live such a long life, when poor. and if one has no ability to implement a Plan B, though, in your 20s, you can still make mistakes, that are permanently, going to ruin any future.

    anyway, what the point of advice, unless one is open to any… 😛

    1. 13 March, 2015 at 9:51 am

      Hey Foo. Nice post I enjoyed reading it. I am saving money every month and I have a back up plan if things ever go tits up in Asia.

      I do like this video when talking about mistakes, choices and regrets.


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