Thailand marijuana laws_Cannabis

Legal cannabis F&B menu under Thailand marijuana laws

The topic of marijuana legality in Thailand is a popular topic among all due to the recent update in Thailand marijuana laws. We have covered the topic of “Is marijuana legal in Thailand?” in our previous posts. So what’s new this time? Since we have covered Thailand marijuana law topic before, now we will be sharing our experience trying out some of the legalized cannabis infused products that are now legal in Thailand.

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Thailand marijuana laws: a quick recap

We have already examined Thailand drug law and legalization of marijuana in previous posts. In short, Thailand has now legalized cannabis for medical and research purposes. Additionally, cannabis leaves and roots from FDA-approved sources can be incorporated into cooking. Hence, we are starting to see marijuana-themed menus introduced by many restaurants and cafés in Thailand (which we will try out).

Check out our previous posts on Thailand marijuana laws:

We tried out some marijuana-themed food and beverage menu

Due to the coronavirus outbreak in Thailand, our first tasting experience will go to cannabis-infused cookies and beverages, which we ordered on Facebook. The shop we bought them from is Smile Milk dessert shop in Bangkok.

The process was very simple and convenient. First, you make your order on the Facebook page, then you make payment via a bank transfer and they’ll deliver the products to your doorstep the next day.

Thailand marijuana laws_cannabis take out

What did we try out? We tried their cookies, chrysanthemum tea and honey lemon cannabis tea. 

Are they yummy? Well, the cookies taste like chocolate butter cookies. You can clearly see that they’ve mixed cannabis leaves into the dough before baking. The cookies taste great, and there was no strong smell from cannabis at all.

Thailand marijuana laws_cookie

The honey lemon cannabis tea tasted great but it might be too sweet for some people. Our guess is that they infused the drink with CBD extract directly.

We had chrysanthemum tea with ice after our dinner. It was refreshing on a hot day (it is hot in Thailand every day now during this rainy season in June).

So what’s the verdict? The food and beverages did taste good, and the small presence of cannabis and/or CBD in them did not impact the taste or smell. It was a “relaxing” experience after the consumption – they feel safe to consume without getting stoned. And it goes without saying, we had a good sleep that night.

Overall experience with the cannabis-infused menu

These cannabis-infused products tasted great, and we can tell that the store created a well-thought recipe for these products. 

However, these menus are still pretty “light”, and not comparable to picking up a cannabis-infused brownie or cupcake from a café in Amsterdam, for example.

They will help to make you feel relaxed but nothing more than that. Nonetheless, many operators are experimenting with cannabis menus so we will see more variations in the menu in the future.

Personally, it would be interesting to see if these operators will work with relaxation spa & massage centers in the future to create a totally relaxing experience for the customers. 

Check out our other posts on Thailand:

long term rental Thailand_skyline

Long term rental Thailand: living cost and rental process

Cost of living in Thailand can be affordable as we have covered in our previous article. It all depends on what kind of lifestyle you want to have. If you are looking to stay in Thailand on a longer term – say 3 months to 12 months – one of the major costs you will be facing is the cost of accommodation. In this article, we will look more into long term rental in Thailand, cost of rent in Thailand and breakdown the rental process.

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What can you rent in Thailand?

First of all, we will go through a few common types of property available in Thailand. 

Condominium / Apartment
There is a slight difference in definition of condominium and apartment. To keep things very simple, a condominium is more expensive, but with the additional money you pay, it comes with better facilities than an apartment. CBRE has a very good explanation on these differences in case you are interested. Modern condominiums come in 25 to 60 sqm, with some larger ones spanning up to 90-100 sqm.

Serviced apartment
As the name implies, a serviced apartment is like having an apartment but with extra services. These extra services may include concierge and cleaning, some also provide breakfast to guests. 

House / villa
Generally, we also refer to this kind of accommodation as a detached house. This means you have an entire house along with a garage and a garden to yourself (most commonly fenced, 1-2 story building).

A smaller housing unit with 1-2 walls shared with your neighbors. Townhouses are usually 2-3 stories tall and have a usable area of 100+ sqm.

long term rental Thailand_condo

Modern condos in Thailand are usually equipped with great facilities such as gym and swimming pool.

How much is long term rental in Thailand?

Impact on property location on cost of rent

Location plays a very big role in determining your cost of rent in Thailand. To illustrate this, we will compare land cost (highest land cost measured in THB per sqm) from a few selected provinces among Thailand’s 77 provinces for your reference. Our source is the data from DDproperty & Thailand Treasury Department.

  • Bangkok: 250,000 THB/sqm (Silom 250,000 THB/sqm, Sukhumvit 187,500 THB/sqm, Phaholyothin 125,000 THB/sqm)
  • Chiang Mai: 60,000 THB/sqm
  • Chonburi (Pattaya): 55,000 THB/sqm
  • Phuket: 50,000 THB/sqm
  • Krabi: 18,000 THB/sqm

The figure above is the highest land cost which we display for comparison purposes only. Hopefully this can demonstrate the importance of location. Keep in mind that in reality, you will be able to find units with a lot lower cost per sqm.

Long term rental in Thailand: cost considerations when choosing a place to stay

Rental in city center areas

If you are looking to stay around Bangkok’s CBD/shopping district, condominiums and apartments are the most common options. For example, if you wish to be among expat communities with good proximity to public transportation like BTS/MTR- your rent will likely be around THB15,000 to THB50,000 per month depending on the size (range from 30 sqm to 70 sqm) and the quality of your condominium. 

If the same condominium were in the center of Chiang Mai or Phuket instead, monthly rental cost would go down drastically to THB7,000 to THB30,000 per month.

Rental outside the city center

However, if you are looking for a more quiet personal space, a detached house in a less central area would be a more valid option.

All major cities like Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya etc. have a wide range of affordable house rental which can cost between THB8,000 to THB30,000 per month for a 3-bedroom detached house size around 120 to 300 sqm. However, do note that many of these houses are located outside of the city center and you may need to drive a car or ride a motorcycle for about 10+ minutes to get into the city.

A detached house / townhouse is also an option for people who are looking to stay in Bangkok. Those in the suburbs cost roughly the same as renting a condominium in the city center, but you can get twice the space. There is a caveat though: you will have to face traffic jams on the commute every day. Detached houses in the city center can be very costly, and can cost up to THB100,000+ per month to rent.

long term rental thailand_detached house

A 4-bedroom detached house in Chiang Mai can be rented at THB25,000 per month. The same price as renting an apartment in the center of Bangkok. Source: DDproperty.

Options for renting a property for medium to long term in Thailand

The most common way to rent a property in Thailand is by entering into a rental/lease agreement with a landlord. If you are not familiar with the market, having a property agent can be helpful (although you or the landlord will need to pay a fee). Property websites like DDProperty or Livinginsider are also useful. Typical duration of a contract in Thailand is 12 month, however you can also negotiate for a shorter duration. 

While Airbnb is not exactly legal in Thailand, it is still a great portal to find short to medium rent through the platform. If you choose a long enough period, the portal will automatically convert your pricing to per month pricing. However, we are not sure whether Airbnb booking would serve as a legitimate document if you need to submit booking proof for your visa application. So please do your own research on this.

Renting process & what to look out for

If possible, always visit the property before making any decision. If you are overseas, at least request for a virtual/video visit. Ideally, check everything including electricity, air conditioner, water (if it’s running, if it smells, if it has colors etc.)

Usually the rental process is simple and is the same as other markets. The contract in Thailand provided by an experienced landlord should be quite standard – you are required to pay 1-2 months of security deposit and 1 month of advance rental. So you’ll need to pay a total of 2-3x of monthly rent on the date of signing.

If you choose to use a property agent, the typical fee is half a month of rent.

Long term rental Thailand in summary: what to pick and how much it costs?

When it comes to long term rental, you should consider many things – mainly the location and type of property. Understanding the local process of renting is also important so that you can prepare yourself well before getting your place. 

Make sure you do enough research before deciding on where to live. Picking a right accommodation can shape your experience, but just as importantly it will impact your cost of living in Thailand for the long run. Therefore, it is very important to decide carefully on your long-term rental in Thailand.

Take a look at our other posts on Thailand!

Thailand tourist visa_featured

Thailand tourist visa and how to stay up to 3 months

It has been almost 2 years since the coronavirus first spread around the world. We have had numerous lockdowns since early 2020. There are many talks about pent up travel demand, change in workplace trend to remote working, digital nomad etc. That’s why, for many people, a one-week vacation may no longer be enough. A longer vacation (lasting for a few weeks) might be a trend that we see right after travel resumes. In this article, we will be exploring Thailand tourist visa options that would allow visitors, remote workers and digital nomads to stay in Thailand for 2-3 months.

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Thailand tourist visa

First of all, we need to start by acknowledging that the visa situation and treatment may vary depending on the type of passport you are holding. For example, Thailand has a visa exemption scheme with over 50+ countries. However, this would only allow visitors to stay in Thailand for no more than 30 days. The exemption is now extended to 45 days until 30 September 2021 due to Coronavirus restriction.

For a longer stay, visitors would need a Thailand tourist visa. This would allow them to stay in Thailand up to 60 days, with 1 possible extension of another 30 days once the visitor is already in Thailand. This will make a total trip duration of 90 days.

Visa process and requirement tend to vary to some extent from one country to another. You can check your local consulate/embassy or the official Thai e-visa portal ahead of your journey. Note that you can only obtain a tourist visa before flying to Thailand, and it is different from both visa exemption and visa on arrival.

Thailand tourist visa_Thai evisa portal

60 days tourist visa extension in Thailand

The 60 days tourist visa extension in Thailand will allow visitors with tourist visas to extend their stay by another 30 days. This will make a total duration of stay 90 days.

The process to get a visa extension is quite straightforward. First, the visitors need to locate the nearest immigration office among 80+ offices spread across Thailand. Then, ahead of the visit, they need to check and prepare the required documents. For most, this includes a TM7 form, copy of passport, photo, and application fee (THB 1,900). A normal tourist visa can only be extended once.

90 days special tourist visa

Since the spread of coronavirus, Thailand has also launched a special tourist visa which will give visitors an upfront 90-day visa. This visa type was launched in September 2020 and will only be available until September 2021. This special Thailand tourist visa allows a single entry and 90-day stay, which can be extended twice for up to 90 days each extension. 

The special tourist visa comes with higher requirements, such as proof of accommodation throughout the intended stay in Thailand. For example, you will need to provide 90-days worth of hotel booking or a 3-months long lease contract).

Visa on arrival and other things to watch out for

There is a difference between a tourist visa and a visa on arrival. Visas on arrival usually only allow you to stay up to 15 days, and you will need to show a flight out of Thailand within that period. Visitors who wish to stay 31 days+ in  should apply for a tourist visa or special tourist visa before flying.

Flight booking is another topic that official websites don’t cover. If you obtained a tourist visa that allows a 60-day stay in Thailand, then it is advisable that you book a return ticket that shows you are leaving within 60 days. Once you have extended your visa, then you can change your ticket accordingly. This is to avoid any issue with your airline or immigration officer.

Are you a digital nomad or remote worker looking for an extended stay? You will most likely not have to worry about tax if you are only staying 90 days under a tourist visa. However, if you are staying longer than 6 months (possible under STV), then you should be mindful of any potential tax implications. We cover this topic more extensively in our other article.

Thailand tourist visa_immigration

Thailand visas for your extended stay in Thailand

Thailand tourist visa is relatively easy to obtain and it allows you to stay up to 90 days in the country. Extensions are possible, which will allow you to stay even longer in Thailand!

If you are flying from the west, the cost of living in Thailand would be appealing to enjoy an extended stay. There are so many places in Thailand that you might want to explore as well! However, to ensure your trip is smooth, make sure to pick the right type of visa for your stay to avoid any trouble from the immigration office. 

Check out our other articles on Thailand!

Thailand weather_rainy beach

Thailand weather: when is the best time to visit Thailand?

For any trip, we always need to consider weather conditions at the place we are going to. Weather conditions can easily determine what kind of itinerary you’re going to have, or what kind of clothing and travel accessories you need to pack.

Not only for a short travel trip, understanding the weather of a place you are going to stay long term is very important. If you are planning to stay in Thailand long-term or work remotely there, you will need to know what you are getting yourself into. 

In the previous article, we talked about the best time to visit Thailand. Now we are going to dive deeper into the Thailand weather topic.

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Thailand weather year round review

Have you ever seen Thailand on the world globe? Yes, Thailand is located just slightly above the equator. With this geographical position, Thailand has a tropical climate with 3 main seasons namely summer, rainy, and winter. Don’t be deceived by the word “winter” here. Winter in Thailand is not comparable to the winters in the 4-seasons countries like North America or Europe.

Thailand weather is mainly hot and humid, with an average temperature around 20 to 40 degrees Celsius. About 120 to 170 days in a year, you would see rainfall in Thailand. Humidity in Thailand ranges between 40 to 80% depending on the season and geography. 

We will go into more details in the next sections but in general, November through to January would be the best time to visit Thailand weather-wise. This is because the temperature will be slightly lower and you’ll see less rainfall during this period.

Due to favorable geographic location, fortunately, Thailand is not very prone to extreme weather. However, you might have heard of past incidents of flooding in Thailand that were caused by tropical storms. Apart from that, there have been very few/no weather-related natural disasters. 

Different seasons in Thailand

Thailand weather in Summer: hot and dry

Thailand weather_sunny beach

Summer in Thailand is between February and April. Among these 3 months, April is the hottest month for Thailand. Summer temperature ranges from 25 to 37 degrees Celsius, however, you can expect a hot & dry temperature. This is because, despite the heat, humidity remains not too high at 50-60%. 

The heat can be scorching, so always prepare your sunscreen, cover your body with more clothing if needed, and go under the shade if needed. Thailand’s Songkran falls in April and people celebrate it with water on the street. The weather is so hot during that time and they just want to get rid of the heat by shooting or throwing water at each other.

Summer however, is also the season of exotic fruits in Thailand!

Thailand weather in Rainy season: hot and humid

After summer, the rainy season will follow starting from May to mid-October. The temperature ranges from 24 to 33 degrees, however, both the rain and humidity make the heat much harder to endure. Unfortunately, for almost 6 months every year, Thailand is hot and humid. 

Rainy seasons see almost 2-3x more rainfall than other seasons. Average humidity also goes up to 70-80%. Needless to say, the rainy season is our least favorite season. You can easily sweat right when you walk outdoors right after taking a refreshing shower. For folks coming from drier climates, you might need to adapt to this level of humidity once you come to Thailand.

"Winter" in Thailand: less hot and drier

The Winter season starts from mid-October onwards and lasts until February. We would describe Winter in Thailand as a “less hot” season and not exactly “cold/freezing”. The average temperature only drops to 21 to 30 degrees except for a week or so where the temperature might drop to below 20 degrees. 

Winter is the driest season in Thailand with the least rainfall and the humidity can go as low as 40% to 60%. As Southeast Asians ourselves, winter is our favorite season. Not only because we can conveniently travel without having to go under the rain, but also the drier weather is more comfortable for the body. And, you can walk outdoors without sweating profusely. In our opinion, you can experience the best Thailand weather in this season.

During winter, some locations in the mountainous area may see temperatures drop to below 10 degrees. This creates a domestic tourism trend among the locals to travel up north and visit the mountainside to enjoy some cool weather (especially during the new year).

Best time to travel to Thailand_rainy market

Weather in different parts of Thailand

It makes sense for countries spread across very big pieces of land, like China, to have very different weather in each district. While Thailand is not that large, we can see slight climate distinctions in different regions of Thailand.

In general, northern Thailand is cooler and drier with less rainfall, while the south is the opposite. To put this into context, Northern Thailand’s average temperature is usually 1-3 degrees lower than the rest of the country. Northern Thailand also sees less rainfall, about 20-50 days per year less than Southern Thailand.

We are lucky that Southern Thailand is blessed with a lot of beautiful beaches and islands. So if you are in the south, you can always entertain yourself with a beach resort trip and take a dip into the sea.

So, when is the best time to visit Thailand weather-wise?

If you are in Thailand for a short trip and you want to go outdoors, we would recommend visiting Thailand between November to February. The weather will be cooler and drier. You’ll feel more comfortable moving around without feeling suffocated by the humidity. Also, with less rainfall, you can avoid getting stuck in the rain and you can enjoy outdoor activities to the fullest. 

However, there are many factors that you need to take into account when planning a trip in Thailand. Weather is one of them, but not the only one. For example, you might want to plan your trip according to the cultural festivals. For example, if you want to see the Songkran water festival, you may want to go in April. Or if you want to see Loy Krathong, you might want to visit in November.

Understanding Thailand’s weather will help you in making the right decision for your trip. But ultimately, it’s your choice! 

Go visit our other posts on Thailand:

Digital nomad visa Thailand_visa application

Digital nomad visa to long-stay or work remotely in Thailand

Digital nomads or remote workers currently can work in Thailand, but most would be in the grey area. We also explored this topic in our previous Thailand’s digital nomad visa article. Thailand is working on 2 special visas in 2021 which might be just what digital nomads need to enjoy a worry-free stay in Thailand.

Let’s explore the digital nomad visa available in Thailand now, and changes that are to come in the future.

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Digital nomad visa Thailand: SMART visa

The Thai government introduced SMART visa in 2018. This was an initiative to attract talents and investors to nurture Thailand’s development.

SMART visa can give you a renewable 2 to 4-year visa, which also allows you to work in Thailand without any work permit. The SMART visa comprises of 5 categories namely:

  • SMART T (Talent): targeting highly skilled professionals. In this case, applicants must satisfy certain employment and salary requirement
  • SMART I (Investor): targeting investors within the tech sector. In this case, applicants must satisfy certain investment criteria. Mainly the criteria have to do with having investment in targeted industries within Thailand
  • SMART E (Executive): targeting high-level executives (Chairman or Director level). In this case, applicants must satisfy certain position, income, and employer requirement
  • SMART S (Start-up): targeting entrepreneurs who look to set up a technology-based company in Thailand. In this case, applicants must satisfy company ownership and financial criteria
  • Smart O (Other): mostly to help child and spouse of SMART visa holders

The SMART T visa

Smart T visa is the most relevant to digital nomad and remote workers. Currently, if you are an employee of a company within the targeted industry, have a minimum contract length of 1 year, and have a monthly salary of at least THB 100,000 (US$3,200), then your employer can help you to apply for the SMART T visa.

With the strict requirements above, a SMART T visa is not the most convenient for a digital nomad or remote worker to enjoy a long stay in Thailand. In fact, only 156 people have managed to get approval for this visa so far.

The government has recognized this as an important issue and they are looking to relax the requirement. This includes allowing employees to apply for the visa themselves and reducing the contract length requirement to 6 months.

Digital nomad visa thailand_nature

Visa is often the last thing between digital nomads and a worry-free, long stay experience in Thailand.

Thailand digital nomad visa 2021 – the new 10 years visa

To some, 4 years with no renewal guarantee of the visa might be too short for a permanent/long-term migration. If you are looking for a longer-term visa then you are in luck.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has recently proposed a new type of long-stay visa in Thailand to the government for review and approval. The aim of this visa is to attract talent and stimulate the Thai economy. 

The visa has 4 main targets:

  • Wealthy (high earners and investors): to qualify, the applicant must have at least US$500,000 of investment in real estate or government bond + proof of annual income of at least US$80,000 in the past 2 years + US$100,000 coverage of health insurance
  • Retiree (50 years or older with retirement income): to qualify, the applicant must have at least US$250,000 investment in real estate or government bond + proof of income at least US$40,000 of income per year + US$100,000 coverage of health insurance
  • Digital nomad and remote worker (with overseas employers): to qualify, the applicant must have at least US$80,000 of annual income over the past 2 years (or US$40,000 per year if the applicant has a master degree / own IP / received series A funding) + have 5 years of work experience + US$100,000 coverage of health insurance
  • Specialist (professionals within Thailand’s targeted industries or university professors). The same requirement as the above, but need to be within Thailand’s targeted industries – the details are not out at the moment 

With this 10 years visa, there is finally a visa specifically for the digital nomad or remote worker. However, the requirement is still pretty steep. 

It is still in its early days for the long-stay visa. But we hope to see that some of the requirements relaxed before government approval.

So, what’s the status of Thailand's digital nomad visa in 2021?

There are a diverse range of experiences that Thailand can offer to digital nomads. However, it is still not easy to get a visa and work with peace of mind as a digital nomad in Thailand.

The country has recognized the importance of having a proper digital nomad visa. That is visas to support foreign workforce who may not be working for companies in Thailand.

Whether it is through the Thailand SMART visa or the new 10-year visa, we hope to see the process made easier and simpler. 

Check out more posts about Thailand: 

Cost of living in Thailand_Thai currency

Cost of living in Thailand for short and long term stay

Everyone knows Thailand for its affordable cost of living and traveling. There are many of you who might be planning your travel or looking to get on the recent digital nomad and remote working trend

In this article, we will examine the cost of living in Thailand for both short and long term stay. We will be mostly using the cost of living in Bangkok as a reference, so if you are planning to visit or live in smaller cities, the cost will be relatively cheaper.

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Daily cost of living in Thailand

Food and beverage

There is a wide range of options for eating out in Thailand. You can select from street side vendors, local to fine dining restaurants. For this reason, a meal in Thailand can cost anywhere between THB 50 all the way to THB 500+ per meal per person.

Inexpensive meals from local vendors and restaurants that Thais typically consume generally cost between THB 50 – THB 100. Eating in a mall can take this cost up to THB 100 to THB 300 per meal.

Taking low cost to the extreme, if you home cook using local ingredients for the whole month, the meal cost per day can be around THB 120 per day according to Picodi.

Cost of living in Thailand_local market food

A scrumptious meal at a local market generally cost between THB 50 to THB 100.


Main modes of transportation in Thailand include driving, public bus, sky/underground train, taxi and motorcycle.

BTS and MTR can cost between THB 40 – THB 60 per trip if you are going from the suburbs into the city center. If you are traveling 2 trips a day, the average cost would be around THB 80 – THB 120. 

Public buses are a more affordable traveling option. It can cost between THB 8 to THB 30 per trip, however we do not recommend this mode of transport to foreign visitors.

Taxi fare in Thailand starts at THB 35, then it will charge you by increment of THB 5 – THB 10 per km depending on the distance. A taxi ride from city center to Suvarnabhumi airport would cost around THB 200 to THB 400 (around 20 to 30 km). We would recommend taking Grab instead of taxi if you want a more transparent price and less likelihood of getting scammed. Read more about traveling safely in Thailand in our other article.

The cost of driving using a private car is more complicated, we will cover this in another aticle.

Other living expenditure in Thailand for short term stay


There is a great selection of hotels, hostels and Airbnbs in Thailand. The market is competitive, which means you can always find a good bargain whether you are looking for a budget or luxurious stay.

Hostels are suitable for a budget stay, and the accommodation can cost as little as THB 150 per night. You can also get a private hostel room for THB 500 to THB 800 per night.

The price range of a hotel room in Thailand is quite large. A decent 3-star hotel can cost around THB 500 – THB 600 per night, with a 4-star hotel costing up to THB 800 to THB 1,000 per night. Based on our experience, a 5-star hotel can cost anywhere between THB 1,000+ to THB 5,000+. There are also many boutique options for a 5-star hotel, beyond your big chain options. For example, we stayed at the Hansar Bangkok, a 5-star boutique which was amazing and did not cost much more compared to 4-star alternatives from large hotel chains.

Cost of living in Thailand_Hansar hotel

Photo from our last stay at Hansar Bangkok – the room was hip and came with some in-door greenery.

Mobile and internet package

It is hard to get by without the internet, especially if you are not used to the city. Surely you’ll need to access your Google map or your Grab app, right?  

You can get many tourist internet packages on pre-paid sim cards that typically cost around THB 150 to THB 600. The costs depend on your duration of stay (THB 150 for 4 days and THB 600 for 15 days). 

Other cost of living in Thailand for longer term stay

Are you looking to stay in Thailand for multiple months for extended vacation or remote working? If the answer is yes, there are a few costs that you should be aware of (and prepare to pay!)


There are a lot of apartment and condominium rental options. Your rental will greatly be depending on the location and the quality of the place you are looking to rent. 

Based on our experience, monthly rent for a 30-35 sqm, fully furnished apartment in Bangkok city center can be anywhere between THB 8,000 to THB 25,000. You can think of the city center as the area within a few BTS stops from business/shopping districts like Silom, Asoke, or Ratchada.

It is also possible to pay a much lower rent if you are not staying in Bangkok or staying in the suburb of Bangkok. However, you should also be aware of the lack of convenience and also lower English proficiency as you move away from the city center.

Cost of living in Thailand_condo rental

Our one bed room apartment is equipped with pool facility. It is located in the city center, and is within minutes of walk to a BTS station.


The cost of electricity and water for 1 to 2 people should generally be between THB 1,000 to THB 2,000 per month. But this cost will definitely be higher if you have unique needs like bitcoin mining (electricity cost) or having a large garden/pool (water cost).

Mobile and internet packages

A good postpaid mobile plan can cost between THB 350 to THB 700 per month. Such a plan typically includes unlimited 4G data.

Home internet packages are generally affordable. Moreover, extra discounts are available if you sign-up through your apartment or use the same provider as your mobile phone. In general, this would cost around THB 300 to THB 800 per month.

Health insurance

Thailand offers one of the best healthcare services in Asia. In fact Thailand was ranked in the top 10 countries with the most efficient healthcare system in the world by Bloomberg in 2020.

While Thailand has quality healthcare to offer, the cost to access “premium” healthcare services in private hospitals can be costly. Therefore, you may need to consider getting health insurance during your stay in Thailand. 

On the topic of health insurance, the premium in Thailand can cost anywhere between THB 5,000 to THB 20,000+ per year.

How much is the cost of living in Thailand in each month?

The beauty of living in Thailand is that the cost of living in Thailand can be low or high depending on your lifestyle. The cost of living in Thailand can be very low if you are budget-conscious (but there are still plenty to enjoy). The country,  however, also offers an extra level of comfort and luxury for those who seek for them and are willing to pay for them.

In general, your monthly expenditure can range widely between THB 10,000 to THB 60,000 per person during the stay.

Go and read other posts that we have on the land of Smiles 🙂

Cities in Thailand_beach

Cities in Thailand you should visit after Coronavirus

Most people know Bangkok. It is the most well known-city in Thailand. Partly because it is the capital city, and also because it has certain appeals that made many famous movies featuring the city! Have you watched Bangkok Dangerous, The HangOver and One Night in Bangkok? These movies use Bangkok as the main setting for the story! Thailand is, however, way bigger than just Bangkok alone. In fact, Thailand has over 76 provinces, and there are many cities in Thailand that offer diverse and unique experiences to their visitors. 

In this article, we’ll talk about cities in Thailand that are interesting for tourism and/or living destinations.

Largest cities in Thailand

Most visitors and foreigners may feel more comfortable with large cities as they tend to be more developed and convenient. Large cities in developing countries like Thailand also tend to have more things to offer to visitors. So let’s start by looking at some of the largest cities in Thailand. 

The largest provinces in Thailand by the number of population include:

  • Bangkok (Central Thailand) with a population of 5.6 million
  • Nakhon Ratchasima (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 2.6 million
  • Ubon Ratchathani (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.9 million
  • Khon Kaen (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.8 million
  • Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) with a population of 1.8 million
  • Buri Ram (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million
  • Udon Thani (Northeastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million
  • Chon Buri (Where Pattaya is, Eastern Thailand) with a population of 1.6 million

As seen above, many of the provinces from this list are located in Northeastern Thailand. This region is the largest in Thailand, and is home to about a third of the country’s entire population. However, these large cities, except for a few of them, are not that popular among international travelers. Only some cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chon Buri would ring a bell to many travelers. 

Rather than visiting large cities in Thailand, many travelers prefer to visit smaller cities with unique experiences.

Which are the best cities to visit in Thailand?

Metropolitan city

Using other international cities as the benchmark, we would categorize Bangkok as the only metropolitan city in Thailand. Bangkok is home to almost 6 million people and ranked #1 in terms of tourism revenue. Bangkok has a lot to offer like from things like delicious food and drinks in restaurants, cafes and bars to night markets, shopping, visit to temples, a relaxing massage, or take a day trip to nearby provinces.

However, Bangkok is also the most expensive city in terms of cost of living in Thailand.

Mountain and lush greeneries

Chiang Mai is Thailand’s 5th largest city and is ranked #6 in terms of tourism revenue. Chiang Mai is famous for its relaxing vibes and relatively cooler weather given its location in Northern Thailand. Moreover, Chiang Mai is home to many cool and hip cafes, and at the same time it has a lot of cultural heritage to offer. You can also take a trip outside of the city to enjoy the nature like mountain, waterfall and national parks.

Chiang Rai is a smaller province located next to Chiang Mai and it shares a border with Laos and Myanmar. Chiang Rai is a less known province to foreign visitors – but it also has many beautiful natural and cultural sites. If you are in Chiang Mai and have extra time, you can consider making a day trip to Chiang Rai. However, if you want a more relaxing trip, consider staying in Chiang Rai for a night or two before going back to Chiang Mai.

Cities in Thailand_mountain green cafe

Golden beach and blue sky

Phuket is a southern island with less than half a million in population. Regardless, it is ranked #2 in terms of tourism revenue. It is indisputable that Phuket is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. While Phuket is most famous for its beaches, you can also find great hiking routes, enjoy night markets and visit temples. Phuket is also a well-developed tourism destination, making the stay on this island very foreigner-friendly.

Pattaya is located in Chon Buri province, eastern Thailand. Chon Buri is one of Thailand’s larger provinces and is ranked #3 in terms of tourism revenue. Pattaya is a very popular destination among travelers as it is very close to Bangkok. It is approximately 45 minutes drive away from Bangkok so you can simply hire a car or short tour package to visit Pattaya. Similar to Phuket, the city is very foreigner-friendly.

Krabi is a southern Thailand province and is ranked #4 in terms of tourism revenue. Krabi is the most southern city on our list (only about 4-5 hours drive to the border of Malaysia). Apart from beautiful beaches and surrounding islands, you can also experience southern Thailand cuisine and culture in this city. Having been to Krabi ourselves, we think this city is quite underrated given its beauty and serenity! 

Koh Samui is located in Surat Thani province, southern Thailand. The province is home to a million population but is ranked #5 in terms of tourism revenue. Koh Samui (“Koh” means island) is Thailand’s second-largest island after Phuket. Being an island, Samui has many beaches with a lush green forest at the center of the island.

Photo shot during our trip to Krabi, no filter involved.

Historical heritage

Ayutthaya is the place to go if you are a fan of history and culture. Located in central Thailand (about an hour drive from Bangkok), Ayutthaya used to be Thailand’s capital city until 1767. Some 250 years later, Ayutthaya is now home to many heritage sites – earning its title as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

(last but not least) Our favorite among cities in Thailand!

Here comes our favorite place to visit, Hua Hin. While it is somewhat known, Hua hin is not as popular relative to its peers like Phuket or Krabi. Hua Hin is a city in Prachuap Khiri Khan province in southern Thailand (ranked #9 in terms of tourism revenue). Beaches in Hua Hin may fall short relative to those in Krabi or Samui and the city itself is less bustling than Phuket. However, Hua Hin offers a hip and relaxing experience not too far from Bangkok (about a 3-hour drive). We did enjoy our time in Hua Hin eating tons of local seafood and fresh coconut, visiting local markets, and exploring cafes in Hua Hin.

Cities in Thailand_hua hin cafe

We shot this photo during our visit to a beach-side cafe in Hua Hin.

Thailand airports

Thailand has 6 international and a total of 20+ airports reachable via commercial flights. This makes traveling between any major Thai cities convenient and also foreigner-friendly.

Once you can travel again, which cities in Thailand should you visit?

The answer is, it depends!

As you can see, there are many cities that you can safely travel to as a foreigner and each will offer a different kind of experience. You may already know cities like Bangkok and Phuket, but now you know that Thailand has a lot more to offer whether you are looking for beaches, mountains, or heritage sites.

You can stay longer and visit multiple cities at one go. Or, just visit different cities every time you come to Thailand. There is no rush, these cities are not going anywhere!

Find out more about Thailand via our posts

Learn Thai language_online learning

Learn Thai language – what to know before you begin

In the previous article, we have talked about English proficiency in Thailand and tips & tricks to navigate the country without speaking Thai. However, the best way to enjoy Thailand (especially if you are looking to stay long-term) is to learn the Thai language. 

Like many languages, whether a language is easy to learn depends a lot on how similar the language is to your mother tongue. We will explore more about Thai written language and spoken Thai in this article.

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Written language and alphabets

Thai language alphabet has 44 consonants and 32 vowels (out of which only 28 are still used today). This is almost twice the amount of Latin counterparts. Approximately 70 million people in Thailand use the Thai language alphabet. It is unique and nowhere else in the world uses this alphabet. You can find the full list of Thai alphabet and its pronunciation here.

Thai is a phonetic language. So, you can look at the Thai written language and will be able to pronounce it directly. The difficulty comes with being able to produce accurate tones and pronunciation. Inaccurate pronunciation and tones can distort the meaning of the words.

Learn thai language_thai alphabet

Is Thai a tonal language?

Yes, Thai language has 5 tones

If you have learnt languages like Mandarin (4 tones) or Cantonese (9 tones), you will understand the added complication of learning tonal languages. The same word pronounced with different tones can imply completely different things. 

For most cases, there are marks in the Thai writing that indicate tones (similar to what you see in Chinese pinyin).

Learn Thai language: the difficulty

Difficulty of learning a new language can vary for everyone. One key determining factor is how different is the language from your mother tongue?

Compared to English, Thai language has simpler grammar and sentence rules. Structuring a basic sentence in Thai would be manageable for English speakers (with a minor exception of adjective placement). 

For example, saying “I want to go to the Airport” in Thai would follow the exact same sentence structure as English. 

The challenge with Thai language lies heavily in its tones and pronunciations. This is especially true for people who have not learnt tonal languages before.

The learning curve of Thai language

Learn Thai language_using Thai

Just like many languages, picking up basic Thais can be done without much difficulty. And this is especially true if you are living in Thailand. You can get used to holding basic daily conversations. For example, you’ll be able to  converse with local shopkeepers, taxi drivers, etc.

However, the learning curve starts to kick in when you have to strive for language accuracy or the correct nuances. It also gets harder when you try to switch from casual language to more formal one. Formal Thai is used in work setting, business meetings, official communications or in legal documentations. 

The Foreign Language Training of the United States categorizes Thai language as “difficult language to learn”. This implies it would require approximately 44 weeks for learners to reach professional working proficiency. 

Should you learn the language?

We strongly believe that learning Thai language would make your experience in Thailand a lot more enjoyable. Picking up Thai language while staying in Thailand could be fun and rewarding. You can start experiencing Thailand like a local and this will allow you to see Thailand from a different angle.

However, due to the fact that Thai language has a unique alphabet and tones, you will need patience in mastering the language. This might be a challenge that you want to take up if you are looking to stay in Thailand for a long term.

Learn more about Thailand through our other posts: 

Thailand income tax_remote working

Thailand income tax for digital nomads and remote workers

Whether you are planning to live in Thailand or temporarily stay in the country as a digital nomad or remote worker, it is important to understand Thailand’s income tax system so that you do not get into trouble or get caught by surprise during your stay. 

As a continuation of our previous post on visa and tax, we will further examine if foreigners need to pay personal income tax, and if so how much?

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Do you need to pay for income tax when you work remotely in Thailand?

If you are a foreigner working in Thailand under a work permit, you are likely to have your tax ID already. This means you have to pay personal income tax (this is part of your work permit process). However, if you are a digital nomad or simply working remotely in Thailand, this is more complicated. 

First, the revenue department would categorize everyone into resident and non-resident. 

Residents are everyone in Thailand who spend a total of 180 days in Thailand within 1 calendar year.  For example, you are a resident if you spent January to March in Thailand, left then came back to stay from September to December. On the other hand, non-residents are everyone who spends less than 180 days in Thailand within 1 calendar year.

The law requires residents to pay personal income tax for income they earn in Thailand AND a portion of income from foreign sources they bring into Thailand. Whereas, non-residents only need to pay tax for income that they earned in Thailand.

In summary, digital nomads or remote workers, who spend less than 6 months in Thailand and work for employers overseas, will not need to pay tax. If you are looking to generate income from sources in Thailand, this may raise concerns on whether you have the necessary working permit. 

So, how much is income tax in Thailand?

Unless you are planning to take up a full-time position in Thailand, foreigners who are only paying for a portion of income brought into Thailand are likely going to pay less than 10% of that income as a tax.

Like many other countries, the formula to calculate taxable income is assessable income – deductions – allowance. 

Thailand follows a progressive tax rate for personal income, which ranges from 5 to 35% of taxable income (each bracket increases by 5%). 

In case you are not familiar with progressive tax calculation, we will give you an example with some numbers. Let’s say a person has THB 750,000 (~USD 24,000) of taxable income. This person would pay (150,000 * 0%) + (150,000 * 5%) + (200,000 * 10%) + (250,000 * 15%) = THB 65,000 (~USD 2,000).

Certain type of capital gain would also be counted as part of assessable income, hence it is also a good idea to understand how capital gains tax work in Thailand.

Thailand income tax_tax rate

Thailand income tax expense deduction and allowances

Thailand allows an expense deduction of 50% of total expenditure, capping at THB 100,000 for YA2020. You can claim these expenses using tax invoices from registered merchants. There is a limit of income deduction of 40%, but the government also capped this at THB 60,000. 

For allowances, the common ones that apply to most people are: 

  • Personal allowance: THB 30,000
  • Spouse allowance: THB 30,000
  • Child allowance: THB 15,000 each, up to 3 children
  • Child education allowance: THB 2,000 for each child

Other allowances that you can consider:

  • Life insurance premium: actual premium paid capped at THB 100,000 
  • Long term equity fund: actual investment amount capped at less than 15% of salary or THB 500,000
  • Mortgage interest: actual amount paid but capped at THB 100,000

There are tax calculators which would also help to take into account these various allowances – one example is this one from UOB. There are many tools online that can help you to understand how much income tax in Thailand that you need to pay.

New government initiatives in 2022

The Thai government has announced a plan to waive personal income tax for a few groups of foreigners in Thailand in February 2022.  While exact details are not out yet, the government has an intention to waive personal income tax for professionals who are looking to work remotely in Thailand. However, it is very likely that the waiver will only apply to income earned from work outside of the country.

So, do digital nomads need to worry about paying tax in Thailand?

If you want to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time (longer than 6 months) whether on an employment contract, remote working or as a digital nomad, you should think about the tax implications. 

Fortunately, foreigners may only be assessed on a portion of the income they bring into Thailand. With progressive tax and various deductions and allowances, you are likely going to be paying less than 10%.

Go check out other posts that we have on Thailand: 

Digital nomad in Thailand_visa

Digital nomad in Thailand: understanding visa and tax

With a recent trend in remote working and digital nomad lifestyle, we have shared an article on Thailand as a digital nomad destination here. However, the big question remains: is it legal to work in Thailand without a proper work permit? And, what kind of tax implication do you need to look out for?

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Digital nomad in Thailand: understanding visa exemption and special tourist visa

Visiting Thailand is the easiest under visa exemption. Thailand visa exemption supports over 60 nationalities, visitors can stay up to 30 days (currently extended to 45 days). Longer stay up to 90 days is possible through the special tourist visa. 

How to apply for the special tourist visa? The standard application process requires document submission, purchasing of insurance, showing of proof of accommodation, etc. However, this may vary depending on your nationality. Hence, we recommend you to check with the Thai consulate/embassy in your city. Also, keep in mind that both visa exemption arrangement and the special tourist visa are meant for people who are entering for tourism and not work.

Are digital nomads allowed to work remotely in Thailand without a work permit?

Let’s just be upfront – this is still a grey area. While there are specific requirements such as being on a non-immigrant visa and obtaining a work permit to work IN Thailand – there is no specific law against foreigners who are conducting their normal overseas work while being in Thailand. 

For example, if you work for a company (or clients) in your home country, while sitting in Thailand – this is unlikely to cause any issue. You will start to raise concern with the authority once you start working with the Thai customers/clients. Therefore, in general, if you are planning to continue your current job while enjoying a short stay in Thailand, there should not be a problem. Best to keep your short stay under 6 months to minimize any tax implication. However, if you want to have a peace of mind and enjoy a longer stay, try to get your work permit or SMART visa (more in below section).

Digital nomad inThailand_remote working

What’s most important to have is a visa with a validity period that is long enough to sustain the stay duration. Many digital nomads are solving this problem by re-entering the country. This is not that convenient but can sustain their intended stay duration. This is what nomads do since there is no specific digital nomad visa yet.

Various government agencies have recognized the presence of digital nomads and their contribution to the economy. There have been many mentions of digital nomads in government communication and also news but without mentioning legal implications. Given the importance of digital nomads to Thailand’s economy, Thailand has taken the initiative to attract and legalize digital nomads with the introduction of the SMART visa.

Thailand SMART visa and remote workers

The government first introduced the SMART visa in 2018 with the purpose to attract skilled professionals and investors to Thailand. This SMART visa can provide up to 4 years of permission to stay and work in Thailand. 

Under this visa, you do not need to get a work permit before you can work in Thailand. However, the original purpose of the SMART visa was to mainly attract highly skilled professionals or executives. Because of this, the visa comes with a long list of requirements. As a result, less than 1,000 applications have been approved so far.

There is a proposed plan by Thailand’s board of investment to relax the requirements. The only thing pending is the Thai cabinet’s approval. With this proposal, the most exciting change we can expect is the change to the SMART T (Talent) type of the SMART visa. Currently this SMART T visa requires employers to apply on behalf of the employee. With the proposed change, individual remote workers can apply for this visa directly, as long as they have at least 6 months contract in their original country, earn at least THB 100,000 salary per month, and can prove that they have at least THB 600,000 of savings in the bank – according to the Chiang Mai Entrepreneurship Association

Digital nomad in Thailand_SMART visa

Income tax for foreigners working remotely in Thailand

A frequently asked question among nomads is: Do digital nomads need to pay tax while working in Thailand?

The Revenue Department categorizes potential tax payers into “resident” and “non-resident”. You are a resident if you have stayed in Thailand for more than 180 days per year. Any less than that you are considered a non-resident.

The law requires non-residents to pay tax for income that they earn from sources in Thailand. Whereas for residents, the law requires them to pay tax for income earned from sources in Thailand AND the portion of income from foreign sources that they bring into Thailand.

Referring to the above, if a digital nomad is working with an employer from their home country and has spent less than 6 months in Thailand, he/she does not need to pay taxes. On another note, once a digital nomad obtains a work or a SMART visa, he/she needs to file and pay tax in Thailand.

So do digital nomads in Thailand need visa and pay for tax?

Thailand is a great destination for digital nomads, and there are already a lot of digital nomads in Thailand. However, visa restriction remains as one of the main concerns. 

The country is not yet fully ready to allow digital nomads and remote workers to work in the country legally, however there has been a good development on this in recent years.  

Thailand has recognized the importance of remote working and is pushing initiatives around SMART visa to make it applicable for remote workers to apply as well. Hopefully, by the time coronavirus is over, remote working will become a new norm and Thailand would be ready to accommodate remote workers.

Other useful resources about Thailand