Thailand Fast Facts

Thailand koi samui Thailand

Population: 68,200,824

Capital City: Bangkok

Climate: Tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

Time Zone: UTC+7

Language: Thai 90.7%, Burmese 1.3%, other 8%

Country Code: 66

Coastline: 3,219km

Luxury Living in the Land of Smiles

For years, its warm climate, inexpensive cost of living, and laidback lifestyle in Thailand have attracted tourists and expats from around the world for both short-term and long-term stays.

Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are located in the south of the country. From the bustling seaside resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya, to the more tranquil islands of Phi Phi and Lanta, there is something for everyone who dreams of retirement in the tropics. Some expats prefer to live in the smaller villages that dot the coastlines on both sides of the country, where accommodation costs are much less expensive and life is slower paced. It is still possible to find furnished townhouse and condo rentals within five minutes of the beach for less than $500 per month.

Bangkok is the center of the country, both geographically and financially. From a small trading post in the 15th century to a metropolitan area with a population of over 14 million, this massive city dwarfs Thailand’s other urban centers. Some foreign retirees have chosen to live in this populous capital and enjoy the hubbub atmosphere of the city. The colorful markets, modern shopping malls, numerous entertainment venues, and efficient transit system are just a few of its inherent benefits.

Other expats prefer the serenity and inexpensive lifestyle of Chiang Mai in the northern part of the country. The “old city,” now the center of a sprawling metropolis, is surrounded by a deep

Koh Samui, Thailand

moat and remnants of a wall that once offered protection against the armies of the Mongol Empire. This Lanna cultural center of Thailand boasts over 300 colorful Buddhist temples, and several universities and technical colleges. Chiang Mai appeals to many expats because it has managed to retain its local traditions and culture while providing all the modern amenities that are sought after by its newest residents.

Although lacking in beaches, the northern part of Thailand is dotted with several large national parks. Here you will find Doi Inthanon National Park, where the highest mountain peak in the country is located. Those who enjoy the outdoors flock to this area of the country to partake in mountain biking, hiking, camping, and touring the local mountain roads to visit the many interesting hillside tribe villages.

As with most other Southeast Asian countries, Thailand is alive with festivals throughout the year. During the Loi Krathong festival, thousands of people throughout the country assemble floating banana-leaf containers decorated with incense sticks, flowers and a candle, and float them on local waterways. This coincides with the Yi Peng festival in northern Thailand where thousands of glowing rice paper lanterns are released into the sky to produce a spectacular sight. The annual Chiang Mai flower festival showcases the flora and fauna of the region. The highlight of this celebration is the flower festival parade that draws thousands of tourists each year to the city.

Thailand is a great place to live—full- or part-time. After spending time in the country, many expats are told by their friends that they look 10 years younger. With the wonderful weather, great food, inexpensive healthcare, and friendly local residents, it is not difficult to understand why many choose to call Thailand their second home.

From the Archives of Thailand

Rent in Koh Samui: Tropical Island Rentals From $200 a Month

Rent in Koh Samui: Tropical Island Rentals From $200 a Month

"My little house in the middle of the jungle is serene and simple. I have mango and tamarind trees in my yard and more birds than I can count," says expat Carol Kandell, 49, who's lived full-time on the tropical island of Koh Samui, Thailand, for the past three years...

Living an Adventure With a Food Tour Business in Thailand

Living an Adventure With a Food Tour Business in Thailand

“Before we left our home country to come here and start our business, I was caught between the nerves of making such a big move—and the excitement of the adventure we were setting out upon,” explains Leigh Higgins, operator of Feast Thailand Food Tours. Now, one and a half years into the business, Leigh says Read more...: Living an Adventure With a Food Tour Business in Thailand

An Unexpected Expat Life in Southeast Asia…on $1,200 a Month

An Unexpected Expat Life in Southeast Asia…on $1,200 a Month

I was 51 when my husband, David, and I quit our jobs, sold our belongings, and left our home in California on what was to be a trip around the world. We bought one-way tickets to Hong Kong, and began our journey throughout eastern and southeastern Asia...

Save Thousands as a Medical Tourist in These 5 Countries

Save Thousands as a Medical Tourist in These 5 Countries

By |
December 12, 2017

Affordable healthcare isn’t a myth. In fact, if you look beyond U.S. borders you’ll find healthcare systems in other countries that are equally as good—if not better—than what you get at home. And you won’t have to remortgage your house to stay healthy.