Real Estate in Thailand - International Living Countries

Real Estate in Thailand
Pattaya, Thailand|Michael Cullen

It’s important that you become familiar with Thailand’s property laws if you want to buy there. If you want to avoid potential pitfalls, your safest bet when buying a property in Thailand is to buy a condominium unit.

Under Thai Law, foreigners may own:

  • A condominium unit.

  • A building (as distinct from its land).

  • A registered leasehold of up to 30 years for titled land and/or building.

Long-term leases of land are the most common way to purchase a house and land in Thailand for foreigners today. As long as it is registered at the Land Office, the current law permits a 30-year lease with a prepaid option to renew for a further two periods of 30 years each and lots of people have successfully done that. With a reputable real-estate agent and experienced attorney, you should be able to find your small piece of tropical paradise.

Many expats prefer long-term rentals. There is a wide variety of houses and condos available throughout the country for at a fraction of the monthly rental cost you would pay in the U.S. Most condominiums come with fitness centers, pools, and 24-7 security. Monthly condo fees are usually included in the rental price but be sure to verify this with the owner or realtor.

Chiang Mai

Dubbed “the Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is one of the country’s most culturally rewarding regions. It’s brimming with golden temples, teakwood houses, dragon sculptures, and intriguing alleyways…this truly is traditional Thailand. Beyond the city, Chiang Mai province is a mosaic of white-water-rafting rivers, jungle blanketed mountains, and hill-tribe villages.

With artisan traditions going back centuries, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s arts and crafts center. Its major drawing cards are its hand-loomed fabrics, teak furniture, silversmithing and metalwork, woodcarving, lacquer ware, papermaking, and ceramics. It’s also good for hunting down both genuine and replica antiques.

It also has a fantastic choice of restaurants. Along with the hundreds of local Thai eateries you will find a host of other world cuisines somewhere in the city.

The wonderful open-air design of many of these restaurants is what visitors love the most. A wide assortment of sidewalk cafes can be found along most of the city's colorful streets.

Whether you live inside the old, central walled city, along the banks of the Ping River or in one of the modern condos in the trendy Nimmanhaeman district, you will be soon discover why so many expats have chosen Chiang Mai as their second home.

Property samples in Chiang Mai

• A beautifully finished, modern, three-bedroom, three-bathroom home with 2,475-square-feet of living space, set over two levels is for sale. The spacious decks offer beautiful panoramic views of lush forest creating a cool and relaxed atmosphere. It’s fully furnished, air-conditioned and located around 9 miles north of the Old City, with a challenging golf course just 10 minutes away. Price: $135,000.

• A two-bedroom, two-bathroom, air-conditioned apartment, with a Western-style kitchen is for sale. It has 958-square-feet, is tastefully furnished and has a balcony. It’s less than four miles to the Old City and a 10-minute walk to ‘Big C’ shopping. Price: $81,000.


Known to local people as Krung Thep (the “City of Angels”), Bangkok is a huge sprawl of over 10 million inhabitants. With one foot in the past and the other firmly in the present, this vast metropolis is Thailand’s capital. As you’d expect, Bangkok is home to government ministries, the police and military headquarters, and also the most prestigious universities, schools, and medical facilities.

It’s impossible to sum up what Bangkok is about. In truth, the city can be whatever you want it to be. On the one hand, it’s a metropolis of steel-and-glass skyscraper office blocks, fabulous hotels, and modern, multi-storied malls. On the other, it’s a city of choking traffic, noisy bars, and sleazy, rent-by-the-hour rooms.

But not every visitor comes here to indulge in the twin vices of sex and shopping. Bangkok is also a city of oriental splendor—a royal city complete with over 400 Buddhist temples, countless spirit houses, floating markets, weathered Chinese shop houses, and the awesome Grand Palace of soaring roofs and gilded spires. Take your pick!

Property samples in Bangkok

• A 731-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment also in Sukhumvit is fully furnished and has city views. There’s a fitness center and two pools. It’s located close to Nana station, making it easy to get around the city. Price: $830 a month.

• A modern, furnished apartment is available to buy. The location is excellent—it’s close to Lumphini Park, shopping centers, restaurants and food halls, hospitals and public transport. Onsite facilities include a common garden, swimming pool, fitness room, 24-hour security and a maid service. The one-bedroom property was built in 2009 and is 721 square feet in size. It has a decent kitchen and balcony providing city views. Price: $200,000

Hua Hin

With a five-mile-long sandy beach lined with restaurants and shops, Hua Hin is a seaside city of around 50,000 people on the upper-western side of the Gulf of Thailand.

Many expats prefer to settle in the smaller communities and rural countryside to the north and south of the main town center.

Unlike Pattaya, the more famous Gulf of Thailand resort, Hua Hin provides a quieter, more relaxed environment where the nightlife and other forms of entertainment are rather more genteel.

For much of its history, Hua Hin traditionally focused on domestic tourism rather than the international trade. But that’s changing fast. Proximity to, international-standard hotels...restaurants built on stilts in the sea that now cater to foreign, as well as Thai tastes. Hua Hin is becoming more high profile.

Property samples in Hua Hin

• A luxury three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment has 1,850 square feet of space including balconies with mountain and sea views. It has a modern kitchen, spacious dining and living areas and is fully furnished. The complex has a pool, fitness room, security and a shuttle bus goes to the beach and town three times a day. Price: $138,500.

• A quality three-bedroom, two-bathroom, pool villa was recently for sale. It has been refurbished, with a European-style kitchen, and comes fully furnished. It has landscaped gardens on a 6,800-square-foot plot. It is nestled in a quiet community and just five minutes from Hua Hin town. Price: $193,000.

Koh Samui

Although only 13 miles wide and over 15 miles long, Koh Samui is the country’s second largest island after Phuket. It lies off the eastern coast in the Gulf of Thailand, around 400 miles south of Bangkok.

Around a million tourists visit Koh Samui every year. Hard to imagine now, but in the 1970s it was little more than a backpacker’s hangout. Think wooden huts, hammocks, and bucket-drop showers. Since then, its development into a fully-fledged tourist destination with luxury hotels, spas, and boutiques has been rapid. And real estate prices are catching up fast.

Although most properties are sold as vacation homes or investments for rental returns, Samui fits most requirements for long-term residence. There are several hospitals including the renowned Bangkok Hospital Samui and the Samui International Hospital. The Central Festival Samui Mall describes itself as 'the most complete and largest lifestyle shopping complex in Samui’.

Property samples on Koh Samui

• A three-minute walk to Bangrak Beach and a two-minute drive to Fisherman’s Village, with its trendy restaurants and bars, there is a top floor, one-bedroom apartment for sale. It has a fully-equipped kitchen and balcony with sea views. The complex has a fitness center with yoga, basketball court, tennis court, and plenty of space to relax by the huge swimming pool. It also has a Thai and Western restaurant. Price: $110,800.

• In Chaweng Bay there’s a four-bedroom, four-bathroom villa with 1,722 square feet of living space. The villa is on two levels, comes fully furnished and has good outdoor spaces including a BBQ area and swimming pool with infinity edge. Price: $183,500.

A Video Tour of a Home in Chiang Mai

IL Contributor Rachel Devlin takes us on a video tour of her beautiful home in Chiang Mai. Rachel lives in a moo baan which is a gated housing community that has security guards and facilities such as a gym.