The Only Moving to Thailand Guide You Need

Poker players Thailand
In recent years there has been a growing number of online professionals moving to Thailand. And this is for good reason.

Thailand is the perfect place for many online professionals due to the low cost of living, great weather, great beaches, great food, quality internet, friendly locals and the abundance of other online professionals who have already moved there.

Anyways, since I have lived in Thailand for the better part of 5 years now, and have met many online professionals here, I am going to discuss what it is really like to move here.

One Way Ticket to Bangkok!

Before I begin, I want to be clear that I am in no way advising anyone to just pick up and move halfway around the world on a whim. That would be silly.

Even though I did in fact end up booking the proverbial one way ticket to Bangkok (from Vancouver) I thought about it thoroughly for 6 months in advance before deciding that it was the right thing for me to do.

For many people, doing something like this is simply too crazy of an idea to even consider. That is fine. I am not here to change your mind.

I will say this though, being on the other side now, what seems crazy to me is the idea of living your entire life in the same little bubble and missing the boat completely on what this world has to offer.

And no, your weeklong vacations to Hawaii/Mexico or your plan to finally go out and experience life when you are 60+ years old and well past your physical prime don't count.

So this article is for that small subset of adventurous people who want a little bit more out of life, who don't settle for mediocrity. But this article is also for anyone who is curious in general.

poker players thailand

What Type of People Move to a Place like Thailand?

It should be mentioned also that just because you "move" to a different country does not mean that there is anything permanent about it. Many people go back to their home countries after a certain amount of time or travel somewhere else.

I certainly did not come here with any intentions beyond staying for a few months. And like most of the people I know here I do not have any long term plans at this point.

There is an enormous expat population all over Thailand. And the amount of people working online in some capacity moving here has exploded in recent years.

My work station near the beach:

So you do not have to fit the profile of some new age hippie to check it out here. There are many retirees, young kids working online coffee shops, English teachers and everything in between.

Lastly, this post is just about Thailand. I definitely don't want to make it sound like this is the only place to go.

There are many other great destinations all around the world for anyone looking for a change of pace. The most popular are almost always in Southeast Asia and Central and South America due to the low cost of living and great weather.

In this post I am going to try and provide as much information as I can on all of the day to day details of living in Thailand.

Benefits of Moving to Thailand

  • The weather
  • The low cost of living
  • The food
  • The beaches
  • The people
I will discuss some negatives about living in Thailand at the end. I don't want to paint this country as some magical wonderland. There are many great benefits to living here but it is still a developing country and has some of the problems associated with that.

Also, any time you are living in a foreign country there are additional issues for you to deal with such as cultural/language differences and visa hoops to jump through.

The Weather in Thailand

The weather in Thailand is very different than what you are probably used to if you come from North America or Europe. It is a tropical humid climate with high temperatures year round. There is a rainy season between the months of June-October (this varies a bit depending on where you live in the country).

The rain here is generally extremely heavy when it comes down. Life (which is already at a very slow pace in Thailand) sort of stops for 30 minutes or so. The rain then subsides and dries up quickly due to the heat and people go on with their day.

One of my favorite vacation spots, Koh Samui, Thailand:

You can expect this to happen once or twice a day in the rainy season. This is the way it typically is in the north anyways. In the southern islands you can expect to have days during the rainy season where it pours like crazy all day as well. Bangkok will be somewhere in the middle of these two.

The rest of the year is hot and mostly dry. From November to May you will see much less rain. Again, this varies a bit depending on where you are. Rainy season lasts longer in the southern islands. During the peak tourist months of November to February there will likely be no rain at all and the temperatures are a little bit more moderate although still fairly hot.

For me, coming from the cold and rainy west coast of Canada the weather is so much better here it's ridiculous.

The Basics of Thai Food

Here is one of my favorite little Pad Thai places. This is at a local market in central Bangkok and it costs $2.

I think everyone knows about Thai food already. It is one of the best cuisines in the world. I don't know anyone who comes here and doesn't like it. It is often very spicy though. Say "mai pet khrap" (not spicy please) when ordering if this is not your thing. Most of us eat Thai for most meals.

Noodle soup, Pad Thai or one of the many Thai curry dishes over rice can be had for as little as one or two dollars in the markets and street side food stalls that are literally all over Thailand. Honestly you could just eat this all day long and probably never get sick of it.

The secret greatest Thai food of them all. Somtam (spicy papaya salad). All Thai people absolutely love this dish. So do I!

People eat out far more often in Thailand than in western countries. In fact many are surprised to learn that most apartments here don't come with a kitchen at all, just a small fridge.

Western food will cost more. It is everywhere though and will still cost quite a bit less than in your home country. The fast food joints are everywhere here also, McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks etc. I don't go to these places very often but the prices are a little bit lower on average than what they are in the West.

You can also just use an app similar to Uber Eats in America but it's called FoodPanda here. I use this all the time and just order any type of food on earth straight to my door. 

The Cost of Living in Thailand

One of the best things about living in Thailand and many other countries in this region is that it will cost you far less than in your home country. You can effectively double or even triple your quality of life over night.

Using the power of geo-arbitrage we make money in a currency (USD or EUR) that is worth far more than the currency (Thai Baht) in the place that we live.

At the time of this writing you will get about 30 Thai Baht for 1 American/Canadian/Australian dollar. You will get about 42 Baht for 1 Euro.

[2021 Edit: The USD sits at about 30 Thai Baht for 1 USD in early 2021].

In the northern city of Chiang Mai a small but certainly liveable fully furnished studio apartment with air con, tv, wifi, private bathroom and balcony can be had for as little as $150 a month. This is literally unheard of in any Western city.

A mid level place in a much nicer and newer condo which will also likely have a pool and fitness center will run you about $300 a month. And if you are ballin' out of control and have $600 to spend you can rent a large house or a luxury condo.

Keep in mind that Chiang Mai is the cheapest major city to live in in Thailand. You should expect to pay around 25% more for the same apartment in Bangkok.

Phuket is a bit difficult to price because it all depends on how close to the beach you are. However, if you are fine living inland a little bit you can still easily find very cheap apartments in paradise.

Finding and Renting an Apartment in Thailand

Finding an apartment when you get here is very easy. You just walk in and see the room. If you like it, you show them your passport so they can make a photocopy, you pay the rent and move in.

It's literally that freaking simple.

There is no nonsense and BS about needing references and work history like you will find in most Western countries.

Now if you are renting a reasonably nice place you should expect to pay a security deposit up front and they may ask you to sign a lease as well: 3 months, 6 months or a year.

In Bangkok you may want to consider getting an agent to help you as the city is massive and the options are endless. But you could just do it all yourself in Bangkok as well.

Bottom line don't stress apartments at all. It's all incredibly easy.

Bangkok from the 50th floor

Where Do Foreigners Live in Thailand?

Ok, let me briefly talk about where to live in each major city/beach location. Most foreigners will be found in 3 major locations, Chiang Mai, Bangkok or Phuket.

Chiang Mai is a small city in a mountainous region of northern Thailand. It is also the cheapest major place to live in Thailand, there are tons of foreigners there and the locals are incredibly nice.

This is why I recommend it for newbies to this country and retirees on a budget looking for a quiet life with lots of outdoors activities.

One quick thing to note about Chiang Mai though is you will want to avoid it during March and sometimes April and May as well. Farmers burn their fields and the air quality can be very poor.

Bangkok is the sprawling mega capital that never sleeps and never ceases to amaze. World class shopping, dining, markets, temples, nightlife. The beating heart of Thailand. You will never get bored here.

Bangkok is also an excellent travel hub with two major airports and tons of high rise luxury condos. Most people who are doing well in online will eventually choose to live here over Chiang Mai.

Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and also the most popular beach location. There are dozens of beautiful beaches along the western coast. Great watersports, golfing, muay thai/mma and many other outdoors activities.

Keep in mind that prices are relatively high in major tourist areas. I prefer to vacation here frequently rather than to live. Phuket is a 1 hour flight from Bangkok, 2 hour flight from Chiang Mai.

Koh Samui (and surrounding islands) on the Gulf of Thailand is another major beach holiday destination that I would highly recommend.

1. Chiang Mai - Foreigners live literally everywhere in the city. Nimmanhaemin road is very popular and trendy although slightly more expensive.

If you want to get a house look in Hang Dong or San Sai. Both are located about a 10 minute drive from the city.

2. Bangkok - Most foreigners live along Sukhumvit road in Bangkok which is a massive business, entertainment and shopping district. But lots of them will be found in other areas as well such as Silom and Huay Kwang.

The key to living in Bangkok is to try and find a place as close to a BTS (skytrain) or MRT (subway) station as possible. Because then you can literally get anywhere fast. The Bangkok traffic is legendary, you have been warned! :)

3. Phuket - Almost all foreigners living here will be on the western side of the island as that is where all the major beaches are. They can be found mostly in Patong (party capital), Kata (little less crazy) or Rawai/Naiharn (chilled out, many expats living here).

Banking in Thailand

People ask me about banking in Thailand all the time. Let me assure you that there are indeed ATM's on every street corner (sometimes 5 of them lol) all over the country!

This is a country that is absolutely built for tourism. Believe me, as long as you have your bank card from your home country you will be able to use it here no problem.

Now of course with that will come fees. My Canadian bank for example charges me $5 when I withdraw from it in Thailand. Also, the Thai ATM will add in another $5 surcharge as well.

So $10 every time you withdraw can start to add up!

This is why many people will often do large withdrawals from the ATM (i.e. 20k Thai baht which is roughly $600 USD) in order to cut down on fees.

The other option if you are staying here longterm is to open a Thai bank account as this will eliminate the fees. However, this isn't always the easiest thing to do.

The best two banks for foreigners to use in Thailand are Bangkok Bank or Kasikorn Bank. You just walk in and ask to open an account.

It is very possible though that they say no to you a few times before you find one that will accept. Your chances will be way, way higher if you dress appropriately and have a proper visa like work/education/elite etc.

However, many many foreigners have managed to open a Thai bank account on just a tourist visa. It's just one of those hit or miss type things where you might need to try a few times before you succeed (more on visas below).

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More on Cost of Living in Thailand

Alright so let me dig into a few more commonly asked questions about the cost of living.

Food as mentioned is pretty cheap as long as you are eating Thai. A few dollars at the most per meal is normal. Bowl of noodles or pad Thai in the ever present street stalls or markets, $1 in Chiang Mai, $1.50 in Bangkok.

Electricity and water costs are cheap and largely not even worth mentioning. You should expect to pay around $50 a month at the most for these.

Other costs will be a motorbike (Read scooter: Honda Click or Wave etc) if you want one. Motorbikes represent at least 50% of the vehicles on the roads here.

When I am in Chiang Mai, you will often find me up in the mountains, a big bonus to living there:

In Chiang Mai you can rent one for 80-100 dollars a month. A better choice might be to just buy one for about $700 used or $1500 new if you plan on living here for awhile. Since you can affordably just live right in the city though often there is no need for one.

Prices for clothes are very cheap here in the markets and reasonable at the malls. But since you don't need much more than flip flops, shorts and t-shirts here year round you won't need a huge clothing collection anyways. 

Expect to pay about the same price for electronics as you would in your home country. So don't come here thinking you are going to get a great deal on a new laptop, tablet or phone. If you need a new phone I would probably buy it in Thailand though just to avoid any issues that you might have with unlocking when you get here.

Mobile data and calling plans are very cheap. I personally pay about $15 a month for unlimited data.

If you want to call home you can just make a free Facebook call these days. If you want to be able to actually call somebody's mobile or landline phone, get a Skype subscription for a few dollars a month.

If I missed anything check out this site:

Numbeo is a great site for comparing the costs of living in cities anywhere in the world. Plug in where you live and compare it to Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket.

Thai Beaches

There are lots of them here and many of them are stunning. The above is Chaweng beach in Koh Samui. Despite being a major tourist beach it is still very beautiful and one of my favorites.

You can just live at the beach here if you want as well. You will pay a premium though because often they are located on islands where they need to ship goods in. Also, the property values are a lot higher of course.

But there are many places in this country in non-touristy beach locales where you can live for very little. For example, I spent a month in a beach town in an 11th floor fully modern condo with a beach view for $233 a month a couple of months ago.

It is a spot dominated by Thais and not foreign tourists so the prices are much lower. Places like this (no I will not say where, I have to keep some secrets!) can be found if you look around a bit and stay clear of the popular backpacker/tourist spots.

Many of us choose to live in a major city like Bangkok or Chiang Mai though for the modern amenities and better social scene. We can just go on frequent vacations anyways. Domestic flights are very cheap and of course it takes no time at all to arrive in a world class beach resort such as Phuket or Koh Samui. 

The People and the Language

Thailand is often nicknamed LOS "The land of smiles." This is a country which is 95% Buddhist. The pace of life for most Thais is far slower than what you are probably used to. Family is huge to them. Having "sanook" (fun) at whatever they do in life is a top priority.

They are quite a bit happier and more hospitable than people in most western countries. The smile is not fake. They are often genuinely happy to see you and talk to you (there are exceptions in the heavy tourist areas). This is a breath of fresh air for me. 

The Thai language is very different than any of the Western languages and difficult to learn. The good thing is that you don't actually have to learn it to live here. Most Thais, at least in the big cities, speak a reasonable amount of English.

At least enough so that you can order your food, apartment etc. in English and have no problem. Also since there are so many expats here from places like England, America, Canada and Australia you could literally just surround yourself with people who are native English speakers all the time anyways. 

However, you will probably want to learn the language if you plan on staying here for a long time. It will enrich your experience so much more if you can have conversations with Thais that go beyond "Hi, how are you?" They will generally be happy to help you out with words that you don't know and will be honored that you are even trying to learn.

Visas for Thailand

2020 Update: I have lived in Thailand for over 7 years. I speak and read the Thai language fluently. I will be leaving Thailand shortly and probably only spending one or two months per year in this country in the future. 

And this is purely because of the difficulties of getting a visa here. Many other foreigners who I know have also left recently. Please read the next two sections very, very carefully if you are considering "moving" to Thailand.

Visas are important. You are in a foreign country and you need to follow their rules. The fines for overstaying your visa are 500 baht per day which gets capped at a maximum of 20k.

If you overstay for months or years they will ban you from the country altogether. Don't be one of those foreigners who makes the rest of us look bad by overstaying!

They have simple rules in Thailand. Yes it's a pain to jump through the visa hoops but it's just part of living in a foreign country and such a great place as Thailand.

Now I gotta say, I have updated this section at least 10 times over the years. And I am not going to do it anymore. Like many countries, visa rules change frequently in Thailand.

Also, I cannot always say which visa is going to be best for your particular nationality. The rules are different. I am Canadian and so obviously that is the one that I know the best!

There are many different visas that you can get for Thailand:
  • Visa Exempt (this is for tourists simply arriving at an airport or a land border, usually 30 days for most nationalities)
  • Tourist Visa (longer stay, can extend up to 3 months total)
  • Multiple Entry Tourist Visa (must get in your own country as of 2020, can extend close to 9 months total)
  • Marriage Visa (1 year at a time, must be married to a Thai national)
  • Retirement Visa (1 year at a time, must be over 50 years of age)
  • Education Visa (6 months to 1 year, must be studying Thai or another language at an accredited school in Thailand)
  • Elite Visa (starting at 500k baht, for people with money who want to stay here 5+ years)

There are a few more visas that I probably missed.

I am not going to go into the specifics of any of these visas anymore though. Like I said, I have re-written this section at least 10 times now because the visa rules and regulations are always changing in Thailand.

Also, the visa rules might be different depending on what country you come from. It is your job as a foreigner to research the visa rules and regulations here in Thailand before you arrive.

2020 Thailand Visa Situation Update 

Let me just provide a brief update though as things stand in 2020 regarding visas to Thailand because this has become more and more of an issue in recent years.

To put it simply, it is getting increasingly difficult to stay in Thailand long term if you are under the age of 50, not married to a Thai, don't want to start a business here or learn Thai in a language school.

In fact, even studying Thai language is becoming less and less of an option. Education visa applications are being rejected in large numbers right now in 2020.

Thailand simply does not have a suitable long term visa for under 50s who simply want to live here, which is a very significant number of the foreigners currently living in this country.

The days of just doing tourist "visa runs" every couple months or doing "border runs" to a neighbouring country are pretty much over (i.e. good chance your visa gets denied if you try to do several in the same calendar year).

In fact several of my friends have been detained and questioned at Bangkok airports in particular regarding a long history of back to back tourist visas or 30 day on arrival stamps.

Due to this, many of them have since left Thailand and opted to reside in a neighbouring country now (more on that below). As a long time expat in Thailand (over 7 years for me now) I will also be leaving soon.

And that is because even though Thailand is the best country in this region in my opinion, and I love living here (I also speak Thai and read Thai fluently), the endless visa hassles really start to wear on you at a certain point.

This is especially the case when literally every other country in SouthEast Asia has much more relaxed visa rules, allowing you to stay much longer without all the hassles.

This includes:
  • Vietnam
  • The Philippines
  • Malaysia
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia

And unlike Thailand, you can get a long term visa in most of these countries without needing to be of retirement age, marrying a local, starting a business or learning the local language.

Now once again, let me be totally clear here.

If you ARE over the age of 50, married to a Thai, you want to start a business in Thailand or you are willing to shell out 16k USD for a 5 year Elite visa, then none of the above applies to you.

Once again, I no longer include education visas on this list because they are being consistently rejected by Thai embassies across the region now.

However, a large amount of the foreigners currently living in Thailand (and most of you reading this article as well), simply do not fit any of these categories.

And unfortunately as of right now in 2020, Thailand simply does not have a suitable long term visa available for you.

Look, at the end of the day as an under 50 online professional or digital nomad you need to remember that there are 195 different countries in this world.

Thailand is just one of them.

And yes, Thailand is an absolutely amazing country to live in. But if you are in a constant fight just to get another few months more to stay, what is the point?

How do you possibly build a life in a place like that?

For me personally, I have had enough and I will be spending far less time (and money) in this country in the coming years.

The visa situation for under 50s is something that you need to be very, very aware of if you are considering moving to Thailand in 2020.

Hospital Care and Insurance in Thailand

This is a big area of concern for many people. There is a whole range of medical care here from small shady clinics to top notch hospitals with western educated doctors that would rival anything in your home country. The prices, like with nearly everything else, are also far cheaper.

Many people (especially Americans) come here specifically to get big treatments done at a fraction of the cost of back home.

That said, it is still a good idea to get some sort of insurance if you plan on living here. A couple of stitches or a checkup won't cost you anything but if you break your leg or something which requires some inpatient care it could add up in a big way.

Insurance is cheap and can be found very easily through a quick google search. Be aware though that most insurance plans DO NOT cover motorbike accidents.

The reason why it is often not covered is because by far the biggest reason that foreigners will require medical treatment here is due to a motorbike accident.

Do Not Drive a MotorBike in This Country

And this is why I am going to recommend that you do not ride a motorbike in this country, period. The carnage is staggering and I am so sick of hearing about foreigners getting maimed for life or worse here.

I honestly don't know anybody who lives here and drives a motorbike who hasn't at least had a minor accident. It just isn't worth it at all.

And I don't care if you are an "experienced" motorbike driver. It will take you at least a year to even begin to understand the driving culture here. It's not the same as where you are from.

Please believe me on this. I am speaking as someone who has years and years of experience driving here and am also properly licenced to drive in this country (more on that below).

And the bottom line is that Thailand is consistently ranked as one of the top countries on earth where you will die in a traffic accident (latest data says 2nd highest in the world)

Now, I know that no matter what I say here though, most people will not listen to this warning. So let me give you a few safety pointers should you decide to hop on a scooter or big bike.

First and foremost if you plan to stay in this country for any length of time, please get a proper helmet. The rental shop will likely give you some useless little plastic lid.

I would highly suggest going to a Honda or Yamaha dealership (which are everywhere) and buy a proper big bike helmet for $50. Your life is easily worth $50.
poker players living in thailand
Typical scooter rental bike and the proper helmet that I bought.

Secondly, avoid driving at night completely. This is the most dangerous time when all the drunks and speed demons are out.

Lastly, keep the speed down. Again, I don't care how "good" or "experienced" on two wheels you think you are. You can't fight the math. The roads in this country are deadly dangerous.

And this is specifically the case on the islands like Phuket and Koh Samui with windy mountainous roads and hordes of inexperienced drunk tourists driving on them.

Public Transportation and the Law in Thailand

There are tons of public transit options in this country. If you live in Bangkok like I do, there is no reason to ever drive. The skytrain and the subway are both excellent and there are taxis everywhere.

Up in Chiang Mai you can take the red taxi trucks for super cheap. And all over the country you can also use the Grab application, which is basically the same thing as Uber.

I use Grab all the time, it's super cheap and it's awesome! It is available for both Android and iOS.

Lastly, regarding licencing, it is technically against the law to drive in Thailand without a Thai driver's licence or an International Driving Permit.

And police are increasingly checking for these in recent years, especially in tourist locations. If they stop you and you cannot produce one of these documents, they will almost certainly ask you for an on the spot bribe of between 300-600 baht ($10 to $20).

Your best bet is just to pay it and be on your way. It's not worth the hassle of going to the police station and quite frankly the law is on their side anyways.

If you plan to stay here long term, then I would recommend just getting a Thai driver's licence like I did. First one is 2 years, then you extend for 5 years.

It's a bit of a hassle, and you might have to watch a 4 hour Thai driving video (all in Thai) and take a silly road test. But it's worth it in the end if you plan to stay here long term.

But like I said before, truly your best bet is just to not drive in this country at all. Please be safe, you have been warned.

Meeting People in Thailand

As I mentioned before there is a very large expat population here already. And also the number of tourists from Western countries is extremely high as well. So meeting people who speak your language (or are even from your own country) is not difficult at all.

The major communities are in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. There are Skype and Facebook groups for all three of them.

Get yourself invited to one of them and you can easily become friends with and meet up with all the grinders there. There are tons of regular sports events, meetups and the like in all three communities.

Negatives of Living in Thailand

  • The visa leash
  • Language
  • Internet in some situations
  • Ability to degen hard
  • Political atmosphere/Police corruption
I have touched on a few of these issues a little bit already but I will say a bit more. With regards to visas and the hoops that you have to jump through yes it can be a bit annoying but this is just part of being a foreigner. As mentioned above it is extremely difficult to impossible to ever become a citizen in this country (this is the case in most Asian countries).

You can get a retirement visa if you are over the age of 50 which makes things way, way easier. However, this does not apply to the vast majority of people reading this article. And as mentioned an education or a business visa might be a good option for some as well.

However, many people simply rely on tourist visas for years. This means trips to a foreign country a couple times a year either just to step over the border to get stamped in and out or to apply for a new visa at a Thai embassy in the region.

It also means getting extensions at the local immigration office a few times a year as well. I personally have grown to enjoy the trips to Laos and Burma and a few early mornings at immigration. No big deal for me.

The language is very different and very hard for most Westerners to pick up. It is a tonal language and the same word can have 5 different meanings depending on how you pronounce it. There are sounds which are not used in the English language and the sentence structure can be very weird at times.

poker thailand
I rented this entire house, 3bdrm, 3bath, 4aircon, gated community, satellite TV, ADSL internet, 10 minutes outside Chiang Mai, $400 per month.
In the rural areas of Thailand there will be very little English spoken. As long as you stick to the main big cities though you will be fine. However, most foreigners living here tend to have very few Thai friends besides their girlfriend due to language issues. Many expats have made the commitment though and learned it. It is not impossible.

With the internet do not expect the blazing speeds that you are used to on a broadband connection in America, Canada or Europe. However, Thailand is not a third world country and you can certainly get decent broadband connections in nearly any city.

Many people choose to have a backup connection though just in case. Wifi connections can of course be a little more unstable. But most people coming here to grind will want to set up a plan with a local ISP and get a dedicated connection anyways.

2020 Edit: Actually I would now put Thai internet (at least in Chiang Mai or Bangkok) on par or exceeding that in most western countries. 100mbps+ internet connection packages can be ordered from major ISPs here if you are staying longterm.

I currently have a 200mbps/200mbps fiber internet connection in my condo in Bangkok which is lightning fast. The ISP I use is True Online. The price is $30 per month.

The Party Never Stops (For Some)

Ok I do need to mention this.

As most people know the partying/girls/hooker scene here is pretty crazy. If you don't keep your life in order it can be very easy to get consumed with that.

There are tons of old expats here wasting away especially in towns like Pattaya, the most degen place on the planet. Most of the younger guys, which includes most online professionals, learn to keep it in check though.

It is fine to go a bit crazy when you first get here, most people do. Go visit the famous go-go bars in Bangkok, drink a wild cocktail and eat some scorpions on Khao San road and then go party all night on a beach with 20k other people on Koh Phangan island.

After your hangover wears off go scuba diving in Koh Tao, parasailing in Phuket and then go ride some elephants and pet some tigers in Chiang Mai.

In short, go do the whole tourist thing! Enjoy yourself, this is an absolutely amazing country and a massively popular tourist destination for a reason.

But after that have a plan to settle into normal life. Get a place, a routine, a gym membership etc. and keep the craziness and the nightlife to a minimum.

Do check out Songkran (Thai New Year) though which is best in either Chiang Mai or Bangkok. This is a world famous water fight street party unlike anything you have ever seen and it is wildly fun.

This is the #1 holiday of the year for Thai people and it typically lasts for several days beginning on April 12th or 13th each year. For a more traditional Songkran experience (without all the tourists) go to Isaan.

A Few Final Notes About Living in Thailand

Thailand is a relatively stable but young democracy. However, if you look at the history of this country you will notice numerous military coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.

These coups are pretty much always non-violent and the power is handed back to a civilian government in due time. It is important that you understand that this is simply the way that they do politics here.

In fact I am updating this section right now in 2020 and Thailand has been governed by a military junta for over 5 years now. However, it hasn't affected my life on any level. Honestly, nobody really cares about it, including many Thais.

It should also be noted that there is still a lot of corruption here across many levels of society. The bribery system is common here especially in dealings with the police. However as long as you keep yourself out of trouble, as you probably already do in your home country, none of this stuff should affect you on any level.

Crime and Scams in Thailand

Crime is very low here overall and I honestly feel safer walking the streets of Bangkok or Chiang Mai at night then I would in many parts of my own city, Vancouver (which is usually considered to be a very safe city).

There are many small time scams though especially with taxi drivers that you will encounter in places like Bangkok. You will find this in most major cities around the world that have large numbers of tourists.

Just watch a few YouTube videos to learn all the hilarious little tricks they try to pull on tourists before you ever even come here. If you do get taken for a ride it's usually for like $5 or $10. Just have a good laugh about it and move on.

Getting angry and making a scene about it will get you absolutely nowhere. That's not the way it works here and indeed in most Asian countries.

A lot of people just use the Grab application for transportation by the way which is the same thing as Uber. Note that Uber does not exist in Thailand anymore as of 2020. Everybody uses Grab here and all over South East Asia as well.

Just a couple final notes. The monarchy is extremely important in Thailand. The king of Thailand is like a living god to many Thais. Don't ever say anything disrespectful.

This is a conservative Buddhist country. Always dress appropriately and show respect around temples and monks.

Lastly, be aware that Thailand (and this entire region) have some of the harshest drug laws in the world. There are huge signs at the airport telling you this.

And yes this applies to marijuana as well. Maybe it is legal where you come from. But it isn't here.

Final Thoughts

Relocating abroad is definitely not for everybody. But for me and many of the other online professionals and expats it was a great decision.

Even though I travel a lot, Thailand for me is the #1 place on earth to live especially if you work online.

There is stuff that I didn't even mention, since this article is already long enough, such as $5-$10 an hour Thai massage to be found everywhere and the much slower chilled out and low stress lifestyle.

I don't know if it is the Buddhist thing or what but I absolutely love the soft spoken and relaxed nature of Thai people. Nobody even honks their horns here!

But whether you choose to visit this country or any other countless awesome places around the world I would definitely recommend that you simply get out there and just start exploring!

Seriously, you have no idea what you are missing. And I promise you will not regret it. The pros far outweigh any cons. And seeing how the "other side" lives will also broaden your perspective immensely.

The hardest part truly, is just getting on the plane.

Remember also that just because you travel to or even stay in another country for a few months/years doesn't mean you can't go back to where you are from.

I still love my home country of Canada and I travel back there all the time.

Lastly, if you want to learn how to start consistently making $1000+ per month in low stakes games, make sure you grab a copy of my free poker cheat sheet.

poker thailand


  1. Thaks for the post man!

  2. No problem. Didn't expect for it to be so long lol. Hope it helps some people though.

  3. Go to Thailand is a possibility for me now, the post explains a lot, nice work.

  4. Glad I could help. If you make it out here let me know and we will meet up!

  5. Great post! It helped me with the things I am going to have to face & consider, aswell as the things I will enjoy and not enjoy.

    Good luck at the tables & Best of luck with your new book.

    1. Thanks SCOOOOOP, hope everything goes well when you decide to head over this way. Send me an email if you have any pressing questions!

  6. n1. livin on phuket and its indeed too expensive, but i love the beach here and dont know what to do in chiang mai. been there last week the second time, went to pai and so on. love the north but what are u guys doing there when not grinding? i saw there are cheap houses as well, less than half the price of phuket. maybe i give it a try to live there if u tell me some nice things to do

    1. Can't speak for everyone but I live in a big house now just outside the city in a gated community for very cheap. There is a pool (a few of them actually), fitness, basketball, sauna and a driving range. So there is plenty to do without even leaving the neighborhood.

      There are tons of outdoor activities around here, probably the most of anywhere in Thailand with the biggest mountains in the country, rivers, lakes and waterfalls everywhere. If the nightlife is your thing (I spent about a year going crazy) you can just live in the city. It isn't BKK nightlife and it isn't Patong beach either but there is plenty going on for most people.

      No, there is no beach. But I can just take frequent trips down to Phuket or elsewhere and enjoy that when I want without paying 3 times as much for the cost of living as I do here. I was in Phuket just over a month ago on vacation. It is perfect for that. Hope this helps!

  7. funny u went to phuket for holiday and me to CM. how much u pay for ur house and how big is it? no i dont need the party thing anymore, maybe every couple of weeks is enough for me. thx for answer

    1. It is a 2 storey 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 4 aircon for 14k per month.

    2. Anonymous22 April

      14 k baht per month correct ? silly question but just in case

    3. Yes 14k baht per month. 6 month contract.

  8. Nathan,
    I had not been around in a while & had no Idea you were in Thailand.
    I thought you were in Vancouver! None of my business, but I'll ask anyway -
    a) how long have you been there
    b) why did you go when there's no problem playing online in Canada?

    was it for the lower cost of living & "adventure" or is there some problem playing in Canada that I am unaware of?


    1. I have been living in Thailand for about a year and a half now. My decision to come here had nothing to do with playing poker. As you stated, I can do that no problem in Canada. I came here for the adventure and for something new.

  9. Hello Black Rain! How long have you been playing online poker here in Bkk? I am a Filipino by the way.. I had a Pokerstars account way back when I was in Philippines but I forgot the username and need to make another one here.. Is it okay to make a new one with the same name? 2nd question, which is better NETELLER or ENTROPAY for my cash account?? Please help me.. Thanks! P.S. I'd be glad to go out and have beer with you guys..

    1. Hi Mauricio,

      I don't live in BKK. I live up north in CM. I would just email Stars and get the username and password of your old account to avoid any problems. I can't really comment on NT or ENTRO as I don't use either of them.

  10. Anonymous09 November

    Hello, I have lived in Udon, been to CM. Going to be In Udon for 4 months In DEC. I want to play ONLINE POKER. I have a bank account in Thailand. Well it is Visa debt card account. Tried to use it for a deposit at pokerstars. It never would work. How do you do it if I may ask. Like to set everything up before I come in DEC . Thanks JOHN B.

  11. Beckerlast16 November

    Nathan, don't forget about another negative! Getting involved with Thai women!! Well not all Thai women just the bar girls or ex bar girls!! Riddled with STD's etc, fleecing you for all your winnings so that they can take care of their kids which they never mentioned or their other boyfriends. Not to mention their drug habit!! Hahaha........

    1. No question. Many of the poker players who come here are young and forget that you can't make a prostitute your gf or wife and expect anything good to happen. Thai women are a very complicated subject overall though, even the regulars ones. I didn't want to get into it too much in this post though. The internet is literally full of the stories and tips from all the "experts' on Thai women who live here haha.

  12. Anonymous21 November

    Hi JOHN B

    Any other poker players living in Udon Thani?

    I've been living here for 3 years, and I have yet to meet a poker player., but I'm fine with hanging out with the other expats though.


  13. Anonymous23 November

    hey blackrain are there any pokerhouses in Thailand where you are or a few guys who need a roommate? Im looking to pursue my poker dream but am currently in the USA :(. if you could add me on Skype I would appreciate it Skype name is shanediesel18 thanks

    1. Hi Anon,

      Can't help you regarding poker houses, never lived in one. I would ask around especially in the travel forum on 2p2.

  14. Guillermo09 January

    Nathan, refreshing post, poker isn´t the end, just the means for a better life for smart guys like yourself, congrats to you and your adult approach. You made me remember my trips to that extreme land, in those days I guess I was more tilted towards the easy partying, was in my 20´s. Now being 47 with wife and kid, I would enjoy the other side of Thailand, no doubt. Don´t lose your focus and you´ll do just fine man!! Regards from Argentina.

    1. Hi Guillermo,

      I know exactly what you mean. I am 34 so I have sort of seen it from both sides. I have definitely done my fair share of partying especially when I first got here but I have more life experience than all these 23 year olds and don't let it suck me in as much. The whole place can definitely be a little bit overwhelming at first though regardless of age. As you state it is important to keep your head screwed on straight especially if you plan to live here. If you are just here for vacation, go nuts.

  15. Hi Nathan,

    My name is Luis, I'm a 32-year-old Brazilian former professional chess player turned poker pro, and I make a living at the $1/$2, $2/$4 and $3/$6 NLHE FR tables on PokerStars as "Shakhmaty".

    I do love my country and have lived here all my life, but as of late I've developed a growing interest in moving to Thailand (Brazilian women are beautiful, but the goddamn neighbor's grass is always greener, isn't it? If they feed you filet mignon for three decades straight, you'll find yourself longing for some pork chops!).

    I wanted to leave you a message to let you know that, of all the material I found online on the subject, this article in your blog was one of the most useful. Thank you for sharing all of these golden pieces of info.

    As a fellow pro, I give you my congratulations on your career, your book and all of your professional progress. Hell, I know first hand ours isn't an easy business to be in. I commend you as well on the balls it undoubtedly took for you to make the move to Southeast Asia! That took heart and commitment ;)

    I have one question to ask you: do you plan on staying in Chiang Mai (or in Thailand in general) for the long haul? My current plan is to make my first visit to Thailand this year (I'll travel with a group of poker-playing Brazilian friends from São Paulo) and later on to make the move (to either Chiang Mai or Bangkok, haven't decided which yet) solo within 1 or 2 years.

    Having said all that, if you'd be at all interested in helping a brother out by answering the occasional e-mail or two, it would be very much appreciated. My e-mail is

    1. Hi Luis,

      I know what you mean with the grass is always greener. I certainly have nothing bad to say at all about the country I come from, Canada. In fact I think it is a great country and I am very lucky to have been born there. With that said, I simply like living in Thailand quite a bit more. So yes it was worth it although it was very scary at first especially since most of us come here alone initially.

      I definitely do plan on doing some more traveling but I think I will be spending a lot of time in this country in the future. It sounds like your plan is good to come visit for awhile with some friends, see a lot of places, and then make the move later.

      Also, the first reply to the comments here "Willian Mates" is a good friend of mine who is Brazilian, a professional poker player, and moving to Chiang Mai very soon. I could put you in touch with him as well. All the best.

  16. Anonymous28 April

    Hey BlackRain! awesome blog, Very informative.. I'm planning a trip to Thailand and was curious about the state of online poker there.. I'm actually just interested in playing a little bit for leisure while I'm there. Not pretending to be a pro.

    My question: As an American, how would i deposit, and potentially withdrawl if i open an account while I'm visiting? Would this be to complicated a process if i was only looking to mess around in a few smaller Sundays?

    Thanks again for the blog!

  17. You good man !! Hope to meet you one day ! I 'm French and I'm living in Hungary for the moment...But I was tinking about thailand for the reason you known already...Thank you for your infos...peace

  18. do u think 25 nl zoom is enough to live there?

  19. that was a bit vague. was just testing to see if it worked. first blog. I live in Australia and i make $10 per hour which obviously not enough to make living here. It almost seems with alot of hard work my hourly rate may just be enough to live there or at least give it a shot. would 3 or 4 hundred US a week be enough to live comfortably there?

    1. If you plan to live a quiet life grinding in a typical apartment in the city then 1k a month is easily enough in Chiang Mai and probably Bangkok as well. Really depends on your lifestyle. Some people can get by for less than this. Some people spend 5 times this per month.

  20. Nice post I would like to know around how much money you need for leaving in Thailand because i have a friend from Thailand and he told me that with $10,000 per year you can have a good life is it true ? now im thinking in a good place for live as a poker player I haven been thinking Colombia mexico or Italy also Thailand but I know that yet I can go because I'm not a professional yet. but Im working hard and I l know that one day i will be a pro.

    1. Thanks. Like I said above in the comments it all really depends on your lifestyle. Some people are able to live off of as little as $500 a month here. Some people spend 5K or more.

  21. What is the best online site to play while in Thailand concerning deposits/payouts and rakeback options? What are wait times like for tourist visas and education visits to be approved?

    1. It says at the top your a coach as well; do you specialize in any aspect more then others such as 6-max or high stakes tournaments? Do you have coaching expertise in tracking software and what is your rate per lesson? Your post above relates to me in many ways and very interested in possibly seeking coaching from you.

    2. Hi Chris,

      People living in Thailand play on many different sites just like in any other country in the world. So you would need to find the site that works best for you. I don't have any experience with education visas but tourist visas are typically processed in a day or two.

      I do coach but right now I am inactive and not accepting any new students. I specialize in small stakes 9max and 6max cash games. I do not coach any other formats.

  22. Thank$ Man Really help me 2 remind My Self 2 Think OuTside The B0x . . . .Many Thank$


  23. This is fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Not planning to move but it broadens my horizons on other lifestyles.

    Does pique my interest in a possible vacation spot though.

    Also, you write well!!

  24. Thanks dude... Was very helpful and a fun read too... In Bangkok right now... Taking the first step of opening my bank account here... Hoping to start playing today!

    1. No problem and welcome to Thailand. Great time of year right now :)

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Great article. If anyone is unsure of how easy it can be to survive here playing micros, I've played nothing but 5nl FR Zoom for the best part of 3 years and make enough to pay for a simple life. Ok my condo isn't baller, but it's better than being in cold wet miserable England working 12 hours a day in a factory.

    1. Thanks and that is amazing! Although I am really not that surprised. I have spent as little as like $600 a month with visas and everything included many times living a simple but still comfortable life.

    2. Turlock Tx 4 sharing the 5nlrz part was very helpful to me cheers

  27. Hello Blackrain79,

    Its an amazing post with a deep insight ! you are just awesome. But i have bit of confusio regarding the tourist visa part. How long we could tay there on tourist visa ? after 6 months what we need to do ? Basically how the visa part works.

    Also since i have a good winrate on a local poker site in my country im willing to improve my game further with the help of your coaching. Please do help me up in this regard. I wish i would start living that pro life in a short while. But definately i need coaching.

    Thank You.

    1. Hi GB,

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. I am sorry but I am not doing any coaching at the moment.

      With tourist visas you can get either 1, 2 or 3 entries and they have to be applied for at a Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. How many entries you can get depends on which embassy you go to. Each entry will basically get you about 90 days in the country. After your visa has expired you can go apply for another one just like before outside of Thailand. People who live here often go to a neighboring country such as Laos for instance. The Thai embassy in Vientiane will issue 2 entries. You should double check all of this information though before heading here because it may be different depending on what country you are from.

  28. Do you still check your dragthebar email?

    1. Yes, I just got back to you. I am in Koh Phi Phi on holiday at the moment and the internet is also sketchy here.

  29. Hey BlackRain, got round to making a Thailand FAQ out of some of my 2+2 posts, maybe interesting to readers here -

    Also linked your article on there as a shoutout.

    - jspill

    1. Wow, brilliant article jspill! I always appreciate your posts on 2+2 as well. I will give a shout out to this article on Twitter and probably link to it a lot when somebody asks me a question that my article does not cover as well. Great stuff!

  30. Hey Nathan, are you playing online poker in a particular place in Thailand for most of the year or are you traveling around Thailand and playing online poker? Recently Pokerstars did retract their business from some countries, can you still play on Pokerstars in Thailand?

    1. I usually spend at least half of the year in the northern city of Chiang Mai. There are no problems playing online poker in Thailand. This includes Pokerstars.

  31. Hey BlackRain,I'm in Bangkok right now.Can you tell me the cheapest way to cash out from pokerstars?


  32. Gr8 post the fact that u keep ur older posts updated shows me how committed u and how reliable ur materials r gr8 respect (am located in bkk btw would be great to meet n hangout if u around n interested, either way keep it up)

    1. Thanks Voicee,

      I appreciate the kind words. I try to keep this post in particular updated. Because as you probably know things like the visa rules are always changing. A lot of poker players find this post through google and they might be already considering making the move here. I want them to have the correct information.

  33. i was planning to set up a poker house in the philippines if your interested please reply to my skype

  34. for visa, thailand now issue, tourist 60 days visa, info can be check here

  35. Wow! Awesome article! Thank you very much. I too have read a lot of related articles, but I find yours to be the most informative and interesting of all!

    I live in America, and plan on retiring shortly. Was thinking of going to Playa Del Carmen, as many Americans have, to play poker online, but your article reminded me that a few years ago, Chang Mai was one of the top spots I had in mind for retiring to.

    You said above that you are renting a nice place for what seems like about $350 USD per month. Are fairly nice places still available in Chang Mai around this price? Also, could you tell me more about the Elite visa as opposed to the Retirement visa?

    You are a very insightful, intelligent man, and I am impressed with your poker information and general outlook on life. I hope if I come to Chang Mai that I will have the honor of meeting you and some of the other poker players living in the area.

    Thank you!

    Paul of The World Famous Platters.

    1. Hey Paul, thanks for the kind words. Playa Del Carmen is a hotspot for poker players as well. I hope to visit one day.

      For Chiang Mai, $350 will get you a decent place in the city for sure. If you are 50 years of age or over just get the retirement visa and don't even bother with anything else. The Elite visa is for people who are younger than 50, have money (because it is not cheap) and want no hassles.

    2. Not sure if you still check this, but just wanted to say thank you very much for such an awesome detailed article. Along, with the RB article, it covers pretty much everything one would need to know. I am seriously considering moving to Thailand for 6 months or so to grind MTT's on PS and FT (I'm an American) along with enjoying the fun life of Thailand. My sister taught English in BKK and has nothing but good things to say and is her favorite place shes every lived and shes been all over. Although, she was teaching English so her job took care of pretty much everything.

      A few questions I have is
      Is it difficult to open a Thai Bank account?
      How about transferring funds in Thai Bank to North America Bank account?(I imagine Canadian and American banks are very similar like most everything else.) Obviously I don't wanna go there and make 50k and not be able to get it out of Thailand.
      I grew up in Alaska so I love mountains, rivers and lakes so Chiang Mai sounds like best option for me, although I really want to spend some times at the beaches to. Preferbly the lesser touristy ones. Is it a long trip to some decent beaches? My sister said its about 1-2hrs from BKK to beaches, but CM is way up north?
      I have a few other questions but don't want to overload.

      I guess cliffs would be

      Easy or difficult to get Thai Bank account?
      " "" "" to xfer funds from Thai Bank to NA Bank
      Tourist visas come in two entries @ 60days each for 120 days total per visa reup?
      5k+Bankroll enough to make the trip? I don't plan on spending a shit load of money, just going out a couple nights/week and spending time in mountains, beaches and some waterfall pools and of course finding a non hooker cool and fun Thai GirlFriend.

      Thank you,

    3. Hey Mike,

      Glad this article helped. From what I have heard opening a Thai bank account is sort of hit or miss. Some might say yes, some might say no. Don't know about setting up transfers.

      Chiang Mai is a 2 hour flight to Phuket or Koh Samui. 1 hour flight to BKK. You can only get a multiple entry tourist visa in your home country now (I just edited the article a few days ago). If you apply for a tourist visa anywhere else you will only get 1 entry (90 days after extension).

      I would try to budget at least 1k per month to live here plus the funds for a ticket home.

      Hope this helps.

  36. Great info. I'm a poker player but also like to bet sports on the betfair exchange. Do you know if you can access betfair in Thailand? I've heard mixed things.


    1. Thanks! I don't know to be honest with sports betting.

  37. I love articles like this. Also, thanks for making it longer than you expected, as it covers a lot of ground, and is nicely laid out, and therefore we can read the sections that we want in the order we want!

    As for me, I've been living in mainland China for about 18 months and JUST NOW realized online poker is available - Pokerstars support confirmed China can play.

    I'm married, so my visa situation is much simpler. Flying from Orlando to Hong Kong was "crazy". As I was boarding the plane in Newark, I kept thinking "what the hell am I doing?!" since I'd never been outside of North America, and I was MOVING - not visiting.

    Anyway, I loved the article and am going to get back to microstakes with your videos and ebook combo. I haven't played real money since Black Friday, so I'm way out of practice. Lol.

    1. Thanks Gabriel, glad you enjoyed this article! I had the exact same experience when I left Vancouver for the first time to go overseas. That "what the hell did I just do!" feeling haha. But it quickly passed. It was a great decision for me to explore the world. All the best there in China. I will make it up there one day.

  38. hi blackrain79,

    if you go and restart the visa thing every few months, arent they gonna reject my entry eventually? cause they'll think im trying to work there illegally or something? they'll ask what Im doing there and if I say Im just a tourist, they'll ask what I do for money..etc and I cant say poker cause its illegal, then what?

    and as for renting a place, a lot of places I checked on craigslist have a 12 month lease. what do you recommend? just go with the lease or find one without? cause Im thinking of moving to thailand for a year or so to try living there playing poker, and Im trying to figure things out.

    and also when you first move there, how long does it take to set everything up before you can even start grinding? (have to rent a place, set up bank account, proof of address which you need cellphone bills examples) all of that take time. so could I possibly do this all within 1 month?

    1. Hi Fatlee,

      They are pretty relaxed with the back to back to back visas as long as you keep jumping through the hoops. Most people go to Laos, it takes a few days to do the whole process.

      Or you can just get a multiple entry visa in your home country before coming to Thailand and get close to 9 months instead of the 3 months from Laos.

      If you are really concerned you can also just use this as an excuse to go spend a little bit of time in a neighbouring country.

      As for leases, up in Chiang Mai there are loads of places that offer month to month. Bangkok is a bit more stringent on lease signing but there are still plenty that don't require one.

      It might be best to use an apartment rental service and let them know this. They will find the place that you want and even drive you around town.

      As for everything else, Thailand is super easy. It doesn't take long. People come here precisely to get away from all the silly red tape and rules of many western countries :)

      If you have any specific questions it is better to email me. Contact button at the button of this page.

  39. Hi nathan
    Would someone be able to grind in thailand without moving there, but rather vacation there for months at a time? Im canadian. So residential address on pokerstars would be my canadian address. I would let stars know im vacationing in thailand for 6 months. I go there to grind and come back to canada in 6 months.then do it again over and over. The reason is because i want to test out the lifestyle without having to go thru all the steps of changing address and bank info etc it'd be easier if i could just pack some stuff and hop on a plane..get to thailand get a hotel with wifi and just start right then and in hotels and if i sont like it i could just come back a few weeks later. But are there any problems with doing it loke this?

    1. Hi snowman,

      Ya this is totally fine. I am Canadian too. Pretty sure I still just have my Canadian address and bank in Stars and I live in Thailand for most of the year. Doing a half and half thing is a great idea also. I know tons of people who spend half the year in Thailand, half in England, US, Canada etc.

  40. hi i am mark from holland and living in the Philippines for olmost a year now im a real poker fan. i love playing poker im playing now since 2007 ive been playing alot and thats where i get my experience. mostly i played mtt and looking for full staking and full time backer is olso welcome so if your interested or want more info feel free to contact me on Skype babajoe76

  41. Hey Nathan,

    Great article, quick question on real estate though. Where would you suggest a full time grinder to stay (Preferably some place that has malls/banks/etc nearby)? Could you also recommend me a site to survey real estate in Chiang Mai?


    1. Glad you liked this article! I can't really suggest where to live because it depends too much on you and what you want. There are malls, banks etc. everywhere. This is why you should travel to places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket first and then decide. I don't know much about buying real estate in this country so I can't comment there.

    2. Oh my apologies I phrased my sentence wrongly, I meant where would you suggest a full time grinder to stay in Chiang Mai?

      I'm not planning to buy real estate but just trying to figure out the most GTO town to rent a place in CM. Heard Su Thep is the place to be but I couldn't really find any places for rent online.

      Do you have an agent you already deal with when you're looking for a new place?

    3. There are tons of great areas in CM to stay with expats living all over the city. You need to go see for yourself and then decide, I can't decide for you. I would suggest just booking an Airbnb or a cheap guesthouse in advance and then looking around for long term places. You really don't need an agent in CM. You just walk into apartment buildings, ask to see the room, and often move in same day if you want.

  42. Nice article. I am from Vancouver as well but have been living in Japan the last 17 years. I have been to Thailand 2 or 3 times and Kuala Lumpur 4 times. Love both those places for the food and price. After I retire I want to travel around those places for months straight and maybe live there for years. Is it safe enough to do this? I never felt any danger while there on my vacations but I've heard so many stories and many tourists have bit the dust while being there over the last few years. Some family and friends dont want me to do it...but it is so awesome there compared to anywhere else especially Vancouver. In Vancouver you may die of boredom or cost of living. :P I don't plan on ever going back and would rather spend my life in these awesome Asian tropical destinations, but of course I don't want to bite the dust LOL.

    1. I have lived in Thailand for the past 5 years and it is probably the safest place I have ever been to. I have never been to Malaysia but from everything I know it is a very safe country as well. You do hear about tourist deaths in places like these from time to time but it is usually their own doing, alcohol + motorbike for example.

    2. Excellent, that's what I was thinking about people just doing stupid things. Too much exaggeration as well. Coming from Van I was used to a certain way, then I visited the States and felt less safe, but then I moved to Japan and found exactly what I like safety-wise. Japan is the safest place on the planet, other than earthquakes of course LOL. But on my visits to Malaysia/Thailand, I never ever felt threatened as I have in Van or the States. I just feel that 'edgy big truck gas guzzling my dick is bigger than your dick' attitude much too often in North America. Then I moved to Japan and found out it doesnt have to be that way lol and have never felt like that in 17 years here and I never felt that in Thailand or Malaysia either :) I respect countries where I visit as a guest and all I expect is the same back. My plan is to base in Japan and visit long term to Thailand in the good seasons, so I'm glad you think like I do and aren't negative or exaggerate like many lol. Also Vancouver is way over priced for everything lol. What area are you from? Meet any big poker names? Wonder if any other poker players moved to Thailand. Any live games there?

    3. Ya Japan is probably the safest place you can find on earth. SE Asia as a whole is pretty low though as well compared to the rest of the world.

      Vancouver is indeed very over-priced these days. As much as I would love to spend a bit more time there, it is hard to justify paying 4 times the price for the same apartment etc. I grew up in the valley, Maple Ridge and Poco.

      I have met a few big names in poker here in Asia and there as well. Nobody super famous though. They tend to live in places like Vegas. No live games in Thailand, against the law. You can hop over the border into Cambodia though. The action is also really good in Manila these days from what I hear. And lastly of course, Macau is also just a short flight away.

  43. Hi Nathan

    My Wife and I will be in your city next week! Got a holiday booked....Maybe it will convince me to make the jump next year ;)

    1. There from the 11th to the 15th April if you fancy a beer. Loved your book btw

    2. I prob should give you a little info about myself. I'm a British 31 yr old Doctor but I have a real love of poker and have finally started getting back into it. My email is The wife and are on our honeymoon and looking forward to Song Kram festival!

    3. Hi Mike, glad my book helped and I hope you enjoy your time in Thailand!

  44. I have a wife and 2 yrs old daughter. We would like (maybe) try 100% poker career (I am pediatric surgeon). Do you have some tips for places in Thailand for rent? Ideal situation: good internet connection, beach not so far away (easy to get there by walk with a baby), shops (basic food ingredients for cooking, hygiene, diapers, etc.) not far a away. Thx for any info in advance !

    1. Hi MSN,

      There are are tons of beach options for living in Thailand. The best plan though is to come here on vacation first and visit them all. Because every single one of them is different.

    2. Hey and r u still living there BR ?

    3. Oh and one more thing. In the article u write: "I spent a month in a beach town in an 11th floor fully modern condo with a beach view for $233 a month a couple of months ago.". Where was it ? Thx !

    4. Yes, I still live in Thailand. I don't give away the details of that. Some places need to remain a secret :)

  45. another option for who want to go live in others countries:a lot of cities in brazil you can live with the same money.

    1. Good point. I hope to do more traveling soon especially to South America.

  46. Hello Nathan! Thanks for you writting, really helpful. I am planning to move to a place where the cost of life is cheap with a goood life quality too. Thailand is my first candidate until now. Before moving for good though, I would like to go there for a 15 days round trip tourist thing. I was wondering how much money should I take to spend 15 days over there, and do all the tourist stuff, like visiting places and enjoy the nights too. How much would you bring to this trip, including hotel stay, and travels between Chiang Mai and Bangkok? I was thinking of something around 2K US dollars, what do you say? Thanks Nate!

    1. Hey Gustavo,

      Thanks, glad my articles are helpful for you!

      That is a great idea, just visiting here first. The good thing about Thailand for a tourist is that it is pretty cheap. Most of your cost will be the plane ticket getting here and back home.

      You can rent a decent 3 star hotel room for $30 a night in either Chiang Mai or Bangkok. Most tourist attractions are either free or cost just a few dollars. And food and alcohol are usually just a few dollars each.

      So I think $100 a day should be good for most "mid range" tourists. It really all depends on how you like to travel though. You can spend less than this and a lot more also.

      For instance, most backpackers staying in hostels and eating only street food probably spend $50 a day at the most. If you want to stay in 5 star hotels, take private tours and go to Bangkok's finest clubs though you could easily spend $200, $300 a day or more.

      Have a great trip! :)

  47. Really good article. Thank you. I'm living in Thailand for one year now and playing poker for a living. Since you are living here a lot longer and changing countries as well,where are you paying taxes?? Is anyone asking for your income or something?

  48. Great article,hi i am from italy(we cant open a .com client for poker online)do you think it is possible to open a account from thailand with proof of residence there?
    Thanks very much

  49. Hey, I realize this post is probably a little older, but how do you get past immigration when they ask you what you do for a living?

  50. Hey Nathan, incredibly inspiring article. Have half a mind to pack up and ship off next month.

    Was curious about what insights you may have on life in Thailand as a woman -- in particular, a woman with prominent tattoos. If I pulled the trigger, it'd be with my fiancee, who fits that description. What might her life be like, as an extrovert with an entrepreneurial spirit, outspoken nature, and very little interest in poker?

    1. Hey I am glad this article was inspiring to you :)

      Thailand, and really most of the countries in this region, are actually very open tolerant cultures for the most part. There are some notable exceptions like drugs.

      I believe it has to do with the Buddhist religion. You can see this with "ladyboys" for example in Thailand. They are openly accepted, even celebrated to some extent, whereas this is definitely not the case in most countries in the world.

      So overall I think you will enjoy this part of the world. Also, startup culture/entrepreneurs is huge here. There are thousands of "digital nomads" working on online businesses here.

      Best bet is to just come here and travel around, stick around a bit longer if you like it :)

  51. Hey Nathan, incredibly inspiring article. Writing from Toronto, have half a mind to pack up and ship off next month! XD

    My question is this: if I were to pursue a jump like this, it would be with my fiancee. Based solely on your observations, what additional considerations should expat women keep in mind? Also, are there taboos surrounding prominent tattoos (like there are in Japan)?

    1. Hey Matt,

      I assume you are the same person as the commenter above. I should mention that tattoo culture is massive in Thailand. You won't have any issues with that. Make sure you check out the visa section above in this article. I just updated it yesterday.