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I have been reading a lot of the interesting posts here. One of the things I have noticed is that people often move here because the cost of living is so much lower. But what if that was not the case - would you still have become an expatriate here? The reason I ask is that I live in Southern California about 10 blocks from the beach in a nice community. I spend about $3000-$3500 per month and it gets me a nice comfortable lifestyle. I took early retirement and have considered spending several months a year in Thailand or Bali. Like everyone else, I can get seduced by the cheap living, but then I stop and think - would I enjoy living there on a long term basis?

My question is, if it cost the same to live in Thailand as the country you came from, would you still have become an expat in Thailand? Is life better or just cheaper?

Thanks.
 
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Probably not, no. Cost of living is only part of the equation, but it is a key part for the great majority of us that don't have money to burn.

Yes I am drawn to its people, the lifestyle, the beautiful women, a less materialistic philosophy of life. But there are negative factors too - rampant corruption, cronyism, political instability, the fact that in some ways expats are simply tolerated (and not by all).

But as things stand the cost of living is considerably lower, you can buy a nice 3 bedroomed house on a secure private estate on the outskirts of Chiang Mai for less than $40,000, you can eat a tasty and satisfying meal for a dollar.

In your shoes, you can have the best of both worlds of course! Remain based in the US, take a trip to Thailand (or anywhere else that takes your fancy), and stay for a few months. You can rent a nice condo for $200 amonth (much less if you don't need too much luxury), and check out the pros and cons yourself, at your leisure, no long term commitments :).
 

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Hi

Whilst I certainly came to Thailnd for compeltely different reasons to Oneman, I have to kind of agree with the Cheap Charlie reference Though wouldn't have chosen those words).

Personally, I don't always see Thailand as being cheaper that my home country.

Yes, you can by a house of $40K, or rent a condo for $200, but I would not want to do either. If you compare like for like, often Thailand is more expensive. Alternatively, near my own house in Bangkok there is new development of houses starting at 65Million Baht (starting at!!), In my country you wont find may housing developments starting at US$2M per unit!, you only find mansions and estates!

Yes, you can get a tasty meal for a dollar, but I would not want to live on 3 of those each day, every day (Although I do with some regularity, enjoy streetfood). I wouldn't call these meals healthy to eat though.

The below items are what I've noticed are generally more expensve than back home (some much much more expensive):-

Cars
Motorcycles
Boats
Shoes (quailty ones, especially for children)
Imported Clothing
Electronics (made by a brand that you are familiar with, that is)
A LOT of food products (including simple vegetables, that, maybe yes, are imported from China)
Organic Products
Wine (what a big shame!)
Lawyers (I mean real ones)

In addition, then you need to add the administrative costs of living here:-

Transferring funds, incurring fees and exchange rate difference
Visa Costs
Documentary Notorisation by Embassies (these guys make a killing!)
International Phone call costs to keep in touch with family/friens etc

These are only a few that I can think of ithe few minutes it takes me to write this.

My words are not words of complaint or regret. I am happy to live in Thailand, I enjoy life here very much, and could not imagine where I would go next (I've been here for 10 years)

I just wanted to post an alternative to the beleif that life here is automatically cheaper. It isn't, you must make effort to make (adm to maintain) it cheaper.

You also must consider that much of what you buy (even at a higher price) is of lower quality (and therefore wont last as long), customer service often (certainly not always) is less, warranties are often not honoured (some sometimes to have buy replacements even if they failed in warranty). Electricty, although cheaper, generally I find I use more, and of course the power outages are common, water stoppages are common (and of xourse you must buy drinking water, not just turn on the tap).

Sure I'll get some contractory feeback on this post. But that's my pennyworth anyway!

Good luck waterever you decide todo. I think research is the key to everything - know what to expect, and you'll never be dissapointed
 

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Not looking to move to Thailand because of money or the cheaper living... Looking to move there as a complete sea change, the ultimate sea change of my life. Broadening horizons, expanding into new areas - all of that. So money isn't in it for me... Hope that helps! :)
 
G

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Best of luck SP, that was part of my motivation too. Loved Thailand when I first came, still do, but the thing about sea changes is that you never really know when the next one is due. After a few years it's a different place somehow to when I first arrived, and for some people who had got their hopes up too high, who were trying to leave some part of their life behind, it can be a let-down in the longer term.

Still, for anyone with their feet on the ground, who have planned their move carefully, there can be few better places to live around the world!...
 

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Not looking to move to Thailand because of money or the cheaper living... Looking to move there as a complete sea change, the ultimate sea change of my life. Broadening horizons, expanding into new areas - all of that. So money isn't in it for me... Hope that helps! :)
It looks like you have the cash.Move to Bali!!!!!!!!!I would instead of Thailand if I had the cash.But then again I have a Thai wife and she may not be to happy with that.
Winkie,I know what you mean about the price of things in Thailand.About 4 years ago I bought a 50" plasma tv for about $2,000.00 US in the US.I saw the same Samsung tv 2 years ago in Bangkok for about 150,000 thb!!!WOW
 
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