Moving to Thailand in 2023 can be a dream come true, but if you are struggling to save money or earn enough income, it can feel like it’s too daunting a task. But with a bit of planning and creativity, you can make your move to the Land of Smiles a success.
Here are some tips on how to move to Thailand with no money or a tight budget:
- Research Cheap Flights: Look for budget airlines that fly to Thailand. Prices vary depending on the season, so it’s best to book in advance to get the best deal.
- Look for an Affordable Accommodation: Thailand has a wide range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury resorts. Do your research and find the best option for your budget. Try walking around neighborhoods for rental deals, asking around or searching Booking.com for discounted rates.
- Get a Job: Finding a job in Thailand will help you support yourself while you’re there. Look for jobs in hospitality, tourism or teaching.
- Get a job online: An online job is a godsend for saving money and/or working on your side hustle since it gives you flexibility.
- Start a Business: Thailand is a great place to start working for yourself, and there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs. You will have the ability to network with many entrepreneurs who are already successful.
- Networking: This is key when it comes to finding work or a place to live in Thailand. Get to know the locals and ask around for advice. You should also connect with other remote workers, visitors and expats.
- Enjoy free activities: Snorkeling, hiking, dancing or playing music on the beach are fulfilling leisure activities that cost nada!
- Find cheap insurance: It’s better to be safe than sorry. Having insurance coverage will save you money and peace of mind. There are several good and affordable nomad health insurance policies to choose from.
- Eat local, nourishing and fairly priced food: Thailand has a wide variety in their cuisine, and it’s all very affordable. You won’t even feel like you’re on a budget!
- Make use of good infrastructure: A reliable internet connection is quite common in Thailand. It is fairly easy to commute between cities as well.
- Enjoy strong internet: Both wireless internet and your sim card data can provide you with a strong connection in Thailand with little expenses.
- Visit coworking spaces: Network and mingle in well-established digital nomad communities around Thailand.
- Learn and practice new skills: It’s easy to acquire new talents in Thailand by attending free events, seminars or connecting with other expats.
How to move to Thailand with no money or tight budget
The first step in moving to the “Land of Smiles” is finding a cheap plane ticket to get you there. It’s a good practice to book your flight several months in advance, or simply avoid the high season that runs from January to March.
Cheap flights to Thailand
If you can, plan your trip at least two months in advance. Some great websites for booking an affordable flight to Thailand are:
- Skyscanner.net (A search engine for flights)
- Google Flights (Another easy to use search engine for flights)
- Kiwi.com (Best place to find combination of multiple cheaper flights to get from A to B)
- Secretflying.com (A blog with great flight prices)
For more flight hacks, take a peek at this video made by experienced nomads who have a passion for alternative traveling to save more money!
Affordable accommodations in Thailand
You can avoid overpriced accommodations by connecting with locals and renting from them directly. This does take some time as it requires walking around the neighborhood you’d like to live in and spotting “For Rent” signs. But this pays off immensely and it is the best way to find cheap accommodations.
By doing this, you can bypass booking platform fees on Airbnb or Booking.com. Instead, you can pay for an accommodation from one of those websites for only a couple of days and then make a deal with a local owner directly.
The cheapest places to live in Thailand if you’re on a low budget
Some of the cheapest cities in Thailand include:
Chiang Mai: This northern city is a popular destination for budget travelers and digital nomads. It offers a lower cost of living than Bangkok, and a large expat community.
Udon Thani: This northeastern city is known for being relatively cheap, thus offering a good quality of life for those looking to live in Thailand on a budget. It is also a good starting point for exploring its nearby temples and ruins.
Pattaya: This city on the eastern coast of Thailand has a reputation for being a party destination, but it is also known for being relatively inexpensive. It’s a nice option for those who want to live near the beach on a budget.
Isaan: Isaan is in Thailand’s northeastern region, and it’s known for its traditional culture and natural beauty. While the cost of living in this area is generally lower than in other parts of the country, it’s important to keep in mind that job opportunities can be limited. It might take more effort to find information and services in English.
Khon Kaen: This city is another option in the north-eastern part of the country. It’s a university town and it is relatively cheaper than bigger cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
The cost of living in Thailand can vary even within cities. That’s why you should research extensively to find specific neighborhoods and accommodation options that suit your budget.
Click here for more detailed insight into what it’s like in some of Thailand’s cheapest cities.
How to find a job and work online in Thailand
Once you’re settled in Thailand, it’s time to do some bootstrapping. To get a job and increase your budget, you can look at online job platforms for remote work, because, let’s face it, nobody wants to be in the office anymore.
A good place to start is with companies that are fully remote and have experience with employing digital nomads, such as our company Support Adventure.
We have tech positions available as well as admin or coordinator roles. So if you love to travel and enjoy the tech industry, this just might be a match made in heaven.
Apply for one of our available jobs here.
Oher useful websites include:
Remote.co – Various remote jobs
Indeed.com – Various remote jobs
Angel.co – Start up positions
Goodairlanguage – Online teaching jobs
If you are concerned about time zones, here is a handy guide that will put into perspective what it’s like to work for a US or a UK company while abroad!
Networking in Thailand
Even if you’re not particularly social, making connections in Thailand is a breeze as a result of its existing foreigner-friendly communities.
For both business and pleasure relations, there are several channels at your disposal:
- Many coworking spaces
- Co-living communities
- Couchsurfing events
- Whatsapp groups
- Facebook groups
- Facebook events
To meet new people, you can also type into Google search “expats in Thailand,” “digital nomads Thailand” or some other similar phrase with the name of the city you’re staying in. You will open many doors for yourself by doing so.
In these groups that appear in search results, you will find free workshops and events where you can learn new skills for monetization. They can also be a resource to expand your social network, scope of work or business.
How to start a business in Thailand with no income or low budget
Another benefit of networking is that you can find business partners, or simply people that will motivate you in starting a company in Thailand.
Since the country is a consistent draw for travelers, it’s a good place to get in the right head space for investing in yourself and a business–that could be a local shop or an online service.
Apart from the usual steps in launching a successful business, such as researching the market and making a solid business plan, there are more things to consider when you’re on a tight budget:
- Look for free or low-cost resources: There are many organizations, such as government agencies and nonprofits, that offer assistance to small businesses.
- Consider freelancing or consulting: If you have a skill or expertise that can be offered on a freelance or consulting basis, this can be a good way to start generating income without a large investment.
- Networking: Building relationships with other business owners and entrepreneurs in your industry can help you gain valuable insights and connections.
- Be creative: This is the most clever thing you can do when you have limited resources. You never know how many creative solutions you can find by thinking outside of the box.
Keep in mind that starting a business in Thailand, as in any other country, might require some legal paperwork and a registration process, so it’s important to check the regulations and requirements in the country.
Infrastructure in Thailand: Is the internet good?
According to Tripadvisor, getting an internet plan in Thailand is very affordable and the allowances of high-speed data are generous.
We can vouch for this as many of our staff work remotely from Thailand.
Spedtest.net also reveals the fastest internet providers, with the top provider being AIS. It has an average speed of 43.52 Mbps, followed by TrueMove H with a flow of 32.78 Mbps and Dtac with 16.38 Mbps.
Getting a simcard with data is another cheap lifesafer when working an online job.
Long Term Visa Options in Thailand
There are several visa options for staying long-term in Thailand if you have no income or you’re on a low budget:
- Tourist Visa: This can be valid for 45 or 60 days, and renewed for an additional 30 days depending on your citizenship.
- Non-Immigrant Visa: This visa is valid for up to a year and can be extended. It’s intended for people who want to stay in Thailand for a longer period of time. It requires a financial guarantee, such as a bank statement, to prove that you can support yourself during your stay.
- Education Visa: This visa is for people who are studying or attending a school in Thailand. It requires proof of enrollment and a financial guarantee.
- Employment visa: For this visa, you must acquire a work permit beforehand. You can click here to learn more about employment visas in Thailand.
It’s important to note that visa requirements and regulations can change frequently, so it’s always best to check with the Thai embassy or immigration office for the most up-to-date information.
Living in Thailand on a low budget – How to save money?
If you’re someone who wants to remain in Thailand long-term, naturally you’ll want to save as much money as possible. To keep within your budget, you can do the following:
- shop from wholesale markets
- eat at local restaurants
- rent accommodations directly from locals
- save on transportation by using a bicycle or motorbike
- quit alcohol or smoking
- find an online job
- live in non-touristy places and avoid tempting tourist traps
Cost of living: How much money do you need to live in Thailand?
Let’s start with families. For a family of four in Thailand, the estimated spend will be around $2,050 a month excluding rent. The cost of living for a single person will be around $560 monthly, excluding rent.
To have a better idea of the general affordability, monthly expenses in Thailand are on average 41% lower than in the US. When it comes to rent, Thailand is 70% lower than in the US. Astonishing differences can also be found in the cost of groceries, restaurant meals and drinks.
However, as global costs of living expenses continue to rise, so is the case in Thailand. The biggest expenses will go towards accommodations, followed by groceries, eating out, utilities and transportation. It is safe to say that for a single person, you can expect to spend at least $800 USD per month.
Is it easy to live in Thailand on a tight budget?
Yes, as long as you take advantage of the following:
- Rent affordable housing
- Eat a cheaper Thai restaurants, not touristy chains
- Rely on existing expat communities for a soft landing (for example Couchsurfing events)
- Acquire easy-to-learn new skills and get business partners
- Buy long-term internet packages and use coworking spaces
- Partake in free pleasures: swimming, volleyball, listening to music, etc.
In summary, moving to Thailand with no money or a tight budget is possible as long as you do your research beforehand as we advised above, and book everything in advance. And don’t forget that there are REMOTE job positions open with us at Support Adventure, so apply here.