Tieland to Thailand

Quit Your Job – Sell Your Stuff – Travel Abroad

"We spent last year selling everything and paying off thousands in consumer debt, planning our wedding, and ultimately figuring a way out of the daily nine to five. Twelve months later here we are living a truly free and location-independent lifestyle, currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand"

9 Myths About Thailand That Worry Your Family

Myths About Thailand

As your family and friends find out that you’re moving to Thailand, are they convinced you will be stranded in some undeveloped country with limited access to running water and electricity? Do they keep mixing up Thailand and Taiwan? Does it make you want to scream from the mountaintops that Thailand is awesome? In case you’ve heard similar silliness, we’ve created a list to help ease your family’s and friends’ worries. It’s time we put some myths about Thailand to rest, because there is more to Thailand than what western media will have you know!

01 Thailand has an Underdeveloped Infrastructure

Does your family believe in the myths about Thailand’s poorly developed infrastructure? There is no need to worry about freely moving throughout the country or getting out should an emergency arise. In fact, Thailand has over twenty airports, eight of which are international:

  • Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)
  • Don Mueang International (DMK)
  • Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)
  • Chiang Rai International (CEI)
  • Hat Yai International Airport (HDY)
  • Phuket International Airport (HKT)
  • Samui International Airport (USM)
  • U-Tapao International Airport (UTP)

There are also trains, extensive bus routes, and modern highways throughout Thailand. The accessibility of this international travel hub should be the least of anyone’s worries.

02 Thailand is Very Unsafe

Thailand is a safe country for expats and travelers, especially for women traveling solo. Thai people are welcoming, respectful, and generally non-violent towards foreigners. The biggest concerns are scams in touristy areas, such as getting charged much more than one should, and crimes of opportunity, like petty thefts.

Despite off-and-on and sometimes volatile political protests in certain areas of Bangkok, daily life is largely unaffected elsewhere in Thailand. Protests and demonstrations are easily avoidable with a little planning and forethought.

Road accidents are common in Thailand. Wear proper safety gear while on a motorbike, always be aware of your surroundings, and use common sense, just as you would back in your home country.

Many serious incidents are easily preventable and occur when a person develops a false sense of security while living or traveling abroad.

03 You’ll Live in a Bamboo Hut with Dirt Floors

Don’t believe the myths about Thailand having dodgy living accommodations. Thailand offers the same amenities of Western countries, and there are plenty of modern options available. Our first apartment came with a flat screen TV, a bathtub, a king sized bed, and plenty of storage areas, all for $330 USD a month. Our current house is set on a private lot, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a Western kitchen for $450 USD per month.

04 You’ll Be Eating Nothing But Carry Out

Yes, there are stir fries and plenty of dishes with rice and noodles, but don’t let myths about Thailand’s cuisine fool you into thinking it’s the same as the generic takeaway from that run of the mill Chinese delivery place next to the local Wal-Mart.

Thai food is known for its sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy balance. It also has rich curries and grilled meats that are phenomenal. Find a nearby Thai restaurant that has good reviews and take your family there.

05 You Won’t Be Able to Find Anything You Need

Most of our friends and family back home couldn’t believe that Chiang Mai was equipped with many malls, shopping centers, and superstores. Many supercenters actually dedicate entire floors to electronics, clothing, or beauty stores with familiar Western brands and products. These are some main stores:

  • Tesco Lotus
  • Big C Supercenter
  • Rimping Supermarket
  • Robinson Department Store
  • Makro
  • Tops Market
  • Central Department Store
  • Home Pro
  • Index Living Mall

This was one of the myths about Thailand we fell for originally. After visiting one of these western superstore equivalents, we were pleasantly surprised at how many products looked familiar.

06 Thailand is For Drunks and Sex Tourists

Myths About Thailand

While there is a dark side in Thailand that caters to substance abusers and sexpats, myths about Thailand being good for nothing else should not deter you from living here. Thailand boasts beautiful waters for diving and snorkeling, beaches for yoga retreats, and mountains and jungles for trekking. Cities like Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, are family friendly and are much slower-paced than the bustling tourist areas and red-light districts of Bangkok. Peel back the layers and you’ll find Thailand is a wonderfully diverse and beautiful place to live.

07 You Can’t Afford to Live in Thailand

Myths about Thailand’s affordability being an issue are silly. Many things are incredibly affordable. For less than $5 you can…

  • Gas up your scooter
  • Enjoy a Thai massage
  • Watch a new release at the movie theater
  • Buy a pair of shoes
  • Fill up on a Thai meal for two, with beer

Try doing any of these things back home without blowing $20 or more! Avoid budget blunders just as you would back home and you’ll be fine. On $1,200 a month a couple can live comfortably in Thailand.

08 Thailand’s Medical Care is Dirty and Dangerous

The next time someone tells you myths about Thailand’s medical or dental work being unsterilized, unsafe, or shotty, be sure to drop these facts:

These procedures can be done by English-speaking doctors, many of whom are trained in Western countries and practice with the most advanced medical equipment and techniques.

09 You Won’t be Connected With the Rest of the World

Thailand is an easy place to conduct business and maintain constant communication with your loved ones back home.  You can stay connected with loved ones through countless WiFi hotspots available most often at coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and guesthouses in major towns and cities.

While some countries are notorious for unreliable internet connections, Thailand is ahead of the game. Don’t let the myths of Thailand’s lack of electricity and infrastructure lead you to believe there is also no internet!

What Do Your Toughest Critics Have to Say Now?

Spreading Rumors and Myths About Thailand

For the doubters amongst your friends and family who truly believe the myths about Thailand, this list should begin to chip away at their skepticism and show what Thailand really has to offer as an expat living destination.


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Chris and Angela sold everything, paid off their debt, and left behind the nine-to-five lifestyle in the US. Today they live as full time expats in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Subscribe to their weekly Thailand Vlogs on Youtube! To see a full list of their blog posts all in one place check out the Archives. For more frequent updates follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Janeen @ Green Global Travel says:

    Great post! It’s great to get some actual facts about Thailand apart from the media.

    July 29, 2015 at 10:37 PM
  • Klaus says:

    Great list… i lived in Thailand for years, now back in Denmark. I would at any time prefer the Thai medical system to the Danish, and Denmark is supposed to be a very developed country.

    June 23, 2015 at 7:15 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Same is supposedly said about the US! Glad you had a good read :)

      June 23, 2015 at 7:46 PM
  • Wally says:

    I’ve lived here since 1989. Almost everyone of these “Statements” are somewhat true. The biggest thing to take away from this article is most of Thailand is safe and beautiful but it’s changing so quickly. And never visit during Songkran

    April 30, 2014 at 6:36 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We’ve noticed changes since moving here, but it is still safe and beautiful and otherwise so well rounded. And Songkran… well, we’ve done most of the big festivals once and now prefer to stay inside :)

      April 5, 2015 at 2:56 PM
  • Conor Walsh says:

    Ha, this is a great read. I should show number 2 to my mate that paid for self defence classes before moving to Chiang Mai

    December 15, 2013 at 2:36 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Taking self defense classes to protect yourself is a good idea no matter where you live (better safe than sorry!) But it’s also smart to avoid situations that may lead to problems (i.e., walking down a dark alley alone) and avoid starting confrontations. Hope your friend enjoyed their classes!

      December 18, 2013 at 9:51 AM
  • Jason Butler says:

    Great list. you definitely opened my eyes to some things.

    December 10, 2013 at 1:17 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Glad we could help!

      December 10, 2013 at 1:19 AM
      • Nelson says:

        Kudos to you for taking the leap of faith! I have been researching other countries to relocate to live a simpler and cheaper life. Thailand seemed too intimidating until reading your story. Thanks so much for sharing it!

        December 31, 2013 at 11:31 AM
        • Chris and Angela says:

          No problem at all, Nelson. We’re glad to have been able to help clear up some of your misconceptions :)

          December 31, 2013 at 1:39 PM
  • Derek4Real says:

    I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of something else I could add to this list but all to no avail. Congrats on a very thorough and well-written piece of Thailand travel inspiration :)

    December 8, 2013 at 7:45 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks a lot Derek! Hope your travels are going really well buddy :)

      December 9, 2013 at 10:46 AM
  • Arleen says:

    What impressed me with Thailand were the people. If more of the world were as nice and considerate it would be a better place. Being that I was a tourist, I had no idea that Thailand has the largest hospital in Asia. I was surprised at the medical care.

    December 7, 2013 at 12:30 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Yes, the people are amazing. Being around them all of the time really changes the way you act. We notice ourselves smiling much more these days. Thanks for your comment :)

      December 7, 2013 at 11:11 AM
  • Krystyna Lagowski says:

    Oh, I love your point #7. Isn’t it weird what misconceptions and bizarre stereotypes are out there? People think Canadians are overly polite and accommodating – they’ve never driven around Toronto in rush hour. I’ve had many friends visit Thailand who fell in love with the gorgeous country and friendly people. Good on you for spreading the good word!

    December 6, 2013 at 10:53 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks! It is always very weird to hear people perpetuate negative things without much thought. Oh, and it seems like traffic gets people going most anywhere…except for Chiang Mai! We rarely hear any honking or yelling :)

      Toronto rush hour sounds like it might be a lot like rush hour where we used to live just outside of Washington DC! Thanks for your comment Krystyna!

      December 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM
  • Dividend Mantra says:

    Appreciate the list guys!

    What do you think a single frugal guy could live on in Chiang Mai? I was living on about $1,300/mo here in the U.S. up until recently (had to purchase health care due to ACA, and a car because my employer is moving).

    I was thinking it might be possible to do $700/mo or so in northern Thailand.

    Appreciate the posts. Keep ’em coming! :)

    Best wishes.

    December 6, 2013 at 10:13 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      No problem!

      Wow, $1,300 is an awesome budget for the US! $700 sounds like a very manageable figure for a single guy in Chiang Mai. We live on around $1,200 a month, give or take a hundred or so dollars. There are even a couple other small towns up here that might be even a little cheaper to live in. Chiang Rai, Phayao, etc.

      Another thing about living in Thailand (for at least 335 days a year) means you do not have to purchase insurance in the US or pay the penalty. The plans here cost just over $30 a month for 2 people and come with pretty decent coverage. If you are considering moving to Thailand and need any help please let us know. Take care!

      December 6, 2013 at 11:05 AM
  • wagonersabroad says:

    Thanks guys, We can’t wait to get there. We are still loving Spain, but will be in that area late summer or Fall.

    December 5, 2013 at 8:43 PM
  • francaangloitalian says:

    You got it covered. After hearing so many things bad and good about Thailand, we found out by ourselves that most of them aren’t true or at least they have been exaggerated. I guess thought it’s all to do with personal experiences and on how adaptable people are.

    December 5, 2013 at 4:48 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      I think people exaggerate what little that they know about a country to sound like they know a bit more than they actually do. You nailed it on the adaptation point. So true.

      December 5, 2013 at 4:52 PM
  • Chelsea (@lost_in_travels) says:

    Oh I hate it when people make generalizations about a country! We live in South Korea and believe me, we’ve had an earful from a lot of people! Oh and we just got lasik as well! paid $750 each at one of the top places in korea : ) I love this country!

    December 5, 2013 at 4:43 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Dang, what an excellent deal on Lasik! Kudos to you guys :) South Korea is on our list of places to visit. Thanks for your comment!

      December 5, 2013 at 4:53 PM
  • fileeep says:

    You pretty much got it covered, I have lived here for over 7 years now and still find it a great place.

    December 5, 2013 at 6:58 AM
  • Noor says:

    I’ve not had any negative comments about Thailand from my family but a couple of friends have been surprised that Thailand is more developed and modern than they think. I was on skype with a friend just after I moved and she said my house (what little she could see if it behind me on her screen) looked so modern, I think she had imagined me living in a grass hut.

    I had infinitely more negative reaction to living in the Middle East than to Thailand. That used to annoy me because it was based on complete lack of knowledge and bias. It also annoyed me because I lived in one of the safest cities in the world (Dubai) which has almost no street crime. Nobody worried when I lived in London which is much, much more potentially dangerous. It’s all about perception and so many people are just plain scared of places they know nothing about but have no interest in taking the time to learn about the world.

    December 5, 2013 at 5:25 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Oh yes, whatever country is “unpopular” at the time automatically makes it immediately dangerous. Psht. While you may need to take certain precautions (don’t go wearing your country’s flag on your shirt…), it’s unfair when people jump to these conclusions. The unknown is scary, but it doesn’t justify developing such a negative opinion of a place.

      December 5, 2013 at 3:30 PM
  • Jennifer says:

    I think you could make a lot of these same uneducated arguments about almost anywhere in the world. My family says a lot of the same things about Italy.

    December 5, 2013 at 4:07 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Indeed! These negative presumptions happen for every country in the world. It’s mind boggling to heard what type of opinions people form before getting their facts straight, or even without traveling themselves. It pays to be open minded. Were glad we didn’t believe the hearsay!

      December 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM
  • Linda Babkirk says:

    Absolutely love your posts. The truth of your experiences shine through! I had a co-worker ask me yesterday if I was afraid of the protests because……”It is all over the news here!” Of course Merkins will believe anything the news chooses to tell them. Vince made a good point. Did she move out of the US in the 60’s when protests were going on………Not even in the town she lived? We just smile and sometimes laugh at how absurd, sheltered, and scared people are. Every moment we think of our life in Thailand we glow with happiness.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:40 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks Linda! America has definitely embraced a fear based lifestyle. Only bad news makes it on the TV and it sometimes seems that way by design keeping everyone scared, walking in the pre-decided straight line, waiting patiently for there 80 hours of vacation every year. Then it is back to work, exhausted from the whirlwind vacation they have been dreaming up all year, wondering where it all went so quickly.

      We find it inspiring to see people wake up and see the bigger picture and do something about it. Looking forward to meeting you and Vince one day soon. Kudos to you both! :)

      December 4, 2013 at 10:52 PM
  • Vince says:

    And of course “you will be washed away in a tsunami” along with “how will you handle all the fat, creepy, older guys with the young girls on their arms.” The “will you be safe there” question has been raised to the top of the list the last couple of days due to the western media now picking up on the protests.

    On a brighter note: Happy Birthday to His Majesty the King!

    December 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      It is just enough to make you realize how little people still know about the world they live in. Everyone still relies heavily on mainstream news, tv shows, and movies. Most will never take a trip to explore this side of the world simply because of fear of the unknown. It is truly sad, so we will just continue to remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be able to wake up in this beautiful place everyday.

      The protests have not had any kind of sway on daily life here whatsoever. We see it on our newsfeeds and it seems a whole world away. Seems things have settled a bit for His Majesty the King’s Birthday. A break for civility in the midst of a political uprising is pretty inspiring to see in pictures. Hopefully things remain calm after tomorrow. Thanks for the input Vince!

      December 4, 2013 at 10:41 PM
  • rogerlucr says:

    Very nice. Yes there are so many misconceptions out there. When I asked my high school students to name the capital of Thailand the first girl shouted out “Taiwan”! Lord help us all.

    December 4, 2013 at 9:25 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      haha! Yes, we had people asking us when we were moving to “Taiwan” a lot before we left. Ahhh it is quite ridiculous isn’t it?

      December 4, 2013 at 9:33 PM
  • Martin and Ying from DRAT says:

    Excellent post guys will be sending the link to some of our friends they might believe you, as they still don’t believe us about Thailand ! We fly out to Bangkok today and it’s guys like you that have inspired us to try something new!

    December 4, 2013 at 6:29 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Wow! Thanks for the very kind words. I bet your friends will warm up to the idea once they see how much you are enjoy your lives out here. Enjoy Thailand! Good luck and safe travels!

      December 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM
  • Monica says:

    I can’t believe people think all these things about Thailand! I must admit, I hadn’t realised quite how developed it was until I got there – especially with the medial care and the amazing shopping malls.
    The thing I love about Thailand is that if you’d like a 5* hotel (genuine 5*!) then you can find it but if actually want that bamboo bungalow on the beach then you can find that too.

    December 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We felt the same way when we first arrived. We totally agree on the accommodations! We love our townhouse, but love being able to take a weekend and go relax in a bungalow in a rice field somewhere! Win Win :)

      December 4, 2013 at 5:04 PM
  • Johnny Milkovich says:

    Loved it great article guys.

    December 4, 2013 at 11:54 AM
  • peechi70 says:

    Great post guys. We have heard all these myths before. Your analysis and insight is spot on. We’re sending this on to our friends and family and if others will do the same, maybe people will begin to see the truth about how beautiful and friendly Thailand really is. Thanks

    December 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We sure hope so. Too often Thailand gets a bad rep because of over exaggerations and stereotypes played out on TV. Thanks for sharing!

      December 4, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Haha, all points are very true :) People watch the Hangover II and presume that is what Thailand is like, when i say i live here i can see people picturing that movie and cringing!!

    December 4, 2013 at 10:44 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Haha, we see and hear the same reactions. We always have our Thailand defense ready to go should anyone accuse us of being nuts for living here. People either think what we are doing is crazy or awesome :)

      December 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM
  • Robert says:

    Another great post from you guys! If you ever make it over towards Phayao province or Nan give us a shout!

    December 4, 2013 at 10:21 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      Thanks Robert! Phayao and Nan are both place we would really like to visit soon. We will definitely let you know if we make it out that way.

      December 4, 2013 at 10:41 AM
  • A Southern Gypsy says:

    I just emailed this directly to my mom. I’m sure she won’t stop worrying, but it was worth a try! Really enjoyed this :)

    December 4, 2013 at 10:05 AM
    • Chris and Angela says:

      We hope she finds it helpful! Parents will worry no matter what though. That is what they are there for :)

      December 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM

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