Bangkok and Chiang Mai no longer affordable cities for expats

Bangkok and Chiang Mai no longer affordable cities for expats

Bangkok and Chiang Mai no longer affordable cities for expats

A recent survey has nailed Bangkok and Chiang Mai for both destinations’ rising costs of living.

Formerly known as inexpensive cities for both expat workers and retirees, the results of a recently released survey have confirmed what foreign residents in both cities have already realised – they’re no longer affordable destinations for expatriates. Bangkok is now listed amongst the 50 most expensive world capitals, having soared 75 places since the 2017 survey results. For the ‘northern capital’ of Chiang Mai, the result is similar as it’s leapt by 56 places in the past two years.

Bangkok’s placing has destroyed its long-held reputation as an economic destination for both expat workers in general as well as highly qualified professionals, and Chiang Mai has long been a favourite for retirees looking to stretch their pensions and avoid home countries’ cold winters. It seems the major reason for the soaring increase in both locations’ costs of living is the overly strong baht combined with weaker currencies in the home countries.

According to expat residents in both cities, in addition to currency fluctuations it’s also a case of increased dual pricing in that Thais are now charging expatriates more than previously, especially for services. This issue is especially strong in the rental property market, with landlords and hotels hiking prices in order to stay afloat against the fall in tourism numbers and an increasing exodus of long-term expat residents.

Many former long-term expat retirees have been scared off by increasingly difficult visa rules and the introduction of compulsory private health insurance only acceptable if purchased from Thai insurers offering sky-high prices and low cover. Existing Western private health insurance policies are not accepted as valid, forcing those already well insured to purchase a Thai policy as well.

Related Stories:

Latest News: