There’s so much to love about Thailand, it’s no wonder so many foreigners end up living here. Some come for a holiday and simply never end up leaving. Others are recruited from abroad. From the ultra rich to the penny-pinching pensioner, and the dirty old man to the young sharply dressed entrepreneur, the world of Thailand’s expats is a strange habitat indeed. Here are the ten specimens you’re most likely to find here.

1. The English teacher

One of the most numerous of the Thailand expats, the English teacher can be found everywhere from the center of Bangkok to the remotest corner of Isaan. Many are serious about their jobs and some are career educators, but plenty are broke backpackers pausing to refresh the bank account, or older gentlemen with no prospects at home who can’t bear the thought of leaving.

2. The wife hunter

Some Western men have it in their heads that the solution to their lifelong love woes is an Asian woman. These guys come to Thailand for the sole purpose of finding a wife. Some plan on living with their lady in-country, others intend to take their bride back to the motherland. Most of these guys have failed relationships with Western women in their past and believe a “submissive” Asian lady is the key to success. Others simply want a younger, better looking woman than they’d have a shot at back home. Unsurprisingly, you often find this gentleman drinking his disappointment away in an expat bar. Of course there are plenty of expats with Thai wives that don’t fall in this category.

3. The executive

The rarest of expats and one only seen outside Bangkok while on holiday, the executive lives a life unlike any other foreigner. Earning a salary that would make him or her rich even in a Western country, these executives, bankers and finance guys live the high life. Most other expat species would trade places with the executive in a heartbeat.

4. Mr. middle management

Below the executive, but sometimes mistaken for him by those who can’t tell an expensive suit and watch, mr. middle management lives a comfortable life, though not one of total luxury. You’ll find this expat in Bangkok’s towering office buildings, or managing high-end hotels and restaurants across the country.

5. The retiree

Beautiful beaches, low cost of living and a high standard of medical care make Thailand an attractive place to retire. The condos of Phuket and Pattaya are full of retired couples, while expat bars across the country are filled daily with single male pensioners enjoying all that Thailand has to offer (or just the cheap beer).

6. The entrepreneur

The entrepreneur came to Thailand to make a buck. Oftentimes he or she is looking to open up Thailand as an export market for their product, or looking for the next big thing to sell in Europe and North America. The entrepreneur runs the gamut from the rich and successful businessman, to the down-on-his-luck huckster going from one flop to the next.

7. The misfit

The misfit never really fit in in his home country so he moved to Thailand for a new start. Cheap booze and women, and a culture that doesn’t quite understand how weird he is kept him here, but he’s the same outcast he’s always been. A variation on the misfit is the criminal who has active warrants out for his arrest should he ever return home.

8. The sexpat

The best-known and most despised creature in the expat jungle is the sexpat. Characterized by his hatred of women, the sexpat whore-mongers his way through the go-go bars of Thailand. His only friends are his sexpat peers. Peek-density occurs in and around Pattaya – Thailand’s sin city.

9. The digital nomad

A relative newcomer in the internet age, the digital nomad earns his or her income online and is totally location-independent. From graphic designers to web programmers, drop shippers to search engine optimization experts, digital nomads do all sorts of work. They tend towards the young and hip, and can be found hunched over their MacBooks in trendy coffee shops and coworking spaces.

10. The hater

Things in Thailand work differently than they do in the West, and Thai logic is often incomprehensible to foreigners. Most expats have their gripes with Thailand, but the hater makes complaining a lifestyle. The hater hates living in Thailand more than anything else, except, it seems, living in his homeland because he never actually leaves the country he so despises. So the complaints continue as long as there’s someone around to listen. When a hater strikes up a chat, you’re advised to dislodge yourself from the conversation as quickly as possible.

Have you met any other expat types in Thailand? We’d love to hear about them, let us know in a comment.

4 Comments. Write your own below:

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  • Carl

    5 months ago

    There’s also the I just came to Thailand to find myself and fell in love with the culture and it’s traditions. You’ll usually spot her in some Thai temple practicing yoga/meditation with her earphones on.

  • pairofraggedclause

    5 years ago

    I find that some of these overlap. There’s also the “Oops I fell in love with a bar girl while on holiday” expat. They’re rare, but they don’t necessarily fit into of the other types (that is to say, they could be any of the other types).

    • Ben Schaye

      5 years ago

      Yeah there’s definitely plenty of overlap. Some people fit into two, three, or even more of these categories. I think Mr. Oops I fell in love with a bar girl while on holiday fits pretty comfortably into the sexpat category, and I don’t think he’s all that rare either. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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