Home Practice How to make money in Thailand

How to make money in Thailand

by Pierre To
11 minutes to read
making money in Thailand

Here are 10 ideas for making money in Thailand, the good and the bad ways to stay alive in the land of smiles.

How making money in Thailand while the Thai themselves have difficulty in earning it?

There are many ways to make money by ThailandHere are the most common ones used by expatriates:

10 ways to make money in Thailand

1 - Teaching English or French

It is quite easy to find a position for teaching English in ThailandFrench a little less, but there are certainly demands.

In general, English teachers earn around 30,000 baht per month, which is more than enough to live on.

But it's still a stressful job, especially when you have to teach Thai teenagers with little motivation to learn.

The big advantage is that you get 4 months of paid holiday per year.

To be able to teach English you need a TEFL diploma, some links :

2 - Opening a bar in Thailand

Some thrill-seekers dream of opening their own bar, but I strongly advise against it.

It's a good way to lose a lot of money, there's a lot of competition and although it may work for a while, popularity never lasts very long.

Only 10% of the bars are doing well, 90% of the others are losing money.

Depending on where you are, there is a 4-month high season (December to March) and then it is much quieter.

And you are not immune to a change in the law due to a political change...

3 - Selling Thai products on the internet with Ebay

It is the least investment intensive.

Thailand has many good and cheap products that can be sold on the net.

To do this, you need to create an e-commerce site or simply use a sales platform such as eBay.

Some have become very rich in this way, like a man who used to sell silver jewellery and now has 30 employees and his own website.

What you need is to find the right products at the best prices, to have a sense of commerce and knowledge of the internet.

4 - Keeping a blog in Thailand

In fact for this you don't even need to be in Thailand, nor do you need to talk about Thailand on your blog.

There are already many blogs and websites about the land of smiles, the competition is tough.

What you need to do is blog about something you know well, something you are passionate about.

Afterwards, once the blog receives a lot of visits, you can put advertising on it, with google adsenseand affiliate programs for books, travel, hotels and more.

But you should know that this requires a lot of work, good SEO knowledge and hours of lost research.

It is also important to be aware that it takes time to be well referenced on search engines such as Google (at least 6 months) and that in the end most people do not gain much.

You can find more information on :

5 - Opening a restaurant in Thailand

Opening a restaurant is far from being a risk-free venture, and this is true all over the world.

As with bars, 90% of restaurants fail in the first year and most start making money only after the third year.

You will need regular customers as well as passers-by to make a profit.

You will also have to find a good location, good Thai employees, cooks, waitresses, and deal with the Thai mentality, which is not always easy to understand for Westerners (see on this subject : How to work with Thai people).

Often the problem is that people who open restaurants don't know anything about the restaurant business at all, they just have the money to invest and go into it at risk, but that said, some succeed without any experience.

The cost to open an average restaurant in Thailand is between 1 million and 3 million baht, depending on the style.

You are more likely to succeed if you target Thai customers with low-cost dishes and build volume than if you target Westerners with high-priced dishes.

Hiring Thai family members, if you are married to a Thai woman, can be much better than hiring someone you don't know.

Business in Thailand: the leading names

It must also be said that many foreigners open a restaurant through their wives or through people known as nominees, which is much simpler, requires very little investment and therefore involves less risk.

You are then not safe from a break-up or a scam but you still have much less to lose in the end!

Update 08/2018:
There is a hunt going on against foreigners who use nominees via companies:
DSI cracks down on foreigners using nominees in Bangkok, Phuket and Samui

6 - Opening a guesthouse in Thailand

Opening a guesthouse in Thailand can be a good way to earn money while enjoying pleasant accommodation.

It is better to invest in a guesthouse than a restaurant, it is more profitable, at least if you have at least 15 rooms.

But you will have to invest between 50,000 and 100,000 euros to buy the lease.

The most pleasant guesthouses are those that keep a fresh and clean look, so don't be afraid to invest in new paint or tiles.

If you're building, check out your competitors first, so you know what you need to do to differentiate yourself from them, like making the rooms bigger for example.

It is also important to offer a pleasant and warm stay to your clients to encourage them to come back and to provide pleasant places where your clients can rest and exchange with your other clients, meet new people, make friends, this is part of the philosophy of guesthouses.

You should not buy someone else's guesthouse without having access to the books to ensure that it is profitable.

To find businesses to take over in Thailand, restaurants, guesthouses, etc., you can look at real estate agencies or private ad sites:


7 - Living with retirement

For people over 50 years old receiving a pension, you can live in Thailand.

With at least 750 euros a month you can live well if you are careful and you can easily live on 2000 euros a month.

In these cases, you don't need to earn money, you just need the retirement visa:

The O-A visa (Long stay, 1 year, retirement)

8 - Getting a regular job in Thailand

It is quite possible to get a regular job in Thailand, but the offers for foreigners are mostly in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

So if you don't mind living in a big city, speak English to a good standard and have qualifications that would be of interest to a Thai company, this could be the right solution.

2 essential sites to find a job in Thailand:


9 - Scamming tourists in Thailand

Of course I don't advise it, but you should know that some expats live in Thailand by swindling tourists.

There are those who work as touts with fake ruby sellers, those who pretend that they have had all their possessions stolen and ask you for money to help them out, those who work with shared holiday rental agencies and many other scams.

So without becoming paranoid, beware if you find yourself confronted with this kind of character.

See : Scams in Thailand

10 - Becoming a monk

Bling bling monks

Bling monks with Vuitton bags, Ray Ban glasses and private jets who shocked public opinion in Thailand

Of course I put it as a wink to end the article, one becomes a monk to enrich one's spiritual life and not to make a fortune.

But you should know that even though the basic Buddhist teaching is that a monk is not allowed to receive money, the rules have been relaxed.

Today, apart from a few Buddhist currents that continue to follow scrupulously the teachings of BuddhaA large number of monks accept money offered by the faithful.

Some monks find themselves at the head of large fortunes, which sometimes leads to abuse.

I personally had a 2 month experience as a novice and was surprised to receive money on multiple occasions.

Perhaps giving money to a farang monk is said to bring good luck...


There are of course many other ways to make money in Thailand, what you need is to be able to live there to find the right idea or the right way.

In conclusion, as Confucius said:

"Choose a job you love and you won't have to work a day in your life."

See also :

Living in Thailand: the good and the bad

Retreat in Thailand, documentary

Working with Thai people, documentary

Article largely inspired by: www.livingthai.org ; Photo: Karn Bulsuk

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