Life as an Expat in Krabi

Life as an Expat in Krabi

Life as an Expat in Krabi

Krabi society is a fascinating melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Moken (or Sea Gypsies), Muslims and a colourful band of expats representing almost every corner of the globe. The Krabi locals, famous for their hospitality and tolerance have been quick to welcome these newcomers that now total somewhere in the region of 2000. They come from countries far and wide including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, US, Australia and New Zealand. The majority tend to live where there is a good concentration of amenities such as bustling tourist resort Ao Nang, but there are some smaller pockets in Krabi Town, Ko Lanta and Ko Phi Phi.

These foreigners who call Krabi home are attracted to the comparatively low cost of living, the laid back, outdoor lifestyle, the beautiful surroundings, the gorgeous tropical climate and of course, the excellent facilities on offer. If you are contemplating swelling their ranks, you’ll want to understand the practicalities of living in such an idyllic location…


In addition to the valuable experience of adapting to an entirely different culture, your children can look forward to a solid education in Krabi. Most expats send their children to the local Thai school located in Krabi Town, which not only offers a high standard of education, but bi-lingual curriculums too. There is also a popular international school which operates a modern, British curriculum for children of nursery and primary school age.


The Krabi general hospital is of a good standard and perfectly adequate for most minor treatments and local pharmacies are well stocked with most common prescription medicines. There is also a private hospital with an excellent reputation in Krabi and an international hospital in neighbouring Phuket, both of which are suitable for more extensive treatment. As Bangkok is little more than an hour away by plane, however, some expats prefer to take advantage of its world class health clinics for major operations or intensive care. Quality dental treatment can be arranged at one of the many reputable dental practices in Krabi, Phuket or Bangkok.


Opening a bank account in Thailand can prove quite tricky – it is only possible if you possess one of the ‘non-immigrant’ visas such as the work or retirement visa, backed up with a copy of your rental or lease agreement. Without this paperwork you will be forced to make alternative arrangements. There are a large selection of banks with ATM’s throughout Krabi, so many expats simply choose to withdraw money from their domestic account or make international money transfers instead.


As a result of increasing tourism and a growing expat community, there is a fine range of western style bars, restaurants and shops, which legal aliens can turn to for a taste of home. Many of the international bars and restaurants in Krabi are actually run by expats themselves, making the fare on offer exceptionally authentic. Expats can also enjoy shopping in the outlet mall and Tesco Lotus store or even catch up on the latest hits from Hollywood at the multiplex cinema.


Most expats will want or need to pop home from time to time – fortunately Krabi benefits from an International Airport, which makes regular trips home and frequent visits from family and friends all the more than viable.


As there isn’t a massive amount of work available for foreigners (save for a handful of positions at the hotels, restaurants, bars and dive schools), you will need to have an enterprising spirit if you wish to make Krabi your permanent home. Some expats start their own business, most of which are geared towards the thriving tourist industry such as bars, restaurants, hotel and villa accommodation or else aimed at the expat community itself, with enterprises that include language schools and property agencies. If you are struggling to find suitable employment, don’t be tempted to work without a valid permit or you risk receiving a huge fine or possible deportation.


One of the greatest barriers to finding employment and integrating successfully into the community, is language. This may explain expats congregate in the tourist resorts where English is more widely spoken and understood. You will find that learning at least some of the complex Thai language is extremely beneficial and you can choose from several Thai language courses in Krabi to help you get started. Being able to speak basic Thai will not only enable you to make friends with those outside the close knit expat community, it will also help you do business and increase your chances of employment.

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