Thailand is less popular as a destination for expats compared to one year ago, according to the latest Expat Insider survey.
The survey ranked Thailand in 25th place out of 64 destinations, a fall of seven places from the same survey carried out in 2018.
From 7 to 28 March, InterNations, the world’s largest expat networking group, surveyed a total of 20,259 expats, representing 182 nationalities, living in 187 countries or territories.
Respondents were asked to score a total of 48 different factors concerning various aspects of living abroad.
The results were then used to form a score in five main areas: Quality of Life, Ease of Settling In, Working Abroad, Family Life, and Personal Finance.
Thailand still affordable and good for those looking for love
While Thailand received middling results in most categories, it did score highly in the Relationships & Romance category, where it was ranked 4th best destination for dating and finding love.
Despite its drop in the rankings, Thailand also scored highly when it came to expats recommending Thailand to friends and colleagues.
It also scored well in the Personal Finance category (13) where respondents were asked to rate their financial situation and their disposable household income with regard to covering all living expenses.
Some of the categories where Thailand scored poorly included Safety & Security (45), Digital Life (46), Economic & Job Security (37) and Language Barrier (44).
Overall Taiwan was ranked as the best destination for expats due to the high quality of life, good personal finances and great working life. It ranked best in the world for affordable and high quality healthcare.
Nearly all expats in Taiwan rate the quality (92%) and affordability (89%) of medical positively – no other destination has performed better for either factor since Taiwan entered the survey.
“The health insurance system and safety are what makes Taiwan attractive to me,” said an Indian expat.
A Canadian expat living in Taiwan told InterNations: “I love that Taiwan is safe like Japan but with a wild freedom like Vietnam.”
The biggest obstacle for expats living in Taiwan was the language barrier, with more than 50 percent of expats reporting difficulties in both learning and communicating in Mandarin.
In second place was Vietnam, which has been the subject of increased discussion (both good and bad) amongst expats commenting on the Thaivisa forum and Facebook page.
Of Vietnam, the survey said: “There seems to be no better place for finances and working abroad than Vietnam: it ranks first in both indices.
“Together with the improved ratings for quality of life and ease of settling in, this means it reaches the top 3 for the first time, ranking second overall”.
Vietnam also scored favourably for friendliness, with a Swiss expat saying “the people are amazing”.
However, pollution was a concern for a British expat: “I don’t like the traffic, pollution, and bad public transport systems”.
Portugal, which was ranked 3rd overall was the country that respondents are most likely to recommend for expat life. It also scored well for feeling at home and friendliness, while the local attitude towards foreign residents was also good.
The release of the survey comes at a time when Thaivisa has received an increasing number of posts from expats who claim they are considering their future in Thailand and from others who are actively looking to relocate to other countries or return to their home country.
How many of those users posting actually make the move to pastures new is unclear but there are active discussions taking place on the forum for expats in Thailand considering moving to the likes of Vietnam, Latin America and Europe.