Living in Chanthaburi—Expat Guide

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This complete guide has all the information you need to know about living in Chanthaburi, a beautiful region of Thailand. 

I stayed in Chanthaburi in 2015, working as an English teacher. It was one of the best years of my life as I met many amazing people, had the opportunity to travel around Thailand, and got to save up quite a bit of money because the cost of living is so slow. 

I wrote this guide for others who might be planning to move to Chanthaburi or are already living there and might need some advice!

high up view of chanthaburi, homes and other buildings, moutains in the distance, chanthaburi thailand, living in chanthaburi
Photo Credit: Natalie Castle

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Why Consider Chanthaburi?

When people consider moving to be an ex-pat in Thailand, they usually think about moving to Bangkok as it’s the capital city and the largest area in the country. 

For those looking for a smaller city without so much craziness and noise, Chanthiburi is an amazing place to work in Thailand. 

The thing I loved most about living in Chanthaburi is that it still feels like an authentic Thai city compared to Bangkok, which has changed many of its neighborhoods and restaurants to attract more expats living there. 

The prices in Chanthaburi are also much cheaper than Bangkok’s, so you can save more of your salary and spend less on things like rent and clothes. 

This region of Thailand is also well known for its natural beauty, so nature lovers can enjoy the green spaces, national parks, and waterfalls. 

Chanthaburi is known among locals as being the best place to buy gems like sapphires and rubies. There is also a gem market where people worldwide come to buy and sell gems. 

Despite all the amazing reasons to move to Chanthaburi, my personal favorite is the abundance of fruits. In May, June, and July, the fruit orchards come alive in the region with delicious fruits you won’t get enough of. Mangosteen, durian, and litchi are the most common fruits, but there are tons of others to choose from. 

painted map of chanthaburi on a coffee shop wall, things to do in chanthaburi, living in chanthaburi
Map of Chanthaburi in a local coffee shop, Photo Credit: Natalie Castle

Is Chanthaburi Safe?

Most of Thailand is generally very safe, even for solo female travelers. As with all places, though, be cautious where you walk alone at night. 

In Chanthaburi, I walked around at night without any issues. However, since the town is not as developed as Bangkok, some areas are not well-lit and are therefore not the best for walking around at night. 

Cost of Living in Chanthaburi

If you’re living in Chanthaburi or planning to move there soon, it’s best to know the prices and cost of living ahead of time. This way, you can plan accordingly and make your budget. 

Housing will be the most significant chunk of your money. You will need at least $90 a month to live in a nice place in a safe area. 

However, if you want a furnished place with extra amenities, you can expect to pay $230 or more a month. 

If you’re teaching in Chanthaburi, your housing will most likely be paid for. Most schools provide a basic apartment with Wi-Fi and air conditioning, as well as a few basic furnishings. You will probably want to get some of your own things to make it feel more like home.

Here are some of the prices you can expect:

  • One-bedroom apartment in the middle of town: $150-$300 a month 
  • One-bedroom apartment outside of town: around $100 a month
  • Utility bills: I paid around $70 a month for water, electricity, and garbage pickup. The price increased to around $120 a month when I got an air conditioning unit. 
  • Internet: There are many Wi-Fi companies in Chanthaburi, as they use most of the same networks as Bangkok. I paid around $25 a month for unlimited Wi-Fi. 
  • Clothes: You can buy clothes in the local markets for a few dollars. There are also a few shopping malls in Chanthaburi where clothes range from $15 to $50, depending on what you buy and in what store. 
  • Gym membership: I paid around $30 a month for an unlimited gym membership, which included using the equipment and attending any of the classes. 
  • Food: You can get local food for as little as $2 or $3. There are also more Westernized restaurants where food can cost $10 or more, depending on your order. 
  • Motorbike rental: If you want to rent a motorbike to help you get around, expect to pay about $6 a day, so about $180 a month. If you rent for many months ahead of time and can pay them all in full, the companies will offer a discount. If you’re planning to stay for long, it might be cheaper to buy a used motorbike and then sell it when you decide to leave. 
road to the beach, chanthaburi beach, bangkok to chanthaburi

Best Places to Live in Chanthaburi

If you’re moving to Chanthaburi, Thailand, it’s worth checking out the different neighborhoods to find the best places to live. 

Most neighborhoods have a good mix of locals and ex-pats, but there are also some more authentic places with fewer ex-pats if you want a very cheap cost of living. 

Wat Mai 

This is the most central district in Chanthaburi. You’ll find most things you need around your apartment or house, including restaurants, cafes, and places for shopping. 

It also had Big C Chanthaburi, a huge shopping mall where you can find anything you need. Since it’s one of the most populated areas and has a lot of ex-pats living there, housing in this area is slightly higher but worth it. 

Near the Waterfront Community 

I generally don’t recommend living in the waterfront community, as places are overpriced. There are not many apartments, but several restored houses are reserved for those with a lot of money. If you have the budget, it can be a great spot.

However, if you look hard enough, there are some stretches of areas around the waterfront where you can find great places to stay. 

chanthaburi waterfront community, bridge crossing over the river. buildings in the distance
Photo Credit: Natalie Castle


I love this area because it’s on the other side of the river from the waterfront district. You can find the Cathedral of Immaculate of Conception in this district and Kay’s Espresso Bar, both of which I will discuss later!

It’s centrally located, and there are many housing developments where you can find rental homes and apartments. 

The districts I listed above are the best, in my opinion, because they are the most centrally located and have some of the best restaurants and attractions. 

From the central districts, you get a bunch of neighborhoods called “Moo” with a number. So, Moo 1, Moo 2, etc. The rent is cheaper in these places but very far from places like attractions, shopping malls, and big supermarkets.

How to Get Around Chanthaburi

I rented a motorcycle to get around. It made it very easy to get to the school I worked at and go anywhere else. I recommend renting a motorbike if you plan to stay here as public transportation is lacking. 

There are several places around the city center where you can get a taxi scooter if you’re uncomfortable driving yourself. You can also get a taxi scooter at many different places around the main bus station. 

After 10 p.m., there are no scooter taxis or ways to get around. If you want to go out at night, try to stay close to your apartment so you can walk. 

If you find a taxi scooter driver you really like, you can also get their phone number and ask them if they can pick you up places at night. 

Weather in Chanthaburi

Bangkok to Chanthaburi is only about a 3.5-hour drive. So, Chanthaburi weather is pretty similar in terms of temperature and rain. 

July to October is the primary rainy season, so expect daily downpours. Make sure to bring a very durable rain jacket and some waterproof shoes or rain boots. 

Chanthaburi has very high humidity, so you will probably want to spend most of your time in the air conditioning at home or a coffee shop. 

Temperatures are usually in the 80s and 90s F (26 to 32°C) and can sometimes get over 100° (around 38°C). 

Coffee Shops in Chanthaburi

Unlike Bangkok, there are few coworking places in Chanthaburi. However, there are tons of great coffee shops with Wi-Fi! Most ex-pats come here to work so you can also make friends!

  • Kay’s Espresso Bar. This was the first coffee shop my friend took me to, and I quickly became a regular. They have amazing coffee, fresh ice cream, crepes, and American-style pancakes. 
  • Koff House Coffee Bar & Eatery. I love the coffee menu at this place because they always have different flavors to choose from. They also have a full food menu to order breakfast or lunch. 
  • Rock S Presso Chanthaburi. The Thai iced tea is amazing here. They also have a selection of coffee, cakes, and muffins. 
  • Cuppa Coffee. This coffee shop is great because it also serves all the best traditional Thai dishes, unlike other coffee shops with only Western dishes. They also have a small porch on the back that overlooks the water where you can sip your coffee. 

Things to Do in Chanthaburi

In your free time from teaching or working, there are plenty of things to do and see in Chanthaburi. 

Eat and Drink in the Chanthaboon Waterfront Community 

This area is over 300 years old and has some of the best restaurants in the area, including local food and Western options. 

While you’re here, also take time to admire the architecture. Due to the many different outside influences the area had, the architecture is a fantastic mix of Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and French styles. 

traditional thai food served at a restaurant in the waterfront community, bowl of chicken, noodles, and shop, plate of rice with chicken, living in hanthaburi
Photo Credit: Natalie Castle

Visit Khao Khitchakut National Park

Home to tons of waterfalls and wildlife, visiting this national park is a must. 

From January to March, you can also climb to the top of Footprint Mountain, where many Thai locals go to pay their respects to Buddha. The climb is pretty difficult, but along the path, you’ll see Buddhist faces carved into the rocks and tons of wildlife. 

Go to The Beach 

There are many different beaches in Chanthaburi. The most popular ones are Chao Lao Beach and Laem Sing Beach. These beaches are not as large as the country’s more well-known beaches, such as the ones in Pattaya. 

However, relaxing in the sand after a busy week is still a nice way. Some of the beaches also have fresh seafood restaurants. 

Have a Fun Day at Phliu Waterfall 

Located in Phliu National Park, this waterfall is said to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Thailand. The waterfall has three tiers, and you can take a slippery hike to get to the top. 

There are also a few nature trails around the waterfall if climbing up the wet stones makes you a little apprehensive. 

You can also swim in the water under the falls. Just beware, as there are tons of Cave Brook Carp fish, and they love to bite feet and butts. 

They aren’t dangerous but can be slightly annoying as you’re trying to swim. 

waterfall at one of the national parks near chanthaburi, chanthaburi weather
Photo Credit: Natalie Castle

Go Inside the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception 

Even though Thailand’s main religion is Buddhism, Chanthaburi has a large Catholic population. Many Vietnamese people used to live in this region, and they brought Catholicism that they learned from the French with them. 

The cathedral is the city’s prominent landmark, and the inside and outside are stunning. There is a massive statue of Mary outside, where you can often see locals coming to pay their respects with incense or flowers. 

Pros and Cons Living in Chanthaburi

Not sure if living in Chanthaburi is right for you? Before making the giant leap to move, here are some pros and cons to consider. 

Pros of Living in Chanthaburi

  • Live in a more authentic Thai city compared to many parts of Bangkok.
  • Low cost of living. 
  • Fewer foreigners, so you’ll have plenty of chances to meet and become friends with locals. 
  • Close to places for a vacation, like the Cambodian border and Pattaya. 
  • Plenty of schools, so you can have your choice when it comes to where to teach if you’re interested. 
  • Amazing authentic restaurants with cheap dishes. 
  • Plenty of Western food and drink options when you’re missing home. 

Cons of Living in Chanthaburi

  • There are not as many ex-pats, so it can be a little harder to make friends. 
  • Only the well-educated locals speak English. 
  • Public transportation is not the best. 
  • There are fewer places for shopping, eating, etc., than in Bangkok. 
  • Not as many international schools and school programs (really only important if you’re planning to move with your spouse/children). 

Visas in Chanthaburi

The visas in Chanthaburi are the same as in other places in Thailand. Unfortunately, Thailand does not have a specific visa for digital nomads, so if you do not have a teaching job, you will need to stay on a tourist visa for two or three months and then leave the country. 

Many people border hop and then apply for another tourist visa before re-entering the country. However, immigration has become stricter in the last few years, and they sometimes limit this. 

outside of thai international school, thai flag flying from the school, students standing out on the balcony

If you’re coming to work as a teacher, you’ll apply for a nonimmigrant B visa if you have a degree and a nonimmigrant O visa if you don’t have a degree. I used this website when researching visas to help me get more information.

If the school you’re working with has many ex-pats, they will help guide you in the visa process and make it easier. 

Living in Chanthaburi- Everything You Need to Know 

Living in Chanthaburi is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make! There are many things to do and see in your downtime, and the best part is that the low cost of living lets you have enough money left over to do fun things! 

Whether you’re coming to Chanthaburi as a teacher, a digital nomad, or a tourist, I hope this guide helps you plan a wonderful time living in Thailand!

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