Living in Udon
is one of the most preferred places for foreigners to live in
Historically the city
developed strong ties to Western Culture during the Vietnam War.
The airport as well as enhancements to the main road between Bangkok
and Udon Thani was built here by the Americans to support the war
effort. Many of the service men from America and its allies found
wives here. The local economy prospered and many shop keepers learned
to speak English to serve these new customers. In the past forty
years more and more English speaking foreigners have moved here
to enjoy their life. Many have come to retire and find a new life
and young wife in Udon Thani.
Thailand has gained a
well-known reputation throughout the world for its gracious hospitality.
The friendliness of its people and the diverse nature of Thai culture
make both short term visitors and those wishing to stay on a more
permanent basis feel at home here.
Udon Thani is in the
NE of Thailand in the region known as Isaan. The weather in Udon
Thani year round is much more pleasant than Bangkok. Year round
the humidity in Udon Thani is much lower than in Bangkok and the
temperature is usually one or two degrees cooler than in Bangkok
with the evenings very pleasant year round. There are two “seasons”.
From May until September is the “rainy” season, but
that does not mean it rains all the time. More typically for 3 –
5 days in a week there may be rain for one or two hours each day.
From October until April is the “dry” season –
mostly sunny every day with cooler temperatures. Most tourists tend
to arrive between November until March to enjoy the really beautiful
There is one very large
four story shopping complex in the center of the city, UD Plaza.
This shopping center also has movie theaters and a bowling alley.
A new shopping center UD Town is being built near the night market
and train station. In addition, an outlet mall for international
branded products is also being built on the East side of Ring Road.
Tesco Lotus, Carrefour
and Big C all have large shopping complexes located around Ring
For home remodeling,
there are four main international stores, all located around Ring
Road. Home Pro, Home Mart, Global House, and Tool Pro.
Furnishings can be acquired
at three main international stores located around Ring Road, Index
Mall, Imprezion, and St. Mall. Also there are a number of Thai furniture
stores on Ring Road as well as in the central city.
Udon Thani boasts one
internationally acclaimed hospital, AEK Udon Hospital. Patients
from all over SE Asia frequent this hospital. All doctors speak
English as well as most medical staff. There are also two other
private hospitals and oncology center which offer excellent service
at a fraction of the price of Western medical care. Please check
with your insurance carrier to determine how medical expenses in
Thailand are reimbursed.
There are an abundant
number of restaurants located on all the main streets throughout
the city as well as around Ring Road. Most restaurants have about
half of their tables out doors under the stars and also have a separate
seating area under a roofed area. Lake Front dining is available
around Nong Prajak Park and Nong Lek and Nong Sim. A favorite restaurant
is Chom Chan Beer Garden located on the West side of town on Ring
Road. Top performing bands from Bangkok play here about one night
each month. There are also a number of Disco’s within the
city for those who wish to party late into the night.
Thai and Western food
is available, however some restaurants serve only Thai food. Locally
brewed beer is available at very reasonable prices (Chang, Leo,
Singa) typically cost only 70 to 90 Baht for a 640 ml bottle. Typical
price for a couple ordering salad or soup, rice, two entrees plus
several drinks would be 600 to 800 Baht.
There are four 9 hole
golf courses in Udon Thani plus one driving range. About 50 km (30
miles) North to Nongkhai lies a Championship grade 18 hole course,
Victory Park Golf and Country Club. Also about 100 km (60 miles)
to the South in the city of Khon Kaen, there are two 18 hole courses.
Many English speaking foreigners find friends on the golf courses.
A good opportunity to get away from the wife or girlfriend is to
go for a few days with your buddies to surrounding cities for a
few days of golf and whatever???
Udon Thani Cost
One of the most attractive
features of Udon Thani is its low cost of living. Examples are provided
below for a moderate budget and some ideas for a more enhanced lifestyle.
Purchase 3 BR 2 Bath
single story house complete with 2 air conditioners. Cost about
2 million Baht. No property tax ever. Insurance 10,000 Baht per
Purchase one motorbike
new about 50,000 Baht and one pickup truck new about 500,000 to
700,000 Baht (or used for lower cost). Car insurance costs about
20,000 Baht per year.
Monthly expenses –
||7000 Baht (assumes
eat out two nights per week)
Total 40,000 Baht
Very nice homes can be
purchased in the 3.5 million and up price range.
Automobiles are more
expensive here than pick up trucks. A fully equipped Honda Accord
for example might cost 1.4 million Baht.
Maids are available for
six day per week service eight hours per day for about 6000 Baht
per month assuming the maid lives in her own house with her family.
The maid will wash and iron your clothes, clean the house, wash
the dishes, wash the cars, maintain the yard. Some houses are equipped
with maid quarters (separate sleeping area and toilet with outside
access). Live in maids are paid less (2000 to 3000 Baht per month)
since they have room and board included.
Pools can be added to
a home if there is large enough land. Small pool would cost about
600,000 Baht and larger one 1 million Baht and up. Also remember
that the electric bill will go up to run the pump about 2000 Baht
per month, 500 Baht per month extra for water which evaporates,
1000 Baht per month for pool chemicals.
Air conditioning if used
extensively can cost 6000 to 8000 Baht per month.
frequency of eating out, vacation trips etc. can all add to the
monthly average cost.
Local beer, which is
quite good, is available in 12 bottle (640 ml each) cases for prices
between 400 to 480 Baht. Scotch whiskey is about the same price
as in Western countries after making a currency conversion.
All things considered,
Udon Thani is still very inexpensive compared to Western standards.
The above information
was based the best information available to R & R Thai Corporation
Company Limited and on prices in effect as of the latest update
to this web site, December 2009. Prices can change rapidly based
on any number of events. All readers of this web site need to determine
for themselves all the prices based on their own information before
making any decision to move to Udon Thani or Thailand.