Living in Udon Thani

Living in Udon Thani

Udon Thani is one of the most preferred places for foreigners to live in Thailand.

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.

Climate

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 weather.

Shopping

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 Road.

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.

Hospitals

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.

Restaurants and Night Clubs

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.

Golf

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 of Living

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.

Moderate Budget

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 year.

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 –

Electricity 3000 Baht
Water 500 Baht
Gasoline 3000 Baht
Restaurants 7000 Baht (assumes eat out two nights per week)
Food 15,000 Baht
Clothing 2,000 Baht
Essentials 4,000 Baht
Insurance 2,500 Baht
Repairs 1,000 Baht
Misc. 2,000 Baht

   
    Total  40,000 Baht

Enhanced Lifestyle

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.

Cosmetics, clothing, 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.

Disclaimer

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.