Lifestyle Migration in Thailand: A Case Study of German Migrants in Pattaya

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Kwanchanok Jaisuekun Sirijit Sunanta

Abstract

This study explores the emerging phenomenon of German migration to Pattaya, a well-known tourist beach city on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, using lifestyle migration as a theoretical framework. The data are based on six months of ethnographic study of German communities and in-depth interviews with twelve German migrants in Pattaya. We argue that German migration to Pattaya can be conceptualized as lifestyle migration since it is a move of individuals from a more developed country to a less developed one in search of a better life. Consistent with the narrative of lifestyle migration, German migrants in Pattaya cite negative circumstances before migration and a better life after migration as their motivation. In addition, findings reveal that relationships with Thai women play an important role in the migration of German migrants, who are predominantly older males, to Pattaya. This indicates that in the case of German migration to Pattaya, lifestyle migration is gendered and closely linked to marriage migration.

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