Most Nepalis in Thailand mainly live in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and in the popular resort towns of Phuket, Pattaya and Chaweng Beach on Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. Around 4,000 to 5,000 Nepalis work in Thailand, according to the Nepalese embassy in Bangkok. They tend to engage in specific types of work such as clerks in tailor shops, as ready-made garment makers, and as ‘trinket-wallahs’ at the beach resorts. A few of them also run small restaurants. Not all the Nepalis in Thailand are legal residents. Over 90 percent of all them are refugees from Burma and have been hiding and surviving in Thailand as displaced persons on odd-jobs such as shop-boys and waiters.
The number of Nepalis receiving Thailand visas in the first eight months of 2009 has increased by 30 percent as compared to the figures of same period in the previous year. More than three dozen Nepali drug traffickers are serving long term jail sentences in Thai prisons including life imprisonment. Ethnic Nepalis in Thailand have been quoted as high as 150,000, mostly of Myanmar nationality, ironically their ties to Nepal are weak despite retaining the languages (from Nepal as well as Burmese).