Moving to Thailand – Everything You Should Know As An Expat
Thailand is indeed a tropical treasure on Earth. If you think about the chaotic attractiveness of Bangkok, the vast tropical jungles, some of the most famous street food in the world, and endless palm-fringed beaches, you might immediately want to relocate to this country.
If your goal is to change the routine of daily life and seek new indelible energy, Thailand will exceed your expectations. On this path to new dreams and impressions, the comprehensive guide from IMovingTo will help you simplify your relocation process as much as possible.
Key Insights from Thai Culture
Let’s start with the important things about Thai culture you should know before relocating to this country:
- In Thailand, you might find it challenging to adapt to the various cultural differences related to food, weather, language, and religion.
- Since English is taught as a second language in public secondary schools and universities, you will get around it, especially in Bangkok. The locals will appreciate your effort even if you can only speak a few basic language phrases.
- As Buddhism is the primary religion in Thailand, you must understand and respect its key tenets.
- In Thailand, the title “Khun” is commonly used before a man’s or woman’s first name.
- It is noteworthy that gift-giving is tricky as while flowers, chocolates, and fruit are acceptable, there are restrictions on how they should be wrapped and which flowers are appropriate to use.
- Furthermore, when dining with a Thai family, you may not find knives at the dinner table as forks, spoons, or chopsticks are used instead.
Healthcare System in Thailand
Medical insurance is legally mandatory for expats in Thailand. Considering that the public healthcare system is underfunded and understaffed, expats generally choose private healthcare instead as it’s more affordable and typically of higher quality.
In Thailand, there are around 300 private hospitals. The majority of medical professionals speak English and have Western-style training. Although emergency and special procedures are frequently expensive, general care for private consumers is excellent and reasonably priced.
Thailand has many pharmacies, particularly in Bangkok and other cities and towns. A pharmacy can be recognized by its white sign with a green cross. Most drugs are available without a prescription, and most pharmacists can communicate in English.
Keep in mind that you are advised not to drink tap water in Thailand due to the health risks. Additionally, you should obtain all necessary vaccinations before moving and keep them up to date because Westerners are more susceptible to tropical viruses and infections.
How to Find Accommodation in Thailand
The cost of living in Thailand is significantly lower than in Western countries. Therefore, as an expat, you will discover that your money goes much further. As a result, you have a better chance of being able to afford to live in rich or middle-class neighborhoods.
If you prefer a sea view, coastal areas can be more expensive. Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Bangkok are the three most inhabited regions in Thailand by expats.
Buying real estate in Thailand is generally difficult for foreigners. Fortunately, Thailand has a strong rental market and a variety of websites to support people who are considering moving there. Thailand Property, Siam Real Estate, and FazWaz are a few examples. The most popular expat areas in Bangkok are Ekkamai, Sathorn, Thong, Lo, Ari, etc.
In Thailand, there are no restrictions on who can work as a real estate agent, so if you are considering hiring one, thoroughly check them out and verify their credentials and recommendations.
Brief Info About the Climate in Thailand
Due to its location between substantial land and water areas, Thailand is prone to both summer and winter monsoons. The average temperature of Thailand varies between 18 and 38 °C, providing a hot and humid climate.
Thailand experiences rain for 6 months, from May to October, and this is referred to as the “wet season.” After the wet season, there are 3 months of dry weather with calming breezes and 3 months of heat from February to April.
With average temperatures, clear, blue waters, a slight chance of rain, and a stunning environment that is lush from the previous monsoon season, November through February generally have the coolest, most comfortable weather.
Visa Types & Working Conditions
If you want to work legally in Thailand, you need a work permit. The reason is that expats aren’t allowed to work without a work permit and a Non-Immigrant B visa.
You can apply for your work permit and B Visa at the immigration office while you are already in Thailand. Still, the best way to proceed is to apply to your employer. However, there is an enumeration of documents you will be required to present:
- A passport photo
- Medical certificate
- Letter of employment
- Proof of degrees
- Your address in Thailand
- Documentation proving your employment.
Foreigners are allowed to perform the job mentioned in their work permit. However, there is a list of certain occupations expats are not allowed to engage in. For instance, exports and wholesale trading are prohibited, along with the business of agriculture, providing services, and entrepreneurship.
A 12-month Thai work permit is available for up to $90. Every year, as long as you maintain your employment, you will need to renew your visa, and no matter how long you stay in Thailand, you must make an online check-in at the Thai Immigration Department every 90 days for the duration of your stay.
Cost of Living in Thailand
Despite rising consumer goods and other living costs, Thailand is still recognized for its low cost of living. In contrast to western countries, foreigners still perceive their financial situation as satisfactory.
Shopping for groceries and street food, as well as lodging, transportation, and clothing costs, are highly affordable. In Thailand, even public transportation is reasonably priced. A monthly pass for public transportation only costs $27.
In Thailand, bicycles and motorbikes are the two most popular forms of mobility. If you decide to drive, a quarter of a gallon of gas will cost you about $0.86. Tuk-tuks usually cost less than $1 for a quick ride through the city.
How to Manage Finances in Thailand?
In Thailand, opening a bank account might be a challenging process. To verify your ID for the purpose of opening a bank account, you will generally need to visit the bank in person. Depending on the specific circumstances, you will initially need a passport and either a Non-immigrant B Visa or another kind of long-stay visa.
You might need to bring any of the following documents depending on the bank you choose:
- Proof of permanent address in Thailand.
- Letter of reference from your employer or education institution.
- A reference letter from a native bank or embassy.
Thailand has a branch-specific banking culture. It’s usually worth trying other branches if you are having problems opening an account at one branch, as two branches of the same bank may have entirely different requirements.
Bangkok Bank, Kasikornbank, and SCB are well-known Thai banks among foreign residents. To understand the differences between each bank, including currency conversion rates, transaction fees, and expenses to send money abroad, consider your alternatives before moving to Thailand.
Special Laws to Be Aware Of
- Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with extremely strict laws (lese-majeste), under which people can face long prison sentences for insulting its monarchy.
Police constantly look into lese-majeste complaints, which can be made by everyone against anyone. You should take into account not to criticize Thailand’s monarchy under any circumstances or even not to refrain from posting anything online.
- While the legal drinking age varies from 16 to 18 in Europe, you should be 20 years old to buy alcohol lawfully in Thailand. The Thai police have made it clear they will no longer tolerate underage drinking.
- The Thai government advises visitors and foreign expats to always have their passports on them when in Thailand. If it is associated with the risk that you might lose this important document, just make sure you have a clear, printed photocopy of your passport photo page, Thai VISA page, or Thai entrance stamp. Additionally, you can save images of these pages to your phone.
- If you stay in Thailand above the time frame allowed by your visa, you will be penalized $15 per day, up to a maximum of $600. Furthermore, suppose the authorities discover you wandering around Thailand in violation of your visa. In that case, you may be subject to more severe punishments, such as a temporary ban from entering Thailand again.
Pros & Cons of Living in Thailand
The breathtaking sceneries all around Thailand are undoubtedly one of the advantages of living there. It offers a great diversity of scenery, including tropical jungles, majestic mountains, and gorgeous sandy beaches.
With a blend of ancient and modern architecture, the cities also provide a unique beauty. There are also many bustling, colorful marketplaces and lovely gardens to enjoy in cities. Thailand’s natural magnificence is continuously accessible to expats willing to move there.
Thai cuisine masterfully combines sweet, spicy, salty, and sour flavors. With loads of veggies, the majority of dishes are made with natural ingredients and can be extremely healthful. In reality, most restaurants here provide a wide variety of meals made with vegetables, making it relatively simple to eat for vegetarians here.
Many restaurants will provide “Thai spice” and “foreigner spice,” so you may select the level of heat that is right for you, as some Thai food can be quite spicy.
High-quality entertainment industry
There are many options to have fun and experience the local culture in Thailand. Thailand is widely known for having a vibrant nightlife that includes various clubs and beach parties. Thailand also hosts a number of regional festivals and events all year long.
Along with more outdoor activities like hiking and scuba diving, there are more cultural attractions like old temples and art galleries to explore. In the off-season, when there are fewer tourists, expats frequently discover that they may benefit from these activities at a discount.
Depending on where you are in Thailand, the Thai rainy season can bring unstable weather and a lot of rainfall, with the majority occurring between August and October. It may be tough to make plans and get around due to thunderstorms and heavy downpours.
When expats decide to move to Thailand, they frequently discover they need to hire an interpreter immediately. Although almost everyone in urban areas can communicate in some kind of English, most native speakers are not proficient.
Being unable to communicate in Thai can feel uncomfortable as the majority of businesses and the government of the nation communicate in Thai.
Since Thailand is considered the tropical heaven of the Earth, moving there feels like integrating with rich cultural diversity, an engaging environment, and a development-oriented society.
If you belong to the ranks of people who are fascinated by the magical features of Thailand and want to seek new adventures in this country, then IMovingTo will guide you to overcome any obstacles associated with the moving process.