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Pros + Cons Living in Thailand

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  • Pros + Cons Living in Thailand

    How about living in Thailand ?

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Thailand.jpg Views:	26 Size:	110.5 KB ID:	293

    Thinking of moving or retiring in Thailand? Moving to another country can seem exciting, especially when you’re moving to a country as beautiful as Thailand. Living in a country filled with postcard-worthy islands, lush jungles, delicious food, eclectic nightlife, and interesting culture may sound like a dream. However, just like in any other part of the world, there are both good and ugly parts of the Land of Smiles. There are indeed many advantages to choosing Thailand as your home, but there are also several things that might be a deal-breaker for you. It’s important that you weigh up the pros and cons before you actually move to the country.


    Thai food is incredible
    Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. If you’ve tried famous dishes like pad thai or tom yum, you might have an idea of just how distinct and bold the flavour of Thai cuisine is. Most Thai dishes have a blend of four flavours: sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. The spice can be very intense for most foreigners, which is why some restaurants have ‘thai spice’ and ‘foreigner spice.’ Besides being delicious, most Thai food is also healthy. Natural ingredients are a staple in Thai cuisine, with vegetables and herbs dominating the menu. The cooking process, either stir-fried or steamed, also helps retain the nutritional value. In addition, there are a wide variety of Thai dishes, so you’ll likely never get tired of it.

    The wide variety of housing options
    There’s a great selection of accommodation available in Thailand. From traditional Thai housing and villas to condos and serviced apartments, you can find almost any type of housing that you may want to have. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can live comfortably in a modern apartment near a city centre. However, if you are okay with living outside of the usual metro area, you can find some incredible deals.

    The hub of international culture
    Thanks to the many business opportunities in the tourism industry, Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for expats. That’s why today, the Kingdom is a hub of international culture. You’ll find people from different nationalities who are also new to the country and are looking for friends. There are numerous expats groups you can join throughout the country. These clubs usually have gatherings or events, which will help you to make friends pretty quickly and easily.

    Beautiful nature all around you
    Thailand’s unmatched natural beauty is one of the reasons why it’s popular among tourists. The country has it all – picturesque beaches, secluded islands, party beach towns, jungle-covered mountains, beautiful waterfalls, stunning national parks, and more. Even the cities are unique, with an interesting blend of ancient and modern, as well as colourful markets and stunning gardens. Therefore, living here means you get easy access to all of these things. The best thing is, travelling within Thailand is ridiculously affordable and easy.

    Plenty of opportunities to have fun
    Another pros of living in Thailand is that there’s always something happening in the country for expats to enjoy. The nightlife is lively, with beach bars, nightclubs, full moon parties, restaurants, and night markets open until late. Therefore, you can go out and have a good time almost every night. You can also visit art galleries, stroll through the local market, or see a movie. If you like being outdoors, you can hike a mountain during the weekend or simply relax and soak up the sun on a beach or a resort somewhere in the country. In addition, Thailand is full of festivals and unique events that you surely can’t miss, such as Songkran and Loy Krathong.

    Friendly and welcoming people
    Thai people are known to be very friendly and welcoming towards foreigners, making it easier for you to adapt to your new life here. It’s easy to make Thai friends, especially if you’re in a big city like Bangkok, where English is widely spoken to a certain extent. Most Thais are happy to have a chat with you or to help you in some way.


    Bad traffic in urban areas
    The first cons about living in Thailand is the traffic. Traffic in the country can be a nightmare sometimes, especially during rush hour from 5 pm to 7 pm. Of course, not all areas in the country have excruciatingly bad traffic. However, you’ll likely have to deal with road congestion in most urban areas where expats live, such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai. Fortunately in Bangkok, public transport links, such as BTS and MRT, are pretty good, so you can always rely on them.

    Language barrier
    It’s true that many people in urban areas like Bangkok can speak English to varying degrees of proficiency. However, not a lot of people can speak English well. Also, government departments in the country, as well as some businesses, usually deal with matters in Thai instead of English. This can make you feel alienated if you can’t speak Thai. When you have to sign a document or deal with the government, it’s past that you hire an interpreter or translator. It’s also good to start learning at leas basic Thai before you move to the country.

    Uncomfortable extreme weather
    Thailand’s weather can be both pros and cons. When you visit Thailand for a holiday, the weather may seem perfect. It’s almost always sunny and doesn’t get too cold. However, when you start living here, you’ll realize that the weather is always hot and humid! When the humidity is low, the heat can be pretty bearable, but Thailand’s humidity is high almost all the time. Therefore, it can be sticky, muggy, and uncomfortable. In addition, the rainy season tends to have unpredictable weather. It can create havoc when you’re trying to get around or plan activities. The good news is, you will eventually get used to it. Also, air conditioning is everywhere – at work, almost every shop and restaurant, and at home if you decide to have one.

    Dangerous roads
    Another cons of living in Thailand is the deadly roads. The Kingdom is still among the world’s unsafest countries to drive in. Due to the chaotic streets and poorly maintained roads, there are lots of accidents here. The number of deaths and injuries on the roads are high, despite numerous government safety initiatives over the years. Even if you drive carefully, there’s always a chance that you’ll encounter other irresponsible drivers on the road. Therefore, if you’re an absolute beginner in motorbikes, it’s better to avoid riding one. But if you really want to, always wear a helmet and protective clothing. Make sure to have the correct license and motorcycle insurance as well.

    The farang price
    Due to a dual pricing system, prices of things and services can be significantly different for Thai people and foreigners. Foreigners, or farangs, typically get charged much higher prices than normal. The dual pricing system might be fine for most tourists, but you’ll find it annoying when you live here. You won’t only find this dual pricing system in tourist attractions but also in your everyday life. For example, many taxi drivers will claim that their metre is broken just to charge you an excessive amount.
    Last edited by Micky; 08-09-2021, 08:34 PM.

  • #2
    Hard truths living as an expat in Thailand

    There will be bumps along the way between your visits to the beach, bar and immigration office (sometimes the bumps will be at the beach, bar and immigration office). Expat life is what you make of it here in the Land of Smiles. Moaning about it never helps but accepting the bumps is part of the adventure.

    Visas can be a pain in the neck
    You have plenty of options but the options never quite fit into your line of work or expectations. Between the Non-B visa, ‘Retirement’ visa, Education visa, Tourist visa, Elite visa and Smart visa, along with a few visa runs and trips to your local immigration office, you can usually fernangle a long-term stay in Thailand (yes, we know we used nick names for some of the visas). One way or the other you will need to keep your paperwork up to date as the fines and penalties for over-stays and visa problems can be quite harsh and difficult to negotiate your way around these days. There’s plenty of good information on the net about visas but, despite what you read, interpretation may be different on the day you visit the local office and depending who you end up speaking too. There’s also plenty of qualified and professional visa agents to help you navigate the process. Get a recommendation and choose carefully as there are scams with some visa agents! At the end of the day, ask yourself how difficult is it for Thai citizens to live in your country…

    Recently the Thai government have also approved special long-stay visas for what they call VIP expats, including…
    • Digital nomads – professionals working remotely online
    • highly skilled professionals that can advance Thailand with their skills (and salaries)
    • wealthy global citizens (government officials predicted at one point these tourists would spend 1 million baht per trip)
    • wealthy pensioners – retired rich people with plenty of disposable income coming in each month
    You call it Corruption, they call it Business
    You are a guest in a foreign country. Thailand has a long history of independence and hasn’t been tainted with a lot of western influence. Unlike Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia. Philippines and India (just to list a few countries around Thailand), there has never been western colonisation of the Kingdom. Most Thais will be delighted to remind you of this proud fact. The down-side is that your perception of western efficiencies and customs are going to be challenged whenever you want to do just about anything. There will be times when you will be asked, or invited, to put your hand in your pocket to get something happening – it could be a building project, a visa, getting your accounting done or getting a signature on a contract. If you are running a business in Thailand you’ll be invited to ‘contribute’ more often than if you’re just living the single life here. Be shocked, be angry, be determined to point out your distaste about corruption – it’s not going to change a system and business culture that’s been in place for generations. It’s also unlikely to change much during your time in the Kingdom. The laws and penalties are changing but the customs concerning corruption will take generations to catch up. Speaking of business…

    Thais love Paperwork
    Thais and Thai bureaucracy loves paperwork. You will be bewildered by the amount of paperwork generated for the most simple tasks. We’ve decided that there must be a huge building somewhere in Thailand that just holds mountains of paperwork that will never, ever be seen again. Despite computers, modern banking and the concept of the ‘paperless office’, you will see paperwork generated at the expense of perfectly good trees in quantities difficult to fathom. How about 32 A4 pages of paperwork for changing one brake disc on a 12 year old Honda Jazz? Watch in wonder as the photostat machines and bubble-jet printers churn out paperwork you probably can’t even read and get placed into files that will likely never be read by anyone else, ever. The problems with completely useless paperwork extend from the 7 Eleven receipt to small businesses, keeping administrators employed who process and shuffle paperwork around as a daily chore. Thailand is drowning under a sea of receipts and paperwork.

    Business can be an adventure and very challenging
    Despite a US NGO voting Thailand as one of the best places to start a business in Asia (try and hold back your laughter), starting a business in Thailand can be 1) challenging 2) an adventure 3) bewildering 4) perhaps impossible. Or all four at once. It will also be expensive. Free you mind of anything you’ve learned in the west about starting a business, jump onto Google and find a good local administration person or lawyer. Do it all yourself at your peril. Just because the Thai GF can pour a beer or ‘knows someone’ is no guarantee that things will go smoothly. Running a Thai business never ever goes the way you plan. Ever. Between your visas, business registration, Labour Office, Department of this and that, accountants and your Thai staff, is a wall of red tape, twists, turns and WTFs that will test your resolve. You will also be signing an astonishing amount of pieces of paper you don’t understand, hundreds and hundreds of times. The effort is usually all worth it but you’ve been warned! Dot your ‘i’s and cross your ’t’s and check everything thoroughly before you sign a document. And then do it again. We would recommend consulting a qualified lawyer to help yo get set up with the relevant contracts and documentation. You also need to learn about Thai labour laws.

    Two-tier Pricing
    Go to a small local restaurant in any holiday area and there will likely be several versions of the menu – one for locals and one for tourists – you’ve probably never noticed. Of course the menu for the tourists has the same food listed at higher prices. Then go to any national park in Thailand and the entry price can be as much as 1000% higher for ‘farang’ and tourists. You’ll run into two-tier pricing all over Thailand. It’s just a fact of life, much-debated, and you probably just need to accept it. If you do confront a two-tier pricing issue from time to time, get out your Work Permit or local drivers licence and the higher price is usually waived, but not always. Or start crying, that sometimes works too.

    Bar girls don’t love you
    The 20-something bar girl with the tight pants and fetching smile probably doesn’t love you. There will be smiles, utterances, lots of attention and flirting. But, trust The Thaiger, it ain’t LOVE. Whilst many westerners seem to gravitate to Thailand to indulge in the local pleasures of the flesh, a long term relationship and partner may take more time to cultivate than a round of expensive drinks and some small talk with a bar girl (or bar boy) whose vocabulary will likely range between the cost of drinks and routine pleasantries. You’ll have better luck on Tinder or, heaven forbid, taking a lady out on a date and actually getting to know her.

    But that’s not how I did it last time!
    Immigration rules, negotiating with police, business rules, road rule enforcement. The way you tackle some of these day-to-day little ‘impediments’ should be treated as a single adventure and not be referred to in the future as the way things are done. Whilst Thailand has well-described rules, regulations and laws relating to just about everything, they are often applied and enforced in a way that may appear unfair or inconsistent. Or not at all. The way police negotiate who was responsible for an accident may be different every time. It used to be folklore that if there’s an issue to be sorted out between a Thai and a foreigner, the Thai will always come out ahead. From personal experience, I would say that’s no longer the case but always be prepared to ‘wing it’ in any given situation. If there are going to be police or the law involved best to get someone speaking Thai, the local Tourist Police or someone in the know to help you wade through potential problems. If it’s a serious matter, don’t say anything or give anyone anything until you’ve contacted your embassy, consulate or someone-you-know who may be more adept at sorting out a ticklish, or more serious, situation. The 24 hour phone number for Tourist Police around Thailand is 1155.

    Don’t lose your cool
    Stamp your feet, raise your voice, point at the absurdity of the situation over and over. I can guarantee it will make absolutely no change to the final outcome. Losing your cool will simply not help any situation and will likely inflame it further, to your detriment. ‘Karens’ don’t exist in Thailand because that sort of outrageous, entitled behaviour simply doesn’t work in the Land of Smiles. (It doesn’t seem to work very well in western countries either, except making Tik Tokers and YouTubers rich.) Ask for the manager, describe your point-of-view in exquisite detail on a sheet of paper, get out the finger puppets or turn to Google Translate – go for it. But do it quietly, and with a smile. NEVER lose your temper and try not to raise your voice because it’s just not the Thai way.

    1) They will smile in silence whilst you point out that their website said something completely different
    2) They will go and discuss the matter with other staff and come back to you with precisely the same answer they gave you in the first place
    3) They will listen to your rant and think you are completely insane without actually saying so
    4) They will simply walk away whilst you are just getting warmed up
    5) They will get angry… you NEVER want that to happen, you’ll come off second best every time.

    The road toll in Thailand is appalling
    Despite their generally affable nature, with great food and endless smiles, Thais don’t do the driving thing well. And it’s dangerous. Thailand has been listed amongst the top 10 most dangerous places to drive in the world for the last decade. Currently, Number 4 as reported by the WHO, 2019. If you are in a car your chances improve a lot. If you’re older or female, the odds improve further in your favour. If you are on a motorbike but wear a helmet, you’ve also improved your chances of surviving Thailand’s roads. If you’re older than 24 you’re already 50% less likely to have a fatal motorbike accident. Christmas/New Year and Songkran (Thai new year is in the middle of April) are the times of the year when Thais wipe themselves off their roads in astonishing numbers and all the police checkpoints, Government media releases and changes to laws do little to curb the carnage.
    The biggest contributor to this national disgrace is drink driving with speeding coming a close second. Despite almost draconian laws on alcohol advertising, the message about drink driving simply isn’t sinking in. Attitudes and a commitment to enforcement are slowly changing but it’s a long tough road ahead for the people of Thailand to tackle their shameful road toll. On the plus-side, Thailand has some of the best medical facilities in South East Asia, if that’ll help put your mind at ease much! Having said all that, driving can be quite easy once you’ve got used to the unique rhythm of Thai traffic. The first year will be slightly bewildering but it does get easier.

    Queues(or ‘lines’ if you’re American)
    Queues and waiting in line are just a part of modern Thai life. Whether it’s waiting in the Immigration queue at the airport or your local office, at the local convenience store or at a public hospital, your wait is just a function of all the other systems that lead to inefficiencies and delays. It might be well-argued that it’s not only Thailand where queues have become a part of life but in Thailand, many situations seem quite easy to fix, at least to the person waiting in line (who usually has plenty of time to contemplate solutions). Even though Immigration queues have improved over the past 12 months, you can still be waiting for an hour to get through immigration at any Thai airport if you arrive just after 5 Chinese or Russian charter flights. But it’s usually managed with a smile once you get your moment in front of the camera for your photo and fingerprint ID. So what can you do with many of these challenges? In most cases, keep smiling, take a deep breath and remember why you came to live in Thailand in the first place. Despite the thousand and one little annoyances and inconsistencies, it’s still a wonderful place to live with plusses on all the main reasons you want to live anywhere. Truth is, most of us find our way through these challenges with a bit of patience, grace, a good book or a smartphone with a full charge. We are, after all, guests in the Kingdom of Thailand and it’s up to us to find a way around THEIR systems and cultural nuances, as best we can. There is an airport nearby, in most cases, with multiple flights out of the country if you’re truly aggrieved by any situation. Get some good local friends around you, do some research before you embark on any new task and keep an eye on your rear-view mirror.


    • #3
      Things that can make expats life way easier in Thailand

      Thailand is a popular place for expats from around the world to settle because of the affordable luxury lifestyle it offers. Living here you get to enjoy spectacular scenery, comfortable tropical weather, delectable inexpensive cuisine and low-cost living. Moving to Thailand is also like stepping into a gorgeous paradise if you are coming from a very cold country,On the other hand, Thailand like any place, have drawbacks that might make expats life challenging in some respects. But don’t worry as we are here to advise you on some steps you may take to make life in Thailand easier.

      Open a Thai bank account
      Having a bank account in Thailand will make your life so much easier if you are planning to stay here long term. With bank accounts, your paycheck can be directly deposited into your account. Furthermore, you can make purchases with your debit card and pay your bills online. With a bank account application installed on your phone, you can avoid the hassle of going out and waiting in line to do your payments as all this can be done in the comfort of your own home. Also, most restaurants and shops allow you to make payments by scanning the QR code from your Thai Bank account so you don’t have to have too much cash with you all the time. Even small fruit stalls accept payment through QR codes. Savings accounts are the most popular kind of bank account in Thailand. It comes with a debit card and passbook, sometimes known as a bank book, which keeps track of transactions. A savings account is the greatest option for the majority of expats because it offers everything you’ll need. Bangkok Bank, the largest bank in Thailand has a range of services available to expats. This bank offers the opportunity for foreigners to open a current account and make international money transfers via SWIFT. This feature is relatively uncommon among other Thai banks.

      Familiarize yourself with the culture and customs
      It is advised that expats practice Thai culture and customs in order to settle well into the country. Politeness is greatly emphasized in Thailand so you would want to avoid raising your voice or being too direct. Also in regards to greeting, instead of shaking hands or saying ‘What’s up’, in Thailand you place your fingertips together and just below your chin just like when you are praying and say, Sawatdee khrup (for male), Sawatdee Kha (female). Thais have a strong sense of nationalism and will be more than happy to enlighten you with their unique history and culture. On the other side, you will always be seen as a foreigner in Thailand even if you have been here for a decade. Foreigners often are viewed as different. For example, if you get into a car accident, you will most likely be blamed for it even if it is not your fault. It’s basically seen in this manner. If you were not in the country, you would not have been in the car and no accident would have occurred.

      Learn the language
      One of the most important things to make your life easier in Thailand is learning the language. This is because many people in Thailand cannot speak English. By learning Thai, you have the opportunity to visit a greater variety of restaurants, shops, and less-touristic locations with ease. You will also avoid getting lost or getting ripped off. Learning phrases like “mai phed,” which translates to “not spicy,” can be helpful if you want to avoid having your tongue burn every time you eat. Mai Sai Phrik, which means “don’t put chilli,” is a better way to tell them if you don’t want any spice at all. In regards to working, learning Thai will give you so many massive advantages. It will allow for smoother operations in the workplace. Furthermore, it will reduce the number of issues resulting from cultural differences and most importantly, learning the language will help you understand Thai people better—and this is the key to doing good business here! One of the language schools you can opt for is AAA Thai Language School. This school teaches everything from speaking to reading and writing to more advanced courses.

      Download the 7/11 App
      Downloading the 7/11 delivery app will make your life so much easier! Aside from just being able to order the snacks, this app also comes useful when you run out of certain items of groceries. For example, if you wake up in the morning and want to cook yourself a nice breakfast but realize you ran out of eggs, 7/11 can have it delivered to you in no longer than 15 mins. Or if you have a busy day at work and need to grab a bite before your big presentation, you can simply get your quick ready-made meal from 7/11. You will be surprised to know that there are also healthy food choices in Thailand’s 7/11.

      Download Grab (for Transporation and food)
      Riding in a local taxi or Tuk-tuk in Thailand can be unsafe. And during rush hours, taxi drivers find the best opportunity to rip you off. By installing grab, your experience will be safer, more comfortable and more convenient. With Grab, you can avoid the experience of having to explain the ‘difficult to pronounce’ Thai locations’ to the driver because you can just select the location and pick-up point in the app. Users also won’t have to worry about their safety because the Grab office monitor can your ride and you can also share your location with friends or family. Grabs also offer promo codes so that you can book your ride at a cheaper price! Grab offers around 37 categories of worldwide foods including burgers, BBQ, rice bowls and sushi. Most expats use Grab Food because of its vast selection and reliability and ease to use. When you make your order, Grab food can show you the estimated waiting time until you get your food, the prices and the delivery charges. Once you make your order, grab will locate the driver nearest to the pickup point and have you connected with them instantly once the order has been accepted. With Grab, you get real-time updates and you can also easily change your orders.

      Make a BTS/MRT card (If you are living in Bangkok)
      Having a BTS or MRT card can save you so much time if expats in Thailand want to get around in Bangkok. You won’t have to wait in a long queue especially in an area like Asoke or Silom to get your ticket for a single journey. On top of that, it is cheaper! You can also use your BTS/MRT Rabbit card to buy snacks, food or drinks and a shopping mall.

      Purchase Health Insurance
      It is highly recommended for expats in Thailand to get good health insurance to safeguard themselves from costly medical care in Thailand. For example, if you have a serious injury that requires surgery or cancer, getting treatment and a top-notch hospital in Thailand can put a huge strain on your finance. With property Health Insurance, the insurance company is liable for the medical care costs. As a result, you can protect yourself from paying the full cost and get treatment in a good hospital without worry.

      Download Line ( A communication App)
      Almost everyone in Thailand uses Line to send messages. Although Whatsapp and Messanger are used here as well it is not used as the main method of communication. Most Thai people communicate via Line more and would expect you to have it. With Line, you can text for free, do a voice call, or video call and send cute emojis. Aside from that, you can also stream movies and RV series through Line Live or play entertaining games. There is also a Line Dictionary that users can use to brush up on their Thai.

      To have a good social life here, join Meetups
      If you have recently moved to Thailand and you want to make friends and have a better social life, it is a great idea to join Meetups. With Meetup, you will have the opportunity to make friends easily, participate in fun activities and hobbies you like or build a professional network. With Meetup, you can have the opportunity to build healthy habits by joining yoga, meditation and sports groups. There are also classes offered such as entrepreneurship, real estate or public speaking if you want to make a career move. Otherwise, you can just have fun and meet people who share your interests such as writing, dancing or Photography.

      Hire a house cleaning service
      The labour cost in Thailand is generally lower as compared to Western countries. Therefore it is an affordable luxury for many expats living in Thailand to hire a housekeeper or a nanny to look after children and help with household chores. Getting a maid in Thailand isn’t expensive especially if you get a maid who visits more than twice per week. The leading online service marketplace in Thailand, SAIJAI, provides a wide range of qualified maids that will complete the job thoroughly and professionally, providing you more free time and peace of mind