When thinking about moving abroad, Thailand may conjure specific images – from the glistening white sands of its beautiful beaches to its lush forests inhabited by elephants. Its diverse landscape, thrilling lifestyle and legendary hospitality make it a popular destination for expats seeking an escape from the humdrum of modern living. From hi-tech urban metropolises to royal coastal resorts and picture perfect islands, this exciting country offers something for everyone.
While Thailand has many advantages for North American expats, it is important to prepare well before relocating. From navigating the country’s bureaucracy to mastering local culture and customs, there is much to consider before making a permanent move to Thailand.
Expats should also expect a significant amount of cultural shock upon relocation to Thailand. For example, the country’s culture places a strong emphasis on family and communal unity. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and disrespect for the royal family is illegal. It is therefore crucial to understand this cultural context before relocating to Thailand, to avoid embarrassing or upsetting locals.
Another cultural challenge is navigating the country’s complex and expensive healthcare system. A 2018 study by The Lancet found that the country’s public health system is ranked 76th in the world, significantly below other developed nations. This should be taken into account when planning a budget for your new life in Thailand, to ensure that you have sufficient funding for medical emergencies and other unexpected expenses.
Those seeking to retire or work in Thailand will need to navigate the complex visa requirements that the country enforces. Different types of visas are required for different purposes, and the application process can be lengthy. It is therefore vital for expats to plan and start the process early, to allow time to secure the correct visa for their particular circumstances.
When relocating to Thailand, expats should note that the cost of living is generally higher than in the US. This is due to the currency exchange rate, which makes imports more expensive. Moreover, it is often necessary to have multiple forms of identification to purchase goods or services in the country.
Finding accommodation in Thailand can be difficult for English speakers, as landlords typically charge more for foreigners than for locals. It is advisable to ask a local Thai speaker to negotiate rent on your behalf.
Letting agents and landlords in Thailand usually require a deposit of two to three months’ rent. They will also want to see your passport, work permit and proof of income.
North American expats can find a wide variety of work and leisure activities in Thailand, including a thriving international community. These communities offer support for newcomers through meetups, parties and shared travel. However, they are advised to take precautions in the country’s border regions and inland provinces, as crime rates can be high. It is also a good idea to invest in a medical evacuation plan. This will protect you from costly medical bills in case of an emergency, while ensuring that you are treated quickly and with respect by local hospital staff. Why Thailand is best to relocate ?