Have you ever dreamed of moving to Thailand? With its rolling white sandy beaches, exquisite cultural artefacts, dense green rainforests and notorious nightlife, it can be alluring to any prospective expat. However, whilst the land itself may seem like a daydream, the move can be anything but. There are many different things which you must consider, and prepare for, before taking the leap. This article aims to help you think about the most important aspects of moving to Thailand, so that you can make the process as stress-free as possible.
1. Do I Need A Work Visa? How Do I Get One?
Since recovering from economic crises in 1997 and 2009, there are all kinds of jobs available for expats in Thailand. You should bear in mind, however, that there are certain restrictions on the sectors available to foreign workers. These include in the construction sector, in retail, and for those hoping to be office assistants. The best opportunities, on the other hand, are to be found in trade, hospitality, finance, engineering and various medical technology fields.
Once you have found a position that you love, you will need to obtain a non-immigrant visa before entering Thailand. You can apply for this at your nearest Thai embassy. After you have secured this, you can work with the embassy, and your new company, to gain a work permit. The process to obtain it should take around 7 business days.
When applying for the work permit, you will have to submit certain pieces of personal information. These include a passport, a passport sized photograph, a medical certificate, a degree certificate, a letter of employment and your new address in Thailand.
2. What Accommodation Should I Get?
As with many Asian countries, there are restrictions on expats buying land in Thailand. However, you can purchase flats, condominiums, and houses. Your best bet to securing one would be to use a real-estate agency or relocation company, which can help you find one near your workplace.
There are many sizeable places to live across the major cities, but these can become expensive, especially in Bangkok, with prices reaching upwards of 100,000 THB per month. Therefore, if you are staying in one of the big cities, you should consider large apartment complexes. These are generally reasonably priced, with a typical price being between 10,000-15,000 THB per month. They also often have a gym, or a 7-11 convenience store.
3. Where Should I Live As An Expat?
If you have the choice as to where you live in Thailand, there are plenty of options available to you. The country has earned the nickname of the ‘Land of Smiles’ for a reason; the people are very friendly wherever you go. However, if you are looking for an expat community to move into, they are mostly found in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Thai islands like Koh Samui and Koh Tao.
It is worth bearing in mind that the larger metropolitan areas such as Bangkok and Pattaya have a booming tourist industry, which has resulted in certain ‘red-light’ districts growing. These areas are not very safe, and thus you may want to factor this in to where you finally decide to settle.
An alternative to these areas may be Chiang Mai. It has become popular in recent years due to its quirky and bohemian atmosphere, as well as its quieter, cooler northern geography.
Generally, Thailand is a very safe country, wherever you decide to live.
4. What Medical Considerations Do I Need To Make?
Before moving, there are certain recommended vaccinations that you should have. Full lists of these can be found on your country’s health service website. These will include tetanus, diphtheria, polio, pertussis, MMR, influenza, and hepatitis A, amongst others.
When it comes to health insurance when you actually arrive, you should probably take out a private insurance policy. This is because Thailand’s national plans do not always include expats, and are not always of a high-quality. However, no matter where you decide to be insured, always take cash to a doctor’s clinic. You will be expected to pay up front, and be reimbursed by your insurance later, unless it is an emergency.
The numbers for the emergency services in Thailand are 1669 (medical) and 191 (police).
5. Are There Any Cultural Customs I Should Be Mindful Of?
As with all countries, acting with courtesy will take you far. However, Thailand also has a daily custom which you should respect, so as to not offend anyone. This relates to the Thai royal family; Thai people are fierce royalists, and it is a criminal offence to speak badly of them.
You will be able to see images of the king and queen throughout the land. If you happen to sit opposite one of these pictures, do not point the soles of your feet at it if you cross your legs, as this is seen as disrespectful.
Lastly, you will have to pay observance to the King’s Anthem. This plays morning and night over loud speakers in public places, and if you hear this song, you must stand still. If you are sitting, you must stand.
By taking note of these practices, you can make sure not to upset any of your new neighbours!
If you consider all of these things when moving to Thailand, the whole experience will go a lot more smoothly. If you are thinking of looking for work in Thailand, Aspire are constantly recruiting there. An example of a role that we recently filled was Sales Manager. All of our current roles are available to view via our LinkedIn page, and here on our website.
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