What to expect when moving to Thailand

Hello everyone,

Is there anything you wish you had known before moving to Thailand? For example, transportation, internet speeds, types of housing, aspects of the culture or social life.

In your opinion, what's the most important thing to know about Thailand?

When would you recommend someone should begin planning their move to Thailand?

What were the most helpful ways you found to get organised? For example, did you use a checklist, were there any particularly useful websites or apps?

What advice would you give to future expats preparing to move to Thailand?

Thank you for sharing your experience.


The most important thing is visa expiration. 30 days allowed . 2 options a is to go to local immigration and extend 30 more days for 60usa or exit country to Laos or cambodia and apply for 60 day tourist visa for 30usa.. Laos is more civilized in my opinion. some people hire agency to help with procedure an extra 30usa or more..
Prior b4 coming to thailand alot xpat videos downplaying visa.. an overstay fee of 15usa per day is applied when exit Thailand. Be aware.

Depends on what you are coming here to do??? Work? Retire? Open a business?

I'd say, if you are a very clean and sensitive soul like me, it's tough. You only see photos of pristine beaches. I have seen trash everywhere. Mold grows everywhere. The houses I've rented, granted I've paid 500 bucks a month or less, are very dirty. I have cleaned A LOT. Driving is challenging, the rules are very different here, and it feels dangerous to me personally. Motorbikes are literally everywhere and they drive all over the road. Also if you want clean food and water you have to make an effort. Just some facts, at least in my experience, that have sobered me up considerably in my 2 months here. (in Phuket):)

You make some important observations.  If one is very finicky and insistent things are done a certain way then Thailand can be a difficult environment to live in.  It will be up to you to create your own little cocoon to live in or to adapt to a very different standard.  No one is going to do it for you.  If you have the financial resources almost anything is possible here but it also takes time and effort.  If ones goal is to live like the poorest Thais then there are going to be some major adjustments in your future.

Things which seem exotic or even romantic on a two week holiday often become unbearable over the long-haul.

I do not understand why some people think moving to a different Country is so difficult. There
are challenges.  The biggest, of which, is a language barrier.  That should preclude you from
moving to a small village in a remote location.  We are used to having high speed internet,
access to medical care, familiar foods, English speaking natives, transportation and socialization.

How you address these challenges indicates how well you will adapt to a new Country.  I decided
that I wanted to live near the sea.  I like fresh seafood.  The sea is a popular destination for tourists.
Some natives will speak English to accommodate tourists.  That, generally, will be a tourist area.
Living in a tourist area is expensive.  Live outside the tourist zone.  10 km is far enough away.  It
is a convenient trip into the City.  There, you will find supermarkets where you can buy "Western"
Foods.  Locally, you will shop at farmers markets where you live.  I buy seafood from the fishermen
off the boat.

Internet, cable, medical, transportation are all available.  There is a Thai Consulate in the City.  I go
to the Naval Hospital Clinic for medical treatment.  The Doctors speak English.  It is cheap.  They
have specialists and state of the art facilities.

I live within walking distance of a major highway into the City.  Baht busses are available several times an hour.  Locally, they cost 10 Baht.  Into the City costs 20 Baht.  There are 32 Baht to a US
Dollar, currently.

The fresh markets are inexpensive.  I buy vegetables there.  They are grown locally so they are

I have a non immigrant Thai Visa.  It is good for yearly renewal.  You, must however, present
yourself at the Thai Consulate, every 90 days.  That is an important reason to live near the City.

I bought a house.  You can own a house but foreigners can not own Thai land.  I set up a Thai
Company that owns my land.  There is no property tax in Thailand.  That is a major cost in the USA.

Do not bring a car to Thailand.  A new car costs 100% duty.  A used car costs 300 %.  I bought an
Electric car from China.  It is not a fancy car.  It can take 8 people.  It has a backup camera, one
windshield wiper, fan, no airconditioning, goes 45km/h and will travel 125 km on one charge.
The car cost $900 US,  the 6 batteries cost $450 US.  Including packing and shipping, the cost was
$1890 US.  The duty was 80%.  The batteries will last 500 charges.  That means minor fuel cost
for two years.

Health insurance for foreigners is expensive.  I reccomend being self insured.  Set aside $500 US
for 2 years in a Bank account.  No procedure costs that much.

Do not bring things to Thailand.  US appliances will not work in Thailand.  Thailand has 220 volt
Current.  Most rentals are furnished.  That includes condos and houses.  It is hot in Thailand.  I
wear shorts and short sleeve shirts.  One pair of shoes is all you need.  You will buy flip flops
locally.  In the City you can buy everything.

There is not a lot of crime.  Just stay out of the City at night.


While I agree with your main premise that being an expat is not as difficult as many make it out to be, I disagree with your statement that locally grown equates to organic.  In our village there is an enormous amount of chemicals used to grow everything.  Herbicides, pesticides, growth stimulants, chemical fertilizers are all used in an effort to maximize growth and output.  All vegetables need to be cleaned thoroughly at the very least.

Setting up a dummy Thai company for the sole purpose of circumventing the Thai laws about foreigners owning land has the potential to end up in tears.  It all seems fine until it isn’t and it is not like they don’t know what you are doing and why.

Believe it or not there are procedures that do cost much more than $500 so I would recommend a little more of a cushion in the bank. 

I guess ones wardrobe is a personal choice.

As you said, however, it is not so difficult and people like me did it without the internet and someone to hold our hands every step of the way.


You are talking about ''Setting up a dummy Thai company for the sole purpose of circumventing the''.
Can you tell me about the dummy company, how to do?
Do you use a profesionnal, lawyer, accountant or others?
In my own country I have my own little one, may be I can transfer to Thailland....

I would like to stay in Thailland, but in my own house.....
May be Bangkok, Pattya or some where else.

Regards, for your answer

I most certainly will not teach you how to circumvent the law of the land here in Thailand.  Google may be willing to lead you down that path but I am not.  It would be much easier to adjust your own notion that you need your name on something before you are willing to live there.

I agree with Villagefarang about not trying to get around the laws to buy land or house...

You cannot "buy" land or house and you cannot "put" in your name. There is a way to set up a Thai company which is 51% owned by Thais & 49% owned by a foreigner, then the company buys the land or house and the company gives you a 30-year leasehold, but the land or house is not yours. It belongs to the Thai company which is 51% owned by Thais. So, do you want to give away 51% of your money or 100% if something goes wrong?  I don't for sure!!!

I believe the same thing can be done with a condo where the building has already reached it's quota for foreign ownership because I have been looking at condos and the real estate agents have told me can put in company name, but I just tell them I'm not interested if cannot be put in my name.

Hope that answers your question... time to move on to another topic...

Hi, setting up a company to own the land is not illegal in Thailand, it is the only way farang can own land. The Farang only owns 49% he or she has to have Thai directors or director for the other 51%, you have an initial lease on the land for 30 years, this can then be extended for another 30 years, and I believe upto 90 years in total. And yes you have to have the company formed by a professional.

From reading this stream I believe the most important element is to ask yourself why you are making the move. I've been on Club Med trips and some people fall in love with idea of working that kind of job. When they wake up from the clearing smoke most realize how unrealistic that idea is. Excuse me, but the guy who wants to move to Thailand a be a personal driver hasn't done his research. Again moving to anywhere should involve research and answering the question - why. I spent two years researching living out of the US (that's my style) and Chiang Mai was one of several destinations. 

When it comes to moving to Thailand in it's own right is like moving anywhere. You get your ducks in a row, initiate satisfying needs, then expanding your life style along with constantly working on that learning curve. As I have learned anything can be done and easily. The trick is learning how to do it easily. Having a trusted Thai friend can seriously accelerate that learning process. Plus the Thai friend can help you to get closed to those wonderfully affordable Thai prices.

I think the best advice is to leave your western ways behind you. That doesn't mean that you get tattoo's, wear elephant pants, and eat with a spoon. What it does mean is for you to develop a satisfying learning curve. There actually is a hotel in Chiang Mai called Shangri-La. (but renting Shangri-La is very expensive, find your own version.)

Hi Bill, what you said is very true as many foreigners who comes to live in Thailand doesn't have a plan. I don't need to go into details as I had seen a lot of cases. They think it's a greener pastures over the fence but landed to be worst. They can't have the lifestyle they had before.

Well, how about living in Four Seasons or Anantara? Hahaha

Actually if one works and have the finance, to live in Shangri-la or Anantara or Four Seasons or Renaissance or Marriott or Le Meridien is not difficult. The rates are much lower than many countries such as Singapore or Japan or South Korea or Europe or USA.

One can have the luxury of life in Thailand at a lower cost but not 100 baht a day.

Thailand is still far behind in many aspects to other Asian countries with lots of opportunities to earn income by doing business. Lots of expats are doing it and be the first to do different than you survive well.

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