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.

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