It was our dream for many years to travel the world and then settle in Thailand. We did it. We traveled through Europe, Taiwan, and finally made it to Thailand after a year of being on the road. There are so many reasons to move to this amazing country, low cost-of-living expenses, delicious food, wonderfully balmy hot weather, and a culture of helpful and kind people. There are so many more reasons to make your home in Thailand, but that is a post for another day.
It has been a year and a half now and I have some insight into what we should have done before and during our move. So if you are planning to move to Thailand, here are the 3 things that I wish I would have known before moving here.
Visas, Visas, Visas
It used to be that one could move to Thailand just by landing at the airport and leaving the country every month or three without issue. In fact some people lived in Thailand for YEARS by doing this. Those days are gone.
Nowadays, if you want to live in Thailand, you must have the right visa to be here. This is different for each country, so make sure to check the Thai embassy website for what you will need. If you do not have the correct visa, and leave the country for a visa run, you may not be let back in. Believe me, the stress of worrying about getting back into the country without the right visa is not fun! Get the right visa before you leave your home country if possible, it is the easiest and best way!
Finding a house here is a very different experience
In the States, or in my hometown I guess I should say (because America is huge and each city, let alone each State is vastly different), when you go to find a place to live you are shown immaculately clean, tiny little houses that are being rented at exorbitant rates. Furnished places are practically unheard of. And pets…pffft, if they will actually even allow them, don’t even think about it without a HUGE deposit.
Here in Thailand, finding a house is like taking a stroll through the night market. Everything is inexpensive (in comparison to prices back home), there are numerous choices, and everything is a negotiation. You want furniture, it can be added for a bit more a month. Want a pool, how about having the maintenance thrown into the monthly rental price? Don’t want anything added or fixed? Ask for a lower payment. Owners here are willing to wheel-and-deal to rent you their house.
One IMPORTANT little note here though, when you look at the houses, most often they will be dusty and dirty. In fact, our new house had a dead rat decomposing in one of the bathrooms when we looked at it (the first 3 times!), but when we moved in the house was clean and ready to go. Most owners will not put any time or effort into their rental until they know it will be rented out.
Flexibility is Key
I cannot stress this last point enough. This is key to moving anywhere really, but when you are moving to a foreign country you need to be flexible with others and yourself. It will take you some time to get used to the way things work here in Thailand.
You will need to be patient and flexible when waiting for furniture delivery (though they usually do deliver and install for free) and for your internet to be set up. You will need to be flexible and save a whole day for drop-offs and deliveries, because even though they say they will be there between 2-4 pm that really means anytime that day.
Moving anywhere is a test of ones patience and fortitude, but in a place where you don’t speak the language or know the way things work, it is especially important to be flexible.
Now it’s your turn! Have you ever moved to a foreign country? How about to Thailand? What would you add to this list? What tips would you share about moving to where you live? Leave a comment and let’s chat!