Expats moving to Thailand should carefully research what it means to live in Thailand. There are many reasons why people move to Thailand, here are some tips on how to do it. If you have questions or have tips to share with other expats, post them on our Expats in Thailand forum.
Cost of Housing and Cost of Living
Regarding costs of housing and costs of living in Thailand, one expat wrote that "costs are much lower. We purchased our place 4 years ago for about $35,000 USD. We did some renovation to the unit, like new lighting, put a stove top in and painted. A guy from Singapore owned it before, so we already had German marble floors. In Chicago, where I am from, you couldn't get a garage without heat for that price!!! You can rent some of the units here for around 5,000 to 6,000 TB per month, plus utilities, which could be another 2,000-3,000 bhat per month if you have AC, cable, internet etc.
I think that with electric, water, cable, internet, telephone, and condo fee, we probably pay about 4,000-5,000 for both units. So for about $150-$200 you get all the comforts of home. We do have upgraded cable with internationl programming, broadband internet for faster access, but we run the AC only at night, as you get use to the heat.
However, another expat reporting about housing costs in Thailand wrote that "housing costs are higher here, but we live very close to the city so I guess if we were living that close to the city at home it might be the same. Some apartments charge more than the normal rate for electricity and water and with air conditioning on it can start to get expensive. The Orientations guy told us about that and found us a place that does not charge extra."
In Thailand, as with so many other countries throughout the world, it is a significant challenge to find reliable information that is consistently applied to individuals seeking specific visas to enter and live there.
Here is Thailand visa information for U.S. Citizens, Canadian Passport holders, and U.K. citizens.
Here is information from other expats about getting a Thai Retirement Visa.
When describing housing for expats in Thailand, one expat described here living quarters as "a small apartment. Expats with families and in upper income levels usually go for condos or house rental. Expats can only purchase condos, not houses, at least not in their own name.
Another expat in Thailand found their home "through a real estate company. The location was great (yacht club) but the neighborhood had no neighbors. We chose our second home because many people are living there with children and it is located on a golf course."
What Expats Should Bring to Thailand
Expats recommend that people moving to Thailand should carefully think about what to bring and what to leave at home. Here are some thoughts from our moving to Thailand reports.
When asked about what people moving to Thailand should bring, one expat in Thailand wrote:
I did go to Australia a few weeks back and picked up olive oil, peanut butter, and pepperoni. You can find them here at Villa and actually at Tesco, but they are expensive. I really do not need long-sleeve shirts, the 6 pairs of shoes that I brought over in the past few years, and [no] need for sport jackets.
Another expat in Thailand suggested expats should bring to Thailand:
1. Bayer 81 mg aspirin enough for a year
2. Vitamins you take - very expensive here if they have [them at all]
3. Under Armour/Nike sports clothing gear
4. In home workout equipment (resistance bands)
5. If [you have] large feet (12 area), take several pairs of sports/ shoes. I just finally closed out my 200.00 a month storage locker here in US. You can get all the clothes you need there.
Finally, another expat wrote:
Wish I had brought: more cash, educational certificates, some winter clothes
Should not have brought: household appliances, blankets, Kids :)
Expat Health Insurance
For retirees, one expat wrote that the Medicare website should be explored. Generally, if you live overseas, you are NOT covered by Medicare (with some exceptions for temporary travel medical emergencies)." The expat wrote that Cigna has several good plans for international expats in Thailand, for all expats - not just retirees.
International Schools in Thailand
When moving to Bankok, an expat wrote that "if you have kids, be concerned with the schools and you find the best closer into the city center. If you are just a couple, have some adventure and get outside the city center and you will also save a lot of precious resources."
Here is a list of international schools in Thailand