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7 Must Know Facts BEFORE Moving to Thailand

A temple in Thailand. Thailand's many charms attract thousands of expats yearly. | Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Moving to Thailand is a great idea if you want to escape your current life and start a new exciting one. It’s a wonderful country with perfect weather, incredible beaches, and warm and friendly locals.

It’s called the Land of Smiles for a reason. People refer to it as a paradise for expats since the country is very welcoming towards foreign visitors. Aside from being an affordable place to move to, the positive culture is also what draws people in.

According to the country’s immigration bureau, there were over one hundred fifty thousand foreigners who have moved and relocated to Thailand in 2019. Why not be part of Thai’s expat community?

If you’re considering moving to this country, here are seven interesting facts to know.

1. There are different types of Thai visas that serve different purposes.

The first thing you need to take care of is getting your visa to travel or relocate to Thailand. There are eight types of visas you can apply for:

  • Non-Immigrant Visa - Allows you a single entry. It’s valid for 90 days.

  • Tourist Visa - Allows you multiple or single entries. The validity lasts for 60 days.

  • Thai Elite Visa - Suitable for long-term stays. It grants the holder temporary residency. Basically, you can come in and out of Thailand whenever you want and need to. However, you’ll have to pay a membership fee to avail of this visa.

  • One Year Non-Immigrant Visa - Allows you multiple entries for one year with a maximum stay of 90 days per entry.

  • Business Visa - It’s essentially a non-immigrant visa with added privileges. The holder is allowed to get a job in the country through a special work permit.

  • Permanent Resident Visa - Perfect for those planning on living in Thailand permanently.

  • Marriage Visa - Marriage to a Thai national is required to get this visa.

  • Retirement Visa - This is granted to foreigners over the age of 50 who seek to relocate and retire to Thailand.

If you’re planning on living in Thailand for a year or indefinitely, getting a visa is the first thing you should do. Visit your nearest Thai embassy or consulate office for further information.

2. The country has warm and humid weather all year round.

A photo of a lounge chair fronting a beach. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful beaches in the Land of Smiles. | Photo by Eirik Uhlen on Unsplash

Well, except during the monsoon season when rain is expected, the rest of the year is hot and humid. Hence, always keep a bottle of water and wear deodorant so you won’t die of dehydration or smell like a sweat-saturated tube sock.

If you look at it in a positive light, the warm and bright weather is perfect for beach days. Thailand is blessed with 1,400 islands and islets. Meaning, there are literally thousands of beach paradises you can visit and check out.

3. You can get imprisoned for disrespecting the Thai royal family.

Those found guilty of disrespecting the Thai monarchy can be punished under the country’s lèse majesté law.

The acts prohibited include defaming, insulting, slandering, and threatening harm against the royal family. All are punishable with three to fifteen years of jail time.

Hence, be careful about what you say in public. Our advice is, don’t engage in any conversation about politics and governance while staying in the country. Avoid it as much as possible.

4. There’s a special way of greeting people in Thailand.

Though there’s no exact English translation for the word, locals refer to it as “Wai.”

How to do it: It’s quite simple. Press your hands together as you would in prayer. You then follow by slightly bowing your head. To complete the greeting, you can say “Sawasdee.” It’s the Thai word for “Hello.” It’s a nice gesture and, in a way, shows your respect for the country’s culture and traditions.

5. It’s taboo to touch another person or a sculpture’s head.

In Thailand, the head is considered the most sacred and cleanest part of the body. Thai people regard touching another person or a statue’s head as disrespectful, so as much as possible, refrain from doing so.

If you forget or unconsciously land a pat on someone’s head, you need to apologize right away. Fortunately, Thais are forgiving people, and if you’re sincere in your apology, they’ll let it go.

Of course, this rule doesn’t apply to close friends and family.

6. Most public comfort rooms in the country have squat toilets.

As a way to give you a mental illustration of what squat toilets are like: There’s a toilet bowl or pan at ground level. You’ll find grooves on two of its sides, indicating where to place your feet. Then you squat and try your best to shoot correctly. We pray that you do.

Essentially, you’re multitasking while using this toilet. Aside from doing your dirty business, you’re also doing leg and butt exercises. It’s one way to work out, right? Also, don’t forget to always bring toilet paper and sanitizer while you’re out in Thailand.

7. The tourist areas of Thailand are a hotbed for scams, rip-offs, and confidence tricks.

Scams and scammers can be found anywhere in the world, and Thailand is not an exemption. We’re not saying the country is dangerous for tourists. We’re merely raising caution and awareness.

That being said, learn how to spot and ultimately avoid them. The most common rip-off schemes are tuk-tuk and taxi scams. Some drivers of these vehicles target foreigners and non-locals.

How it works: Passengers are either asked for ludicrous fares or brought to overpriced shops. If you buy something from that shop, the driver gets a small cut of the profits as a form of commission. You can avoid the first scenario by demanding to pay based on the taxi’s meter rate. For the second scenario, you need to firmly refuse the offer and ask to be immediately dropped off at the nearest stop.

Crowded streets of Thailand. Moving to Thailand is a wonderful opportunity to broaden your horizon. | Photo by suzukii xingfu on Pexels

Every country has its good and bad features. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of living there. But if you ask expats who currently live in Thailand, most of them will say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made in their life.

Thai Culture and “Mai Pen Rai”

Moving to Thailand is a big decision. There’s a lot that you need to consider when relocating. Even thinking about it can be stressful. But as Thai people would say, “Mai pen rai.” Stop worrying! Everything will be okay. Get excited and enjoy life to the fullest.

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