3 Reasons you will want to stay in Thailand and 2 reasons why you won’t

My path here like many long-term expats in Southeast Asia is all too familiar. You come for a holiday, you enjoy all the new experiences, then you come a second and a third time, just to prove to yourself the first time was not some hedonistic reverie you had whilst on the train to work one grey rainy day. Then you up sticks and move here.

Most expats will cite many of the same reasons we all ended up here.

Thailand’s weather

It’s not so much about it’s hot and sunny, because it isn’t always hot and sunny, sometimes in Chiang Mai you need a coat and a good duvet, often in Bangkok you need a canoe to get to the local 7/11. There are extremes here as much as anywhere, but it is the punctuality of the weather that continuously amazes me. Hot season is HOT, rainy is wet, cool is Christmas time, and you can generally set your watch by the weather.

Now for northern Europeans this is completely alien to us. We never know what will hit us on a June Picnic in the park in London you planned for months, you could have hailstones, sleet or you could get 35 degrees, who knows? In Thailand, if you say you are going swimming on a January day then 99% chance you can expect warm weather and everyone will have a good time.

There are equinoxes here, but as is so close to the equator its hardly noticeable, even many Thai people have to be convinced it goes darker an hour earlier in December and an hour later in June.

Thailand’s Food

If you love spicy food, lots of vegetables and fresh fruit at great prices they you will be in heaven here. Thai food is synonymous all around the world, yet you will pay European prices for the food in your home country, so much so it will be a discussion point for your Thai partner for many years if you take them to eat in a Thai restaurant in Europe.  Thais expect good Thai food for buttons on the side of the road in Thailand.

Thai food on Biz-find

Delicious Thai food

One such place well known in Pattaya is called the Thai-Thai kitchen, they serve street food prices but with restaurant quality, their dishes are cooked in an open kitchen and the vast majority of their dishes cost less than 100 THB, and visitors to Pattaya should always check this modest place out, as a rule of thumb, if the Thais go, then you know its good! They also deliver free anywhere in Pattaya.

The Thai People

Thais are friendly by nature, and are quite open and inquisitive about their visitors. They have a different and refreshing look on life that can really take a foreigner aback, and you will learn a lot about yourself when immersed in this culture. Being mainly a Buddhist country, they have learned in the main to let go of the things they cannot control and accept things for what they are, and just try to smile and get on with it.

Thailand travel oon Biz-find

Accept that which you cannot change

They love family and children and take care of their oldest till the end. The idea of care homes we have in the west frighten them to the core!

The ladies like foreign men, and regardless of what the daily Mail say, more than most foreign men married to Thais are blissfully happy. Some will say the ladies are only after financial security, but having lived here over 12 years I can say in my humble opinion, it’s a lot more than that, and isn’t marriage in any nation a ‘contractual union of two people for better or worse including financial betterment’?

If you are over 100 in IQ and have traveled further than your own neighbouhood in your time, then you will know that what you crave will either make you fat or put you in jail, or the workhouse as my Dad would always remind me.

Thailand is not the garden of Eden, maybe on a holiday when you are in the Hotel spending a week’s wages every day then maybe, but living here is totally different. Here are things that will test your mettle.

Thailand Visas and immigration

If you are under 50 years old and do not have a pension or savings to fall back on, well then Thailand will test you to the core. In the 12 years I have been coming or going and have had 4 passports full of stamps in and out, I must have spent 6 months of my life risking life and limb on mini busses (cramped vans with seats) going in and out of bordering countries, work permits, a company, all types of Visa, education visa, non-immigrant visa, etc. Regulations have changed so much, and Thailand recognise that many people here are just eking their way along.

The charming backpacker who ambled around the beaches for a year and now sells any thing he can get his hands on in KhoaSan Road, is not the desirable expatriate the Thailand Government looks for. Now you will get banned from entering the kingdom if you overstay your visa and or are caught working illegally.

If you are totally resigned to living here now, you have to get expert advice from a Thailand Visa expert.

Thailand Visa woes

Thailand Visa woes

Going legit?

It is very expensive to set up a company in Thailand, even though many organisations are saying it’s one of the easiest countries to start a business. I can start a business in UK for 25 quid and own it 100% Here in Thailand I have to show I have 2 million Baht (65,000 USD) and I will be a 49% shareholder!  You will have to have photographs taken of you sat at your desk in your office, and if you want to physically work you will need at least 2 Thai people working in your business to offset a work permit for you.

You cannot legally buy a car or a motorbike without a visa. You need a company to buy a house but not the land! You can still buy a condo as long as the majority in the Condo as a whole are Thai owners. Need I go on? Opening a bank account (even just for savings) is another rant for another blog!

Driving

One of the first things I do when I go back UK is hire a car and take a long drive, the joy really is knowing that 90% of drivers in UK have passed a test and drive with a modicum of respect for the road. Thailand is feels like the opposite is true that only 10% know what they are doing. Their road death statistics are horrifying and they regularly drift between the top spot and second place on the global list of most dangerous places to drive.

It feels sometimes that mini bus drivers have one mode in their brain which is to overtake absolutely everything they can, even on blind bends and one-way streets. They answer their phones and text whilst driving more than anywhere I have seen, and generally seem to have no moral responsibility for the 12 odd passengers in their vehicles that have not seen a service since they were bought in the late 1970’s.

Traffic Jams

I always wonder why people buy a car and then spend 80% of their time in traffic jams in the big cities, like Pattaya, Phuket, Bangkok Chiang Mai where it is dreadful for testing your road rage tolerance. Bangkok has now the overhead railways and the underground Metro system which are both very well ran and maintained and have alleviated commuting matters a little, but it is a difficult mathematical equation as the railway infrastructures have brought more people to the city over the last decade.

Do you agree with my pros and cons of Thailand? is there something that gets your goat more than driving? What about corruption, bureaucracy, and double pricing?