What You Need to Know About Living in Thailand

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
May 19, 2011 / 1 comments

Without a doubt, living in Thailand is an exciting and bold decision to make. Most people who opt for relocation to Thailand, either for retirement or simply to uproot one’s self and find work or look to doing business in Thailand, have been to this amazing country previously and been captivated by its beauty, charm, the diversity from the Western way of life and the laid back ambiance of the country. All these qualities may explain why the expat community in Thailand is large and teeming with energy, matching the vibrant art and culture that is found in this nation.

Living in ThailandThailand is one of the countries in south-east Asia; it borders the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma. The capital of Thailand is Bangkok. It has a population of almost 65 million, with native Thais making up 75% of the population, the Chinese 14% and others 11%. Buddhism is the predominant religion, at 95% of the populace, followed by Muslim, Christianity and Hinduism. The climate is tropical, with the southwest monsoon prevailing from May to September and the northeast monsoon from November to March.

The government of Thailand is the constitutional monarchy. The king, HM King Bhumibol, is well-loved by all Thais.

A very common tempting aspect to living in Thailand is the low cost of living. You will not find any other place in the world that has a lower cost of living than Thailand. Living accommodation in urban Bangkok are rented out for around 300 US dollars while in rural areas, you can find rental for a decent place for about $75.

Other come-ons for the expat are the year round warm weather, beautiful beaches, a relaxed pace and a pulsating night life. True or not, Thailand also attracts a lot of undesirables.


Real Estate in Thailand

Acquiring real estate property in Thailand is a complicated and sometimes tricky matter. For your own protection, it is wise to get a lawyer who specializes in this field to avoid being duped into purchasing a piece of property or land that will turn out null and void.

Here are some expats tips to keep in mind when you are in the market for real estate in Thailand.

  • A foreigner cannot own a house or land in his name. There are many ways to go around this. You can register a Thai limited company or go into a leasehold villa investment. Or you can simply marry a local and buy real estate as a couple.
  • Foreign ownership of a condominium cannot exceed 49% of all units in the project. Make sure that you do not go over the allowable figure when you plan to buy a condo development project.
  • The Thailand government issues four types of land title deeds.  Each type has different rights for the owner. Engaging the services of property specialists will help you in buying land that has a title deed most advantageous to you.
  • Deal only with the owner or his/her authorized agent directly. There have been reported cases of fake land titles and persons selling land which are not theirs.
  • Do not sign a contract that has an English and Thai version unless you understand Thai language thoroughly. There might be clauses in the contract that are added or omitted in one version.



Thai Culture

Thai culture can be defined by their customs and beliefs that are distinct from the Western ways you may be accustomed to. These ideals dictate how they behave in public, towards their peers and the level of esteem given to persons they perceive to be of higher or lower status than them. Read about the most common practices that the Thais consider their standard norms of living.






Saving Face

The Thais are non-confrontational by nature and value respect, politeness and amiability in order to preserve harmony in relationships. Saving face is very important to them and conversations deal only on positive subjects. They avoid an argumentative tone of voice or losing temper as this will give them a bad image. Thais always make extra effort not to cause embarrassment to themselves or to others. Even in dire situations, you will see the Thai smiling in his attempt to save face and avoid disgrace. This pacifying trait is based on the Thai’s Buddhist beliefs.







The Wai

The “wai” is a form of Thai greeting that is commonly used but still strictly abide by a set of protocols. It is done by putting both palms together with the fingers pointing upwards and bowing the head. Aside from being a sign of greeting, the wai is also a sign of respect, depending on the height by which the hands are raised and the lowest point at which the head is bowed to meet the fingers of both hands. A junior person, in age or in status, offers the wai to his senior and the senior person responds by raising his hands to the level of his chest. If the social status between two persons is wide, the higher level person does not return the wai. For example, a dinner guest does not return the wai to the waiter.







Theravada Buddhism

Living in ThailandThe Thais base their actions and behavior on the teachings of Buddhism, which holds that a person’s life is not singular and does not begin at birth nor end at his death. He believes in karma, acts he has done in a previous life.

The Buddhist Thai does not crave superficial things and practices detachment from worldly desires. He holds to the truth of compassion and love to attain peace and happiness.

In conclusion, if you are weary of the rat race and the superfluous life and you dream of an escape from America, living in Thailand may be just what you need.





Great articles on Wandering Educators about Thailand include:


Snacking On Chicken Heads: 5 Things You Should Know

Travel Tips: Visiting Thailand with Kids

The Water War on Thailand

Teaching English in Thailand: A Rewarding Challenge



Foodie Finds: Best Food in Bangkok

Thai Enchantment: The Grand Palace of Bangkok

Hidden Treasures: Saturday Night on Bangkok's Khao San Road



Bocconcino: Phuket’s finest gelateria

Phuket's Vegetarian Festival: A Cultural Quirk


Chiang Mai

Postcard from Chiang Mai, Thailand


Koh Samui

7 Unusual Things to Do in Koh Samui



The Best Place to Stay in Trang, Thailand














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