Moving to Thailand
Some expats prefer urban cities like Bangkok over the wider region like Chiang Mai or northern Thailand. Shipping your belongings abroad, whether to a big city or a small town, can be expensive if you don’t look around and compare options, so get free quotes from companies early when moving to Thailand.
Thailand is a newly industrialized country, rich with a fascinating culture and picturesque landscapes. The fact that it is called the “Land of Smiles” helped convince an estimated 1,050,000 immigrants pack their bags and head for this idyllic destination.
Thailand is certainly a haven for fresh starts and sweet endings, with its 513,120 sq km of land offering various options for laidback living or a busy city life. Geographically speaking, it's the world's 50th largest country.
Like other countries in Southeast Asia, the climate is tropical, with marked wet and dry seasons within the year. The country's topography is generally composed of mountainous areas in the northern Khorat Plateu, which is bordered by the Mekong River, and the central and southern areas are mostly plains, crossed by the Chao Phraya river valley.
Thailand, a country largely governed by a monarchy, thrives on the gifts of its land and people, exporting about $105 billion worth of goods and services yearly. Its main export is the fragrant rice harvested in an estimated 55% of the country's available land area. Still the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the Thailand Baht is currently at 30.05 to $1 US dollar. Though the livelihood of most citizens centers on agriculture, it also ranks high in the manufacture of automotive and electronic goods.
"The one thing that can be frustrating is that Thais are very big on “saving face” so if they don’t understand you instead of saying they don’t, they pretend they do, which can lead to much confusion and wild goose chases."- Anna Power, Expat in Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, the country's capital, is the heart of Thailand's political, economic, cultural, and spiritual activities. The capital also has two international airports and four rapid transit lines. Short distances are usually traveled either by bus lines or by tuk-tuk, which is like a motorized rickshaw. It is also where main educational centers, hospitals, shopping options, and the best hotels are found. And just like any bustling capital, the Stock Exchange of Thailand also flourishes here.
Some of Bangkok's most visited spots also include the Grand Palace (official residence of the Kings of Thailand), the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). If urban business life is what an expat needs, Bangkok would have to be the location of choice in the country.
Those who prefer a simpler, more serene environment only have to go a little further into Thailand and find the towns of Ayutthaya beckoning with the mystical allure of its temple and palace ruins, or to Pattaya and Phuket, to frolic on its spectacular beaches, in its crystalline waters and world-class resorts.
There are numerous options for housing in the country: apartments, condos, and even detached houses.
"Thais are generally polite and welcoming. They are nice and helpful as friends but might turn out to be laid-back and less hardworking as colleagues."- Eddie Yii, Expat in Bangkok, Thailand
Any foreigner who wishes to enter the country and stay for longer than thirty days is better off securing a visa from a Thai Embassy or a Consulate-General.
Being a country abundant with customs and beliefs, one should be familiar with the basic ‘rules' before moving. There is no set dress code, but short shorts and sleeveless tops are out of the question, especially in the premises of Buddhist temples. Thai Royalty and any image of Buddha should always be regarded with the utmost respect.
It is also advisable to familiarize yourself with the wai, the Thai version of a handshake greeting, where they press their palms together in a prayer-like gesture and then bow.
Adjusting to a new place can be overwhelming, especially in a country with a profoundly unique culture. But if you're an expat hungry for a change or simply thirsty for a dose of adventure, then you're ready to share the smiles in Thailand.
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