1 August 2016

Loc Phan Thanh - Expat in Bangkok, Thailand

Loc Phan Thanh - Expat in Bangkok, Thailand

Loc Phan Thanh also known as Lucky to his closest friends and relatives is a 28-year-old expatin Thailand. He was born and raised in Vietnam and he first relocated to Thailand to study Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) from 2004 to 2009. He then left Thailand for about two years, and then came back in 2011 to work.

During the interview, Mr. Phan was asked about why he chose to return to Thailand when there are other Asian countries to consider, “I’m familiar with Bangkok and other parts of Thailand,” he said. As comfortable as he is of the places in his host country, the same cannot be said for its locals, because they have different beliefs and culture. Throughout his expat life, Mr. Phan had a difficult experience in Thailand. When asked to explain, he simply answered, “Thailand don’t use much English, although tourism is their main industry. I would agree with some opinions that Thailand is ultra-nationalism.”


When expats come to live in a new country, it can be hard at first, especially when culture and beliefs of their host country is very different from their home country. One of the many dilemmas that an expat will face when in a new country is culture shock and language barrier. However, there are ways to fight these impasses. Reading online articles about international living can inspire you to improve your present predicament. Additionally, try to meet new friends through local clubs and associations in your host country, this is a good way to feel more comfortable in your new country of residence.


Find out more about Loc Phan Thanh’s experiences in Thailand in his full interview below.

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Saigon, Vietnam

Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: I studied my BBA in Bangkok from 2004 to 2009, then I left Thailand for a short period, I came back and work in Thailand from 2011.

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Bangkok, Thailand

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I’m familiar with Bangkok and other parts of Thailand.

Q: How long have you been living in Thailand?

A: If counted from 2004, it’s been almost 10 years.

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Thailand?

A: Its culture and people.

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in Thailand? What was your experience with these?

A: Visa and permit are difficult for neighboring country, I could say. Surprisingly, Expats from Western countries or USA are more welcome and easier to obtain permit.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: Living alone.

Q: How does the cost of living in Thailand compared to your home?

A: A cup of coffee costs 1.2-4 USD. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant is about 1.5-3 USD, and in an expensive restaurant is 15 USD up. Local wine can be from 3.5 USD. Cigarettes are also from 3.5 USD.

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Thailand?

A: Look similar in beginning, but very different.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Thailand?

A: Positive: Live on my own, manage my life—more leisure and comfortable life. Thailand has a bit better than Vietnam in term of infrastructure, income, services, facilities. Negative: Thailand don’t use much English although tourism is their main industry. I would agree with some opinions that Thailand is ultra-nationalism.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Not really.

Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I travel back and forth once a month.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes, I shall go back to Vietnam soon.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Discrimination.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in Thailand?

A: Just be expat to earn expat benefits as Thai people don’t want to lose their face, so that they will welcome you. Be friends with some Thai, then you gain the benefits of locals.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Thailand?

A: Thaivisa.com