Living in Thailand
Lawyers and Legal Matters
Satellite and Cable TV
Mobile phone services
Driving a motorcar
Shopping Centres and Markets
Sports and Leisure
Health Clubs and Spas
Weather and Climate
Thai Bank Account
Working in Thailand
Good health care is available in Thailand, and the quality continues to improve rapidly, especially in urban areas, Bangkok has hospitals that resemble 5 star hotels.. All of the good hospitals have outpatient services, including laboratories and X-rays with general practitioners and specialists.
Due to the influx of expatriate residents many International Schools have sprung up throughout Thailand. For obvious reasons they are normally located in areas that expats live and work. With the exception of a small number of international schools which exist to provide education almost exclusively for the nationals of a particular country, the majority of international schools in Thailand have a multi-national intake and offer an education broadly following either the British or American system, the language of instruction being English.
International education in Thailand covers the pre-school years to post-graduate university courses. Forty-five international schools and colleges are members of the International Schools Association of Thailand offering education based on the British or American system as well as national systems such as Japanese, French, German and Swiss. Qualifications offered include the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), The International Baccalaureate (IB), the General Certificate of Education at Advanced Level (A Level) and the American Programme (AP). Higher education institutions offer over 270 regular international curricula for Bachelor's and Master's degree and Doctorate programmes.
As with all foreign countries, each has their own peculiarities in regards to their legal systems. While the law in Thailand has to a large extent borrowed from Western 'legalise', the biggest problem is that all government documents are prepared in the Thai language. Be sure to always use a respected and trusted lawyer preferably a member of the Law Association of Thailand.
Local Television is broadcast in Thai language, so it is worthwhile considering the True*Satellite TV or Cable TV operators. True* offer over 60 channels including BBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, HBO, Hallmark, Star, Sky, Italian, Dutch, French, and German language channels. Note: Thailand operates on the PAL television system, which is not compatible with NTSC or SECAM systems.
There are several mobile phone operators in Thailand offering contact deals or phone card credit sytems. Coverage is nationwide but some services do drop out in some areas. Phones and calls are cheap.
Thailand has broadband up to 4MB services are usually confined to the main cities though, but dial up connects are available all over Thailand. Internet cafes are widespread and very reasonable. Most quality hotels also provide wireless internet connections either free or for a small fee.
Thailand offers an extensive public transport system, which is also excellent value for money. Domestic flights are cheap and cover most of the country. Railways are slow but interesting, buses are plentiful and offer a range of standards, VIP a/c is the norm and very economical. Most cities have good taxi services and taxis can also be chartered for long specifc journeys.
Thai’s drive on the left side of the road, same as Japan and UK. City traffic is usually bad, inter city highways are not bad and improving. You can drive on a valid license from your own country but if you plan to stay in Thailand more than 3 months you should apply for a Thai license which is easy if you already have a valid license. Car hire firms are plentiful, all the bug internation frms operate here plus many small local companies, always check your insurance before you hire a car.
Thailand has many top quality Supermarkets stocked with a variety of local and imported goods, some of them open twenty four hours a day. So if it's your favourite breakfast cereal from back home, fresh bread or frozen foods, getting hold of it normally pretty easy.
Thailand is a shoppers paradise. everything from a tooth brush to high quality jewellery is available. Food shopping is excellent with a wide range of frut and vegetables available frsh on a daily basis. Seafood and meat and poultry is also very cheap.
One of the great pleasures of being in Thailand is that there is a great abundance of eating places and the cost of eating is rather cheap when compared to those in Western countries. Thai food has become very popular all around the world it’s very distinctive and can be quite spicy. Most cities have a good variety of foreign food restaurants especially Bangkok and Pattaya which are a gourmets paradise..
Thailand is famous (or infamous, depending upon your point of view) for it's nightlife. Thai’s really do like to have fun and this is reflected in the number of pubs bars, discos, cabaret shows, dance halls, live band venues and clubs set up to entertain you until the early hours of the morning.
Thailand is very hot so outdoor sporting pursuits can be difficult. Golf is extremely popular and Thailand boasts many international standard golf courses. On the coast fishing, sailing, windsurfing and scuba are all very popular.
Many people come to Thailand toexperience traditional Thai massage, other health attractions include spas and saunas, massage parlours and beauty salons. Health treatments such as cosmetic surgery and dental work are also very good and widely available. .
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons: hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity).
Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during nighttime. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round.
The Thai currency is the "BAHT". Thai Baht comes in 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht notes. Thailand has many ATM machines that accept most International credit and debit cards, transactions are converted from your own currency to Thai Baht by the card company bank at the rate offered on the day of transaction.
Opening a savings account is simple all you have to do is present the bank with your passport and proof of address such as a electrical bill or cable bill or lease and then make a minimum deposit of 1000 baht. When approved you will be issued an ATM card and withdrawal is free of charge at any branch of the bank within Thailand. The whole process usually takes less than 30 minutes. Thai bankers are generally quite helpful. Services are varied from bank to bank. Banking hours have been liberalized so some banks are open seven days a week. Hours are usually 9am-4:30pm, although some banks have extended hours till 7pm.
If you are considering buying property in Thailand or even relocating here you owe it to yourself to make sure you have adequate Insurance cover, covering not only personal and health, but enveloping building insurance, house contents etc. This is often overlooked and is especially important.
In order to work in Thailand a foreigner must acquire a work permit and tax ID. To apply for a work permit you should acquire a Non-immigrant ‘B’ visa from the Thai embassy in your native country. The work permit is a passport-size blue book containing your photo and pertinent info.
With a work permit you may open bank account in your company's name with a checking account, get a one-year visa extension, and buy a car in your name. A company must apply on your Non-immigrant B visa. This company must have two million baht capital for each expatriate work permit with a ratio of Thai: foreigner in accordance with the type of work you do. Your salary should meet a minimum wage for foreigners. Each country is different. Plus you must show that your working here is a benefit to the nation and is not taking any job away from a Thai.
You will need the following;
- Passport (photocopies of passport and visas)
- Work permit application forms
- MD statement of health
- Company documents
- Company bank books showing Five million in capital ie cars, office equipment et al (the capital requirement changed on 1st October)
- Two photos (color 4X5)
Depending on which province you apply approval can take as little as a few days to a few months. The latter occurs due to a hesitancy of the officials to grant the permit. Any questions about this delay should be handled by a third party. If you're visa runs out, before acceptance, then you can consider your application as denied.
Once you have received your work permit, you will be issued a tax card with a Thai tax number. Income tax is approx. 10% of your wages and it is suggested that you speak with an accountant in order to benefit from any deductions available to your situation.
Thai values regarding dress code, code of conduct, authority figures and sexuality are more conservative than in a western society. Thai’s are usually tolerant and forgiving and have an easygoing approach to life. Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is controlled by etiquette and also influenced by Buddhism. Thai society is non-confrontational and so avoid confrontations at all costs.
Never loose, your temper or show your anger no matter how frustrating or desperate the situation is because this is considered a weakness in the Thai society, conflicts can be usually be resolved with a smile.
The ‘Wai’ is the usual greeting. The palms of the hands are placed together and raised upwards towards the face while the head is lowered with a slight bow. The height to which the hands are held depends on the status of the people involved.
In case of monks, higher dignitaries, and elderly, hands are raised to the bridge of the nose, while with equals only as far from the chest. Young people are not Waid’ but a slight nod is normal.
When entering a foreign culture for the first time, it is highly likely to make a mistake. If you do so, just smile or ‘Wai’ and you will be forgiven.