What’s it Like to Live and Work in Thailand

Thailand is a country that comes up a lot in discussions of travel. It seems to have a reputation as a tropical party paradise. A place where you can do things you wouldn’t get away with at home. And the association with the sex trade always comes up as well. We obtain this image from Hollywood, and from days gone by, when, many of the rules would be overlooked for a bit of tea money. Thailand can be a fun place to visit or work in. But it can be very strict in specific ways. If you are coming to Thailand to party, stay in the tourist areas and leave before your luck runs out. But if you want to go to Thailand to experience the culture and work for a little while. You will need to learn what is expected, and you will have to leave your preconceptions at home.

  • Working in Thailand: Thailand is very careful (too careful) about who they allow to stay full time, especially Westerners. Because of this, most occupations are banned for foreigners, and the list of jobs you can do there is relatively short. Most jobs foreigners do in Thailand are management or specialist-type jobs, like engineering or business management. There are quite a lot of teaching jobs available if you have the proper accreditation. Many people choose to be digital nomads, living off a computer-based job. That path can be more complicated if you want a long-stay visa. You will need insurance too, medical facilities are excellent, but they aren’t free. Some companies offer special visa insurance in Thailand based on the method of stay.
  • Living in Thailand: It is the best of times; it is the worst of times. Well, not really, but some things in Thailand will frustrate you to the core, while others will seem too good to be true. The weather is fantastic if you like it hot. Thais know how to stay out of the heat, so there are plenty of cool places to duck into. The food is some of the most flavourful in the world. Thailand is a food culture, and they make some fantastic food. The cost of living in Thailand is low but rising fast. Being polite is essential in the culture, as is keeping everyone’s dignity. But Thailand is, for the most part, a friendly and accepting culture that mostly wants to have a good time. Language is the biggest obstacle as there aren’t as many fluent English speakers as you might expect.
  • Government: The government in Thailand is described as a constitutional monarchy.  There is a King, who is revered, and there is a Prime Minister. Foreigners don’t need to know much about the government; it is a bit of an enigma anyway. But the government is much less invasive and controlling than western governments, which is a blessing. Keeping out of trouble is easy, as long you aren’t stepping on any toes.

In the last few years, changes have made long-stay visas in Thailand more challenging to get. And the covid situation has made a mess of travel and tourism. However, things should be getting back on track soon. And there will likely be many new opportunities for westerners to live and work in the kingdom.

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