The 10 Difficulties Thailand’s Expats are Facing
Thailand has no secrets for you, and officially became your 2nd home? Yeah. Life under the coconut trees seems heavenly, but you will not be able to trick the About Thailand Living team. We, too, know them, these little worries that we meet when we are expatriates in Thailand … And you? 😉
“My internship lasts 6 months, but VISA only takes 3 months?”
“I live in Thailand, and I’m going to ask for my 18th VISA in Malaysia this time!”
“I would like to open my business, but no way to get official documents before …”
10,000 VISAS options, but none fits your situation. Amazed? Do not worry, it’s perfectly normal. VISA ED, VISA B, Tourist VISA, VISA Elite, etc … you can pride yourself on knowing all the existing VISAS by heart … and the path between your home and the Bangkok immigration offices too. 😎
More seriously now, keeping your VISAS and your administrative documents up to date is SUPER important. Fines are raining for the distracted and VISAS problems can be difficult to resolve with the Thai authorities. So be careful!
If your pride had never been shaken before, it will be put to the test during your life as an expatriate in the Kingdom of Siam … Thailand has a long history of independence and has not been tainted by much Western influence. Unlike the neighboring countries of Siam – Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and India – there has never been Western colonization.
Why are we telling you that?
Well, because as an expatriate, you will probably have noticed that the Thais take pleasure in reminding you as soon as the opportunity arises. 😉
While in France the idea of paying 10 cents for a plastic bag scares you, the Thai THEM will not feel embarrassed to pack a 33cl bottle of coke in two pretty pockets. And that passion for plastic bags goes even further … try a little to refuse the plastic bag that the cashier offers you, and face her incomprehensible glance that judges you as if you had insulted her. 😂
In addition to the plastic bags, the Thai people adooore the paperwork. You, a small expatriate, will be surprised by the amount of documents generated for the simplest tasks. Thailand may be a modern Asian country, but trees still suffer from the country’s paperwork … How about 32 A4 pages of paperwork to change a brake disc in a 12-year-old Honda Jazz?
Despite the fact that an American NGO considers Thailand as one of the best places to start a business in Asia (you read correctly), starting a business in Thailand can be 1) difficult 2) an adventure 3) bewildering 4) maybe impossible. Or all four at once.
Why ? VISA, company registration, labor office, accounting, paperwork, etc … a whole bunch of words that will give you cold in the back once the proceedings started … in Thai.
“20 baht for thais people and 200 baht for foreigners? WHY?”
Go to any national park in Thailand and the entrance fee can be up to 1000% higher for farang and tourists. It is a fact of life that is the subject of much debate and that you must probably accept.
If you experience a pricing problem from time to time, take out your work permit or local driver’s license and the higher price is usually waived. But not always. 😅
Women are generally overwhelmed by the number of inappropriate remarks they may have on the street in Europe … and what if we reverse the situation? In Thailand, it is the men who pass on the other side of the mirror.
Young men, do not expect to pass some streets – like Nana in Bangkok for example – after a certain hour without being whistled and followed by young Thai girls. Even if the idea of being wooed seems interesting at the beginning, it can very quickly become boring for our Don Juans. You confirm gentlemen?
Immigration rules, bargaining with the police, business rules, enforcement of rules of the road … the way you approach some of these daily “small obstacles” must be detached and patient. Although Thailand has described the rules, regulations and laws just about everything, they are often unfairly or inconsistently applied.
It is a rather popular tradition that in case of a problem between a Thai and a stranger, the Thai is always right. It is for this reason that one must always be ready to “get by” in all situations.
Dabbing your feet, raising your voice, showing the absurdity of the situation again and again … it will not change anything in the end result. Losing your coolness will not help any situation and will inflame it further, to your detriment.
In short, never lose your temper and try not to raise your voice because it’s just not Thai. 1) They will smile silently while you tell them that the internet has said something completely different. 2) They will discuss the issue with other staff members and answer you with exactly the same answer they originally gave you. 3) They will listen to your speech and think that you are completely crazy without saying it. IN SHORT … be serene.
In spite of their generally veryyy patient nature and their infinite smiles, Thai people do not drive well … even dangerously. Thailand is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for road traffic.
We can even say that the worst ones are the motorcycle drivers. Passing between two trucks, take a sidewalk in the opposite direction, go 10 km without a helmet, have aches on the buttocks because of the broken roads taken at full speed … admit it, you’ve all already gone through a or more of these cases!
In case you have not understood it yet, one of the key words of life in Thailand is “patience”. The immigration office, the airport, the local office, the hospital, the companies … the queues are an integral part of the modern Thai daily life. The premises are veeery patient, you will have to do it. 😬
If there are places worse than the official offices, these are the tourist places. You are already trembling at the idea of showing the Grand Palace to your mother during an afternoon under 42 degrees and … 24,758 Chinese tourists. Come on, courage, the day will be long but Mom will be happy.
So what can you do with these challenges? In most cases, keep smiling, take a deep breath and remember why you came to live in Thailand. Despite the thousand and one small annoyances and inconsistencies, it’s still a wonderful place.