Do you want to know how to live in Thailand
Surrounded by friendly, respecting people and warm weather all year long?
Let me give you some advice to achieve exactly this and help you avoid unpleasant experiences while building a new existence here in the wonderful land of the smile.
I lived in the center of Thailand for almost ten years now and made my share of experiences. You might call me a fool but I tried a lot of ways to sustain my existence and so far it worked out. I came here with a quite big amount of money and managed to let it shrink to almost nothing except all the assets I call my own.
My experiences and insight might help you enjoy a less adventurous and hardworking living than me.
This little stretch of land I can call my own for which I paid about 700`000 Thai Bath/22`000 Dollars. Now with the lake, plantation, and buildings, it is worth at least 100`000 dollars.
This is where my wife was born and where her family lives. Fortunately here the land is exceptionally cheap, but to make a living, on the other hand, is equally hard.
I came to Thailand at the age of 44 and have no income from my country of origin, that means I must sustain my or our life day by day. To work here as a laborer, for others, is not in the question for me. Now I would be allowed to work. At the immigration office, they told me, I could get a working visa after these many years of staying here. The salary though doesn’t make it really attractive.
Rule one: Be sure to have enough money.
At least for the first five to ten years, you should be able to live from your stock. If you want to build a home and get settled you need about 3000 Dollars in average per month. Once you have a house and car and everything you need the cost will decrease drastically.
With a 1000 Dollars, a month you can live a nice standard and don’t have to turn around every cent. Even 500 Dollars for two people can be enough.
Last year, after eight years, I first went back to Switzerland to make some money. For a few months, work some thousand Dollars and come back to my family. It was worth doing it, as the flight costs are quite low these days and the cost of living in Switzerland is cheaper than when I left ten years ago.
In the years back I tried to earn money here in Thailand in many different fields. First I had cattle, 100+ animals but to pay for labor and stalls and food support didn’t leave me any profit. I also had to fight the jealousy of family members and employees.
When I came to Thailand, everybody thought I am a multi-millionaire, and to have a profit from business would not be necessary. Today I do not employ family members anymore except my wife’s dad sometimes but more as a charity.
This is not a video made by me, but I think it shows a quite accurate picture of how much money you at least need to live in Thailand. What this guy does all day I actually do not understand. There are no expenses for activities what so ever in his calculation. Just to stay in an apartment and have internet connection would not be enough for me.
Rule two: Do not believe Thai people when they tell you they know.
Thai people would lose their face if they said otherwise. Thai people cannot say they don’t know as a matter of tradition or believe or whatever, they just won’t say, sorry this I can not do.
To learn new techniques, you have to look around, and find out who does what and with how much success. Then you can ask these people for help.
Rule three: Learn the Thai language.
The faster the better. Thai people love it when you speak their language. The ones that don’t like it are not trustworthy and try to hide something from you. If you think to speak Thai is impossible, go to a school. The Thai language is learnable, at least enough to not get fooled all the time and earn the respect of the residents.
I think it is disrespectful to live in a foreign country and not learn the native language, what do you think?
You can learn Thai at schools almost everywhere in Thailand. Most people choose a school in Bangkok where there are definitely the most offers but for me, to live in Bankok is not an option.
I personally never went to school in Thailand. I learned while doing. Ok, Before I left I had hundreds of post-its covering my walls with the most important words written on them. I practiced reading them every day and memorized quite a few expressions before moving to Thailand for sure. The pronunciation, which is a very important aspect of this very ancient language, was catastrophic of course haha, this I learned and practiced here in the country. I am still not perfect and my daughter corrects me every day, but for to have a conversation it is ok.
Rule four: Don’t start a business.
At least I would wait a few years to get to know the situation a bit better.
If you have a Thai partner, he or her will almost certainly want to start a business and invest your money. Be careful, the money invested will not come back. Even if you make a profit, the dollars invested do not count as an investment but are lost by the day of spending.
Once there is a profit you might get your share of that but all the upfront payments are not seen anymore. This is casual Thai Style lol.
As most of Thailand’s citizens are struggling to have a higher income, the chance of starting an own business is too tempting. With a few thousand dollars a whole range of businesses can be created. And as I said before, rule two, Thai people can always make a business run and earn a lot of money, at least that is what they say.
My wife said there is a lot of money to be made with cattle, a lot of money. Now I know, it is true, if you have some 4-8 cattle and take care of them yourself and have some experience and knowledge yourself in doing that, you can double or more your investment.
That means though, you have a full-time job and can earn about, depending on the market, 4-8 thousand dollars a year. That is in Thailand really a lot of money. But for me, it is not enough to live with, at least in the first few years.
I had goats, pigs, chicken, and div. harvest farming projects, but at the end of the day, I have to say, to have nothing saves you more money than what you can earn by working your a.. off. I do not regret a thing I did, it was all very interesting and entertaining but, yes, more like an expensive hobby.
Rule five: Get a one year visa.
If you can afford it, I would recommend getting a one year visa every year. There are different types of long-stay visas available, which you can get without leaving the country. Check below for more information.
If you don’t have a long stay visa, you need to leave the country at least every five months. Your credibility at the immigration is a lot better if you have a one year visa. I learned to know the officers with time and they know me by now which makes things much easier. Once Thai people learn to know you they act a lot different and are much more likely to really help you when you need it.
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I think you should check out these crazy fancy flip-flops.
Some more you should know
Many other rules I will not mention here, as for me they seem to be logical, like do not get in trouble with the law, or respect the locals and so on. Get more insight of the Thai customs in the post below.
Last but not least,
Here I explain how I am making a living now.
Our unique guided trip to the southern Thailand
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