FAQ: Living and Working in Thailand
Bangkok has no doubt become a tech hub in Asia, causing an influx of tech professionals from all over the world. If you are curious about a move to Thailand yourself, this article is a good place to start your research. We've set out to answer a few key questions to make your transition into the expat life as straightforward as possible. So first things first...
Is Bangkok a safe place to live?
Thai culture in general is extremely friendly. If you approach a Thai person with kindness, they will give the same back to you. Additionally, they treat expats with a high amount of respect and it would be very rare to hear otherwise. With that said, any big city in the world has small amounts of crime such as pickpockets or tourist scams. This unfortunately can’t be avoided - but in day to day life living and working here, coming across this type of behaviour is extremely rare.
How do most people get to and from work?
It is possible that you picture moving to Thailand and your morning commute be a motorbike taxi or tuk tuk, which makes local expats laugh! Yes of course you can choose those options should you wish, however Bangkok actually has a very extensive transit system including a skytrain (BTS), subway system (MRT), taxi services, and public busses running frequently. It is common that if you don’t work within walking distance to your office, you’ll likely live close to either a BTS or MRT line that will allow you to have an easy and fast commute to work.
How do would I go about finding an apartment?
Finding an apartment in Bangkok is usually a quick and painless process once you know where you would like to live (ie - you know where your office is, and what transit line would be best based on this). Often expats will work with a local real estate agent to find their desired accommodation. Finding an agent that speaks your native language certainly eases concern throughout the process. If you’d like to do the legwork yourself, there are popular online portals where you can find accommodations listed directly through the landlord (DD Property, Craigslist, Thailand Property). Should you have the luxury of being in the region before securing your space, simply walking around your area of choice and finding a building that you like is a popular option. Building managers are often on-site and can show you available units the same day.
What are the best areas to live in?
There are many areas in Bangkok that cater to the expat community. Your area of choice will of course depend on where your office is located, what your lifestyle is like, and what you do for fun. Being close to a transit line should be top of mind when looking for a place to live. Again, if you have the option to spend some time in the areas before making a decision, grab a coffee and take a stroll to see what the areas are really like.
A couple popular areas to get your search started:
Sathorn - full of luxury hotels and upscale dining, popular among mature business professionals.
Sukhumvit - great coffee shops, lively nightlife, hip stores and restaurants.
Thonglor - very trendy, central location, great nightlife.
Ekkemai - just one BTS stop away from Thonglor, but real estate is more affordable.
Culture Trip has created a guide to “The 10 Coolest Neighbourhoods in Bangkok”, and there are many similar guides online to find the vibe and price range you are looking for.
What’s the deal with healthcare and health insurance?
In Bangkok, there are excellent international hospitals and clinics that offer services at a Western standard. This includes dental and cosmetic procedures. The cost for treatments is usually lower than you would expect. However for obvious reasons, it is extremely important to have a health insurance policy in place when you are living and working abroad, just as you would at home. There is a plethora of information available online depending on what your specific needs are. Below are some of the popular options among the expat community in Thailand. These companies can be very helpful in answering specific questions that you may have:
Do I need vaccinations before moving to Bangkok?
About 4-6 weeks before departure it is recommended to at least have a conversation with a travel doctor to discuss what areas you plan to travel to. This will ensure all your childhood vaccines are up to date, and in some cases you may need to get a booster shot. Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines are the most common suggested if you are travelling to Thailand. Living in Bangkok reduces your risk for Rabies or Malaria. However if you plan to go on weekend trips to rural areas or other countries, keep this in mind so you are prepared in these instances. This will allow you to enjoy even the most rural (and beautiful!) areas of SE Asia with peace of mind.
A detailed overview of how income tax works for expats is included here. It is quite straightforward, and there are many companies available to assist you with the process if required.
Can I bring my pet with me?
Yes, you can. Many people do it, and it can be a smooth process as long as you plan ahead. A good overview of the steps can be found here.
Is there anything I need to bring with me that I won’t have access to?
It comes as a nice surprise to many people that you can find a variety of international staples all over the city. There aren’t many things that you can’t find here and that really attests to the fact that Bangkok caters to the expat community. There are world class shopping malls, pharmacies and drug stores a plenty. Before leaving home, it’s easy to quickly survey the items you use daily, and google search if they’re available in Bangkok. 9/10 you should be able to find these products easily.
A few things to note:
It is common for people with a larger stature or foot size to face a little more of a challenge finding appropriate clothing and footwear. With that said, it is not impossible, but coming prepared is a good idea.
Packing lists are plentiful online if you are curious about how much others in your situation have packed.
Bringing along items you are used to in your home country’s pharmacy can make things easier when you become sick and don’t have time to decipher new brands or options.
Do you have any other questions about making a move to Bangkok? Shoot us a message below and we’d be happy to help with any questions you might have.