Moving to Bangkok | Country Guides | I Love International Moving

Moving to Bangkok – the 2020 Guide for American Expats

Posted Country Guides / September 2, 2013
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

In the past decade, the capital of Thailand has become one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all around the world. This mostly has to do with the city’s rich historical heritage blended with rapid urban development and low cost of living.  However, if your plans include moving to Bangkok permanently, for work, love, or just a change of scenery, take a look at our guide to go through this transition as smoothly as possible.

When Moving to Bangkok, You’ll Need to Get Your Thai Visa on Time

Before you start packing suitcases and planning your life in this Asian country, make sure that all the documents needed to travel abroad are in order. Most importantly, check if your passport is valid and apply for a Thai visa as soon as possible. It would be best if you contacted the Thai embassy or consulate in the US and see what your options are when it comes to visas. That way, you will be more relaxed and ready for the moving day.

Unless you are planning to stay in the country in a tourist capacity, there are different categories of non-immigrant visas that you may be eligible for, including the so-called B (business and work), ED (education), EX (experts and specialists) and O-A (retirees) visas. For most of them, you’ll need a valid passport, a completed application form, and a recent bank statement, among other things.

Once You Move, Don’t Forget About the Expiration Date of Your Visa

Thailand is a rigorous country when it comes to visas. The overstay fees have risen to 500 bahts a day (around $16). Once you are in the capital city, set some sort of a reminder for renewing your visa to avoid having to pay these fees.

Thai Working Visa

In case you’re moving for a job, the company that hired you should help you to get the three-month B visa. The company’s administration should prepare all the documentation, including the letter of approval from the Ministry of Labor. Your part in this procedure would be to take this document, as well as the letter of invitation from the company, employment contract and a few other papers to the Thai embassy and apply for it.

Calculate the Cost of Living Based on Your Budget

Even if you move for a job, you’ll still need some money before the first paycheck arrives. Think about how much money you will need to rent a new house or apartment. In most cases, long-term renting requires two months’ worth of rent as a deposit and one month of rent in advance.

Most people are looking for one or two-bedroom apartments with a Western-style bathroom. Places of this size can be found for approximately $170-$400.

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Don’t Spend All Your Savings on Street Food and Entertainment

Remember that you will also need money for groceries, bills, and activities related to getting to know the new city and its culture. Have some fun and do what you like. See some wat temples, meet new people, but be careful not to spend all your savings before the next paycheck.

Leave the Credit Cards at Home

Your precious credit cards are useless plastic here. The majority of hotels and establishments accept credit cards, but if you moved to the capital and plan to live in it, you will need to pay for everyday necessities in cash.

Open a Bank Account as Soon as Possible

Don’t be surprised if the ATM and your bank from back home charge you additionally for withdrawing money. Adjusting to a new country can be a bit challenging for expats, but when you know how to prepare for it, everything goes much smoother. That’s why you should have enough cash when you come to this country, at least until you open a bank account.

How to Choose the Best Neighborhood to Live in If You’re an Expat

Bangkok is growing constantly, and it has become one of the largest and most populated cities in the world. It’s not a surprise that the city itself is a province with a special administrative status. Also, some of the suburbs are spreading so fast that they are spilling into neighboring provinces. Together with the city itself, they all belong to the Bangkok Metropolitan Region.

Family Living and Where to Find It

Like all expats, you might have problems choosing the right place to live in. It all depends on whether you are moving abroad alone or with a family. If you have kids, things you should think about are the quality and location of schools, safety, and the environment.

Advantages of Bangkok Suburbs

Suburbs could be the right choice for expat families. There are a lot of things to like about them. They are less polluted, quieter, and family-friendly. Just make sure that you relocate close to an expressway link to Bangkok Central for easier commuting.

A Brief Guide to Employment Opportunities

If you are a young adult looking forward to a life in the capital city, you should think about your employment options. Foreigners who start living in Thailand can find work in the hotel industry, tourism, and teaching.

If you are a highly skilled worker, expect to find a job in the local branch of major multinational companies such as Unilever or Sony, or some of the commercial banks with headquarters in the so-called City of Angels. Highly demanded professions include communications experts, real estate agents, or transport experts.

If you want, you can also join expats Facebook pages and get connected with people from America who could help you in finding a job.

Retirement in Thailand

After decades of hard work, you have decided to retire and find yourself a new home. If you are thinking about some exotic county, the option of retiring in Thailand could be a good idea.

Don’t Worry About Packing – in Bangkok, You Can Buy (Almost) Everything

Don’t think too much about packing for a move. Everything you need, you can find in the capital. Shopping malls and markets offer all kinds of products. You name it – clothes, furniture, books, kitchen elements, gadgets, and so on. And for the things you want to take with you, consider hiring reliable international movers with professional packing services.

Shopping Could Be a Problem for Those Who Wear Large-Sized Shoes or Clothes

Bangkok, however, is not the right place for shopping if you want to buy large-sized clothes or shoes. For this reason, do all the shopping before you move to Thailand. The Thai climate is tropical with three seasons, so make sure that your purchase of clothes and shoes is appropriate for the Bangkok weather.

Foreign-Made Products Are Expensive

If you want to purchase a rare or foreign-made product, it will take some time to find it. In that case, be ready to pay extra because this kind of product often has a tax attached to the selling price.

What If You Need Medical Help in Thailand

The healthcare system in Bangkok is quite good. Most medical costs in private hospitals are a lot cheaper than you could expect. The staff is highly qualified, and most of them speak English.

The Traffic Is a Roller Coaster, So Be Prepared for It

The growth of the capital is so rapid that the infrastructure and traffic just can’t handle it. When you move, make sure that you live nearby public transportation, because driving can be a nightmare.

Driving the Thai Way

Be prepared for all kinds of drivers. We might even say, dangerous ones. Many of them drive fast, and if they are on motorcycles, they mostly don’t wear helmets or any sort of equipment.

Learn a Few Common Thai Phrases – You May Like How They Sound

You are relocating to Bangkok to start a new chapter of life, but the chances you don’t speak the language of the locals. It’s best to learn some Thai phrases and read a little bit about the culture. It will help you break the language barrier and assimilate into the local culture.

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