Getting to know Thailand
It’s finally happening! You’re making the big move to Thailand.
You’ll be joining thousands of people choosing to make this country their home every year. Formerly known as Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand is located in South East Asia and counts Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia as neighbours. This diverse, beautiful country is known for its warm, welcoming people, bearing the fond nickname of ‘The Land of Smiles’.
Now that you’re moving to Thailand, you can take advantage of the stunning beaches and tropical environment. But there’s more than just beaches! If you’re a keen hiker there are plenty of mountains and hills to keep you occupied. The 5-day trek through the jungle to Khao Mokoju offers opportunities to see lots of local wildlife. There are three distinct seasons; hot, cold and rainy, running from March to May, November to February and June to October respectively. This was key to Thailand’s long tradition of rice farming!
As buying can be very difficult for expats, many choose to rent. From flats and condos to freestanding houses, there will be something to fit any preference and budget. Condos are a popular choice as they usually come with amenities like gyms and pools. Fully-serviced condos are available.
Congestion in major cities like Bangkok is common, so consider finding accommodation near your work, your child’s school or a public transport network. Rents will also vary. City centre prices are usually much higher than those slightly further out. Consult English language newspapers such as The Bangkok Post or Chiang Mai Mail or enlist the help of an estate agent.
Thailand boasts an extremely high literacy rate, sitting at 93.5% thanks to their excellent education system. Thai education is split into four distinct sections: nursery, primary, lower secondary and upper secondary. School is compulsory up to 15 years of age and the government offers free education to Thai nationals up to age 17. Since the curriculum in Thai school is taught exclusively in Thai, parents may wish to consider placing their child in an international or private bilingual school. International schools tend to be modelled on a Western education with Bangkok offering several British international schools in particular.
Buddhism is a fundamental part of Thai culture. Images of the Buddha are sacred and are to be treated with the utmost respect. Feet, and by extension shoes, are also considered very unclean in Thai culture. So, if you visit a temple or private home, be sure to take your shoes off!
As well as the usual noodle and curry dishes, Thailand offers a vast array of delicious food for you to discover. Why not try yam, a Thai salad. It has many different variations but a healthy dose of lime juice and chilli is a must!
Good to know
It is socially unacceptable to criticise the monarchy in Thailand. In general, they are very well respected and people will use a special language rajasap (literally royal language) to talk about the monarchy. Expats would be wise to keep any opinions about the royal family to themselves.
While living in a Thailand it is likely that you’ll be known by your first name prefixed by the gender-neutral term Khun (Mr/Mrs) and not your last name.