9 Things I Tell Everyone Who’s Planning To Live In Thailand

I got a message from one of my readers (Luke) who said he’s thinking about making the move to live in Thailand, and that he’d love a checklist of what he should do when he lands.

I’ve decided against writing out the basics like finding an apartment and getting the right Thai visas because there’s lots of information online already.

Instead, I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned from being here 3 years that I wished people told me when I first landed.

1. Don’t listen to all the blogs – don’t eat too much street food

When I first got here 3 years ago I went full retard and was eating Thai street food at least once a day.

The food was tasty, easy to source and really cheap. But after finding out how it’s made, it’s really unhealthy for you and for the longest time I was getting headaches, always feeling fatigued and I couldn’t figure out why.

This video surfed this week which shows rats eating raw meat at a night market in Chiang Mai:

If you want to live a healthy life in Thailand, reduce your intake of street food. Most street while being cheap and tasty, is not healthy for you.

For the past 6 months I’ve eaten street food only a handful of times and I’ll cook at home for the most part.

Make sure your room has a stove (studios often won’t have them), if it doesn’t then buy an electric cooker for about 2,000 baht to cook your own food.

Meat at Tesco and the Big C really isn’t that great either and is left exposed in the middle of the store (yes they don’t always keep their meats cool or refrigerated).

Basically limit the amount of low quality food you eat and really understand where your food is coming from, instead of saying …..

vqihuThailand has awesome food but for 30 baht you can’t expect top quality ingredients and the best cleaning standards.

I personally use the Paleo Robbie online grocery, loads of quality meats to pick from and they are much cheaper than Tops and Villa.

2. Wait at least 3 months before you get a girlfriend

Hands up if you landed in Thailand and somehow got yourself a Thai girlfriend within 5 days?

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Let’s be honest, most of us moved here because we were total losers back home and for some strange reason just because you’re white skinned, Thai girls like you.

You need to have a 3 month cooling off period between landing and getting yourself a Thai girlfriend. While there’s plenty of nice Bangkok girls, there’s just as many crazy ones.

Don’t make the mistake of getting a girlfriend on day one, because on day 7 you’ll be thinking WTF have I gotten myself into when she’s spending all your money and moved half of her belongings in your 21sq meter studio.

3. Make yourself some friends before you land

Unless you’re backpacking meeting other people (shoot me now), life in Thailand can get quite lonely if you don’t know anyone. I think this is the number one reason why so many people get a girlfriend so fast, to fill the void of being alone.

It’s a little hard to make decent friends when living in Thailand because most of the expats are so loopy and fucked,. I suggest to get yourself on Meetup and join a few football games or something and feel people out.

4. Don’t listen to 90% of the Thailand blogs online

Because most of them talk absolute shit, that includes mine.

Over half the places they suggest you to visit, see or do are either overpriced, completely touristy, boring as f***, sometimes all three if you’re really unlucky.

You’re better off going onto small niche forums and asking people for their opinions than reading too many travel blogs, most will never say a bad thing about anything even when something sucks.

5. Get yourself a bank account right away

If you plan on staying here for any amount of time, get yourself a bank account as soon as you land. You can get a bank account in Thailand on a tourist visa at Bangkok Bank. Go to their website to check what paperwork you need.

There’s nothing more annoying than carrying 75,000b worth of cash with you when you land then worry about if you’ll get robbed if you leave it in the safe.

You’ll also get raped each time you use an ATM in Thailand with the fees as max withdraw limits are 30,000 in most places.

6. If you don’t have a routine, you will ruin yourself

After the initial honeymoon period of living in Thailand is over, you have to buckle down and focus on what you really want to do in life else….

97879-the-hangover-part-ii-photo-1-621x322

Thailand is a great place to suck you out of all your money and put you in a world of hurt. Have a balanced work/life routine, even if that’s volunteering or improving your Thai language skills, do something asides from going out and masturbating.

7.  If you can’t control yourself Thailand is not for you

I’ve made friends with a few people who should never have been allowed to live in Thailand.

They had no self control and went broke within a few months spending money on meeting girls, partying and banging hookers. While these kind of activities are fine for a-2 week holiday, if you plan on living in Thailand you’ll go broke pretty quick.

I’ve seen people max out credit cards and owe me and other’s money. If you’re the person who has no self-control, don’t come to Thailand long-term.

8. Use protection

Whether you’re riding a motorbike or planning to go deep inside, please use protection. Bangkok motorcycle drivers just want to get from A to B in the shortest amount of time, sometime driving at stupid speeds. And it’s not only them, other drivers on the road may not know how to drive or be drunk.

Always wear or be covering your helmet (pun intended).

9. If you meet a girl in an after hours you should probably give her money

When you first come to Thailand and head to an after hours club like Spicy, Bossy, Swing, Climax, Levels or Insanity, you could literally walk in, talk to a girl and leave with her within 5 minutes.

giphy

This doesn’t mean you’re shit hot and she loves your moves, it just means you’ve most likely talked to a bar girl and she’s expecting for you to pay her for the service later. Whether you decide to pay or play dumb that’s really up to you, but 9/10 she will want money even if she doesn’t directly ask you for it if you visit hooker infested clubs.

Leave a 1,000b on the dresser and if she picks it up, I was right (I will be right). Ever took a girl home from such a place and then can’t figure out why she hasen’t left at 4pm? Probarly because she’s waiting for you to give her a ‘tip’ and that she’s too shy to ask for it herself/lose face.

Summary

When anyone comes to Thailand the first time, these are usually the things I tell them if they plan to live in Thailand. I’m sure there’s more tips, so leave them in the comments.

If you are planning to live in Thailand and want help getting setup, contact me as a I have a very good Thai friend who can help you get a bank account, find an apartment and, sim-card and everything else.

37 thoughts on “9 Things I Tell Everyone Who’s Planning To Live In Thailand

  1. capt6729
    14 December, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Just came back from BKK. Insanity wasn’t that sleazy at all. I expected some kind of dump reading your review. It’s way more “civilised” than J-Ave in Cebu. Love the hookah thing and “bad girls” too. Happy hour till 1am – I love it 🙂

    1. 14 December, 2015 at 10:59 am

      It has been renovated since my review and under new ownership, perhaps I need to go back and write a new review 😀

      1. capt6729
        14 December, 2015 at 11:05 pm

        It’s still a hookup spot, for sure 🙂 Just the way I like it.

        I spent three weeks in Chiang Mai. I wish I read you “digital nomad” rant before I went.

        Booked a cheap AirBnB condo with poor wifi and no desk to work so hung out in Starbucks and co-working space.

        It simply impossible to do a proper work there.

        In cafe my neck started to kill me after three hours and in co-working space the whole crowd is simply annoying, just like corporate office but full of hippies, lol.

        1. Pat
          18 December, 2015 at 5:38 am

          ^^clearly not real hippies, but wannabes. Can’t fend for themselves like travelling should be (in the old days) They take their whole social media lives with them, trying to outdo their FB ”friends” or their arselicking blog ”followers”

          That bloke who went missing last week and left that petulant note saying he can’t come back and he’s been kidnapped. The real story most probably was that he’s an attention FB whore who’d been relentlessly posting up pics on his FB and all of a sudden he gets no ”likes” from his ”friends” because they’re bored of his boasting crap and selfies, so he throws a strop.

          Now he’s taken to facebook to say he’s all ok, and hey presto!! …now he’s got lots of comments and ”likes”

          Job done. Spoilt rich twat, not a backpacker at all, but a rich kid with a trust fund, a hippie wannabe, a ”trustafarian” as they’re called

  2. 14 December, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I assume the main advantage of opening a bank account in Thailand is due to ATM fees when withdrawing on a foreign account? With a thai bank account you get an ATM card and no fees for withdrawing?
    You can transfer money from your foreign account without cost? Please elaborate.

    1. 15 December, 2015 at 2:49 am

      Yes ATM card and it’s just easier. Twice when I got here my credit card got blocked and I had to call them up to withdraw. If you rent an apartment and the deposit is over 30k, ten you have to wait a few days to withdraw and move in too.

      1. 17 December, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        I use to suffer blocked cards in Thailand a long time ago. I then discovered cards you load up with your own cash that never block and have very good exchange rates. Way to go

        1. 18 December, 2015 at 3:32 am

          Can you load it online? Because I’d hate to put 300,000 baht on it and then lose it. If so, looks like a good way to go for short-term stays of 3-9 months.

          1. nRon
            22 December, 2015 at 8:21 am

            pro tip from our buddy skins, get a Charles Schwab checking account. Zero fees for using ATMs, no exchange rate rape plus no min.balance and you can open it with $100 deposit…Easy peasy 😉

          2. 22 December, 2015 at 8:40 am

            Can’t get it from the UK :(. Great for Americans though.

          3. 22 December, 2015 at 6:28 pm

            Yes no problem. Never had a problem for years now. I assume you are a Brit, I have been using CaxtonFX with never a problem, I just login online, press a few buttons and transfers to my card immediately. I learnt about the best from martins moneys tips, there might be better cards now
            http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money

      2. Jim
        26 December, 2015 at 11:44 am

        Yon can walk into a bank (I used SCB) with you UK debit card and passport and ask for a withdrawal. I withdrew 40,000 baht this way a few weeks ago, took 5 minutes. No ATM free to pay either.

        1. 26 December, 2015 at 11:56 am

          I tried this once at SCB but was refused because the staff had no idea what I was talking about :(.

  3. Pat
    14 December, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Great advice but you still know for sure there are many who don’t even listen to this basic advice because they have their own ideas in place, usually convined this is the best way, then they usually fall foul of what you’ve mentioned above.

    Many will believe that going native with street food and residing amongst the locals in some noisy soi with an 18sqM room is a way to connect with locals and gain kudos, thinking they are impressed with a local farang moving amongst them.

    The usual reality is that they will be intruiged why you’ve chosen to live on a budget because most Thais still believe the notion that white man=rich man, which is another main reason a lot of eastern euro scum scammers get in so easily. Thais just don’t know the difference, simple.

    1. 15 December, 2015 at 2:50 am

      Sounds like me when I first got here, glad I changed quickly 🙂

      1. Lord
        15 December, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        Yes, I also remember the post where you showed us a picture with the view outside of you window and wrote something that you would like to integreate more and therefor choose to life in such place.

        Hmm.. regarding this I have to ask: You opinion changed around 180°?

        1. 16 December, 2015 at 2:15 am

          Hey mate, changed my opinion on what, living a Thai style of way?

  4. jim
    15 December, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Street food is bad for your health? Is Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and 7-11 better? The majority of the foreigners visiting and living here eat this crap.

    1. jim
      15 December, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Sounds like you have very little experience living here. Agree with some of your points. (1) The majority of foreign men (expats) living here date and marry bar and massage girls, without them they are totally helpless. (2) The majority of foreigners living here speak very little if no Thai look at (1) ^^^ . Totally complete losers who get their bank accounts cleaned out within a few years or less. (3) The majority of foreigners follow each other like cattle Phuket, Koh Samui , Pattaya, Koh Phi Phi, Khao San Road, Chiang Mai. (4) The majority of foreigners living here are alcoholics and or drug addicts. Agree you need a hobby . Learning Thai would be a good start. (5) There are numerous foreign criminals here be careful who you trust. (6) If a Thai woman speaks broken English RUN!. She is either a bar girl, massage girl, had an idiot foreigner before or scammed other foreigners while working in the tourist slums. (7) Agree the travel blogs are a complete joke advice from losers, sex tourists and alcoholics. Avoid Lonely Planet.com, Travelfish.org, Thaivisa.com to name a few. (8) Want to learn and experience the REAL Thailand? Avoid other foreigners like the plague they will only get you into trouble dumber than a fracking brick zero common sense. Want a REAL Thai girl friend ? Learn to speak Thai, avoid the bars, avoid the massage shops and most of all reread (6) ^^^ . After you have learned to speak decent enough Thai that will take at least three years ask a Thai girl that speaks no English out on a date. (7) 1000 baht to sleep with a Thai girl you met at a club??!!! Good luck numerous foreign morons before you have paid way too much do to their leaving their common sense what little they already had at the airport. Besides numerous foreign disease spreaders many with H.I.V. who demand not using a condom are here. (8) Learn about Thai customs, READ, READ and READ. The majority of foreigners visiting here both men and women have really managed to piss off the Thais and other countries throughout Southeast Asia. Want to understand why? Spend any time in a tourist slum and watch the foreigners behavior. (9) Your comments about Thai food are a typical foreigners response that understands nothing about Thai food besides Pad Thai, Fried Chicken and Corn. Better you continue eating out of a 7-11.

      1. Pat
        15 December, 2015 at 6:41 am

        ^^Fair points. Harsh but necessary.

        For point (7) add to that backpackerbanter.com
        Biggest wanker with a blog full of members who lick his arse like he’s some f**king messiah.
        Anyone who slightly disagrees with him about anything gets slagged and trolled to death by his backpacking tosser disciples.

        The real backpackers who discovered the islands etc decades ago have long disppeared. Now a backpacker = spoilt patronising prick who thinks that staying in some fleapit dump in khao san with other like minded arseholes makes them some kind of world beating hippie

        1. jim
          18 December, 2015 at 2:48 am

          Travelfish and Lonely Planet have there messiahs also. One by the name of Teeza. and Captain Bob. Who has attracted thousands of like mind losers to the shores of Thailand. They love their fleapits on Khao San Road, Pai, Koh Phi Phi, Vang Vieng Laos. Where have i forgotten ? Hopefully the new visa requirements will weed out at least a few thousand. Hint ! The Thais do not think highly of the neo hippies visiting here. Nothing like the hippies of the 60’s nor 70’s. The neo hippies are easy to spot. Tend to eat nothing but Pad Thai and hang with their so called Thai friends. (money vultures) Dress like a slob, disrespect the Thais and their culture and you will get treated like dirt. Just because Thais smile does not mean they like you while they are draining your pockets.

      2. Lord
        15 December, 2015 at 5:32 pm

        Jim, you mentioned some good things – thanks for that. Regarding number 9 I have to say you are a little bit to harsh and insinuating, Harvie does a great job and I’m pretty sure he knows how things work in Thailand. Of course McD and co is BS, I have the confidence that he knows how to properly cook for him self (Btw he mentioned that in some previous posts).

        To 8)
        Why should anyone put some energy into learning Thai when they can get along without it pretty far? Only a handful people who really like to integrate in a foreign culture and see their near future there would do that. The rest of them is already gone after a couple of months. After they pissed of the locals of course… Anyways you are right with 8) and in my opinion this rule applys for every country.

  5. Pat
    15 December, 2015 at 6:44 am

    BTW for cheap better quality street food try the food courts at places like Central, Emporium etc. Cost a bit more but at least there’s standrds they have to keep to and they have a better variety.

    Anyone who’s eating street food to save money shouldn’t be trying to live in Thailand.

    1. capt6729
      16 December, 2015 at 4:42 am

      I once found a roach in my rice in food court in CentralWorld basement in Chiang Mai.

      I already ate deep fried acheta that week so fuck it.

      Dumped it on the floor and finished my meal.

  6. Pat
    16 December, 2015 at 5:45 am

    ^^I found a fly in my rice at Tops food court in Lat Phrao once. I took it back to the counter and the woman took my plate, extracted the fly and handed it back to me. For 30 Baht I shouldn’t have expected anything else I suppose

    I discovered Foodland Took la Dee diners when I first went, and glad I bloody did. Decent ingredients (as it’s connected directly to Foodland supermarkets) and open kitchens where you can sit sipping a beer while watching everones food prepared. Huge menu. Prices are very reasonable indeed.

    http://www.foodland.co.th/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=66&lang=en

  7. Pat
    16 December, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Oh yeah and they’re all open 24hrs

    1. 16 December, 2015 at 5:51 am

      I like Foodland, great after a nightout and have a decent selection of food….free water too!

  8. Pat
    16 December, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Their Australian lamb chops platter is almost £10

  9. 17 December, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for this post Harvie really good.

    Solide advice for a newb here!

  10. Lisa Rydnovsky
    17 December, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    budget is also important and keep track of ur spendings unless ur rich.
    Almost got broke cause I spent too much 1st time I was in thailand

    1. 17 December, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Good point Lisa.

  11. BBBJ
    19 December, 2015 at 6:55 am

    “Because most of them talk absolute shit, that includes mine”

    …wow..i cant wait to hear more..

  12. David
    22 December, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Informative article Harvie, got a question: I have an online business too and more or less living in BKK. You recommend opening a bank account here so you can withdraw money and save ATM fees. Sounds good I’m tempted to do it. But wouldn’t it be against the law / considered working and not paying taxes? Is it really save to do this for years like transfer money from your paypal to Thai bank account and then withdraw as I please, without having a company here and without paying taxes? Any advice would be highly appreciated! Cheers

    1. 22 December, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Hi Dave, I see it no difference in sending money from Skrill/PayPal as you would from your home bank account to a Thailand Bank account. I know people who have done this for several years. And if you don’t have a work permit, there is no reason for you to pay tax.

      However, this is not legal advice, this is just me talking from experience and is merely an opinion.

  13. 22 June, 2016 at 3:11 am

    Great blog post.

    I opened a bank account at Bangkok Bank with just a tourist visa a few years back. I wentt to 5 different banks before I found one that would do it.

    The first 4 banks all asked if I had a work permit and local address, which I didn’t.

    The fifth bank asked if I had a driver’s license from my home country and a friend who lived there for a local address. She must have had a quota to meet as she made it very easy for me to open an account there.

    Do you have any recommendations for an apartment complex within walking distance to the sky train?

    I would love to live there permanently.

  14. Jay
    7 November, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Few tips from having lived there for 3 years:-

    – Don’t leave common sense at the airport and fall for a bar girl, no matter how much you think “but shes different”. Don’t buy her sob stories and she starts getting weird, move on.

    – Agree on all prices before going through with the action (be it with a hooker or just getting a mototaxi somewhere).

    – Thai girls can be jealous. Don’t exchange info like FB friendships or line IDs unless you plan to get multiple messages from her. She will message you telling you she misses you and loves you long time. (Especially applies with hookers)

    – Drink at least 2 litres of water a day (Thailand is hot, no sht sherlock but you won’t even notice you’re dehydrating). Water is cheap and sold at 7/11s literally everywhere.

    – You WILL get a funky gut at some point in your stay, no matter how careful you are with food.

    – No matter how long you stay or how hard you try to assimilate, if you aren’t ethnically Asian you will NEVER be accepted in Thailand. Just because they might be friendly on the surface doesn’t mean they’ll actually like you or view you as an equal (applies for expats more than 2 week tourists). If you aren’t ok with that, think twice about relocating to Thailand long term.

    – The culture really is alien to westerners. The longer you stay, the more apparent it becomes.

    Thailand is what it is. Come with an open mind, have some fun, laze on a beach, party, heck bang a few hookers if you like. But keep the white knight mentality in the romcom movies and away from the girls of Soi Cowboy. And if you are thinking of becoming a teacher, don’t think you can change Thailand and “save” them from their “oppressed ways”. You’ll just end up sorely disappointed.
    Prepare for frustration, culture shock, chaos, confusion and the best adventure you could ask for. It really is adult Disneyland.

    1. 8 November, 2016 at 2:32 am

      Great advice.

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