Why Are You Coming
The reason may be none of our business, but
it certainly matters to your business. Are you coming over as a retiree? As a
young man ready to start a new life and meet the woman of
your dreams? As a couple? Do you have an
automated business that's already earning adequate income
for you back in your own country? (For more info
on businesses and working in Thailand, click
laid back, offers wonderful food, a lower cost of living,
friendly people, and pickup opportunities even for the
autistic and mentally ill. But if the life you're able
to carve for yourself living in Thailand doesn't match the
experiences you're seeking to get out of life, then living
in Thailand is bound to be a negative experience for you.
Some things to consider:
Boredom. Retirees, wherever they
retire, tend to sit by swimming pools and read books, dine
out at restaurants, and go to bed early. The average
retiree can and definitely does do that in Thailand -- and a
lot cheaper than s/he would in Europe, the USA, or
Australia. If you're living a life of do-nothing
retirement in Europe, you can live the same boring life in
Thailand for a lot less. However, if you're more of an
active retiree, the kind of person who likes to volunteer
his/her time in some field related to the work you did
during your prime, life in Thailand may seem inadequate.
The boredom issue extends beyond the retirement
community. The range of extracurricular
activities in Thailand differs significantly from what one
could do in the motherland. At home, you could join
a book club or an improvisational acting troupe, learn
juggling or tap dancing, and do volunteer work for your
house of worship (if you're into that sort of thing).
That range of activities doesn't exist in Thailand.
Some communities setup their own clubs. For example, a
community of Scandinavians in Bangkok have set up their own
cycling club that anyone is welcome to join.
Outside Bangkok, organized extracurricular groups are thin
on the ground, and even in Bangkok they're not numerous
given the size of the city.
It's a different way of life completely in Thailand.
You should already know that or you wouldn't be considering
A lack of culture. This is not
to say Thailand has no culture. It has a very
rich one, but it's not the same type of high society culture
you may be accustomed to back home where you can attend live
theater, visit art galleries, do regular Iyengar, Hatha, or
Anusara yoga classes, and participate in a vast array of social
events. Bangkok is the most cultural city, by Western
standards, of any in Thailand, yet in some respects it
doesn't measure up to what would be on offer in a mid-sized
Western town. If Western cultural activities are of
prime interest to you, rethink the move to Thailand.
Difficulty in attracting a suitable mate.
It is not difficult, not in the least, for a foreign man to
seduce a Thai
some men relocate to Thailand specifically for that reason.
But if you're desire to live in Thailand is based primarily
on your love of Thai culture, the weather, and the
geography, you may be frustrated by the types of prospects
you continually meet. Most of the Thai women you cross
paths with will strike you as gold diggers or opportunists
willing to go with any foreign man who'll have them.
This is not because the majority of Thai females
are bloodsuckers. Foreigners coming over with little
knowledge of Thai frequent certain locales and meet
a predictable type of prospect there. Were the foreigner to spend
most of his time in an indigenous Thai neighborhood and
learn Thai, he would then meet a wider cross section of the
Thai female population. Most can't/won't make
that commitment. A foreign women deciding to relocate
here solo will have an even harder time. Forget the
adjective 'suitable' in front of mate. She'll have
problems just finding a mate. Foreign women are
virtually ignored. Her attitudes and values
don't gel well with the local Thai men's. A
practicing nun in the West will feel at home in Thailand.
Some living here can content themselves with an unending
series of noncommittal pickups. Those are the
minority. Once you live in Thailand, the nightlife
scene of drinks, gogo bars, and casual seductions gets old .
. . fast. The women start blending into each other.
It gets to a point where it's natural to desire intimacy
with someone who genuinely cares about you,
not just any foreigner who's willing, in turn,
to take care of her financially. Finding this match
without immersion and acceptance of Thai cultural
mores will prove difficult. Of all the foreigners I've
encountered in Thailand with Thai girlfriends or wives, I
can count on one hand how many couples were reasonably
Difficulty in making strong friendships.
In your own country, you'll meet people of all social
strata. In Thailand, you can also meet Thais
that represent all different classes. But
because most foreigners relocating to Thailand never bother
learning the Thai language, their interactions with Thais are limited to,
seducing Thais -- and mostly Thais of one particular
class and region. We can go further. Even for
those foreigners who can speak Thai rather well and have a
Thai wife, their strongest friendships tend to be with
people similar to their own culture -- and if that's not
possible, other foreigners.
We are not arguing that this is the way it should be.
That's just the way it is. Some foreigners relocating
here, a very tiny number, go completely native. They
speak Thai 95% of the time and ALL of their social contacts
are with Thais. They're the exception. The norm
is that the foreigner moving here prefers aspects of
Thailand without rejecting in any significant way the
culture of his homeland. It's not so far removed as to why many
immigrants come to American shores. They usually love
their native culture -- indeed, many replicate their
homelands and communities in neighborhoods of cities in the U.S. --
but have still relocated to America for one reason or
another. The key difference, however, is that in
America, foreigners are encouraged to blend in and,
eventually, through their children, might completely
melt in. In Thailand, the foreigner never really melts in.
He may, at best, blend in less.
The expats one
meets in Thailand are not the average guy you'd meet in
back home. If they were that sort, they'd still be back home. If we exclude
retirees and expats brought over on cushy packages for a limited amount of time, what's
left are extreme types of people. They might be extreme overachievers, seeking to
seize or create opportunities in a new environment. Or extreme womanizers, who in Thailand
have opportunities to philander they could barely dream
of back home. Or extreme
and drunks. Or the extremely dissatisfied who feel Thailand can offer them a chance to run away
from a dead-end life in their native land. Be prepared
Always being somewhat of an outsider. Examine the differences between two immigrants below.
Rick is a a 30-yr old male American who relocates to
Thailand, the most common reason being that he's married a
Thai woman. Poonchai is an average 30-yr old male
Thai who relocates to America for better paying work
opportunities. Poonchai could just as
well be from Laos, Korea, Cambodia, Indonesia, or many other
non melting pot nations; and Rick could equivalently be from
the UK, Germany, France, or any other Western nation.
We are aware that plenty of immigrants do not suit the
profiles below. This is profile for the
typical 30-yr old immigrant.
|Rick from America relocated to
||Poonchai from Thailand relocated
|Language: Will possibly pick up Thai, though not
to fluency level but may not pick it up at all
||Language: Will probably speak decent English
before relocation but will become completely fluent
|Education: Probably not highly educated.
Maybe has a degree.
||Education: Has a high education and
earnings by Thai standards. Possibly two
|Marriage: Immigrates to Thailand alone and
winds up marrying a Thai
||Marriage: Immigrates to America already married
to a Thai
|Naturalization: Rick would never get or be
eligible for Thai citizenship.
||Naturalization: Poonchai would become a
naturalized American as soon as he became eligible.
|Identity: Rick would always identify
himself as an American.
||Identity: Poonchai would be proud to
eventually call himself an American.
|Immigration process: Rick comes over to Thailand as a tourist first, having little trouble
procuring a visa, and eventually decides to stay on a whim. Officially, Rick is never considered
an immigrant to Thailand.
||Immigration process: Poonchai must plan for his immigration to America several years in
advance and undergo grueling interviews before he's approved as a legal immigrant.
|Citizenship of kids: If USA/Thailand dual
citizenship were not allowed (it is as of this
writing), Rick's kids,
born in Thailand, would opt for U.S. citizenship
Citizenship of kids: If USA/Thailand dual
citizenship were not allowed, Poonchai's kids, born
in in the USA, would opt for U.S. citizenship
|Childrens' language: Rick's children would be
fluent in English and near fluent or fluent in
They would attend an English-language school
||Childrens' language: Poonchai's children
would be fluent in English and possibly
Thai at a young age. They would attend a local
American school. There's a good chance, as
they aged, that they'd forget Thai altogether.
|Childrens' view of motherland: Rick's kids
would still continue to think of the USA in high
regard even if they'd never been there. If Rick
could afford it, they would attend university in the USA.
The kids would probably go back to the USA for work
and settle down there. Culturally, the
children would always identify with America far more than Thailand.
Childrens' view of motherland:
Poonchai's kids would think of Thailand as the
country where Mom and Dad come from. They
might visit the grandparents occasionally in
Thailand if Poonchai could afford it. They
would not ever relocate to Thailand. Culturally, they would identify with America.
|Friends: Rick's friends would mostly (or
all) be fellow expats. Rick's kids' friends
would mostly be the children of other expats.
Rick's grandkids would likely be back in the USA.
||Friends: There's a good chance Poonchai
would relocate to an area that already had a high
population of Thais, and he and his wife would
associate with Thais. Ponchai's kids' friends
would be regular American kids. Poonchai's
grandkids would have little connection to Thailand.
If Rick comes on his own, he'll probably have to
create his own job. Few Thai companies would
be willing to hire Rick because of his lack of Thai.
Were Rick to know Thai, he'd feel the wages
offered were too low -- if the Thais were even willing
to consider him.
||Work: Four generations back, no one in
America would be screaming to hire Poonchai either,
and he, too, would have to start his own business.
In today's climate, Poonchai could just apply for
any job he felt skilled enough to do. Poonchai
would feel the wages offered were superior to what
he earned in Thailand.
Rick is always seen as an outsider in Thailand. He is
tolerated rather than assimilated. Poonchai in
America is both tolerated and, in the succeeding generation(s),
usually fully assimilated.
Losing sight of purpose.
In a stressful and regimented environment, the sort of
environment most of us grew up in and still live in, if we
don't set a purpose, a purpose is set for us.
Let's say you work in
the re-investment division of a bank. Then, on a
day-to-day basis, like it or not, your purpose is to
increase profits for the bank. In a more laid back
environment, like Thailand's, it's easy to forget there is a
purpose, as you busy your time with drinking, partying,
seducing, or just lazing. Plenty teach English because
it's not all that taxing of a job. That's fine if you're
using your off hours to pursue something of meaning to you.
People have mid-life crises because they reach a certain age
and feel they haven't accomplished anything. Life is
passing them by and they have nothing to show for it.
It's fine to relocate to Thailand if the lifestyle better
suits your temperament, but if you come without a purpose --
it need not be a noble or profitable one, mind you -- you'll find that
the sting can be ever more harder to bear