Aerial view of a southern Thai island.

Geography and Climate of Thailand

Moving to Thailand means not only getting used to a whole new set of rules and social customs, it means navigating an entirely new physical country too. While a general overview of the lay of the land is helpful for a traveler, for an expat, it’s one of the keys to a successful life.

A pair of transgendered performers greet visitors.

Gender Roles in Thailand

Thailand is a traditional but increasingly progressive society when it comes to gender roles. Women are actively involved in what some might consider ‘men’s work’, but they’re also usually primary caregivers in the family. Additionally, Thailand has an extremely progressive and tolerant view toward homosexuality, and it may be one of the most open societies in the world when it comes to transsexuality. Despite this, Thai women and anyone identifying as LGBT face the same issues as their counterparts all over the world.

A new building at Srinakarin hospital in Khon Kaen,Thailand.

Health Care in Thailand

Health care in Thailand is generally good and inexpensive. In fact, people from all over the world come here for everything from routine plastic surgery to fertility treatments. The nicest private hospitals in Bangkok look more like five-star hotels than health care facilities, and doctors often speak three or four languages. Public hospitals are sufficient for many issues but are not always staffed with nurses and doctors that you will be able to communicate with.

A cargo ship with working crane bridge in a Bangkok shipyard at dusk.

Moving Your Belongings to Thailand

Thailand has nearly everything you’ll need to set up a comfortable home, so it really is feasible just to pack a couple of suitcases with the clothing, documents, and books you’ll need and get everything else while you’re here. If there are things you need to ship, author Suzanne Nam has advice about costs, timeframes, customs, tax exemptions, and tips on common items to consider packing or shipping that are either unavailable or very expensive in Thailand.

A row of kneeling statues with their hands in the wai pose.

Conduct and Etiquette in Thailand

Thais are generally an extremely friendly, social, and curious people. A mai pen rai attitude, which loosely translates as “no worries,” pervades casual social interactions. That said, failing to observe certain key social customs may offend. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the wai, daily conduct and etiquette, and how to properly address everyone from coworkers to shop clerks.

A woman sells meatballs and sausages on sticks in a bag with sauce in Phuket market, Thailand.

Enjoying Meals in Thailand

Thailand is having a love affair with food, which ensures that you can generally eat whenever you want to without worrying about offending anyone (the one place you can’t eat, however, is on the Bangkok subway or Skytrain). Learn about common meal times in the region and what to expect from Thai cuisine.

Floating market in Amphawa, Thailand.

Adjusting to Living Abroad in Thailand

The combination of a vibrant, cosmopolitan capital, a fast-growing economy, friendly people, a higher standard of living, and a beautiful landscape make Thailand a paradise. If you’re considering a move abroad to this Asian country, keep an open mind and learn what you need to know to make it home.

A worn Thai work permit rests on a map.

Work Permits in Thailand

If you are going to be doing anything in Thailand that produces income, the law requires that you have a work permit. Having a work permit not only entitles you to work legally in Thailand, it’s also an essential document if you want to open a bank account, get a nonprepaid mobile phone, get a driver’s license, and many other small necessities.

cover Moon Living Abroad Thailand 2e

Moon Living Abroad Thailand

Moon Thailand author and Bangkok resident Suzanne Nam knows what it takes to make the move to Thailand. As a dedicated travel writer who has lived in Thailand for more than four years, Nam has the firsthand know-how and insight to help you make a smooth transition to life in Southeast Asia. With her experience […]

Cover of Moon Spotlight Phuket & the Andaman Coast First Edition

Moon Spotlight Phuket & the Andaman Coast

Moon Spotlight Phuket & the Andaman Coast is a 70-page compact guide covering this gorgeous southeast Asian city and stunning stretch of shoreline. Author Suzanne Nam offers her seasoned advice on must-see attractions, and includes maps with sightseeing highlights so you can make the most of your time. This lightweight guide is packed with recommendations […]