Have you ever just wanted to quit your job, pack a bag and leave to the sunny, clear water and white sand beaches of Thailand? Well, that’s kind of what I did…
After vacationing in the South and moving to Bangkok, I thought I’d share things (as small or insignificant as they may seem) that you might need to know when in Thailand:
Sim Card…because, internet.
Found at: Airport, Train Stations and Malls
Cost: Approx. 50 baht plus, depending on Service Provider
The top 4 service providers are:
(click icons for more information and deals)
- Mainly used in Thailand for mobile and home internet
Found at: 7/11 stores
Once you have money loaded you can request for data bundle codes, depending on your requirements.
TrueMove is honestly the best ISP to go with. They took less than 24 hours to install our internet! The basic package starting at 600 baht per month gets you about 20mbps download speed and 1.6mbps upload speed. If you don’t care about numbers, lets just say the Internet is AMAZING.
PS: rather go in-store for all enquiries, purchases and contracts. Calls and emails don’t work here. Ah, the irony…
This can be overwhelming when you land and you have so many people around you. It’s humid and you are exhausted from the flight and there are so many modes of transport, where do you even begin? How much are you supposed to pay? Luckily, transport is available everywhere and in all modes!
This was the most challenging topic in Thailand, by far. You can never trust the Internet on how a place looks and feels, so picking accommodation can be the life or death of your stay here.
Most of Thailand is rural and modern city life mixed altogether. Everything is on top of one another here. There are no straight set out suburbs with pretty little houses in rows and white picket fences, so when you choosing to rent a place for a month or so, you can view condos or apartments or as I call them, a box in the sky. There are SO many to choose from, all depends on your location and budget. In Bangkok, you will definitely pay a higher rent rate compared to the rest of Thailand. If you can avoid going through an agent and rather directly going through the owner of the condo, can sometimes be better and more affordable.
If you would love to stay in a bit of luxury, have a decent sleep and are not too tight with cash, I highly recommend staying in a 4 star + and nothing less. I just won’t do 3 star anymore, it’s never 3 star. The facilities, hygiene, staff and food is just worth it.
As snobbish as that sounds, if you are on holiday, you want to feel like you are on holiday. Not listening to people vacuum early hours of the morning or having to ask for basic things like toilet paper.
I like to have breakfast included at the hotel, this will fill you up for the energy you will need throughout the hot day. Make sure they definitely have a western menu, just in case! Some of the food on a Thai Menu though…
There are backpacker spots everywhere, which is a cheaper option, and if you are on the go all the time with site-seeing etc, or you just want to meet fellow travellers and the locals.
AirBNB is lovely if you would like to rent a room or share with other travellers in a dormitory. You can book an entire home, a private room or a shared room.
Cost depends on your budget and living needs. Download the app from Google Play and Apple iStore.
What to Travel with
I am usually ‘that‘ girl when packing, you know the one that packs for a month when she’s going away for a weekend?!
This time I challenged myself and bought the smallest Delsey bag! I wanted a hard cover bag that was easy to cart around and included an international warranty in case of any damage, and that might just last me a few years.
The usual goes in there such as clothes, underwear, shoes and toiletries (100ml’s). This time it was only the essentials, not multiple shoes, sadly! Buying extra clothing, luggage and shoes is inexpensive in Thailand.
I roll my clothing and vacuum pack everything too, if possible, in order to save space and pack as much as possible into this tiny bag. I got it right!
I keep my other essentials like headphones, Macbook, book etc. in my back-pack which I take as carry-on luggage (7 kgs max).
My handbag consists of these 10 items:
- Power Bank Charger
- Lip Balm, with SPF
- Toilet Seat Sanitizer (if you’re a fellow germ-freak like me)
- Asthma Pump (the pollution and humidity > Allergies)
- Chewing gum/Tic Tac
- Siang Pure Inhaler 30Baht (this is similar to Vix, helps with the smells and pollution)
Two words: Mosquito Repellent. I love using Peaceful Sleep Spray 100ml available at local drugstores or Kleenhealth’s Long Lasting Anti-Mozzi Spray 100ml (the bomb.com of insect repellants!- and manufactured in SA) which works for all bugs and mites, not just mosquitoes.
What to Wear!
It’s always humid here and you barely get cold, so wear anything that’s comfortable and has pockets. Most importantly, pack in a summer scarf. This always comes in handy if you slightly cold, if you need to cover your mouth from the smell and pollution (let’s be real here) and when you enter a temple you need to cover your shoulders and thighs. I love drenching my scarf in water and wearing it like a snood to keep cool in this heat!
Sunglasses. Sunscreen. Cap/Hat. Flip Flops and Sneakers.
PS: If you are working here, don’t forget to pack in black trousers, like me!
When I first got here, I just couldn’t get used to some of the food and it does get frustrating when some hotels don’t have a western menu or you can’t cook where you are staying. Eating out at the big franchises starts to add up too. I treat myself every now and then to a massive cappuccino at Starbucks that is ridiculously priced at around 100 baht, but the more I walk around, the more intrigued I am by the smells of the food from the food stalls in the street…
Everyday women, men, farmers, butchers, popcorn makers, you name it…stand on the pavements and sell some of the freshest food, fruit and vegetables until late at night. Grocery shopping is literally on my doorstep…and affordable!
I live on home-cooked Thai meals served by the sweetest lady and it only costs me 40 baht per meal max. You can’t come to Thailand and NOT try the flavors of the curries, stews, stir-fry’s and of course, dessert! I am in love with the food in Bangkok! Other than Thai food, I’ve had one of thee best cheeseburgers and pizza of my life from street vendors and local restaurants in Khon Kaen and the best shredded pork schwarma in Bangkok!
If you are staying near a University, you can walk into their cafeteria and get really cheap meals. No questions asked.
The Night Markets in each area are awesome for going for a drink and getting something to eat that’s a reasonable price or a quick grocery shop!
PS: Most restaurants or franchises in Thailand include 10% service charge on your bill, so no need to tip unless otherwise stated.
Most passports will allow you a 30 day entry visa and if you are staying in Thailand for longer than 30 days, you will have to leave the country to a surrounding country and then return once the visa application and/or extension is processed, where you will receive a 60 day Tourist Visa (visa run). The visa costs about 2000 baht. If you want to travel in and out of Thailand more frequently, rather apply for a multiple-entry visa.
And of course, because this is Thailand, there are companies, such as Bangkok Buddy that do visa-runs to Cambodia and many that go to Laos. They provide transport, accommodation for one night and do all paperwork for your required visa.
For more information visit the Thai Embassy or contact me with regards to Laos.
A lot of people ask how I can just move to another country without a job on the other side, and it’s quite simple…Because you can. It’s far easier for me to get a job in Bangkok than South Africa and be able to live comfortably and save or travel.
It’s fairly easy for a foreigner to work here, especially if you are qualified with a degree. Depending on what you want to do, sometimes going through an agency is better and will get you work immediately.
If you plan to work in Thailand, I recommend to find an employer that’s able to provide a work permit for the future. If you belong to an agency, they will apply on behalf of you and they usually cover the costs.
One could also teach online, be a private tutor or apply at the language centres in the millions of malls here.
I did my TEFL course and am now currently working in Summer Camps until the students go back to school in May. I couldn’t have done it on my own, so you’re welcome to contact me directly if you have any questions 🙂
As with most countries nowadays, IT is the highest paid job here but you can apply online for any jobs at Ajarn, Teaching Thailand, Job DB or even Craig’s List. There’s always Freelancing, especially online with sites such as UpWork and IZEA but this can sometimes be a slow process and takes a while before you can earn some decent cash.
Always greet back with a ‘wai’ (hands together and small bow) and Sa Wad Dee Ka/ Sawasdeeka/ Sa dee ka.
Take off your shoes if you see shoes outside an entrance.
Do not stand on money – the King is on bank notes making this an illegal offence to stand ‘on him’. Could land you a prison sentence.
Do not talk about the The Royal Family or politics. Some guy got overheard talking about the King’s dog and he’s in jail for 3 years.
Thai’s do not generally tolerate violence.
Lastly, Smile and Negotiate!
Let me know if you have any questions or comments below, I’ll be happy to help!