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Teaching English in Thailand Jobs

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Unless you are moving to Thailand as a reassignment by your present employer or retiring, you will need to find a job and teaching English in Thailand is one of your options. In fact, it is about the only choice you have for employment here. Thailand, as well as other countries in Southeast Asia, has a constant demand for native English speakers. You are not going to get rich doing it but if you love teaching then you will have some rich experiences that you will never forget.

The Basic Requirements for Teaching English in Thailand
The English teaching jobs that offer the best salaries in Thailand are found from employers that have higher standards. This means that as soon as you get to Thailand, if you haven’t done so already, get into a TEFL or CELTA course. TEFL stands for Teach English as a Foreign Language and CELTA stands for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.

While the better schools require these credentials, you can still find jobs teaching English in Thailand where all you must be is a native speaker and a degree or certification is irrelevant. These jobs are typically found in private language centers. They are also unstable, pay poorly, and have high turnover of foreign teachers. A person teaching English in this type of environment will not be able to get a work permit, will have no benefits, and will probably not have consistent work. The best recommendation is to stay away from this type of job.

Teaching English in Thailand Job Options
There are several areas where you can find a job provided you meet the qualifications. These are international schools, Thai government schools, bilingual schools, private language centers, and private instruction (freelance).

Getting a job teaching English in Thailand at an international school is by far your best option. Salaries usually start in the range of 45,000-60,000 THB per month. Some schools even pay in the neighborhood of 80,000-120,000 THB per month. International schools will be able to get you a work permit. They are also stricter on the teacher hiring standards and usually require that you have a master’s degree in education.

Then there are jobs available for native English speaking teachers in the Thai government schools. They can also get you a work permit. Salaries are typically between 28,000 and 35,000 THB per month. The environment in Thai government schools can be quite demanding with large classrooms of up to 50 students. As a westerner, you will also have an uphill climb getting control of your classroom so that real learning can take place.

The bilingual schools of Thailand offer reasonable salaries for teaching English in Thailand, have manageable class sizes, and add other perks as well. Bilingual schools are those where the curriculum is taught in both English and Thai. They typically have higher standards for teachers and require not only a degree and teaching experience but TEFL/CELTA as well. Salaries range between 45,000 and 65,000 THB per month and many of these schools offer housing allowance and paid vacations.

One type of school you will notice in cities such as Bangkok is the private language training center. They hire corporate and private English teachers all of the time. However, they typically do not require you to have a degree and will overlook the TEFL/CELTA requirement. They also will not get you a work permit. Their business model is to offer private instruction to walk-in students and they send teachers to businesses.

While there may be some good jobs in language training centers, they are few and far between. Because they do not give you a work permit, you will have problems getting any sort of extended stay visa. The pay is unstable and depends on how many customers enroll in courses at any given time. Pay ranges from 400 to 700 THB per contact hour. Teachers that must go to a corporate site to give instruction will typically not be paid for transportation, will conduct classes on weekends or after business hours, and will be victimized by frequent student cancellations. Student cancellations result in a teacher not getting paid for that day so the opportunity cost must be factored in as well.

Then, some who are teaching English in Thailand opt to give private (freelance) tutoring to both students and adults. This can be a great way to learn the city however the best way to do this is as a sideline job while holding down a regular full-time teaching position. If you try to go totally freelance, you will not be able to get a work permit and will also be a victim of frequent cancellations.

One thing about this career is that you will find many positions available. Many who have lived in Thailand have developed a network of friends and business contacts by teaching over the years. If you love sharing knowledge with others, teaching English in Thailand may just be the career of a lifetime.

Top 10 Thai Foods to try for the Newly arrived Expat in Thailand

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One of the first things you will notice when arriving in Thailand is the variety of food available and it makes you wonder what the top 10 Thai foods are. There are also the numerous food malls where you can pick up an affordable yet tasty meal from early in the morning until around 9 PM. However, the first problem many experience when getting here is how to order what looks and smells delicious. It is difficult to know where to start unless you have some idea about what the top 10 foods in Thailand are. So, here is a list to get you started.

Pad Thai
Pad Thai is a sure to be listed among anyone’s top 10 Thai foods. It is a delicious sticky noodle dish that is famous not only in Thailand but around the world as well. Go to any Thai restaurant in the western world and you will find Pad Thai. The classic version of this dish is with shrimp and there is a vegetarian version as well as one with chicken.

Pad Gapow
This is stir-fried basil leaves and it is mixed with some type of meat. The dish is typically served over white rice with a fried egg (kai dao) on the side. All you have to do is choose the meat. You can choose pork (moo), beef (neua), shrimp (gung), or shellfish (pla meuk). They stir fry it with small Thai chilies so it can be quite spicy. However, the flavor makes you overlook the spiciness. You can also request “mai ped” which tells the cook not to put in the chilies.

Kuay Teow
Kuay Teow is the name for the noodle soup that you see all the Thai people eating at small stands along the road. It is definitely one of the top 10 Thai foods for Thai people. You can also find it in food courts at major shopping venues. Usually, it is ordered with meatballs such as luk chin moo (pork), luk chin gai (chicken), or luk chin pla (fish). So, if you want to order Kuay Teow with pork meatballs, you would tell the vendor “Kuay Teow luk chin moo.”

Gang Keow Wan
In English, this is sweet green curry and it is served with either white rice or thin white noodles. It is probably one of the most famous Thai dishes there is. The ingredients are coconut milk, green curry paste, chicken or pork, Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots, and basil. Most all Thai restaurants serve this delight and it is also popular at events where there is catering. As one of the top 10 Thai foods, you will recognize it by its distinct bright green color and soupiness.

Pad Pak Ruam Mit
Thailand is a vegetarian’s paradise and this dish is a mixture of stir-fried vegetables. It can be served with white rice or eaten as a main dish of vegetables only. The mixture of vegetables might vary from place to place however most dishes consist of cauliflower, baby corn, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and straw mushrooms. Also added to the mix is either soy or oyster sauce. Soy sauce is the truly vegetarian dish.

Som Tam
Any list of top 10 Thai foods will have Som Tam. It is a salad made with grated papaya as the main bulk. The taste is probably the most unique in Thailand with its blend of spices and papaya along with just a tinge of saltiness. The other ingredients that go into this spicy delight include tamarind juice, fish sauce, tomatoes, dried shrimp, string beans, sugar cane paste, fish sauce, peanuts, and lime juice. A variation of this dish is served with bits of chopped crab and known as Som Tam Poo.

Gang Garee
This is a famous Thai yellow curry dish and reminds you of the influence of Indian culture in this land. Basically, it consists of yellow curry soup with chicken and potatoes. The yellow curry soup has coconut milk in it which gives it that distinctive Thai taste.

Gai Pad Met Ma Muang
You can think of this dish as Thai cashew chicken. The chicken is cooked in a wok and combined with onions, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar, cashew nuts and dried red chilies.

Moo Satay
This is pork on skewers that is barbequed and served with peanut sauce. The pork is marinated first with a blend of coconut milk, turmeric, Thai curry powder, and soy sauce. In addition to the peanut sauce, it is also served with a white vinegar and cucumber sauce.

Tom Yum Gung
This is another Thai soup that is a mixture of shrimp, lemongrass, mushrooms, galangal, shrimp, and tomatoes. It is super spicy and blends many both salty and sour tastes together. Some variations also use coconut milk in the broth.

There are many more delicious Thai dishes available in the country. Just look at any menu in a Thai restaurant and you will find it to be quite lengthy. Hopefully, with the list of top 10 Thai foods, you can get started trying the many delights this country has to offer.

Find Cheap flights to Bangkok

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The Best Ways to Find Cheap Flights to Bangkok
Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is one of the destinations you must experience in this life. It is called the Land of Smiles because it seems that every local you meet here wears a smile. But you will enjoy your experience in this land of beautiful beaches, warm weather, rich history, great food, and exciting nightlife by finding cheap flights to Thailand. To reach Thailand requires a long flight for many travelers which is why it even more important to find the best deal on airfare possible. Here are a few tips on how to find cheap flights to Thailand.

Look for cheap flights to Bangkok in the low season.
Even though there is a low season in Thailand, it really is hard to tell the difference between it and the peak season. The low season runs between roughly March and the end of October. This is the period that sees the hottest temperatures and the most rainfall. However, there is still plenty of sunshine and rainstorms usually only last from a few minutes to a couple of hours in the worst cases. You can still enjoy Thailand and plane fares as well as hotel prices are cheaper during this time.

You can also get good deals on airfare during the peak season. The peak season in Thailand runs from November until February and is characterized by cooler (but still warm) temperatures, breezy conditions, and little rainfall. It actually gets cool in the northern part around Chiang Mai. Of course the Christmas and New Year timeframes are the most expensive periods to depart from your home country to Thailand. However, if you book your flight around the end of November until the first part of December you can get fares close to those of the low season. The rule of thumb is that you can save by booking 21 days ahead of a major holiday.

It is the little things that count towards saving you air fare. These are things like not flying 7 days prior to or following a holiday, departing on Monday through Wednesday, booking for an early morning or late night departure, and going on flights with longer layovers.

Cheap Flights to Bangkok comparison websites.
These are travel websites where you can put in your arrival and departure information and they will return results listing all airlines with flights available within those parameters. Usually, the listing will be in order of least expensive to most expensive but it allows you to compare and get the best deal.

Ask a travel agent. Travel agents have access to deals that are not listed on websites. Travel agents sometimes have promotional packages that include hotel and rental car in addition to air fare. Sometimes, the air fare is cheaper if you buy one of these packages.

Go directly to the airline’s website. The airline itself may be having its own promotion that allows you to get a better deal. Along the subject of airlines, you can also save money by not changing air carriers at a layover.

Use flag carriers from other countries. Their prices might reflect the price their nationals can pay. Be cautious of low air fare carriers from other countries and check their safety records. Sometimes, these cheap flight airlines have been known to cut corners on safety and have a few accidents under their belt.

Expat entrepreneurs: Starting a Business in Thailand

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In Thailand, the business form the most popular with foreigners is the private limited company (SARL equivalent in France).

With the exception of U.S. citizens, who benefit from preferential agreements with Thailand, it is impossible to be an immigrant from Western individual entrepreneur in the Land of Smiles. All fall back on the only option remaining consistent, the private company with limited liability.

The reasons for foreigners to set up a limited company in Thailand are varied. For if such enterprises are often created to develop a professional activity which will ensure the main source of income of the creator, he is also to cover a number of non-pecuniary objectives:

– To purchase land in Thailand

– Occupy a Thai partner

– Secure a non-immigrant visa to reside continuously in Thailand

– Help a Thai partner to form a solid work history which will eventually immigrate to the West more easily.

This is a first approach to building business in Thailand: the latter does not make you an expert but will give you a good base to start your thinking.

Foremost
Be aware that starting a business in Thailand can quickly become a legal headache for a farang who does not control additional Thai. It is essential that you get help for a lawyer or a qualified accountant in your efforts. The latter will be able to teach you all the tricks and supplement with and for you all required documents in Thai.

In addition, some activities are strictly forbidden to foreigners in Thailand. See the list of unauthorized activities before engaging your efforts. It would be unfortunate to lose your time.

Finally, note that if a farang can be single largest shareholder and a production company (factory), it may not hold more than 49% of a company selling goods or services. You must therefore involve Thai to your project. However, most Westerners did not want to lose control of their businesses rely on nominees.

Creating a Limited Company in Thailand
To create a Private Limited in Thailand, you must commit yourself to capitalize to the tune of 2,000,000 THB (€ 50,000). 25% of this sum will be given at creation.

Therefore, you will be able to raise 12,500 euros for the starting capital of your Limited. This amount is not blocked in an account and can therefore be used to adjust the investment and corporate spending.

The 25% stake in your company will be deposited on behalf of your company within 90 days of its creation. You will need to justify that these funds come from abroad.

But beware! This does not mean that your company will cost you only 12,500 euros: this minimum capital base, you must add all the administrative costs for the various steps of creating your structure (reserving the name of your company drafting of statutes, general meeting of incorporation, legal registration, tax registration (tax and VAT )….).

– Fee 500 THB 100,000 THB per capital (ie 10,000 THB for a capital of 2,000,000 THB)

– Other administrative costs: about 2,000 – 2,500 THB

– Support the establishment by an expert: 7,000 – 16,000 THB

The company premises
As Private Limited, your company must provide proof of business address (you can not domicile in your home).

The location of your business premises is not trivial since different jurisdictions will determine the land on which you depend.

The price of a local professional varies. You will sign a one year lease and pay a deposit equivalent to two months’ rent.

Bangkok Expat Medical Insurance – Several Ways to Have Access to Its Benefits

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Young Male Patient Talking To Female Nurse In Emergency Room

There is no doubt that the cost of living in and medical expenses are rising in Bangkok, Having life or medical insurance comes with its own benefits and for this reason many people have resorted to this plan for many years now. It is always good to know that nowadays the costs of medical bills and hospitalization can be partially covered with this type of plan. It confers the peace of mind that no matter what, these huge costs can become very affordable once you have purchased medical insurance for you and your family.

Medical insurance benefits can extend not only to you as an individual but also to your entire family. In order to have access to these benefits there are several ways to approach these plans. Check down below with these approaches:

1) One way to access the medical insurance benefits, is through purchasing the plan through your employer who has access to group plans for their employees. At this point, your employer offers you the possibility of opting for medical insurance with a specific type of coverage where they pay a part and the rest being yours to pay once deducted from your monthly paycheck.

It is also important to thoroughly check for the coverage plan and make sure that you get insured for a wider range of needs as in this way you rest assured that you can get covered for various health conditions. On the other hand you can get lucky enough for the employer to pay the coverage, but in this case, the coverage plan may be only the basic one which doesn’t give you too much power of choosing the preferred coverage.

2) Another way to access medical insurance benefits is when your employer is not in the position of having this coverage paid for offering their employees no other chance than to purchase an individual medical insurance policy for their needs.

This is a pretty rare situation, but it does happen for some employers to be in the impossibility of having access to medical insurance for their employers due to a poor financial stability. In some cases, employers are obligated by law to offer their employees medical coverage, but this is not applicable in Thailand, you may want to purchase an individual coverage plan. In this case you can as well have access to family coverage plans that are considered as group medical insurance, hence lower premiums to pay for the policy.

At this point you may want to have a proper review of the plan and find the one that you and your entire family can benefit from according to your specific needs. Do not expect to have the dental coverage applicable inside this plan, but at least you can obtain pretty much coverage beside the basic one.

For Thailand Expat Health Insurance Quotes.

Bangkok Dentists: Expat Guide to Finding Dentists in Bangkok

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If you are an expat living in Thailand for the first time, you are bound to be shocked at just how affordable dentists in Bangkok can be compared to the country you came from. This is assuming that you came from the USA, Europe, Canada, or Australia. Other developed nations may also have extremely high dental fees. However, in Thailand, you can look to pay about one-fourth of what you paid in your home country. Annual checkups are a breeze here and the affordable dental care here can be a lifesaver for those needing root canals and bridgework.

Making the Choice
As an expat living in Thailand, price is important when choosing a dentist in Bangkok. Tourists are pleased because just about anywhere is cheaper than in the Western world. However, when living on the Thai economy, price becomes somewhat more relevant. Despite this, price should still not be the most important factor.

Location is probably the most important when choosing a dentist in Bangkok. This is because the traffic in Bangkok is terrible and the mass transit systems are just as packed during hours after you get off of work. You don’t want to get off work just to make a two-hour drive across town for a dental appointment. Probably the best day to drive in Bangkok is on Sunday so a dental provider with opening hours on this day might be what you need.

If you can get a recommendation from another Thai person then this is always helpful. Don’t worry about any language barriers. Some receptionists may not be able to speak English well but they know who in the office can. Furthermore, remember that most all dentists speak English as well.

Now, here are some samplings of the different dental providers throughout Bangkok. Remember, most provide excellent service with some having higher prices than others. These are just a few to consider.

Bumrungrad Hospital Dental Clinic
Bumrungrad is Bangkok’s premier international hospital. Its prices are higher but less than in the Western world and the service is excellent. All facilities are clean and modern as well. These same quality standards apply to the hospital’s dental clinic as well. The dentists are trained in the West and you will have no problem communicating in English here.

Theptarin Dental Clinic
For those living in the area of Rama IV avenue, On Nut, Prakanong, and basically the southern Sukumvit Ave district, there is Theptarin Hospital’s dental clinic. Theptarin Hospital is not quite as crowded as those located in the central part of the city but you may find that more of the staff only speaks Thai. In general, Theptarin’s dental clinic prices are affordable. They have a clean, modern clinic with a waiting area where the kids can play.

Rama 9 Hospital Dental Center
Rama 9 Avenue is located not too far from Bumrungrad Hospital and in the heart of the city as well. They have some convenient opening hours, seven days a week from 8:00 A.M. until 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. They have an extensive list of dentists and you can view their profiles on the clinic’s website. They cost a little less than Bumrungrad and they offer a wide range of services to include general, pediatric, orthodontic, and aesthetic dentistry. Additionally, they have implants, periodontics, and much more.

Silom Dental Building
This is a seven-story dental clinic in Bangkok’s Silom financial district. It is easily reached by BTS Skytrain (Sala Daeng Station) or the MRT subway (Silom Station). This dental complex has just about anything you want in the way of general and cosmetic dentistry. They even have pediatric dental care. Their prices are higher as is everything in the financial district.

Dental Design Clinic
This clinic is a short walk from a popular area for both tourists and expats alike: Asoke. It is a short walk from the Asoke BTS station and right across the street from the Sukumvit MRT subway station on Soi 21 (Asoke Avenue). They feature what you might call “designer” dentistry but have general and surgical services as well. They even feature in-office or at-home teeth whitening. For those who may have difficulty paying for the services all at once, they offer convenient payment plans. One perk is that they are located close to the new Terminal 21 shopping mall.

There are many more dentists available to you in Bangkok—too many to mention here. If you need dental work, this is the place to do it because of the quality and price. Have your teeth checked today and see what these fine dentists can do for you.

Expat Health Insurance Plans & Medical Care in Thailand

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When relocating to Thailand from the country where you have a free national healthcare or a local health insurance plan. You should definitely start looking for a health insurance plan that you will cover you whist living in Thailand and other destinations in Asia where you might possibly visit.

The cost of medical and hospital care in Bangkok is much higher when compared to the cost of medical care in other non-tourist cites such as Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon, Udon, Krabi, etc.

If you plan on staying in a small city in Thailand then you might consider downgrading your health insurance plan as medical treatment in these cities is very affordable. However its always best to have some type of international medical insurance plan, just incase of the worst was to happen.

Within the expat community you will likely hear or many motorbike accidents happening in Bangkok where the injured gets treated and left with bills anywhere between 300,000 to 1.5 Million THB.

Medical care in Bangkok, especially for expatriates and non thai-locals can be incredibly expensive, as are any international expatriate hospitals like those in Pattaya, Phuket.

The best insurance that i am aware of seems to be priced anywhere between 30,000 and 90,000 THB per year per person, depending on your current health.

There are health and medical insurance discounts with family plans. English Teachers are known to receive a subsidized medical insurance plan.

If you are planning on teaching in Thailand then remember that there is a mandatory HIV/AIDS test. This test also includes a include syphilis tests and a number of other sexually transmitted diseases.

A number of other health tests required if you plan on obtaining health insurance through your workplace.

Expat Healthcare in Thailand

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Healthcare in Thailand means some of the most modern and affordable healthcare in the world. This is why the country promotes medical tourism, offering the opportunity to get treatment for an ailment and recover where the climate is warm year round. For the expatriate living and working in Thailand, medical tourism is not the focus however getting the best care at a reasonable price is.

Healthcare a Priority for the Expat
It is easy for a healthy expat to ignore the importance of getting all of the facts when it comes to expat healthcare in Thailand. Why? It is mostly because living in the Land of Smiles is so enjoyable that a normally healthy person never thinks about getting injured or sick. However, the expat needs to make it a priority to get healthcare covered because anything could happen after living here for an extended period.

There are common injuries and ailments in this land. The most common is probably falling off of the back of a motorbike taxi. Many expats avoid the motorbike taxis when first arriving in Thailand but the convenience of this mode of transportation is alluring and most end up depending on these two-wheeled modern day horses.

Another ailment that typically victimizes those who first come to Thailand is food poisoning. Even those who have lived in Thailand for some time can fall victim to the occasional bout of diarrhea, fever, and chills after eating food that may have a touch of the wrong bacteria. The risk of minor food poisoning is always here because of the hot, humid weather and sometimes food is on display without proper refrigeration.

These are just a couple of examples of special risks to one’s health in Thailand. Also consider that you may be a retiree here and naturally you will need more treatment as you age.

Hospital Choices for Expats
You basically have two general choices when it comes to hospitals providing Expat healthcare in Thailand: an international hospital or Thai hospital. The most prominent international hospital in the country is in Bangkok, Bumrungrad. It is also the most expensive however more affordable than hospitals in other parts of the world such as the U.S. and U.K. The staff speaks English and there are translators for Japanese, Arabic, and other languages.

Beyond Bumrungrad is a multitude of private Thai and government hospitals for you to choose from. Most expats go with the private Thai hospitals however English-speaking staff members are not as common in them. This is where the expat does well to learn Thai language while living here. However, you will find the care to be at the same high standard yet much more affordable than an international hospital. A couple of good private hospitals for expatriates in Bangkok are Theptarin and Bangkok Hospital and there are many others.

Private Clinics
You can also find private clinics on the street in just about any town in Thailand. These are clinics to handle simple ailments such as colds and minor injuries. Some hospitals such as Bangkok Hospital have outpatient clinics within expatriate communities such as the one at the Bangkok Gardens Apartments near Soi Narathiwas 24 and Rama III Avenue in Bangkok.

Preventative Healthcare
Another attractive perk of Expat healthcare in Thailand is that you can get a complete physical at a fraction of the cost that you would incur in your home country. For example, the international hospital, Bumrungrad, offers a full health check priced at 7,000 THB and 8,300 THB for males and females respectively. This equates to around £142 / £170 and $227 / $270 in U.K. and U.S. prices which would be unheard of in those parts of the world. Bumrungrad also offers different health check packages at different pricing tiers but all are reasonable.

Pharmacies
What is convenient about healthcare in Thailand for expats is that if you have a minor ailment, you can actually get the pharmacist at a local drug store to recommend and sell you a medication without seeing a doctor first. One common medication that is bought in Thailand without a prescription is the antibiotic. Likewise, if there are certain medications that you take regularly (such as asthma inhalers) then you can probably get them refilled by only going to the pharmacist in Thailand. You will also find that many of the pharmacists speak English.

There are also companies that offer healthcare insurance for expats. Some expat employers even offer healthcare as one of the perks of working for them. However, most minor care is affordable even without insurance which will give you the opportunity to shop around for major medical insurance coverage to supplement your healthcare costs in Thailand.

Streets Smarts and personal safety in Thailand

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Moving to the Land of Smiles naturally causes some concern for the Thailand expat because he is migrating to an entirely different culture along with unfamiliar surroundings. However, you need not worry too much because Thailand has taken many measures to guard your safety and it is probably the most relaxed of all countries in Southeast Asia. Yes, there are scams and dangers in the street but all it takes is a little vigilance and common sense and you will more than likely have no problem. Here are some street smarts that will help you stay safe in Thailand.

Streets Smarts in Entertainment
No doubt, when you first come to Thailand, you will want to partake of some of the nightlife and restaurants that cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya have to offer. Most expats coming to Thailand to work will probably live in Bangkok so consider that the tips that apply to this city are pretty much the same anywhere else in the country.

If your night out takes you to a restaurant or bar, always make sure you know what you are being charged so that there are no surprises when the check comes. There have been instances where checks were artificially inflated unbeknownst to the customer because of an inability to read Thai language or inebriation. Higher class restaurants will probably never do this to you but many like to experience the spirit of Thailand and eat or drink at street restaurants and bars. Stay vigilant and always know what you are getting charged.

Dealing with People
The Thailand expat will find that Thai people are generally easy-going and non-confrontational. You will also find that out in the streets, Thais will be cordial and friendly but will rarely intrude on your personal or business life. Having made this point, if a person (Thai or foreigner) walks up to you on the street trying to befriend you then you should be suspicious and politely bow out as quickly as possible. Oftentimes, folks who walk up to you on the street are trying to set you up for a scam or talk you out of some money. And, whatever you do, try to always avoid confrontation with a Thai because you may either get no reaction or an explosive one and the situation will more than likely turn out worse.

The street beggars in Thailand will oftentimes tug on your heartstrings, especially when there are mothers begging while holding small children. It is better that you keep your money. It is sad but begging scams are common here.

Then, enough cannot be said about your safety and being cautious with whom you drink. While the locals in the neighborhood watering hole might seem jovial and friendly, you may be in for a surprise. All it takes is one person (usually male) to drink too much and you, being a foreigner, will draw his attention. There have been many instances of the Thailand expat being injured or fatally wounded here after a night of drinking with strangers.

Respecting Thai Culture
The Royal Family of Thailand is highly revered and respected in this country. Never, under any circumstances, disrespect any member of the Royal Family. This includes making derogatory comments about them, verbal and written. The country’s Les Majeste laws specify that anyone, to include the Thailand expat, showing this disrespect can be arrested and sentenced to prison.

Also, consider that the King of Thailand’s picture is on all currency. Therefore, if you drop a coin, never trap it with your feet. Thai culture considers the feet a very repulsive part of the body and it is disrespectful to step on icons of Thailand with them.

Transportation Smarts
One of the fascinating features of Thailand is the availability of several modes of transportation, one of them being the tuk-tuk. These are the small three-wheeled covered motorized taxis that have been featured in movies and travel brochures and capture the spirit of Thailand. Unfortunately, many of the drivers are dishonest and overcharge foreigners because the vehicles are not metered. If you absolutely must take a tuk-tuk, negotiate the fee beforehand.

The preferred modes of public transportation for the Thailand expat in Bangkok are taxis, buses, BTS Sky train, and the MRT subway. Taxis are good for safety and reliable but do not forget to tell the driver to turn on the meter. There have been instances where taxi drivers turn off their meter with the unsuspecting tourist in order to craft their own “tip”. They have also been known to take foreigners to their destination by using a longer route but unless you know your way around, you may not detect this is happening.

Then, there are the motorbike taxis. This mode of transportation is probably one of the most noticeable when you arrive in Thailand. The concept is simple; motorbikes can get you easily to your destination because they have the ability to weave through stalled traffic. However, passengers rarely wear helmets and the drivers have been known to be intoxicated at times. If you really want to ride a motorbike taxi, take care of your safety and sit square on the back and do not lean to the left or right. When the motorbike is navigating through tight traffic, keep your arms close to your sides, hold on tightly, don’t spread your legs, and never lean to the left or right to see what is going on. Many have been injured by not keeping a tight profile on the back of these motorbikes.

Protecting Your Money
Obviously, you should never flash your money regardless of the city where you are at. However, there are other ways to be vigilant with your money in Thailand. First on the list is to make sure that you always count your change no matter where you purchase an item. Second, always exercise caution at ATMs. There have been instances where thieves have tampered with ATMs by inserting a device to get an imprint of your card and then someone looks over your shoulder to get your PIN as you punch it in. To protect against this happening, make sure that you always cover your pin with your other hand while entering it and be wary of any strangers studying your movements.

It is important to always trust your instincts just as you would in any of the world’s major cities. And, it is of critical importance to stay sober if you are alone on the streets. By following these basic street smarts for the Thailand expat, you can be sure to guard your safety thus making your stay here much more enjoyable.

Thailand Weather: Hot and Rainy Seasons

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For the expat living in Thailand, the words “hot and rainy” pretty much sum up Thailand weather. However, this is a simplification. In the southern parts it is hot year-round and the northern parts in the Chiang Mai vicinity experience cool temperatures in December and January. By knowing what to expect with the weather in this country, you will be prepared for taking advantage of low tourist seasons and for battling occasional torrential rain and street flooding. Here is a quick look at the weather in this country.

Southern Thailand Weather
You have your choice in the southern part of Thailand with two options: hot with rain or without. However, the times of these two seasons differ depending on if you are on the east or west coast of the southern peninsula. On the west coast of the southern peninsula, you will find it rains heaviest from April until October.

In November, things on the peninsula’s west coast begin to dry up with little or no rainfall. This dry season lasts until March along with cooler temperatures (still hot though). Come March, temperatures begin to rise with April being the hottest month. Also in April, the rainfall begins to increase with September and October as the peak months for it.

The east coast of the peninsula is different with regard to rainfall. The most rainfall typically happens between the months of September and December. Rainfall will peak around November and taper off during the months of December and January. Then, just like the west coast, the weather will get drier and hotter with April being the peak month as far as temperatures are concerned.

Northern Thailand Weather
In the northern part of Thailand, northeastern winds cause cooler and drier conditions between the months of November and February. Then, between March and May, temperatures begin to get hot and peak during the month of April. Rainfall also begins to increase with a sharp spike in May and peaking around August. The higher elevations in this region such as the mountains have been known to drop down to freezing temperatures.

Central Thailand Weather
Bangkok is the main population center in the central region of Thailand. Pattaya and Koh Chang (Elephant Island) are two other popular getaways in this region. In this region, you will find that the rainy months occur between April and November with the most rainfall occurring from May until the first couple of weeks in November. The two months with the heaviest rainfall are September and October. December through March is typically dry but still hot. However, Bangkok has been known to experience some relatively cooler nighttime temperatures during December and January although not cool enough for a jacket.

Seasons to Watch
Across the board, April is the hottest month in Thailand. It’s no surprise that April is also the month of Songkhran (Thai New Year, April 13). This is when everyone takes to the streets and celebrates by dousing each other with water either from big buckets or high-capacity water guns. It’s a way to deal with the incredible heat and it’s a celebration that you don’t want to miss. If you live in big cities such as Bangkok, Pattaya, or Chiang Mai, it’s difficult to avoid getting wet as locals indiscriminately soak anyone with water.

Another season to watch with regard to Thailand weather is the period between September and November when run-off from the northern regions floods Bangkok and Pattaya as it attempts to reach the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok has an elaborate canal system but sometimes the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the center of the city, swells and overflows to include the canals or “klongs” as they are called in Thai. 2011 saw extreme flooding with the northern part of the city around the old Don Muang Airport submerged for months. Many development projects are in the works to divert this run-off so that the same disaster will not occur in the future.

In summary, you will find that the best time for the expat to invite friends to Thailand will be December, January, and February. These are also the peak tourist seasons and prices tend to be higher however your guests will be able to enjoy sunshine and cool breezes and the best of Thailand weather.