Many people choose to move to Thailand not only for its exotic lifestyle but also for the unique benefits that can be enjoyed with the Thailand Elite Residence Program. Affectionately known as the ‘Land of Smiles’, Thailand is a long-established destination in Asia for expats, retirees, and families looking to relocate to enjoy the diverse mix of old-world charm and ultra-modern living.
The Thailand Elite Residence Program provides a multiple-entry visa to qualified applicants looking to move to the Kingdom of Thailand, allowing them to visit and reside in Thailand for a period of between five and twenty years, at a one-time cost of between THB 500,000 (approximately USD 16,000) and THB 2.14 million (approximately USD 68,000).
From its palm-fringed beaches and laid-back lifestyle to the shopping and nightlife of Bangkok, there is more to planning a move to Thailand than an Elite visa and a plane ticket. Here are four things to consider when planning your move to Thailand.
When moving to Thailand, one of the most important decisions to make is where to live. From the mountainous regions around Chiang Mai and the bustling metropolis of Bangkok to the idyllic island lifestyle of Phuket or Koh Samui, choosing a location to reside in depends very much on the type of visa you have as well as your intentions for moving to Thailand in the first place.
The capital Bangkok attracts businesspeople for professional reasons. However, many expats choose to live in the city to enjoy the benefits its urban lifestyle provides, with its world-class shopping malls, traditional markets, parks, sky trains, and waterways.
Chiang Mai in the north appeals to expats of all persuasions due to its comparatively lower cost of living to that of Bangkok. Chiang Mai is also conveniently located close to many national parks and mountain areas, making it ideal for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
Phuket is a popular destination, particularly for retirees, due to its laid-back island lifestyle, large expat community, and abundance of world-class golf courses frequented by tourists and upper-class locals alike.
Hua Hin, also known as the royal beach resort of Thailand, is another popular island location for expats. Apart from its water sport activities, golf courses, and beach lifestyle, Hua Hin also boasts world-class hospitals that are increasingly popular with international visitors and expats for state-of-the-art healthcare facilities.
When moving to Thailand with your family, it’s important to know that your children will be receiving the best education possible. The school year in Thailand runs from May through to March with holidays taken in October, March, and April. It is worth noting that due to the developing economy and lack of access to highly skilled teachers in rural areas throughout Thailand, the standard of basic education varies from region to region.
Expats living in Thailand would do well to look at sending their children to international schools, which, given the current state of education in Thailand, are becoming an increasingly attractive option for those who can afford the fees. As it turns out, many local families living in developing countries in Asia such as China, Malaysia, and Singapore can afford to send their children to international schools. These schools offer a higher standard of education and equip children with the skills to study, work, or settle abroad.
On the whole, Thailand is a very safe place to live in, with a low crime rate and high standard of living. However, opportunistic crime can happen as it would in any other country in the world. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and theft can take place in crowded areas and cities, and expats should be aware of their personal belongings in these situations.
No matter where you choose to reside in Thailand, road safety is a primary concern for most people. With reckless driving being the norm, expats should always use pedestrian crossings and watch out for motorcycles and tuk tuks that weave through traffic jams, particularly in Bangkok.
As with any country, scams are also common in Thailand and new residents should be aware of when and where the most recent scams are taking place. Taxi drivers will occasionally fail to run the meter and instead attempt to overcharge foreign passengers, but these instances can easily be avoided by simply asking the driver to run the meter upon entering the taxi.
Thailand is fast becoming one of the world’s leading medical tourism destinations. In 2014, it was estimated that more than one million Americans left the country to seek medical care abroad. With the world-class Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok featuring 55 specialty centers, an internationally certified lab, advanced imaging, and state-of-the-art care, gone are the days of third-world tummy tucks and plastic surgery procedures.
Public health facilities in Thailand offer good medical services, but government hospitals are often crowded. Despite this, English-speaking general practitioners, dentists, and opticians are readily available in Thailand’s private hospitals such as Bumrungrad International Hospital, which serves an average of 520,000 patients a year from 190 countries
The Thailand Elite Residence Program offers discounts on procedures and complimentary annual medical check-ups as well as dental procedures.
With plenty other benefits like cooking classes at some of the country’s top schools and access to ultra-modern spas and healthcare facilities, to adventure activities, water sports, and world-class golf courses, new Thailand residents can enjoy the island life with all the luxuries of home and more.