The amazing city of Bangkok is home to thousands of western digital nomads, and for very good reason, as top-rated accommodation is relatively cheap in the City of Angels, plus they have a very modern infrastructure, with high-speed 4G Internet. If you are planning on moving to Bangkok to run your online business or are accepting a foreign posting with your employer, here are a few aspects to consider.
Take a Reconnaissance Trip
Rather than jumping in and arriving with all your belongings, why not start with a one-month visit, which will allow you to get a good feel for the city, and you can stay at an affordable boutique hotel such as https://www.novotelbangkoksukhumvit20.com/, which is very close to the BTS line. There’s a lot you can do in 30 days, you can spend a week looking at condo units, and there are some great deals to be had. There are many cool coffee shops that expats use as workstations, so making friends will be easy, and if there are any issues with living in Bangkok, they would be revealed during your exploration trip.
One of the obstacles for the expat is obtaining a long-term visa for Thailand, but there are ways; you could sign up for Thai language classes, or even Muay Thai, which allows you to stay for the duration of your study program, which can be as long as you please. If you are over 50, you can apply for a retirement visa, which is renewed annually. You could arrive on a tourist visa and while in Thailand, an agent would change this to a Non-Imm visa, which can be extended annually. Do not let your visa expire, as the overstay fine is 500 baht per day and if you are caught overstaying your visa, you will go to jail and then be deported and blacklisted from entering Thailand in the future.
There are taxis everywhere, and, of course, there is the BTS train network that covers the inner city, with 5 lines that are operational. There is also a complex network of canals that run through Bangkok, and it can be great fun exploring these, with quiet corners with beautiful temples and gardens, plus you get to see how the local people live. Motorcycle taxis are there if you are in a hurry, and that is quite an exhilarating experience, then there are the 3-wheeled Tuk-Tuks, a favourite with the tourists. There are a/c and non-a/c buses that run to every district in the city and the suburbs, and if you want to travel to the north or south of Thailand, there are bus and train stations in Bangkok. It should be noted that Thailand has some of the best roads in the world, which surprises many visitors, and the infrastructure was due to the efforts of King Rama V, who visited Europe and returned home and changed many things for the better.
In many respects, Bangkok is very westernised, with hi-end shopping malls everywhere and there are amenities like fitness centres, golf driving ranges and great schools if you have kids. The Thai people are very service-minded, as well as being warm and hospitable, and if you are a food lover, Bangkok has many great surprises for the lover of good food. While the city is very westernised, there are areas that are predominantly Thai, especially when you move out of the city into the suburbs. If you are planning to buy real estate in Thailand, here is an informative article about foreign property ownership.
Driving in Thailand
If you wish to drive in Thailand, you can use an International Driving Permit for the first 90 days of your stay, after which you will need to apply for a Thai driving licence, which is quite straightforward. You do not have to take a test if you have a driving licence in your home country, but you will have to take a reaction and colour-blind test, and there are agents who will arrange everything on your behalf for a small fee.
According to Thai law, a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand, but you can buy a condo unit, and there are some great condo developments to suit all budgets. You might prefer to rent, but if you plan to stay for a long time, purchasing a condo is a wise move, as this would be an investment that pays dividends in the future. It is possible to set up a limited company, and the company can own real estate, but as a foreigner, you can have no more than 49% of the company, and if the said company was created with the sole purpose of acquiring land, the Thai government can seize the assets. You can long-lease a plot of land and build your own house, which is a popular choice for many long-term expats who make Thailand their home. Here is some up to date information about property ownership in Thailand, which you should read.
Living and working in Bangkok has a lot to offer, and start with a short holiday, when you can explore and decide whether or not, Bangkok is for you.