I’ve been in and out of Thailand for many times this year — maybe a dozen entries in the space of 12 months. So i’m not really the “expat”. But there are several things I’ve noticed…
Really, this is not much different from many other countries. If you don’t have a tier 1 passport, many other countries require you to prove some kind of income and to re-enter the country to renew your visa. You even have to report your address to the authorities too in other places. Seriously, Thailand is not that far off from what is the immigration norm around the world. What do you think someone wanting to visit the EU, Australia of the USA has to go through when getting a visa? The same thing.
Thailand is getting a bit more expensive — in line with other western countries. This is due to general growth and development. What, you wanted to pay people for nothing like in the 1980’s? Get real. Thais have larger expectations now. They read the internet too. They want to live in those thousands of condos you see going up around Bangkok. They want to have cars, houses, vacations and great education for their families. Thailand can’t be the place that you pay $10 for a hotel room forever. The baht can’t be an inferior currency forever. You expect no growth?
Some people have complained about the Thai culture. Wake up. It’s different from our western norms. And until you realize that, you’ll never thrive in Thailand. People in Thailand just do things differently. There is the right way, the wrong way and the Thai way. Until you learn that, its going to be really, really hard for you. But the good news, is strip away the veneer of the culture and realize that human nature is the same underneath. If you realize this, then you will be good.
Scams & Crimes
Just like many other countries, there are going to be scams and crimes. Just less so than in the west — literally. If you think that the normal human nature should not apply here, then you’re not a good observer of humans. Like all countries, women want to find the richest man. Vendors want to make the biggest profit. Some people love drama more than peace and quiet. Scammers want to find the next sucker. What is the difference between a big corporation in the west scamming you and a Thai scamming you in the street? In the west we’ve legalized and normalized this so it does not look like a scam.
Land of “Smiles”
Yes, people in Thailand are always smiling and welcoming and this is genuine. But just like in the west, they want the same things that you want. What, you thought that that lady smiling at you was only interested in your good looks because you’re a farang? Just like in the west, she’s thinking if you have a good job, will make a good provider and will pay for her next iPhone. Why do you think this is any different? It’s just that there is a smile in front of it, but dig deeper and the human behavior is the same.
And finally, women. Foreigners love to think that Thai women will be subservient, docile and stick with you to the end. Because western women are the opposite and you’ve become quite tired of that so you’ve moved to Asia where you can find a “real woman”. Wake up Johnny Farang. Women in Thailand are just as hypergamous, scheming and looking out for themselves as in any other culture. It is the nature of women to find the best provider. Women get bored with the same man after some time. Yes, you see the veneer of the femininity, the subservience and all of that. But have a longer relationship with a woman from any country and the same human characteristics come out in the end.
So people think that Thailand has “changed”. It has. It’s growing up and becoming more westernized in nature. Once you understand that and adjust your expectations, you’ll actually be fine.
You can’t willy-nilly move to western countries and work and live for unlimited periods of time either.
The world and countries are always changing. Always remember that.