Having lived here in the Land of Smiles for 10 years now I feel I’m pretty well positioned to comment on what it is that makes a great life as an expat here. We’ve all seen people fall and crumble and head back to their home countries either miserable, heartbroken or penniless (or all 3).
Here are 5 good pieces of advice for a healthy, happy life in Thailand.
- Respect the Locals – Thais are generally a friendly, smiley bunch and they’ll respond very positively to you if you are smiley and friendly back (especially if you can speak a bit of Thai). Showing some respect to the Thais, giving them a wai (even if you don’t do it quite right), and respecting their customs and idiosyncrasies will serve you well as an expat. I really enjoy the smiles and ‘sawatdees’ I get in the morning on my walk. What often pains me to hear is expats sitting in bars rattling off and complaining about the Thais and Thailand and how stupid everything is. Choosing to emigrate to a country and then to complain about it and its people is the very definition of stupid. It’s always worth remembering that we are in their country.
- Eat the Food – One of the best things about living in Thailand is their amazing cuisine. With so many different wonderful dishes and so many exotic, varying flavours you’d be crazy not to get involved. I’ve known a few expats here who will quite blankly refuse to eat Thai food (and most of them happened to have poor relationships). I know variety is the spice of life and we all love a pizza or a pie, but if you live here it’s bonkers not to enjoy their food.
- Chill Out – Do your best to not lose sight of the fact that the primary thing that life in Thailand offers is a more laid back lifestyle. There’s a lot to be learnt from the Thai ‘mai bpen rai’ attitude and the ‘go with the flow’ mentality that most of them seem to have.
- Get Outdoors – With the year-round temperatures that we enjoy here it’s essential to make the most of it. Take walks, go for bike rides, go swimming every day, eat outside, have drinks on the terrace (wherever that may be). The outdoor lifestyle on offer here is healthy, wholesome and good for the soul. it beats being stuck indoors watching TV any day.
- Find the Right Partner – How many times have you heard westerners waxing negative about Thai women? (I say women here as it’s more often the case) There’s an extremely high chance that these ‘men’ have been looking for love in all the wrong places. A good piece of advice is to think of it like dating anywhere else in the world – go on plenty of dates until you find someone you really connect with (and be honest with yourself on this point) and see where it takes you. Don’t rush into anything and use your brain. I know from experience, but luckily I had the sense to get out of a truly toxic relationship. Check out online dating sites, it’s so easy to meet people these days.