Plan to Move to Thailand? The Expat Checklist

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So you’ve made the decision to move to Thailand. Whether for work, a change of lifestyle or adventure or to experience Thai culture, your new home awaits with great food, warm temperatures and new experiences. Before you set off, here’s a handy checklist with all the essentials to make the transition as smooth as possible:


Make sure your paperwork is all sorted out.

Visas cater to various purposes; if you plan to work in Thailand, securing a work permit typically involves sponsorship from your employer. For short-term visits, a tourist visa is likely sufficient. Long-term stay options, such as retirement visas, are available for those envisioning their golden years in Thailand. Regardless of your situation, consulting the Thai embassy in your home country is recommended to explore visa options aligned with your needs, understand associated requirements, and ensure compliance with any health insurance prerequisites.

Pack and ship your belongings.

Depending on your plans and living situation, you may find you don’t need some furniture items as many Thai apartments come at least partially furnished and if you come with nothing, Thailand is not short of shopping malls to stock up on furniture.

move to thailand, Plan to Move to Thailand? The Expat Checklist


Store items you’re leaving behind and ship the rest ahead of you.

Ensure you know the shipping time and allow for any hold-ups at customs. It may be worth arranging some to get some temporary essentials lined up so you can live comfortably while you wait for your beloved sofa or dresser to arrive.

Look for accommodation in your destination.

A good way to get a sense of the neighbourhoods is to ask other expats who are living in Thailand for their advice on online forums (also available on Facebook expat groups). When you have a feel for where might best suit your lifestyle, take a look at what’s available on renting agency websites. You may prefer to organise a short-term rental for when you arrive, and then do some personal viewings on more long-term options when you’re situated.

move to thailand, Plan to Move to Thailand? The Expat Checklist


Get comprehensive health insurance.

Ensure you and your family are covered for every eventuality, so you can get settled in your new home without worry. Look for insurance that offers a second medical opinion, 24/7 multi-lingual support team and direct billing.

Get your vaccinations.

Visit your GP to make sure you’re up to date with any vaccinations you might need in the tropics. If you are travelling with young children, you will need to check if they require any additional vaccinations.

Have a health check up.

Before you leave, get a comprehensive update on your health so you enter the new adventure with all the information and, if necessary, medical records for your new health providers.

Find your nearest medical facility.

All main cities and urban areas in Thailand have at least one hospital and if you live in Bangkok, you can choose some of Asia’s leading hospitals

health insurance thailand


Inform your current bank that you’re moving abroad…

and discuss credit cards, banking abroad and overseas spending plans.

Enquire about a Thailand bank account.

Thailand has myriad options for banking. Some of the best options for expats include Citi Bank, which has an international presence and Kasikorn, which is especially good for online banking and just announced a new international transfer service.

Other Essentials

If you’re moving with family, you’ll need to research schools in your destination.

Most major cities in Thailand have at least one international school and Bangkok has several high quality options. Online forums like can be helpful for on-the-ground advice and unbiased opinions.

Consider taking a few Thai language classes…

to prepare for your arrival. Just a few conversational words go a long way to making your landing smooth and enjoyable. A number of classes are available online. There are also plenty of courses available to learn Thai when arrive.

Look into Thai mobile phone companies.

You can get a prepaid SIM card with internet data, calls and texts at any 7 Eleven when you arrive. But for a more long term solution, all the big companies, including True, Dtac and AIS offer a range of packages to suit various needs, including phone and wifi combined.


For more tips about moving to Thailand, check Expat Den’s Thailand guide for expats.

Good luck with the move and welcome to the Land of Smiles.

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