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Four-year professional visas get green light in Thailand (khaosodenglish.com)
114 points by fazkan on Aug 20, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 130 comments

This article is a good example of the primary form of click-bait used by websites catering to the Thai expat / digital nomad market. No new visa has been introduced, and it is unlikely that anything along these lines ever will be, no matter how many times it is suggested in expat forums or Facebook groups for digital nomads. All the expat websites know this, but they keep pumping out these articles because they are, by far, their most reliable source of traffic.

Every foreigner who spends time in Thailand indulges in the fantasy that their bizarre visa system will, somehow, be fixed to allow "good" visitors to spend longer there. It seems obvious that this _should_ happen, that the Thai people would benefit financially, but it would not be in the interests of the Thai elite, and that is the only things that currently matters.

"was endorsed Friday by the Cabinet"

It was not endorsed in the legal sense, the writer is using that word to justify his claim, in the title, that the plan has the "green light".

Endorsed, in this context, means that it was mentioned in cabinet, and the soldiers present agreed that it sounded like a fine idea. This is no different from all the other times it has been discussed, but nothing has actually been drafted, given the go-ahead or any sort of actual green light. This is just the usual spit-balling and bullshit.

The best way to tell when a Thai expat website is trying to magic up a story out of nothing is that none of the other major expat websites have bothered to mention it. When a real new visa is introduced, such as the current 10-year visa for retirees, you will see it being discussed on all the sites.

Why is it referenced from the PM's Delivery Unit Facebook page?

> but it would not be in the interests of the Thai elite

Why not?

Disruption is bad for business.

I am mystified probably coming from South Asia, what makes Thailand so attractive? when you can do similar cost arbitrage with many places in Carib and Latin America, while being in the same time zones and probably better way to get in touch with US based clients.

No one has mentioned it, so I'll say that one of the things that I found most pleasant about Thailand was the religious aspect of it. I'm more of an atheist, but spending time in a primarily Buddhist country has a very different feel from a primarily Catholic or Muslim country.


- There are still cost differences between Latin America and Thailand.

- The weather is awesome. Wearing shorts and short sleeves 24/7/365 is great.

- I love Thai food and it's easier to eat vegetarian there than in Latin America.

- There's no expectation that foreigners need to learn Thai. Beyond 'hello' and 'thank you' they basically expect to be speaking English (or Chinese).

- I've always liked hanging out with Australians and New Zealanders and there's a lot of them in Thailand.

- The internet is much better. Not only than Latin America, but also better than I get in the US.

On the negative side, foreigners are looked at as sources of money and not everyone is good at pretending they're interested in something else. It's very easy to feel dehumanized and that you're only interesting to them because you have money. Also, while many people are listing girls as a positive, in Bangkok the assumptions they make about white men made it hard for me to be there. It gets depressing to be offered sex that often. Considering you get all benefits of Thailand in other locations as well, I strongly recommend potential expats consider Thai destinations other than Bangkok.

If one spends time integrating into their society (for example, learn their language instead of just using English all the time), then one may be treated a little more positively. They don't expect you to speak Thai because they see you as someone who won't stick around and as a result, like you said, merely a money source.

I agree 100%. I am currently an expat with local language skills. When other expats complain about getting treated differently because they're foreigners, and then you find out they've been here 10 years and have no local language skills, it's easy to understand why.

It's dramatically safer than most of South America and the Caribbean. Having lived for the better part of a decade in both Thailand and the Caribbean, the people in Thailand seem much friendlier.

And most of their economies are on an upward trajectory in SE Asia. While the caribbean and many parts of latin America are mostly spinning their wheels in position.

Sense of security? Everyone knows of the potential security issues in latin america, but thailand "we" don't know a lot about. A sense of the exotic? For americans it is all the way over in asia. Being in the middle of the huge asian market? The girls? The food? The cost?

I myself have relocated to latin america (oaxaca, mexico) and enjoy the lifestyle here, but being from Europe which is in the middle of the two I can easily see myself having ended up in thailand or that general neighbourhood had I not planted seeds here with a job and family =)

>Sense of security? Everyone knows of the potential security issues in latin america, but thailand "we" don't know a lot about.

It's not just ignorance, since some of us do know a lot about, and still consider SEA safer.

Food, safety, proximity to other Asian destinations, low cost, fast Internet, everything close by (e.g. one can take a break from Bangkok with a quick flight to the south)... it goes on.

Everything you listed bar the connection to asian countries you can find in latin america

The internet in Latin America sucks compared to east Asia.

It's not even remotely close. I say this having used 130 gigs of high speed mobile data over the past month, tethering wherever I felt like it, and spending under $30 USD for the privilege.

Hey, have you been to china? Internet isn't really great there especially if you venture outside of the Chinese net. Heck, some websites won't even work without a vpn....

South East Asia != East Asia

I have been mostly bouncing between Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, but even so, what Latin American city offers internet service at a similar speed and price as you could get in Chiang Mai, Saigon or Singapore? I sure haven't seen one.

Except for Vietnam!

Flight connections in SA are significantly more expensive, there are virtually no low-costers.

Sure, but it has a completely different culture in pretty much all ways you can think of, and for some the asian way resonates more.

We get deluged in the west about crime in Latin America all day every day. It seems like a much less safe place than in Thailand.

Latin America is very unsafe. The list of top 50 cities by murder rate is very telling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate

I have lived most of my life in Brazil, and even though I am very privileged, the following has happened to me: 1) Watch stolen by drug addict with a syringe when I was 12 years old 2) Cellphone stolen by a thug with a glass shard when I was 16 3) Also when I was 16, three thugs tried to steal my cellphone, they said they would blow my brains if I didn't comply and faked having a gun (I didn't). 4) Two thugs invaded my frat house, held us hostages with handguns, and stole all we had (I will never forget the cold metal of the gun touching my head, while I was threatened). 5) My car was jacked right in front of my house. 6) Another cellphone stealing incident that I'd rather not share in details. 7) My spare tire was stolen while I was in a bar for a couple of hours.

This is just what has happened to me in less than 30 years. Stories like those abound. My girlfriend also went through (4) and (7), independently of me. Pretty much everyone I know has had a cellhphone stolen at some point in their lives.

If you want to actually experience the dread that is living in Brazil, search for "brazil" in reddit's /r/watchpeopledie.

Latin America really varies by country. You'd have to be insane to want to spend time in Venezuela right now. Brazil, especially north Brazil has a reputation for violence.

Chile on the other hand is very safe, has good infrastructure and is a pretty pleasant place to visit with lots of varied scenery and low corruption. They even have a startup incubator program. The beaches don't have warm water unfortunately.

For what it's worth the U.S. has four cities in the top-50 list. I've been to a couple of them. Yeah you can't be a dummy, but I don't think most people there are in fear of their life.

It is a lot easier to not be a dummy, or a mark, in a city in your own country where you understand the risk profile, and what risk might look like.

No matter what I do, I would always look like a foreigner in Venezuela. This is also true in Thailand but they seem to do a much better job of protecting farang from violent crime.

When you're living in Latin America as an expat, the odds are pretty strong that you're in or near a tourist resort with very little (observable) crime. I say observable because, yeah, of course a mafia is operating in the area, but it's not an all out war like in Tijuana or Juarez because it's not lucrative for the mafia to scare tourists off. Tourists go to the mafia's bars and restaurants at the end of the day, which is part of how they launder money.

It's not like you're gonna spend your whole time in the resort. Otherwise why bother going to Latin America? We have resorts here in the US too.

Indeed, most people who travel to Latin America want to travel and do sight-seeing. And that can be dangerous, especially for "gringos" (Anglo-Saxon whites) because they are perceived as wealth targets by kidnappers.

You don't really have that problem in a place like Thailand.

I am very hesitant about visiting visiting Brazil especially since it would cost me $$ as an American (yes, I understand it's reciprocal).

However, I don't think it's fair to lump all of Latin America together. I found living in Peru for 9 months safe, and I travelled all over the country. I also visited Bolivia and Colombia but less extensively. In fact, most of these places felt safer than SF after you know the lay of the land.

Hmm the wiki page is odd, the three numbers for Fortaleza (first place) don't make much sense. And Valencia should not take just 35th place?

It's not media exposure. Thailand has a similar crime rate to the US. Latin America on average is much much worse. https://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings_by_country.jsp

5 hour flight from Beijing always made it convenient for a long weekend.

The huge majority of men go there for women, food, weather, in that order. (Not sure why this is getting downmodded - I know a lot of professional expats who live there and after a few drinks they all say those are the big draws.)

You have a better living cost arbitrage in SEA, specifically in Thailand. With an easy availability of everything you’d need as an expat (simple apartment and car/moto rentals), you get a much better bang for you buck. The barrier of entry is low and you can easily set up a routine in less of a day.

SA requires you to learn Spanish and you’ll struggle a lot trying to figure out things in he beginning.

Apart from being a lot more dangerous, Latin America is more expensive than South Asia.

Not sure about Caribbeans, have never been there.

I think one potential of Latin America is the time zone lines up better with North America. This might not matter, depending on what kind of business you're doing.

Security. After 2 years in SEA and visiting Medellin or Mexico city all i want is run away to sabai sabai.

Most people are not coming from the US.

If your clients are in Europe then being 5 hours ahead is actually better than being in the same timezone (especially if you're nocturnal and only wake up at 11am ;)

Thailand has a ton of western tourists making it very adapted to their 'needs' and greatly reduces the 'risk' of culture shock. So if you're the sort of person who wants to a warm cheap country, but still want to be able to go to a different pub every night where you can hang out with white native English speakers then Thailand is pretty good bet.

This is also based on the assumption you are in a client/service business. However as someone with a startup in Thailand the timezone is always the first point of contention for most of us, So not disagreeing with you on that point. Not having a US number can also work against you when trying to set up meetings with partners, you get put at the bottom of the call sheet always.

Not having a US number can also work against you

That is solvable in literally 30 minutes, for $10

To most white Americans that want to work in Thailand, Hispanic people are scarier than southeast asians.

They're mainly scarier because they, you know, kill more people.

I say this as someone who strongly prefers Latin America and Hispanic culture to Thailand and Thai culture.

For someone working with UK/West European clients the time zone means you can enjoy the daytime and work in the evening which I prefer. The 9-5 is too engrained from last century workhouses to change but doesn't suit a balanced lifestyle

Well for one, they are now letting you stay for 4 years without needing an actual job at a Thai based company :)

I think it's just more exotic. Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, they are pretty US-like in their own ways.

Some people prefer the culture, the food, the party scene, the girls. Also, it's pretty safe and comfortable for expats. Also, English is widely spoken in Southeast Asia

It's cheap, safe, and tech nerds love Asian girls for some reason


Please comment thoughtfully and substantively or not at all.

Southeast Asia is a really interesting case study for me when it comes to political ideals vs. optimizing for life situations. There's a growing creep of authoritarianism in different nations -- given what we know of the military regime in Thailand and their propensity to arrest people for expression, it would be somewhat ironic to preach for the "open Internet" while living there. The tradeoff, of course, is much lower costs, higher security as others have pointed out. But I do wonder about the greater costs involved -- those perhaps not weighed on foreign workers, of accepting that this is the way things happen to be there.

This is certainly a very real part of living in Thailand. There are certain subjects (i.e. the monarchy and Buddhism) that you can not be negative about. It's possible that you could be arrested if you are overheard speaking negatively about these things. Practically, this isn't an issue. You are as likely to talk about the Thai Monarchy and Buddhism as you are here in America. That said, it is certainly surreal when a conversation veers that direction and it the group collectively realizes they need to stop talking about that for fear of imprisonment.

> There's a growing creep of authoritarianism in different nations

This seems to be a phenomenon in the vast majority of modern states... the only solace is finding the one's where they are so dysfunctional that in practice they aren't as all consuming to as their mandate allows. Which seems to be more the case in China/SE Asia than most western states.

Great move Thailand! I expect the kingdom will be loose with these as it has been in allowing this class of foreigner use tourist, ed and extensions when they know full well what's really going on.

The previous system was essentially a checkpoint to allow for the removal of party goer types who have become more trouble than they're worth.

Would be great if you're eligible - no more visa runs or "self-defense" ED visas, but not that much info is provided at this moment. The visa should roll-out in January 2018 according to FB page...

Sadly, there are no details yet. What constitutes investor or highly skilled?

As a data point, Thailand has long had an investor visa program that grants anybody who invests 10 million baht (~US$300k) in property etc the right to live in Thailand. The main catch is that working in Thailand is explicitly not permitted.


We're probably not talking crazy money to be qualified as an investor in a developing country. But there might be a requirement to invest a certain amount into the local economy.

As a point of reference, you can get a business visa in Japan by starting a company with about $50K in capital. The idea is that the company has enough money to pay your salary for a year or so (the $50K is a minimum and depends on whether or not they think the company can look after you as an employee). I have heard that similar kinds of visas can be obtained in some SE Asian countries, so I'm guessing that Thailand will introduce something similar -- so a few tens of thousands of dollars (I'm not entirely sure what the cost of living is like there, but it's probably lower than Japan).

Very interesting. Where did you find the $50K figure for Japan?

It's 5 million yen. I actually did this back in 2012. It's a complicated procedure but plenty of Japan based lawyers can help you out.

I did it myself, without lawyer help but you will absolutely need someone fluent in Japanese. The paperwork is suffocating. In retrospect I should have just married my then girlfriend, now wife.

Thank you! I will investigate this possibility as a third of my clients are in Japan so... ( btw, my daughter loves EasyBeats! )

Any idea how would they evaluate highly skilled professionals?

Most importantly, a lot of people living in Thailand have an offshore source of income (a business or a freelancing contract), those people don’t need a regular work visa as they are don’t participate in the Thai Labor market. Is this law somehow applicable to those people?

> those people don’t need a regular work visa as they are don’t participate in the Thai Labor market

Sorry that isn't how the law works. Unless those people travel out of the country to conduct their work, they're breaking Thai law - it doesn't matter where the company is, what matters is that they're doing work in Thailand.

Absolutely not correct. One time the police raided a coworking space, and then before the day was out realized it wasn't a problem and let everyone go. In fact there have been posts online from government officials that there isn't a problem doing remote work here. Only a problem if you start to try and work at a company or do businsss that needs physical access to the country, like a tour guide

I've been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit (I left cruise control engaged on a decline and didn't brake), and when the cop realised I was driving in state A in a car registered in state B, with a licence addressed in state C, it was all too hard, and off I went.

By your logic, it is legal to drive over the posted speed limit in Australia.

Thailand is notorious for how it's laws are enforced. Earlier today I had to stop and wait (on foot) in a traffic lane, because a motor scooter was driving the wrong way in the parking lane past a police officer, who did nothing.

Statements from officials are not case law.

Just because the immigration chief in Chiang Mai over 3 years ago said remote work is ok, doesn't mean it will always be this way.

You are at the mercy of the officer in front of you.

Can you please cite sources for that? I really don't think that's the case.

It makes more sense that you'll cite something, as what he described is the de-facto standard of work permits pretty much anywhere. You'll be usually violating a law if you live and work somewhere without the legal framework - be it US, India or Japan. I don't see a reason Thailand would be any different.

Not sure for Thailand but I've heard the same for Japan.

The counterfactual would be that if this were possible, every foreigner in Thailand would be made an employee of a company in Ireland or something to avoid dealing with visa issues (or tax issues )

You can't licitly work for a foreign company from Japan without a work-capable visa, though Japan won't work too hard to detect and penalize this given that you're keeping your nose clean. I'd strongly recommend keeping it legal; it starts to matter a lot more as you put down roots and get asked "So what were you doing last N years?" by various authorities.

hey, I tried emailing you at the address in your profile but didn't get a response , so am assuming you didn't get the message

I wrote a blog post on this a few years back:


You can't really work anywhere in South East Asia without a work permit. Cambodia used to be the easiest place but last time I looked they were changing the law.

A lot of these laws were made before remote work was even a thing.

Some countries do allow remote work. Canada being one of them.

Yes, it is the case, the digital nomad scene is illegal in most (all?) countries. The plus side is nobody knows what you're doing and typically you don't have any money going through Thai bank accounts. There have even been rare examples of co-working spaces being raided.

In reality, it's a non-issue for the reasons above.

There is only one raid that I've heard of, which was on the Tha Phae Pun Space I think. And eventually they let everyone go when they realized they weren't actually working for Thai companies

My business lawyer in Thailand?

People doing this (me included) have just been flying under the radar. We know it's not legal, but Thai authorities have generally not been interested in going after expats working remotely so long as they don't overstay or do repeated visa runs.

I never did it long term, so I never had to worry about repeated entries, but when I spent a few weeks working remote from Thailand I knew full well I was violating the terms of visa-free entry.

We will see, but most likely it will be a letter from a legitimate employer and bank statement showing a particular level of wealth or regular income, similar to the Business Visas you could get until recently. Previously, at many consulates you could get a 1 year Business visa without a Thai employer, usable by telecommuters or oil-fields style workers for instance, but that stopped maybe a year ago.

Interesting that this got on the radar and might happen. Thai visas have not progressed for decades, and many changes have been regressive tightening of border regulation rather than tackling the sources of problems (mostly foreigners working without work permits, where making regulation more onerous punishes companies trying to follow the law and rewards the ones prepared to flout it).

The biggest problem is the weather. It gets brutal hot march to June.

High 30s, not that different than Australian summer temperature wise, but more humidity.

After a few years I've definitely acclimated to the weather. I feel it, and I still sweat a lot more than my in-laws but I don't get the same "what the shit is this" feeling because of the humidity and temp change eg when you go through the a/c blowers at the doors out into the world at Suvarnabhumi

Can you comment on the air quality? Is it as big an issue as some people make it out to be?

Chiang Mai is the nicest city but all of Northern Thailand is affected by terrible air pollution in March and April, you simply get out of town during those months.

The confusion about whether or not it is "as big an issue as some people make it out to people" is because influential members in the various forums and Facebook groups have a vested interest in down-playing it, their business in some way benefits from having a steady stream of nomad newbies arriving throughout the year. They try to shout down any mention of it, and will outright lie when someone asks a question such as yours.

Do real research on particulate pollution and look at the stats. The haze is genuinely bad for your health long before it becomes as visually obvious as it does in those months. A year in which the smoke season is considered to be "not so bad" can actually do more damage, because people are inclined to spend more time outdoors.

My opinion is that, although Chiang Mai is relatively cheap, no-one should move here unless they can also afford to spend those two months elsewhere in Thailand or South East Asia. Most Westerners on tourist visas have to spend stretches of time away from Thailand anyway, so, I treat the smoke season as an opportunity to spend time in Vietnam or The Philippines.

I was speaking recently to a student of mine who lives in Singapore (for the last 4 years) and asked him about this air pollution / haze issue; he said it is has become less bad over the last few years.

The haze in Thailand is different from the one in Singapore.

In Northern Thailand it's locally generated in the dry season around March-April (forest fires plus farmers burning fields on purpose) and considerably worsened by the topography (no ocean, mountains on three sides).

In Singapore it's forest fire smoke from Indonesia blowing in with the winds, and it's usually during the summer (June to October, peaking around August).

So is there no way to address this problem? I always thought of places with polluted air to be in that situation because of lack of regulation of factories or car emissions

Cool, thanks for those details.

Slightly OT: Everytime there's a discussion about living in SE Asia or Thailand people give many good reasons to go.

Very rarely to never one dares to mention girls there as a reason. In this thread there's one person only who does mention girls.

Since I have never been to Thailand or SE Asia I am just wondering how much weight does this factor have in decisions to live in SE Asia (this is a serious question).

Edit: Fyi, this post got so many downvotes and I just don't understand why. People try to hide the truth and want us to believe that everybody goes to Thailand because of all these amenities, good Internet but not the one reason I mentioned? If downvoters keep on this hypocrisis I will delete the post again. This is ridiculous. I would like to see one downvoter replying and explaining why he downvoted.

Guys, keep on downvoting. I think the downvoters are exactly those who visit Thailand just because of this one reason.

Do you really expect an uncomplicated answer given the range of people we're talking about?

I mean of course there's a subset of heterosexual young men who weigh women high in their travel decisions, and that's across every ethnicity for almost every region of the world, not just SE Asia. Pick a country. There will be a reputation there, of one or a few ethnicities or nationalities having privileged status in the dating pool. North American gringos -> South America; French guys -> American girls; White guys -> Japanese girls; Argentinians, British guys, etc., etc.

Of course girls is a factor for some. And then of course it's hardly a factor at all for many others who, SEA in particular, want cheap living, beautiful nature, safety, super polite and humble population, and escape from Western first world social practices, people, egos, politics they don't like.

If you're trying to chalk everything up to a single thing, you're showing a limited mind.

Edit - hijacking my own comment, after insulting religious institutions on the Muzzmatch thread, I appear to now be defaulted to the bottom of comment threads, despite upvotes. That's happened to all my comments since then, when they used to be defaulted at top and usually hung around there. Hopefully it's temporary... ? Am I going to need a new account/ VPN ?

Edit2 - yep, blocked from posting ('too much posting', well over an hour after last post). Farewell HN. Orthogonal out.

I wouldn't say "safety" is a reason to come to Thailand. Unless you meant "learn to practice personal safety in every aspect of daily life"

Edit: to clarify, even if you ignore all the household issues to deal with (eg "electricians" saying "what's that third wire for" is common) Thailand is number four on the most dangerous places to drive list. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/most-dan...

Outside of Bangkok, the following are just accepted norms for driving:

• no seatbelts

• no child seats

• ignore stop/give way signs/traffic lights

• drive the wrong way on the side of the road (applies to vehicles of all sizes)

• no understanding of how roundabout works (enter without looking, force existing traffic to stop for you)

• drive at 150kph+ on a 90kph road

• ignore marked turning/straight lanes, cut across non-turning traffic to make turns at intersections

I've seen kids drive better in GTA than some people do here.

I won't deny it. Pickups driving 150 km/h, minivan drivers on pills, no seatbelt. It all happens.

But living and driving and driving in SE Asia makes me always wonder where these data come from. It is against my personal experience.

Thailand has pretty good, multi-lane and empty roads. Good and modern cars. And really fast emergency response, police checkpoints, etc. - compared to it's neighbors.

- Indonesia (Bali is the worst place for me in the whole world, other places are also bad) - really bad roads, lots of cars, zero hope to get the victim to the hospital on time,

- Laos,

- Myanmar - there is now a lot of cars in country with almost no roads and no driving culture) or

- China - good roads, good cars but 'I am the person that matters on the road' culture. Tons of deadly accidents that I have witnessed myself.

Getting back to Thailand from Indonesia makes me always feel so safe on the road (I usually drive motorbike in the North in winter).

Indeed. I have lived in Thailand many years and the terribly dangerous driving habits are one of the very few things that make me wonder if I should move somewhere else. I drive quite a bit outside Bangkok and see very rude and dangerous behaviors constantly.

Thailand has the world's highest traffic fatality rate. A study concluded that it was because of high government corruption. I took a look at the data from the study that might be of interest to some people[1].


Fair, I guess I meant comparatively to alternate cheap living destinations of digital nomads.

also add insanely high levels of gun crime and violence compared to most of the region/world (peaking around payday), and Australia levels of deadly wildlife

Broaden his narrow mind then, rather than downvoting.

Who says orthoganol downvoted anyone?

It wasn't a factor for me, because I am more attracted to European/Caucasian women. And sure enough Murphy's law did have me end up with quite a beautiful Thai lady, I dare say could possibly be out of my league in the US or Australia. However this was not by design.

I came mainly for the tax benefits base and low cost of living of setting up an office in Thailand. There's quite a lot of annoying bureaucracy involved but a good agent can handle that. It's also a great place to self fund a startup as your team can all live quite cheaply giving you double the runway.

Anything else I can add has probably already been said.

> Murphy's law did have me end up with quite a beautiful Thai lady

I’m not sure what our think Murphy’s Law says, but it doesn’t result in someone finding a soulmate.

In a nutshell, Murphy’s Law states that “anything that can go wrong, will”. It is sometimes decorated with the add-on “and at the worst possible time”.

Yeah you're right, I'm quite jet lagged right now and it was a poor choice of phrasing. oops

Women aside (since I'm in the same boat as you), how's the tax situation like? How much are you spending per month on CoL?

Well as someone who is NOT a US Citizen (this doesn't work for US citizens) I'm able to base my tax residency in Thailand, which has no CFC Laws and enables me to remotely manage and control my offshore corporations and not pay tax on income abroad unless its remitted to Thailand within 12 months of earning it. In other words, I only pay tax on what I spend on Thailand. As for my local Thai company it exists mainly to issue work permits and pay a small amount of taxes to justify our existence. The profits from our creations are generated in overseas corps.

As for CoL costs it totally varies. Some of the local people I hire can live off their salary of $700 a month. A comfortable western lifestyle would be about $3k a month, imo. I spend a lot more due to travel.

You could be on the low end of "comfortable western lifestyle" in the Bay Area for $3k/month, renting at $2200 in the East Bay, spending $300 on groceries and $500 on entertainment. Something doesn't seem right.

So the equivalent of that in Thailand would be about $1300 a month. My estimate of $3k includes a spacious 2 bedroom western style condo with a pool, gym, a nice motorbike, uber, eating out almost every meal, drinking, vacations to the beaches/islands every few months and entertainment.

What doesn't seem right is that, if you're in the Bay Area, it probably feels like you're just barely scraping by with $3k.

He's running his businesses in a tax efficient way so he's keeping a lot more of his money than when living in CA.

Also not a US citizen. Interesting -- very nice that there are no CFC laws! That said, I honestly don't understand why not every country has them. Not having CFC laws generally makes it super easy to avoid tax, leading to a massive loss of tax revenue.

Some would argue just because you live somewhere doesn't entitle the government to profits generated in another country that has nothing to do with them. Also in Thailands case they seem to just be happy as long as we are living there and spending money in their economy due to its appetite for tourism.

That's a valid argument. But if you're sitting in Thailand controlling an entity (i.e. making payments, etc) on say Jersey, does that argument make sense? It's an artificial arrangement for the most part. (Not that I'm against the practise since it's legally possible in some jurisdictions; just an observation)

As someone who spends less than $3k a month and lives a comfortable western lifestyle in a first world country, that seems rather high.

Now I haven't been to Thailand, but in Vietnam you could live very, very comfortably for half that.

It depends on your idea of comfortable.

Some western foods for example are highly priced compared to local options: imported au/us beef is similar cost to Australia ($20-$30 a serve) but local "steak" is maybe $3 to $4 a serve. It also has the consistency of a finely barbecued shoe.

It also depends on the area. A lot of expats want to live in areas surrounded by other expats, so things are priced higher in general.

If you go live "in the sticks" ie you will stand out as one of few/only foreigners in the district, things can be cheaper (once people know you're a "local")

I would qualify spending $20 per serve on steak as bourgeois, rather than comfortable, at least if you're making a habit of it.

You can definitely live a very comfortable life in Thailand at about $1300. This includes swimming pool, gym, to-the-door food delivery, etc. I'm locals, though, so it might be a bit more expensive for expats.

Honest reply, kudos.

Honestly the majority of expats I see in Thailand for women/girls appear to be retirees.

It's not really that common (for me at least, but I don't live in an area popular with expats) to see young or even 30s/40s guys with a Thai "girlfriend", and those I do see, it appears to be more likely a legitimate girlfriend. (Note the difference)

Hi, I lived there for about a year - so I feel like I have some understanding of how things work. How much of a factor that plays is totally up to you. For some introverted men from the US, this can be the number one reason they go to Thailand. There are plenty of people who live relatively normal American lives, i.e. going out on weekends and being normally social. Then there are people who really dislike the girls there for whatever personal reasons but still enjoy Thailand for its amazing other draws. Things like extremely cheap cost of living, amazing massages (seriously this is huge), insanely gorgeous vacation destinations less than a $100 ticket away.

It is kinda personal but yes girls are considered major perk of Thailand (both "normal" and not). Thats one of the reasons i spent there 2 years.

How was it when you came back? Culture shock, hard to get along again or was it easy?

Fwiw I lived in Vietnam for 6 months and had girls stop me in the streets to take a picture with me and give me their numbers.

I think you should at least mention province you were visiting since people behavior is really different depend if how close the place to usual tourist routes. I spent just 3 months in Vietnam and didn't traveled that much, but there is huge difference in people reaction to foreigners.

In the South as soon as I moved away to the places that tourists rarely visit I always get attention from all sort of people because you can literally be the only European guy who was around in past week. Also I was surprised how many kids of school age have a good English skills.

In same time in SGN nobody ever spent time on me with no reason.

My very limited experience is that girls in Vietnam are mostly interested in a relationship. I remember talking to one 19 year old couple that seemed taken aback that I had had a few girlfriends and never been married...

From my still limited knowledge they take marriage very seriously and divorce is pretty much like death. There are all kind of people of course, but society they live in enforce it on everyone.

As always it's depend on urbanization since people who move to work in big cities away from their family are less concerned with traditions.

Spent just a week in Hong Kong when I was 22/23 and got stopped for pictures 3/4 times. It felt like a real novelty at the time, but I imagine I'd tire of it eventually.

>Very rarely to never one dares to mention girls there as a reason

Because you'd be stating the obvious. If you're a heterosexual man, then women are "the reason" for everything (perhaps excluding making your parents proud, but even that one could say is related). It's biology. It's the reason you'd move anywhere. It's the reason we do anything. It's the reason you brush your teeth. The reason you get our of bed for Pete's sake :) And if you're a heterosexual woman, then men fill the same reason. So what, if anything does Thailand have to do with this?

Yes, love the girls over there and it is a nice perk! But not the ones you're thinking of.

I've spent about 5 months in Thailand and there are a lot of western girls over there in holiday mode. American, French, Polish, German... and I guess a whole bunch of other countries too. Personally, as a kiwi, I love the American girls - and always hope to run into some. And if friend's and I meet some girls we are ready to reply "you're from America?! The greatest country in the world?!" With a look of astonishment on our face haha :D


I am not sure if this is ao good for your personality and character devlopment.

Just compare two guys: One lives in a country where his personal purchasing power is much much higher than in his home country and his ethnicity signals a high status and value to locals as well (e.g. American in Thailand).

The other guy lives in a super expensive hub with high competition and just finding a flat and paying the rent ia already a huge challenge (eg some guy in New York or SF).

I could imagine that the first guy will degenerate over time (like animals in the zoo) while the other one has to fight night and day for everything and gets thougher.

> paying the rent ia already a huge challenge

Or the alternative: you have the freedom to focus on improving yourself, your health and fitness, your social connections and your business, as opposed to stressing over just maintaining your employment.

high level of stress will kill you young, it doesn't matter how much you think your character developed when you are dead!

Even without factor of stress lifestyle of many people in IT is not too healthy to begin with. And it's certainly easier to remain healthy while live in SEA countries.

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