Connect with us

Thai Life

A tale of three expats

The Thaiger

Published 

 on 

A tale of three expats | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

Three expats, three lifestyles, three locations.

We spoke to the trio and publish their thoughts on the costs of living to provide a broad comparison of lifestyles for expats living in the Kingdom. There are plenty of other variations and the story is not meant to be a definitive list of costs. The people are real but the names are fake.

Here’s their stories…

George

British – 46 years old

Has lived in Chiang Mai but now calls Bangkok his home. Whilst he has worked a few different jobs he’s now coasting along as an English teacher at a private school in the capital. He arrived in Thailand in 2004 after working as an investment banker in London. He made some good money but needed a change. George moved straight to Chiang Mai, studied Buddhism and massage and lived “a three year holiday” before getting a job with an NGO.

They gave me a Work Permit so I could stay but there was no payment. I have plenty of money invested and was just living off my interest. I volunteered with them for another two years before needing a faster pace of life again. I had several relationship during my time in Chiang Mai but found most Thai relationships ‘complicated’ so have stayed happily single ever since.”

George moved to Bangkok and had a job at a government school teaching english within a week.

“It wasn’t difficult. In those days you could slip through the net without a TEFL certificate. But I eventually did the full TEFL (teaching English as first language) course whilst actually working an English teacher. Was only being paid 28,000 baht at the time but my life was not complicated and I didn’t require much out of my savings at the time to have a simple, but adequate lifestyle.”

“I now work at a private school where I’ve been for three years and getting 62,000 baht a month salary. Every holiday I venture off somewhere new for a break – there’s three main breaks each year and I always head off for at least two weeks. I’ve been to Cambodia, trekking in Nepal, Melbourne and Sydney, Dubai and Qatar and a crazy month in South Korea.”

“I live quite simply and only dig into my savings for the overseas trips. All my visas and paperwork is handled by the school so life is simple!”

Monthly costs

• Rent – 28,000

A one bedroom apartment, nothing fancy, in Sukhumvit Soi 56. Been living here for four years and have a great landlord that keeps everything working. Five minute walk from the BTS.

• Monthly food and entertainment costs – 26,000

I eat out three meals a day and go out for a drink only once a week. Maybe a movie each week. I get out of town and do bike rides with a group often but that’s free.

• Transport – 7,000

I use the BTS and motorbike taxis, have my own motorbike for short trips around and use motorbike taxis if I have to go anywhere where I’ll be drinking.

• Insurance – 38,000 per year

I have a Thai health card which entitles me to basic services at a public hospital in Bangkok. I also have private health insurance from BUPA so I know if anything serious happens I can fall back on a private hospital of my choice. So far, I’ve never had to claim on the BUPA insurance and have used the local health system for some minor flues.

• Visa

“I’m on a Non Immigrant B visa with a Work Permit through the school I work for. They look after everything. I have to report to Immigration every 90 days.”

PROS: The city lifestyle, hot weather, the food

CONS: My bad Thai speaking, footpaths, traffic

Gloria

Australian – 58 years old years old

Has been living in Chiang Mai for nearly 20 years with her husband. They both have some savings from their business back in Australia. But Gloria likes to work so they have to dip into their savings less.

“We came here for a holiday and just stayed – we loved it and will never return to Australia. We rented for three years but then bought a small old style house on the river which we spent the next two years renovating – something we’d done back in our Queensland homes over the years. But renovating in Thailand can be a monumental headache!”

Gloria has worked for a chain of Thai restaurants as their guest and tourist services manager for nearly a decade and says she loves the work and the fun she has with the local staff, and meeting people from all around the world.

“I work a full 45 hours a week, just like the local staff, although I know I am paid a lot more than them.”

“The work is important to me so we can live a ’normal’ life here. Both of us participate in a local soi dog charity where we’ve made some great friends from all over the world. They come and go but it’s never boring. We’ve adopted four or five dogs over the years.”

Gloria’s husband has a niche online business selling Lampang-grown organic coffee but says he does it mostly as a hobby.

“It started as a hobby but we end up with more in the bank every month. After doing it for four years we’re now clearing about 20-30,000 baht a month after costs. So it’s becoming semi-serious.”

Gloria and her husband travel every year but restrict themselves to Thailand and neighbouring countries.

“We don’t ‘rough it’ but we always fly discount airlines and stay in smaller family-operated hotels.”

Monthly costs

• House

“We paid for our own house (leasehold) out of savings we brought with us. We have a leasehold on the property which we intend to rollover when the time comes. But we’ll worry about that at the time as we’ll both be getting quite elderly at the time and will probably want to downscale. Our bottomline is that it’s all costing us less than renting the same thing and we enjoy having a place where we can do what we like. To rent something like we’ve living in would cost around 25,000 baht I think.”

• Monthly food and entertainment costs – 45,000 (for two)

We always have a our breakfast at home. Lunches and dinners could be anywhere, sometimes home as well. My husband is a much better than I. We have friends over a couple of times a month and attend various events almost every week. We go to little local street restaurants and splurge once a week on a really nice place – we love exploring new eateries around town.

“We might have a wine each evening, that’s about all.”

• Transport – 4,500

We both have a car. We paid cash for them about ten years ago and they’re still going. We paid about 300,000 each for them, old Hondas, just go and go. We never use local public transport though my husband has been known to grab a local taxi from time to time. Petrol and service costs for the cars are about it for transport. We’ve been using Grab lately rather than the local taxis, much better value.

• Insurance – 92,000 per year

“Both of us have private health insurance which covers us here in Thailand and any overseas trips as well. The policy says we pay for any upfront costs then we can claim after. We’ve only used it three times over the past decade or so – me with a fall down from stairs where I broke a leg, my husband with a mystery skin infection and just lately when I had a few ‘ladies problems’. We’ve always gone to the private hospitals in Chiang Mai and been very happy with the staff and services.”

• Visa

“I’m on a Non Immigrant B visa with a Work Permit through my own company. My husband is on a ‘retirement visa’.”

PROS: Fresh air, always things to do, the local people

CONS: Miss our family sometimes, city traffic, can’t think of a third one

Don

American – 68 years old

Don arrived in Pattaya after a failed marriage in 1997. He’s travelled extensively around Thailand and only been living off his savings. He had a large property company based around the US west coast for twenty years and has enough savings to ‘get by’. He says he’s spent the past two decades in and around Pattaya spending his money on “all the things Pattaya’s best known for.”

“I’ve never had another serious relationship since my marriage failed but I’ve always had the company of pretty ladies around me. I bought a motorbike when I first arrived here, worked my way around the bars, been horribly drunk a lot of the time and had the time of my life. People might look down on me but it’s been a great time. It’s just been one long holiday.”

Don says he used to rent a large condo with a view which he was paying 35,000 baht a month for. But now rents a much smaller place back off the beach, but in an OK area, for 8,500 baht a month.

“It’s not that large but I really don’t spend much time there anyway.”

When it comes to making his savings keep lasting he’s fairly philosophical about it.

“When the money runs out I have no idea what I’ll do. I think there’s enough there to keep me going another decade – that should see me out,” he laughs. “I have no relatives or friends back in the US, so I’ll be staying here for the rest of my life.”

Don has a few friends from the UK who, he says, are doing it hard with their pensions, in baht, dropping value over the past five years.

“They’re really worried as the cost keep going up here but their pensions are valued a lot less than they used to. They’ve got no back up plan – they’re in a real mess.”

“Life for me in Pattaya has been one long party, the best years of my life. Whilst the ladies still like me and I can afford to eat, I’m happy.”

Monthly costs

• Rent – 8,500

A one bedroom, 32 square meter condo. Fairly new and ‘cosy’ without being cramped according to Don. “You can rent something with a view but it’s going to cost over 20,000 and I can walk to the beach anytime I want for free.”

• Monthly food and entertainment costs – 42,000

“I only eat twice a day. I have a bruch at home usually then head out for the day. Dinner would usually be at one of my favourite Thai places where I can get a good fresh meal and a drink for less than 150 baht. I admit to spending a lot on alcohol each month, probably more than I spend on food.”

• Transport – 10,000

“I have a motorbike and keep the machine running to zip around the city. I’ll get a taxi home after a big night, plenty don’t but I’ve seen too many old fellas getting rotten at the bar then driving home killing themselves on the way.” Don says he takes taxis a few times a week when he knows he’s going for bug night.

• Insurance – 58,000 per year

“I’ve always had full health insurance. It’s expensive but it’s good piece of mind. Never had a claim since I started about 15 years ago. My premium has stayed the same even though I’ve gotten older – not sure how long that will stay like that. I’ve gone to local hospitals and paid for a few bumps and scrapes.”

• Visa

“Been on a ‘Geeza Visa’ (Retirement Visa) since I was 50. Before then I used to do visa runs and just made it up as I went along. Except for the 90 day reporting, it’s fairly easy. I have put reminders in my phone for the next ten years!”

PROS: Lots of friendly ladies, cheap to live compared to US, away from the wife

CONS: Shit beaches, some expats, can’t speak Thai

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

World

Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies – May the force be with him

The Thaiger

Published

on

Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies – May the force be with him | The Thaiger

“…his swish with the black cape and his screen presence in the foreboding, shiny black high-tech exoskeleton won him a legion of fans.”

Darth Vader has died… May the force be with him. The man who played the bad guy in the first Star Wars trilogy, British actor David Prowse, died at the age of 85 after a short illness.

American actor Mark Hamill, who played Darth Vader’s son, Luke Skywalker, alongside with David and the initial cast of the epic saga, sent his condolences in a tweet.

“So sad to hear David Prowse has passed. He was a kind man & much more than Darth Vader.”

“Actor-Husband-Father-Member of the Order of the British Empire-3 time British Weightlifting Champion & Safety Icon the Green Cross Code Man. He loved his fans as much as they loved him. #RIP”

Star Wars co-star, and fellow Brit, Anthony Daniels, who played the gold-plated and effusive C3PO in all but one of the 12 Star Wars instalments, paid tribute to Prowse’s contribution to the saga.

“Dave’s iconic figure dominated the finished film in ’77 and has done so ever since.”

David wore the ominous black suit and helmet to play the Star Wars villain Darth Vader although it was the American actor James Earl Jones who provided the character’s voice in post-production. George Lucas felt that David’s West Country English accent was “unsuitable for the part”. The decision to replace David’s voice caused a long-term rift between actor and director that eventually saw David cut out of official Star Wars publicity events. But his swish with the black cape and his screen presence in the foreboding shiny black high-tech exoskeleton won him a legion of fans.

Darth Vader actor David Prowse dies - May the force be with him | News by The Thaiger

David’s career as an actor spanned 50 years, but it was his role as the Sith Lord in Star Wars that brought him international fame and attention.

But it was his role as the “Green Cross Code Man” from a British road safety campaign that Prowse said he was most proud of. David was awarded an MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2000 for that role.

David Prowse was born into a working class family and grew up in a council estate in Southmead, in southwestern England. He gained a scholarship to attend Bristol Grammar School. He had a passion for bodybuilding and was crowned British Weightlifting Champion several times in the 1960s. He became lifelong friends with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger in his weightlifting years.

His towering figure helped land him roles as monsters and villains in TV shows and films. He played the monster in “The Horror of Frankenstein” in 1970 and a bearded torturer in “Carry on Henry” in 1971. That same year he made an appearance as a bodyguard in Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian film “A Clockwork Orange” in 1971. He went on to play Darth Vader in all three of the original “Star Wars” films, in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

With the success of Star Wars, Prowse became a regular on the fan circuit and attended conventions around the world for almost 40 years, but he was rumoured to have later fallen out with director Lucas and was banned from official events in 2010.

He published an autobiography, “Straight from the Force’s Mouth,” in 2011.

SOURCES: Reuters | CNN | BBC

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Chiang Rai

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

The Thaiger

Published

on

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The entrance to the real Tham Luang cave near the Myanmar border in far north Thailand

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million to Imagine Entertainment and film giant MGM to shoot a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story. The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, The Da Vince Code, Cocoon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Splash, Frost/Nixon), and start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate.

The Australian Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, says the production should inject more than A$96 million into the Australian economy, “directly creating around 435 jobs for cast and crew”.

Thirteen Lives will tell the remarkable story of the effort by many volunteers, including Australians, to undertake an incredibly complex rescue. And I am proud to say that this story will be told here in Australia.”

“I understand this project will also undertake a significant amount of cutting-edge visual effects work here, a great opportunity for our local post, digital and visual effects companies.”

Thirteen Lives follows the true story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the Mu Pa (Wild Boar) football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, far north Thailand. After the team was stuck for days with no supplies and falling oxygen levels, a group of diving and rescue experts from all over the world were called up to work together with their Thai counterparts to save the 13 young men. Among those experts were a group of divers from the United Kingdom and Australia.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ron Howard has worked with plenty of Australians in the past.

“From Thirteen Lives to the animated projected I am directing with Animal Logic in Australia, I am excited about the opportunity to film and work in Australia and dramatically expand on that list of collaborators whose sensibilities and work ethic I have long admired and respected.”

Imagine Entertainment and MGM’s Thirteen Lives will be distributed by Universal Pictures International.

Watch a message from director Ron Howard HERE.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Thailand

Covid tourism standstill gives Thailand’s southern sea gypsies a break

The Thaiger

Published

on

Covid tourism standstill gives Thailand’s southern sea gypsies a break | The Thaiger

Phuket’s sea gypsy communities are getting a much needed break after the Covid tourism standstill have their traditions a break from the tourism onslaught. 42 year old Sanan Changham says now there is an abundance of fish and shellfish to eat. Tourist boats have been docked at the quay, making fishing easier for the Chao Lay, or “people of the sea.“

“We don’t dive as deep as before, so it’s less dangerous.“

More than 9 million visitors came to Phuket in 2019, impacting the sea gypsies and their way of life, mostly located at the southern end of the island. The booming tourism brought a decline in fish stocks, decreasing fishing grounds and loud construction of hotels. And the traffic. Such hotels signal an even bigger threat to the 1,200 Chao Lay in Rawai, as property developers have tried to evict them from their ancestral strip of land that faces the sea.

Ngim Damrongkaset, a Rawai community representative, says he hopes the area where developers have taken a stake is abandoned.

“They want to drive us out of our homes, but also to deny us access to the sea.”

For the Chao Lay people, the fight to keep their land has been unequal as most are illiterate and were unaware of the fact that they could register their land, but the government is trying to help them. One way for authorities to buy the land and entrust it to them.

Narumon Arunotai, an anthropologist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, says the government must seize the opportunity provided by the pandemic to rethink their vision on Chao Lay.

“Covid is an opportunity to change mentalities. Mass tourism in Phuket has been a catastrophe for the sea gypsies.“

The land in Rawai was originally claimed by Indonesian ancestors of Sanan, before the island became flooded with international travellers. But since tourism has become more profitable, authorities have cracked down on the sea gypsies unless they are sailing in protected marine reserves.

“Before, we risked being arrested by a patrol or having our boats confiscated.“

For the animist Chao Lay the beach is a vital space where they keep their colourful wooden boats and where they pray and give thanks to their ancestors. But not only their unique cultural heritage has helped them navigate the waters.

The Chao Lay people are experts at detecting any abnormalities in the water, as such they were able to escape before the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami hit, while saving loads of tourists. Furthermore, Children of the Moken have 50% better visual acuity in the water than their European counterparts, according to a 2003 study.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Prayut acquitted, Chinese probe, Speed limit 120 kph | December 2 | The Thaiger
Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Prayut acquitted, Chinese probe, Speed limit 120 kph | December 2

Thailand News Today | No ‘tourism’ until Q2, Tiger smuggling, Win drivers jailed | Dec 1 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | No ‘tourism’ until Q2, Tiger smuggling, Win drivers jailed | Dec 1

Thailand News Today | Digital Travel Pass, Chiang Mai outbreak, Alcohol ban | November 30 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Digital Travel Pass, Chiang Mai outbreak, Alcohol ban | November 30

Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27 | The Thaiger
Thailand5 days ago

Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26 | The Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13

Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | More Thai Airways debt, Korean soldier, TripAdvisor warning | November 12

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending