Expatriation to Koh Samui
Here you will find comprehensive advice on how to make the transition to living on Samui a little easier. Samui visits many people on a holiday, only to fall in love with the island, and on the plane, go home, they begin to daydream for ways to make travel to the island a reality. Of course, the holidaying in place and moving to live there is completely different, and there are practical issues to consider. If you are considering a big move, here we offer a small advice to make the transition to living in paradise a little easier.
Settling in to a new country – Culture shock
Moving to a new country, as exciting as it is, can also be troubling. If you move from one country to another within Europe for example, the transition will not be as difficult as the cultures are similar. But moving to the East from Western culture takes regulation very much. Things do not work the same way, and the way you react to the situation in the West cannot be evaluated here. It is desirable to get a good book on Thai culture before moving, familiarize yourself with local customs and culture. In the end, no one will want to unintentionally insult their new neighbors.
Most of the Thais are Buddhists, and the philosophy of Buddhism is tolerance. This means that no one will tell you if you have done anything offensive, and you could happily continue some actions for a number of years, not understanding you insulted your new Thai friends. An example of this is a naked sunbathing. Although it is widely accepted in Europe, it frowned in Thailand.
When coming to an agreement with a new culture, do not forget this, if you move with children, they also need to become aware of the local customs. Children are creatures of habit and can feel completely overwhelmed by their new environment. Be sensitive to their feelings and help them to not only make new friends, but also stay in touch with the old as well.
Working, starting a business & work permit
If you arrived with a pre-arranged job offer, your company will help in obtaining your B1 visa as a work permit. Most jobs for foreigners tend to be in the tourism industry, and many people base their own businesses. Your lawyer will be able to notify you of the introduction of your own company, including costs and legality. Generally speaking, to find a new company that can have one work permit, it will cost you around 50-60,000 baht to establish, and then 20,000 for an initial work permit. Commissions are raised for companies that require more than one foreigner work permit.
If you have a small capital, it may be best to come more than at least six months, experience the island and do a full study before throwing your hard-earned savings into the business. Many people were burned this way, thinking they “know only that island needs”, based with several holiday visits. Talk to other locals and rinse, find out if it was done before. Find out about any hidden installation costs and do proper market research.
Health Care: Health insurance, dentists, opticians, pharmacies
Now, while you can come to Samui with travel insurance, it is usually for a limited period, so you will need to consider international medical assistance that will close you outside the country where your passport was issued. There are several companies that offer this, inc. known BUPA, and there are several packages available. Samui has several private hospitals of international standard, as well as the government hospital in Nathon. They are well equipped and staffed to deal with illness as well as trauma, and some are even known for their plastic surgeons if you feel the need for upgrading to go with your new life on Samui.
Bandon International Hospital offers excellent facilities and service through a modern and well-equipped medical facility in Bophut. The hospital has an operating and trauma center and even has an international clinic on the nearby island of Koh Phangan. You will find Bandon near the Greater C Shopping Mall.
Bandon International Hospital www.bandonhospitalsamui.com +66 (0) 7724 5236
Bangkok Hospital Samui offers a wide range of services and staff and doctors have a high level of English. The standards in this hospital rival are the best Western hospitals. Discount is offered to exfoliate the inhabitants. The Bangkok Hospital is located on the ring road in Chaweng, shortly before Chaweng Noi.
Bangkok Hospital Samui +66 (0) 7742 9500
Samui International Hospital is one of the island’s newest hospitals and offers a wide range of services, including cosmetic and dental procedures for inpatients and outpatients. The hospital is even equipped with its own swimming pool for convalescent patients, and staff can speak a number of languages, including English, French and German to a high standard. The hospital is located at the north end of Chaweng Beach Road.
Samui International Hospital +66 (0) 7723 0781/2
The International Thai Hospital offers a wide range of services, including a 24-hour accident and emergency center and its own resident plastic surgeon. The hospital is located in front of Tesco Lotus, Chaweng.
Thai International Hospital www.thaiinterhospital.com +66 (0) 7724 5721
Samui Government Hospital is located on the outskirts of Nathon, Samui Government Hospital will probably be the last resort for foreign tourists who will usually choose one of the island’s private hospitals. The government hospital is reasonably well equipped, but not to the same degree as other hospitals on the island, and the level of English is generally lower. It is certainly cheaper than private hospitals. Turn off the road by immigration, at the exit of Nathon, traveling counter-clockwise.
Samui Government Hospital +66 (0) 7742 1230
You will not have to force more than a few hundred meters in the busier areas of the island to come across a pharmacy, and most are open well into the night, and about even 24 hours a day. The treatment is well, in general – it is estimated that most pharmacists speak good English and can release antibiotics without doctor’s prescription.
There is also an abundance of dentists and opticians in the shopping areas, and prices are significantly cheaper than what you will pay to Western countries.
Chaweng Dental Care +66 (0) 7796 0807
For a comprehensive list of dentists, visit the Siam Directory – Dentists
There are not many doctor offices around, while most doctors tend to practice from hospitals, so this is where you will go even for checking.
For a comprehensive list of doctors, visit the Siam Directory – Doctors
If you are thinking about securing your beloved dog or cat with you, this can be done and all the required information can be found at the Department of Livestock Development’s website. Once here, Samui has several good veterinarians to take care of them.
Nurseries & Schools Activities for kids
Samui has a good selection of private and international schools, and the Samui Directory has a comprehensive listing of those. A few in particular to mention include: Tiny Children’s Steps Samui and Preschool in Bophut, – – Samui International School, located near Bandon Hospital, Samui Learning Center, located in Lamai. Panyadee School in Chaweng Minds and Oonrak School in me Nam.
There are many that small do after school other than going to the shore, and on this site you will find tried and tested offers for sites and activities, many of which are family friendly.
Panyadee School www.panyadee.ac.th
Samui Tiny Steps Nursery & Preschool www.samuitinysteps.com
SCL International School www.sclinternationalschool.com
ISS, The International School of Samui www.iss.ac.th
Transport: Buying or renting a car & getting a driver’s license
Cars can be rented on a monthly basis, and the price will depend on the type of vehicle. Scooters are a possible choice, but not desirable if you are not experienced during the trip, or if you need a family vehicle. Scooter, leased by the month, will cost around 3,000 baht per month. Foreigners can buy car cash, but if you intend to pay one off, you will need a Thai person to stand as a guarantee. The cars that are manufactured in Thailand are much cheaper than this that is not. And generally speaking, it is not advisable to import your car from home, while duties on cars are 200%, so it will pay to sell your car at home and buy a new one with those funds here. You can drive in Thailand to your driver’s license from home, but to obtain a license there are advantages to it, for example a cheaper car protection.
To obtain a driver’s license for Samui, go to the Transport Department in Nathon. Head to Nathon from Lamai, turn left in the Raja sign of the ferry, continue straight down to the sea, and the road turns to leave. Go past the several hotels on your right, and the Transport Department is located on your left, well back from the road. You will need copies of your passport and visa (there should not be either No), a medical certificate, a letter from immigration with your permanent address, or a copy of pages 1-6 WP and pages with the latest seal. You will also need to enter either an international driver’s license or your driver’s license from your home country – if you do not have this then you will have to take the tests. You will have to be there at 09:00 for denying the existence of test races, reaction tests and splitting the vision test, you’ll have to bring your own vehicle, because they do not used to lend some. This could be applied the motorbike license.
Samui, generally speaking, is a very safe place to live. There is a slight grave crime, and what exists, tends to aim at digging into a shady deal or the involved triangles in love. Of course, as with anywhere in the world, some minor crime exists, but this is rare, because the locals are a Buddhist, so they believe in destiny. The most police officer, and especially the tourist police, speak good English, as well as most lawyer offices.
Samui Tourist Police fast-dial phone number 1155
Samui Tourist Police www.samui-tourist-police.com
Lawyers, accountants and banking
There are several good legal and accounting departments on the island, and most offer both services from one office. Often, a Western lawyer or accountant is teamed with local, meaning that you get the best of both, with a partner understanding local rules and rules, and another being sensitive to issues a westerner will have. It will be best to work on a personal recommendation when finding your lawyer and accountant, while this is the person who will help you with much of the red tape should be bequeath to Samui – from visas to the start of the company and the request for work is allowed.
To open a bank account, you will need to show that you are on a long stay visa, or B1 or non-immigrant O (dependent, resignation or education). Bank commission is very low compared to other countries, and generally speaking, at least one employee will speak good English. Except as in the branches, there are ATMs throughout the island. Pulling cash from a foreign card makes a fee of 150 baht, so sooner you can use a local account, the best. The removal from your own local bank is free, and from another ATM, usually around 10 baht.
Where to live on Koh Samui
So you’ve been to Samui many times, and maybe you like Chaweng buzz or maybe you prefer the clarity of Taling Ngam. But you have to ask yourself this question, “is what I want when on holiday, the same thing that I want from my house?” Almost like Chaweng during the night on the city, will you want to stay among the pogrom? So beautiful and quiet, as far as Taling Ngam, you want to move 45 minutes to school and back every day? These are things that one needs to take into account. A retired person has as many choices as possible than someone who wants to run the business or with the movement of school children, as then quick access to business areas and schools should be considered.
You will find that most of the elusive live in areas close to, but not in the main tourist stretch. Living on Samui, where tourism is the largest industry, most of the eluscans are involved in tourism business anyway, so this is not the case of what is close to the touristy spots, but rather close to work. Also, they with children will need to be close to the school that their children visit, and of course, daily grocery-type chores, shopping needs that need to be considered as well.
At Samui, the largest working ex-community communities are in the regions of Rak Udara, Playa Lema, Choeng on Monday, Bophut, Me Nam and outer areas of Chaweng. Retirees often choose less developed, and sometimes cheaper areas of Lipa Minds, Postal chimes, Lema Set and Taling Ngam. Wherever you choose, it may be desirable to rent property in the area before making a purchase, to make sure that the area is right for the needs of you and your family.
Renting or buying a house or apartment
It is advisable to first rent the house for at least six months to find out whether you are happy with your chosen area before committing to purchase the property. This will also give you the opportunity to explore the island and discover other areas that may be better as long-term opportunities and produce the word that you are looking for a lot. Often, when people buy directly after arrival, they are unaware of the prices associated with the market.
There are some restrictions on foreigners buying land in Thailand, and your lawyer will be able to notify regarding this. Condominiums can be owned directly, but the land can not, and the company that buys the property will need to have a Thai partner.
Properties of the rent range from 10,000 baht per month for a small bungalow, suitable only for a single or a couple. An average three-bedroom house on the outskirts fully equipped will cost between 30,000 and 60,000 baht per month, excluding public utilities, and of course the luxurious properties will rise from there.
Samui is no longer a small island in a sense of development, and several chains of supermarkets are represented on the island. You will find several Tesco branches by Lotus and well as numerous Tesco Expresses, Big C supermarket and Summit. The Makro warehouse supplies restaurants and resorts with their new and dry goods, but the public is also welcome to the store there. Supermarkets carry a wide selection of imported goods and there are several specialty stores supplying imported wines, cheese, meat and other goods. Of course, if you strongly want to shop like a local one, then test new markets also where the fruit, vegetables enter a new daily.
Should you learn to speak Thai? If so where?
With Samui being a tourist hot spot, you can get away without studying Taya, while most locals have some level of English. But if you really want to feel as if you belong, learning at least the basic Taya is desirable, and will impress your new Thai friends – as well as those at home! Learning a new language presents a difficulty enough at the best of times and Taya is so different from English and European languages that originate from Latin, this for Farang, (the Westerner) of recognizing Thay can seem a little overwhelming. The best way to learn Thay is to practice it and use it when possible by talking to new Thai friends and ordering at restaurants – you will know when food arrives, if you got it right. But, while the structure of the Taya is so different to the English language, the beginner’s course from a respected language school is also recommended to understand how the grammar differs as the owner’s pronunciation.
In Thai there are sounds that do not exist in English, such as words beginning with “ng” sound. Ty is also a tonal language, meaning that the same word said in different tones might have a completely different meaning. For example: Sowai said with rising tone means “handsome”, say it in a low tone, and that means unsuccessful.Mum has several different meanings including a dog, a horse and come.There are five tones in Tae to get your head (and tongue) around : low, mid, high, rise and fall.
Several language schools offer education visas that allow students to stay in the country for a year at this time without having to do a run of the border. Be sure to choose a respected school that is registered with the Thai Ministry of Education and be sure that you visited the class. One school that has been on the island for several years and has a good reputation is Opinion Your Language, located in the Old Monkey Theater Way, between the Big C and the Macro. Now, to hit those books …
Mind Your Language www.mindyourlanguagethailand.com
If you intend to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time, then you will need more than a tourist visa. Your opportunities include:
B1 (business visa) – which is the only visa for which a person can legally work. In addition to a visa, you will also need a work permit – they are not the same. There are a fair number of documents involved in obtaining a B1 visa, but your company (if you are hired) or your accountant and lawyer (if you are establishing your own company) will assist you in compiling all the necessary documentation. If you are already in Thailand, you will need to do a visa run to the Thai consulate in a neighboring country to receive your visa.
Not an O visa immigrant – it comes in several forms: a visa of resignation, a dependent visa, a marriage visa or a visa of education. Learning to speak Tai in a respected and recognized language school is one way to stay in Thailand on an education visa. The school will help in preparing the necessary documents.
If your spouse or adult children work in Thailand, it is possible to stay on a dependent visa related to their visa B1. Again, the lawyer and accountant will be required to prepare the documents. A marriage visa for those who are wives. It is national, and there are conditions that apply. Finally, for a visa of resignation, you will need to show some amount of money in your bank account or prove that you receive a monthly income such as a pension. Most lawyers and accountants at Samui are visa experts and will help with the preparation of any required documents. While the laws are constantly changing, it should best be maintained at a high level to date by reading visa requirements on the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa page.
Siam Relocation – International movers in Koh Samui
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To conclude this article, we let you with this beautiful timelapse of Koh Samui:
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