Bangkokexpat.com is an online forum created to provide information for tourists and expatriates about Bangkok, Central Thailand and the Eastern Seaboard.
There are many websites that provide information about Thailand, but many of them are outdated, rarely updated and loaded with broken links to other tourism and review websites.
Our goal is to provide honest reviews of venues that might be of interest to tourists and expatriates residing in Thailand.
Our reviews will cover food and dining, accommodations, tours, activities, news and events that are happening in the Kingdom of Thailand. In addition to articles and photo reviews, we are compiling a free business directory to cater to all of our reader's needs.
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Our mission is to bring our community honest reviews and up to date information.
Expat taxes for US citizens working in Thailand?
Does anyone know about this from experience? I am talking about taxes US expats pay the US Federal Government for 2016. I have worked in Thailand this last year and plan to live in Thailand long term. Any free advice from people who know about this first-hand would be appreciated. Thank you!
My wife and I (63 american, 66 german) would like to retire in Thailand and are searching for a comprehensive health insurance plan(in+outpatient). Therefore, we would like to have more information about health insurance plans.
What is the oldest age offered insurance?
I want to know the current premium for a 75 and 85 year old person and to know whether we can afford the insurance at those ages.
This information is important to be able to determine if we want this insurance. Are preexinting medical conditions covered by the health insurance plan if you are covered by another insurance? Is the plan lifetime renewable? Is the plan renewal guaranteed? Best regards, Guillermo
There is no doubt that the cost of living in and medical expenses are rising in Bangkok, Having life or medical insurance comes with its own benefits and for this reason many people have resorted to this plan for many years now. It is always good to know that nowadays the costs of medical bills and hospitalization can be partially covered with this type of plan. It confers the peace of mind that no matter what, these huge costs can become very affordable once you have purchased medical insurance for you and your family.
Medical insurance benefits can extend not only to you as an individual but also to your entire family. In order to have access to these benefits there are several ways to approach these plans. Check down below with these approaches:
1) One way to access the medical insurance benefits, is through purchasing the plan through your employer who has access to group plans for their employees. At this point, your employer offers you the possibility of opting for medical insurance with a specific type of coverage where they pay a part and the rest being yours to pay once deducted from your monthly paycheck.
It is also important to thoroughly check for the coverage plan and make sure that you get insured for a wider range of needs as in this way you rest assured that you can get covered for various health conditions. On the other hand you can get lucky enough for the employer to pay the coverage, but in this case, the coverage plan may be only the basic one which doesn't give you too much power of choosing the preferred coverage.
2) Another way to access medical insurance benefits is when your employer is not in the position of having this coverage paid for offering their employees no other chance than to purchase an individual medical insurance policy for their needs.
This is a pretty rare situation, but it does happen for some employers to be in the impossibility of having access to medical insurance for their employers due to a poor financial stability. In some cases, employers are obligated by law to offer their employees medical coverage, but this is not applicable in Thailand, you may want to purchase an individual coverage plan. In this case you can as well have access to family coverage plans that are considered as group medical insurance, hence lower premiums to pay for the policy.
At this point you may want to have a proper review of the plan and find the one that you and your entire family can benefit from according to your specific needs. Do not expect to have the dental coverage applicable inside this plan, but at least you can obtain pretty much coverage beside the basic one.
Many things in Thailand have been influenced by the western world yet the expat will find that he experiences a little of what is known as Thailand culture shock. In spite of the western commercialism brought into this country over the years, Thai culture still remains strong and always will. Here are some important facets of their culture that you, as an expat, must understand. Understanding will make a better quality of life for you and your family while living here.
Respect the Royal Thai Family
The first aspect of Thai culture that you must understand is that Thais hold admiration and the utmost respect for the King of Thailand and his family. Never disrespect the Royal Family and never make any derogatory or critical comments about them. And yes, you can be arrested for showing disrespect. Many a foreigner has even found himself sitting in confinement because of disrespect to the Royal Family.
For some living here, the biggest Thai culture shock is getting used to being called “farang”. This word is used to refer to someone who is Caucasian. It is also the same Thai word for the fruit guava and is part of the Thai word for French fries. Some take it offensively but it is not meant that way by a Thai. If you want to enjoy your stay here, get accustomed to the fact that no matter where you go you will always be a farang and people will usually be fascinated with you (which means they will stare and try to practice their English with you).
The wai is the gesture used in Thailand to greet people, pay respects, and thank others. Other places in the world, people shake hands but this is rarely done in Thailand. At first, the wai takes a little getting used to in order to do it properly. And, there are times when it is inappropriate to initiate a wai. The basic form of the gesture is to hold the hands together as if praying. With the palms touching each other and fingers pointing upward like a lotus, the head is bowed slightly to touch the fingertips. The wai is also held close to the body.
A mistake made by foreigners upon first arriving to Thailand is to initiate a wai to everyone. You should never initiate a wai to a service-type of person such as a waitress in a restaurant. Only wai a service-type person if that person first gives you the wai. You should also never initiate a wai to a person who is younger than you or a subordinate. However, remember to initiate a wai to those in a higher social status and those who are older than you. Doing the wai among peers is fine.
While westerners will openly wear shorts and tank tops in warm climates, it is inappropriate to wear such attire anywhere other than the beach in cities like Bangkok. Wearing this attire in the city will cause Thai culture shock but it will be towards you—they will be shocked at your culture. You will find that Thais are very conservative in their standards of dress.
Unlike the west where families tend to live separated by many miles, Thai families believe in the unity and cohesion. Thus, you will often see family gatherings that are quite large. You will also see that many family members might live under the same roof or have their houses all near each other.
Thais are non-confrontational therefore it is inappropriate to show emotions such as anger or irritation. Those from western cultures are not used to this because in these cultures it is quite common to openly express dissatisfaction with something like slow service.
There are generally accepted standards of conduct that at first cause a little Thai culture shock. First, there are cultural norms concerning touching. In Thailand, outward displays of affection are frowned upon. The most you will typically see is couples holding hands.
On the topic of touching, you must never touch the top of a Thai person's head. Thai's consider this part of the body sacred and will take offense to your gesture. Also, women must be careful to never touch a monk.
Never stand over a Thai person. In some social situations, Thais like to sit on the floor. If you find yourself standing over another Thai person, don't do it for long. You should also never walk over a Thai sitting on the floor. Take care to walk around.
Always remove your shoes before entering a Thai house. In fact, it is a good idea to get into the habit of removing your shoes before entering anyone's home here. You must also remove your shoes prior to entering a temple or around a Buddhist shrine.
One aspect of the Thai language that could be a source of Thai culture shock is putting the ending khrub or ka at the end of sentences when speaking. It is considered polite and speaking without it can be taken as rude. Males put khrub at the end of sentences and females use ka. These two words can also be used as a "yes" answer. It never hurts to get some instruction in Thai language while you are here.
The Third Gender
One of the sights that have a tendency to shock a few expats arriving here is the sight of the “kathoey” or lady boy. In the western world, they would be referred to as “transgendered”. There’s no need to be shocked. These are thought of as the third gender in Thailand and are generally accepted by Thai people. You will often find them as wait staff in outdoor Thai restaurants or working in retail establishments.
Mai Pen Rai
A phrase you will often hear in Thailand is “mai pen rai” or “it is of no matter” in English. You will find that Thais have this outlook in many situations and it can also contribute to Thai culture shock for the expat. Is the traffic bad? Mai pen rai. Did someone cut in line? Mai pen rai. Is it taking too long to fill a food order? Mai pen rai.
Westerners tend to get irritated about practically any inconvenience and oftentimes have difficulty adjusting to mai pen rai ways. Mai pen rai can also show up as frequent tardiness to appointments and last minute cancellations. The expat living here must learn to adapt or frustration will soon set in.
Of course with driving, it seems that all bets are off when it comes to mai pen rai. However, considering the traffic situation in cities like Bangkok, not even mai pen rai can cure the frustration. However, never take it personal if someone honks their horn while behind you. Just say, “mai pen rai”.
A common source for culture shock among expat men after arriving here is seeing the cleaning lady in the men’s toilet. Pay it no mind because she certainly isn’t paying any attention to you. She only has a job to do: keep the toilet clean.
As a final note, you and your family will benefit from enrolling and taking a Thai culture class when you first start living here. These classes cover all aspects of the culture and norms in this country. By educating yourself in advance, you can minimize Thai culture shock and thoroughly enjoy your stay here.