Moving To Thailand
I opened the door to my house in Ealing, London having just spent a great three weeks in Pattaya, Thailand. The second thing to greet me after my lovely Thai wife was a pile of post, within minutes I was depressed – two parking tickets for allegedly stopping on a red route (caught on camera) and because the 14 days had passed the price had doubled to £120 each. This was quickly followed by a £445 water rates bill and a notice that apparently the water pipe under my garden was leaking and the water board were kindly going to replace it and charge me £1200 and it would appear they have a monopoly on this kind of daylight robbery and I had no choice!
Over the following weeks a serious of un-related events started to make me seriously consider my living situation. Since moving my Thai wife to England I could see that some of the fun and love of life had been sapped out of her. She now religiously got up with me at 07:00 and worked all day in my office till 20:00 or more. I could see the stress taking the toll on her. In England and London in particular, you live to work. It’s the norm. You grab a quick lunch and normally eat at your desk – I often work 6 days a week, sometime even seven. The MP’s expenses row which wouldn’t have normally bothered me really p%^% me off. If it was any of us claiming for mortgages we didn’t have we would be sacked and charged. This and my car getting clamped by three large thugs operating as 100% legal private clampers on a shopping parade and demanding £325 in cash was probably the final straw. That’s it! I declared over my second (or maybe my fifth) glass of Pinot, we are moving to Thailand!
I don’t hate England – in fact in many ways its the best place in the world – but for me it was time for a change and by the big smile on my wife’s face she felt the same. So that was it, we were going. I put my shares of my business up for sale and my wife started to think about what she would do when we got to Pattaya.
On a recent trip to see her family in Nakhon Phanom my wife (Chanichar) was surprised to find many old friends appearing at her house with photos and hurriedly printed or hand-written profiles seeking her help in finding a husband. She was even more suppressed to find ladies from the next town whom she had never meet also knocking at her door.
So because of these encounters she felt there could be a need for a modern bridal dating agency and Beautifulthibride was conceived. My wife spent the next three months working with programmers and designers so that on coming to Thailand she could launch her site.
I spent the next few months in meetings with accountants and solicitors gathering as much funds together as possible. After 8 weeks it was starting to drag on and we were concerned that we would never make the move, so on September 16th we just set a date and booked the tickets – 16th October we were going – come what may.
So having shipped 175 kilos of luggage and computers etc off to my friend's dive school in Pattaya, we packed the rest of our stuff into our spare room having rented out the house. We used Transglobal Express ( transglobal.org.uk) who were very good. We rang on the Monday, they collected on the Tuesday and the boxes were all in Bangkok by Friday! If shipping goods and you have a Thai partner – make sure it’s all in their name – no import tax if it’s their personal effects.
We arrived and now the hard work of finding a house, an office for my wife, staff, internet, bank accounts, transferring money from the UK etc all started. I won’t bore you with all the details but I have listed below who I used and my thoughts. It has, I must say, been the most painless experience ever! Compared with doing the same in the UK and the bureaucracy you would face it has been a sheer pleasure.
Let me compare walking into Siam Commercial Bank to my experiences of Barclays Bank in the UK. Siam, a smiling doorman lets you into to a clean air-conditioned, large open space with many seats and a manned reception desk. The smiling lady asks what you needs, helps you fill in the withdrawal form and offers you a glass of ice cold water. She then guides you to the payments desk – no bullet proof glass here. A selection of three smiling (and as it happens very attractive) Thai ladies are all eager to help. A few moments latter and grasping my freshly withdrawn 1000 baht notes and receiving a wai from the staff I wander out the building – desperately thinking of something else I need so I can go back in – that’s the last time I use an ATM!
Barclays Bank somewhere in London – it’s the height of summer and inside it's hot and crowded. Being lunch time everyone is out doing their chores – so it would seem are the tellers – out of 8 windows only three are operating and the queue is back to the door. Having waited for 25 minutes I finally get to a counter, the gentleman serving me is chewing gum and finishing his conversation with the woman on the next window so I wait patiently. I hand over the paying in slip. Sure I will be free and in the fresh air imminently – but no – I have filled in the wrong slip, for business accounts you can only use pre-printed slips – not the ones scattered all around the bank. Apparently this changed last year. Not sure why, as if he paid it in on the slip I had used it would go through – but couldn’t possibly be done and I would need to go back to the office get a new slip and queue up again! Arrrrgggg!
So here we are. We have been here six seeks and I am completing my dive master course and looking for a dive school to invest in. My wife and her small team have launched the website so if you are interested in a Thai Bride or Asian dating please take a look at her site and I will post the occasional blog of how we fare in the land of smiles. If you are thinking about making the move but are worried by all the red tape and paperwork – don’t be – just do it.
Bank: Siam Commercial – so simple to open an account. You just need your passport and it is done in 10 minutes along with a cash point / Mastercard. (Why do we have to wait 10 days in the UK to get a card?)
Internet: Used CAT in South Pattaya – CAT PATTAYA Customer Services Office
TEL. 0-3842-9580 – called them on the Wednesday morning – our house is on a new estate so they said they would have to get an engineer out. By 14:00 we had a man climbing up the pole opposite our house! We placed the order on Thursday and on Monday morning we had connection. My router was brought with us from England would not work – so the main engineer lent us his and took mine away. A few days later he had mine working and swapped them back.
Satellite TV: True: – All the premier league matches – ordered on the Friday and installed on the Monday.
Exchange: Set up an account with www.HIFX.co.uk. If you are moving more then £5k then the rates are great, you can do it all online. If I transfer money on Monday it is in my Siam account by Wednesday.
Pattaya Expats: http://www.pattayaexpatsclub.info/ Meet on a Sunday – a good place to find your feet, free advice and they make you feel very welcome.
Pattaya Job centre: www.pattayajobcentre.com very friendly and helpful, my wife found her team in a few days with their help.
It sounds like you've found your feet really quickly – well done! Do keep us updated on how things go!