Don’t we all yearn for the sense of nostalgia when a rare opportunity arises to catch up with an old friend?
My high school classmate from the Netherlands, Oscar, visited Thailand with his wife and two children over the past weekend. We talked about our young, more adventurous days, reminiscing about our childhood over dinner.
If nostalgia was the main course, discussing our future plans was our dessert. This was when Oscar started asking me for advice as he and his family are planning to relocate to Thailand. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. The warm weather, beautiful beaches, delicious (and spicy) food, and quality healthcare, who wouldn’t want to live here?
As a veteran expat who’s lived in Asia for almost a decade, let me share with you some of my advice to Oscar. Basically, there are four important things to consider before relocating to this beautiful country.
First of all, figuring out the best type of education for your children tops the to-do list when relocating to Thailand. Bangkok has no shortage of high-quality international schools ranging from the outer city area in Bangna to the central Sukhumvit district. International schools can also be found in other areas with large expat populations, such as Hua Hin, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. International schools in Thailand offer a wide variety of curricula, such as the British GCSE and A-Level to the International Baccalaureate (IB), where your children are sure to receive the highest standards of international education here in Thailand.
Once you’ve settled on your children’s school, deciding your place of residence comes next. Fortunately, international schools offer minibus services, offering your family the flexibility to choose your living district. There are plenty of accommodation choices in areas popular with expats, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Khon Kaen, and Phuket. In Bangkok, living along the rapidly growing BTS Skytrain makes traveling to work and leisure areas more convenient than ever before. You can also opt for the calmer residential areas in Bangkok, such as the southern On Nut district or Ramintra towards the northern part of the city.
Travel and Food
Thailand is well-known for having some of the most amazing beaches and friendly locals. Personally, I am always on the hunt for hidden gems throughout the country that are still untouched by mass tourism. Apart from visiting Pattaya, Krabi, and Samui, there are hidden family-friendly paradises in Koh Racha, Koh Chang, and Koh Tao. Finally, if you are looking for beautiful natural sceneries, do not miss out on the hills of Chiang Mai and it’s growing art scene.
When it comes to food, Thailand offers a lot more than Pad Thai and green curry. This country takes the word “spicy” to another level. If you are not used to spicy food, it will become essential to learn the phrase “Ped Noi”, which means less spicy. Not to mention, Thailand’s delicious street food can cost as little as USD $1 to $2. However, the lack of hygiene in some street vendors can cause food poisoning. To avoid these vendors, make sure you go to locally well-known street food areas such as night markets.
Healthcare and Health Insurance
Apart from food poisoning, there are plenty of health issues to keep in mind when relocating to Thailand with children. The pleasant tropical weather in the country can suddenly become worrisome if you are not prepared to cope with mosquito-related diseases such as dengue fever and zika.
To best prepare for these diseases, getting vaccinated as soon as possible after you arrive in Thailand is very important. Apart from dengue fever and zika, it is also recommended that you get vaccinations for hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and yellow fever.
In Thailand, the best place to go for check-ups and vaccinations are private hospitals. Private hospitals are most suitable for expats because of their exceptional treatment quality and English-speaking staff.
In Bangkok and other major cities, there is a wide selection of high-quality private hospitals to choose from such as Bumrungrad, Simitivej, or Bangkok Hospital Group.
Being competitive, these private hospitals also offer streamlined and personalized services, that translates to shorter queues and flexible doctor options for the whole family.
However, these private hospitals come with expensive medical fees. Vaccinations for dengue fever can cost around THB ฿2,000. Meanwhile, treating heart diseases can cost you up to THB ฿27,360.
These expensive medical fees add up over time and they will take a toll on your savings. So trust me when I say you need to get private health insurance when relocating to Thailand.
Speaking from personal experience, to cover for medical risks that may occur when you are abroad, you should consider getting family health insurance that also has international coverage for your insurance plan.
Also, make sure that your insurance plan in Thailand covers private hospital fees since most of your fees will be from private healthcare instead of state-run hospitals.
If you are planning to start a family in Thailand, you should consider getting maternity insurance to cover the medical expenses for childbirth, which may cost up to THB ฿149,000 in top private hospitals such as Bumrungrad.
We all hope that no health complications occur once our newborn is delivered. However, we can never be too safe. There are newborn health insurance packages offered in Thailand which cover the treatment costs for any newborn’s illnesses that may arise.
For more information, you can talk to our experts at Pacific Prime Thailand on the best insurance package for you and your family.