Why Moving to Thailand Isn’t Simple Now

Why Moving to Thailand Isn’t Simple Now
Why Moving to Thailand Isn’t Simple Now

Yesterday, just a week after I announced my big move to Thailand, there was a bit of a complication added to my travel planning…

Ever since I returned from living in Switzerland, I have been longing to move abroad again, this time, more permanently. Though I’ve been in the US far longer than I anticipated, it it did give me a chance to meet some amazing people, have some extraordinary experiences, and save up more money!

I had originally planned to relocate to Latin America, but a recent conversation with my adventurous friend, Cory (be sure to check out his talent on Instagram or some of his past adventures here!), turned me on to the possibility of Asia. Specifically, we discussed how much I would adore Thailand. Though I had always wanted to visit, it was the high price of getting there that turned me off. Well, just a few days after said conversation, a one-way ticket appeared for $560. I was shocked! This was actually cheaper than the tickets I had looked at to Costa Rica and Peru. I stayed up until two in the morning deliberating, then decided to take a leap and buy it. Ever since then, life has been a whirlwind. I quit the day job I’d taken to save up extra funds, applied for an extended visa, and have devoted my time to trip planning.

Anyway, yesterday morning, I found out that the visa regulations have changed in Thailand. My darling friend Laura (Traveling Jersey Girl), who has been strongly considering joining me in Thailand, tagged me in a post on Facebook. The post itself written by a rather frustrated Ryan (Just Chuckin’ It). Lately, he and I have been conversing back and forth about my travel plans, as he’s been in Thailand for the past while. Diverging from his usual posts, which promote expat life in Asia, he wrote, “I must say, today has been one of the most stressful and confusing days I’ve experienced in Thailand. Today, the Thai government decided to cut off all land crossing visas in Thailand and, in August, will be shutting down visa runs by flight too. Information is scattered at the moment, but there seems to be a visa lockdown happening…”

This sudden change has left many expats confused and without any real guidance on proper protocol. For those like Ryan, who were not allowed to leave the country to do their necessary border runs, it seems their only option is to pack their bags and buy a plane ticket. The situation is even more frustrating for the foreign nationals who have been blocked from reentering the country, after already making it over the border. I cannot imagine how disconcerting it would be to wake up one morning, leave my stuff behind and head across the border for an ordinary visa run, just to find out I couldn’t get back in the country! (For more information the visa regulation changes and to stay up to date, visit Thai Visa.)

I’ll be honest, directly after finding all of this out, I had a bit of a freak out moment. My initial, emotional reaction was to go into a fear-based space and take on a scarcity mentality. I thought, “Oh god, a huge portion of my reason for choosing to settle in Thailand was how easy it was to live there and just do frequent border runs! What if I made the wrong decision…” Luckily, I’m blessed with some amazing friends, who spoke with me and really helped put everything in perspective.

Despite my vexation about the changes in regulation, I am thankful I found out before my arrival. At least it gives me a couple of weeks to figure out what the heck I am going to do. Another blessing is that, because the trip came into existence so recently, very little of it was already planned out! Now, all of this does mean that I’d really appreciate the input of those of you who have spent time in Southeast Asia… Here are my two current thoughts:

  1. I could bounce back and forth between a few countries in Southeast Asia. Though the exact direction the Thai visa regulations will take is unknown, I’m wondering if it will become more “European style” (i.e. you have to leave for 90 days, before you can reenter). If so, my thought is that I could spend 90 day increments in different countries. From what I’ve heard, this would be pretty feasible. So, I’m curious, which countries do you recommend being my other homes and why?
  2. I could  get TEFL certification, upon arrival, and search for a job teaching English. So, I had already been considering this route, especially if I don’t get approved for the extended visa I applied for. I figure being certified, on top of already have a bachelor’s degree, could open up a lot of doors. It would also give me the option of teaching part-time English in Thailand, for the visa, and continuing to work online. Plus, if I ever needed to fall back on the certification, at least I’d have it in my back pocket. Do any of you have experience with finding part-time work, simply for a visa?

Since I hadn’t even uploaded my announcement video on the blog yet, here it is!

I’m afraid the answer will be a bit anticlimactic, haha.

26 Responses »

  1. Kinda in a pickle here! What about chilling on Langkawi, Malaysia for awhile. Langkawi island is 30km off the coast of northwestern Malaysia and extremely close to the thai border. You said air and land restrictions, so I was thinking why not a boat.
    Just throwing out thoughts. Good luck and we know you’ll figure something out!

  2. Just my two cents but from all I have read I would not be counting on the trend in Thailand to be one of a positive direction. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly hope the political situation changes for the better but that is not seeming likely…unfortunately.

  3. I’m sorry to hear about all the trouble with visa in Thailand! Anyways – both your options sounds pretty amazing. I can definitely recommend Vietnam, if you decide living in other SEA-countries. If you get to like Thailand, you will LOVE Vietnam! Also your second option with teaching English sounds pretty amazing – and it inspired me to look into that option too! I hope it all works out for you, and I look forward to follow you on your adventures!

  4. I would recommend a TEFL/TESOL course and get the certificate. This would open many doors for you, not only in Thailand but in many Asian countries.

    I’ve heard many people apply for a students visa, but don’t actually go to school. You could try looking up more information about that.

    If you need help in BKK, feel free to ask :)

    • That’s what I’ve been thinking too! Luckily, although it’s not in my hands yet, I got word that I’ve been approved for an extended visa, so that gives me some time to explore first.

  5. Thanks for the info. We’re going to Thailand in the summer but we’re only going for a few weeks and happily, even though we’re going to both Thailand and Indonesia, we’re not back-tracking.
    I can imagine that it’s going to get more difficult if people are going in and out. I did think about it but thankfully, once we leave Thailand, we’re onto the next country.
    I’m putting this post on Twitter. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hey Andrea, You’re welcome to ask me anything. I have been here on and off for three years and bc of these new rules…I might not here much longer :( But it’s no worries, bc it was my plan to move on soon anyway. Both of your ideas are right. You COULD go back and forth to whatever countries you like and just hop around. I would say that Indonesia is a good option for your “other home.” I’m going to the Philippines at the end of Sept and I want to say that would be another good option. I’m going for a few months and possibly moving myself out there if I like it, and I think I will.

    Also getting a TEFL (or not…) and becoming a teacher is a fantastic option. It’s really an experience! I have lot of info about teaching in Thailand on my blog, and you’re welcome to ask me. I would say just one thing- If you’re in CM, you might have a harder time finding jobs. This is my experience and what I hear. It’s mostly bc the demand for living and working there is high, this is my understanding.

    Anyway, mai ben lai! Good luck, it will all work out OK! If anything, it’s an excuse to travel more often. It does get a bit old to move a lot tho. I love my apartment here in Thailand that I can come back to, something that’s a home base!

    Ah! And the third option…Paying a decent slice of cash for an education visa. I want to say it’s around $1k for one year?!?! It’s not an option for me right now, but you could look into it.

    • Hi, adventuress! Thank you so much. We’ll have to connect on Facebook.

      It’s really too bad about all of these changes that are going on, especially after you’ve established such a home base here! Where do you think you’ll relocate?

      I’ve heard good things about the Philippines too and I’m actually heading to Indo for a few weeks next month! My biggest concern about settling there would be the internet.

      Luckily, my online work is thriving, so I definitely don’t have time for the teaching. But I have known people who have gone the education visa route.

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