Useful Information on Living in Thailand

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The Language Barrier in Thailand

Thai is the dominant and business language spoken across Thailand, however English is becoming increasingly popular and is now being taught in many schools across the country. While you may be able to get by just speaking English you may find living in Thailand easier if you learn some basicThai.

Weather & Climate

Although temperatures generally stay consistent throughout the year – with highs averaging 31-35°C – the more extreme weather can be a real challenge for many British expats moving to Thailand. The rainy season (May to October) puts the English weather to shame, even more so during the monsoon season (September to October). Although this in itself can take a while for British Expats in Thailand to get used to, it’s the risk of flash flooding and earthquakes that is of most concern. Make sure you’re prepared for what may happen abroad, by spending some time researching the latest Natural Disaster Risks in Thailand.

British Embassy in Thailand

Address:14 Wireless Road
Bangkok 10330
Phone:+66 (0) 2 305 8333
Fax: +66 (0) 2 255 9278
Office hours:Local time:
Mon-Thurs: 08:00 – 16:30
Fri: 08:00-13:00

Emergency Services Contact Information in Thailand

Emergency ServiceContact Number
Police Service191
Tourist Police1155
Fire Service199
Ambulance & Rescue Service1554

If you are unable to get through to speak to an English speaking agent, contact the tourist police.

Health in Thailand

Anyone who is looking to visit or live in Thailand should seek a GP’s medical advice no later than 8 weeks before leaving the UK, to allow any necessary medical treatment to be scheduled in before leaving for Thailand. It also means that all vaccines and treatments can be successfully completed ahead of time. Aside from the standard MMR and Tetanus top-ups that are always recommended in the UK, other injections/medication suggested could be for Diphtheria, Hepatitis A & B, Rabies, Typhoid, and Japanese Encephalitis. Any over the age of 1 who is travelling to Thailand from, or via, a country that has a Yellow fever risk, will need to produce a Yellow fever vaccination certificate upon entry.

Like in the UK, Thailand has both private and public health services. The public healthcare services in Thailand can often fall below the UK’s expectations, but the private healthcare is considered among the best in East Asia. Private healthcare can be expensive, which is why good comprehensive health insurance is highly recommended when living in Thailand.

There is currently a risk of Dengue fever in Thailand. This disease is spread through mosquito bites, but there are a number of preventative methods that expats can employ to reduce the risk of contracting it. Expats should also be aware of the risk of Malaria in Thailand. Take a look at this Thailand Malaria Map to find out which parts of the country are the most at risk.

Driving while Living in Thailand

When living in Thailand you will need to be even more alert on the roads than in the UK, because of the high number of motorcycles and mopeds. There is a high risk of motorcycle accidents, and these can make the roads a dangerous place for new drivers in the country.

There is a very heavy amount of road traffic in Thailand, which makes public transport a popular option for many expats and their families. The undeveloped road infrastructure is also often off-putting to many drivers living in Thailand.

Although you can drive in Thailand for up to a year on your British driving licence, it is recommended that you get a Thai driving licence. This can be done three months after you arrive in Thailand.

Many car insurance providers in Thailand may add a fee on your premium if you opt to use your UK driving licence for the full year. Therefore obtaining a Thai driving licence may save you money on your car insurance.

Getting your Thai Driving Licence

You may require an interpreter to help you obtain a driving licence if you are unfamiliar with the Thai language. Having a Thai licence will also identify you as an Expat instead of a tourist, which may benefit you when dealing with the local authorities.

In order to obtain your Thai drivers licence you will need to take the following to the Department of Land Transportation:

  • A valid passport with signed copies of the front page, last entry stamp and the TM-card
  • A certified letter from your embassy, or the Thai Immigration Bureau (dated within the last 30 days) or your blue workbook / work permit
  • A doctor’s certificate stating you’re in good health (within 30 days).
  • 2 photos 1 X 1 inch no older than 6 months
  • International drivers licence, verified by your embassy and translated into Thai

After a lot of administrative tests and verifications, you will be required to take three ability tests; 1) Colour Blindness Test, 2) Reflex Test, and 3) Depth Perception Test. After completing these you will receive your temporary Thai driving licence that will last for 12 months. We recommend you get your licence laminated to protect it from any damage.

Legal Requirements

Those moving to Thailand need to be familiar with the local driving laws. Thailand has a number of dynamic road laws that vary over time. An example of this is the use of one way roads, which may change traffic direction depending on the time of day. Thailand is one of a few countries outside of the UK that drive on the left, making driving there that bit easier.

Unlike in the UK, the blood alcohol content (BAC) for drink driving varies depending on how long you’ve held your licence. If you’ve held it for less than 5 years the BAC for drink driving is 0.2, however it you’ve held it for longer this is increased to 0.5. You risk fines, community service and even a prison sentence if you’re found guilty of driving while under the influence.