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 essential Thai.
Weather & Climate
The 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 can take a while for British Expats in Thailand to get used to, it’s the risk of flash flooding and earthquakes that should be of most concern. Make sure you’re prepared for what may happen abroad – Click here for the latest Natural Disaster Risks in Thailand.
British Embassy in Thailand
|Address:||British Embassy Bangkok|
14 Wireless Road
|Phone:||+66 (0) 2 305 8333 – Main Embassy line|
|Office hours:||Local time:|
Mon-Thurs: 08:00-12:00 / 12:45-16:30
Emergency Services Contact Information in Thailand
|Emergency Service||Contact Number|
|Ambulance & Rescue Service||1554|
If you are unable to get through to speak to an English speaking agent, you could contact the tourist police in order to arrange an ambulance. The number for the tourist police is 1155.
Health in Thailand
Anyone who is looking to visit or live in Thailand should seek their GP’s medical advice no later than 8 weeks before leaving the UK. This is 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.
Like in the UK, Thailand has both private and public health services. The public healthcare services in Thailand often fall below the UK’s expectations but the private healthcare is considered amongst 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. This means 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. Anyone thinking of living in Thailand should ensure they have received the proper malaria vaccinations and medical attention. This map shows the areas of Thailand that are most at risk of malaria – Click here for a Thailand Malaria Map.
Driving while Living in Thailand
When living in Thailand, you will need to be even more alert on the roads that you are in the UK. This is because of the high number of motorcycles and mopeds that are on the roads. This means there is a high risk of motorcycle accidents and can make the roads a dangerous place for new drivers to 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 just 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:
- 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 execute three ability tests 1) Colour Blindness Test 2) Reflex Test 3) Depth Perception Test. After this procedure 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.
If you’re planning on moving to Thailand, you should familiarise yourself 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 living there that much 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.