Thailand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and things that usually come to mind when you mention Thailand are the beaches, friendly people, and great food. But what some people don’t realise is how great a place it is for foreigners to work, especially in the tech industry. Here’s some of the key Highlights: 1. Great standard of living: Your money goes a long way here, so you can enjoy a higher standard of living when compared to western countries, or places like Singapore or Hong Kong. Cheap, delicious food is available everywhere, rent is very affordable and, most importantly, beer is cheap. You can also hire a maid to clean your apartment and do your laundry for 100-200 USD / month. Tax on your salary is also pretty low. Although salary may appear lower than places like Singapore or Hong Kong, being in Bangkok usually mean you will have a much better lifestyle. 2. Good weather and close proximity to beaches: There’s lots of sun here which is great for those starved of sunlight. Also the winter temperature is around 25 C. With lots of towns like Hua Hin, Koh Samet and Pattaya nearby, you can pop by to great beaches every weekend if you like. 3. Lots of opportunities in tech: Thailand is going through a big start-up growth phase at the moment, so there’s lots of interesting opportunities and companies everywhere. For example, at Sertis we are focusing on pushing the boundaries of data science and AI and have built a large team of more than 50 people from all over the world. 4. Local market for your start-up with lots of government support: For those looking to launch a start-up here, we do have a large population of urban middle class that are always on a lookout for new tech and apps. Government incentives also come in handy. A good example is income tax exemption from BOI for software companies. 5. Friendly people and life outside work: It cannot be stated enough how easy going Thais are.Thais are a very friendly bunch who enjoy hanging out with foreigners, which make it easy for new arrivals to make new friends at work and outside work. Some countries may offer attractive opportunities, but life outside work can get boring very quickly. Bangkok is a really happening place and it really comes to life after dark.
Obviously, there are things to look out for:
Make sure the company culture suits you
It goes without saying wherever you work but especially important in Thailand (and Asia in general). Some companies put lots of emphasis on seniority and hierarchy, which can come as a shock to westerners. Pro tip: Look for companies where there are westerners already. Go for a beer with them to ask for their views on the firm’s culture. What you want is a western style company where there’s a flat(ish) hierarchy.
Learning Thai will make your time even better
Lots of Thais speak decent English, so it’s tempting to not speak any Thai. Yes you will get by, but your experience will be much richer if you can speak some Thai. Tones aren’t easy but with practice you’ll pick it up. English actually has tones too, think how your pitch up when you ask a question or how your tone is different when you give a command (Go? Vs Go!). Conversational Thai is also relatively easy, no tenses and smaller vocab size compared to English. Thai only has one word for rain while English has rain, shower, drizzle, downpour and many more. At Sertis we’re such a firm believer in the importance of learning Thai that we give our foreign employees a stipend towards language classes.
Live near the train stations
Mainly for Bangkok, where traffic can be pretty bad. Commuting by the skytrain or underground is highly recommended. So find a company with an office near a station and live within walking distance of a station.
I can obviously go on a lot longer about all the benefits of living and working in Thailand. The thing is, if you enjoy holidaying in Thailand, working here actually means you get to continue living that kind of life while building great tech and picking up new skills.
If you have questions, feel free to ping me, or Rummell, who just moved to Bangkok from the UK this year so should be able to answer lots of your questions. For those with kids, Jarun, our Chief Data Scientist, moved his family over from the States. He can give pointers for those looking for schools for non-Thai speaking kids.
People here have really enjoyed their time in Bangkok, and we think everyone would enjoy it too. You already know all the great things about a holiday in Thailand, why not move here and make that dream a reality!
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