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Expats in Thailand

Thailand has no shortage of Expatriates here. Ever since the first tentative trade was established with Siam in the 16th century so the farang has settled here...

Nowadays though, with international air-travel arriving on the scene in the 1960s, expats have been arriving in the land of smiles.

There reasons are numerous and some do better than others. Below are just a few types of Expat who live their lives in Thailand:

The Corporate Expat - Often the most affluent and wealthy of the expats. Almost always recruited from overseas by their parent company or corporation. They are not necessarily living in Thailand out of choice and may be somewhat unused to to the Thai way. Indeed they often tend to display a smug arrogance and attitude that puts them in a class of their own and this can stir up a jealous hatred by most other expats.
For all their wealth and income they usually, by nature of being located in Bangkok, do not have the opportunity or inclination to see the 'real' Thailand.

Most likely hangout: Bangkok, Chequers Bar, expensive entertainment locations.

The Independent Expats - Until the 1990s it was mostly the oil and gas industry workers that had the independently wealth and work to live overseas in Thailand during their off-rotation.
Nowadays, with the growth of the internet-based work sector (borderless workforce) and entrepeneurs eBaying their way here this type of expat is more the norm than it used to be. Some lament the fact that many of the 'original' expats from the Vietnam War era and 1980s are few and far between. Having either passed away or moved on...

Most likely hangout: Thoroughout Thailand.

The Dive Instructor /Divemaster Expat - Mostly these expats tend to work in the Gulf of Thailand Islands such as Koh Tao, Koh Phan Gan, Koh Samui of Koh Phuket.
While their occupation may seem glamourous on the surface; Sun, sea, young girls wanting to learn scuba it isn't all rosy. Your getting paid to go diving and to see the underwater world, however, once the novelty wears thin, it can become a repetitive and relentless grind with little time off as the island paradise can turn into a rocky prison.
Being in a service driven industry means dealing with some challenging and infuriating customers where your hands are tied. Additionally it's more expensive to live on an Island than the mainland (imported goods drive up prices across the board).
For divemasters the wages paid by the hard-nosed dive company's can be little more than a indendured servants income. For Dive Instructors the wages are better than average

The English Teacher Expat - More than a few of the expats in Thailand fall into this category.
Typically liberal-minded and left-wing in mentality. They are often poked fun at for being stingy, mean and using the 'show-up-and-pass' TEFL course as an excuse to stay in Thailand. While some can and do have great merit to the teaching profession their peers often let the side down. That said the salary is quite low, even in Bangkok for the entry-level teaching positions so the frugal teacher has to make do with what's available in the 'budget' options. Exceptions to this include the private schools and university's where the money is increased.
Often reckoned to be the polar opposite of the Corporate Expat. They (mostly) lack the money and affluence, yet often get to see the 'real' Thailand.

Most likely hangout: Either the Capital City or the Provinces. Anywhere there's schools.

The Retired Pensioner - Normally getting on in his years and one of the baby-boomer generation. They've typically done enough work during the 1960s to early 2000s to have a pension that covers their living expenses in Thailand. There are some of these ageing maestro's of life that have knowledge, wisdom and something of the rogue who has earned his retirement in the sun. Indeed some of these Methusela's of Mongering can show the young ones how to party.

Most likely hangout: A Thai village in North-Eastern Thailand

The Dodgy Expat - Everyone surely must of met this type. They can range from the likeable rogue who schmoozes his way into expat circles like an old friend, to the lowliest of the low expat who gives expats in Thailand a bad name. Often with criminal links reaching back to their home-country they usually have considerable wealth offshore to live off for long periods. For the most part they live in Thailand to forget about their old life and make a fresh start. If you are welcomed into their circle it can mean you're one of their family, however it can also mean calamity if you happen to cross them.

Most likely hangout: Either the Capital City or the Provinces where there are schools.

The Welfare-Benefits 'Expat' - A recent development in the expat circles is this, often lowly being. To call them an expat is generous. Typically male, taking advantage of the socialist trend in Europe they claim unemployment and social security money from the government. Then they decide to leave the country and fraudulently claim it while living overseas. Usually they are tatooed, chav, layabouts who infest Pattaya and other places that are cheap enough to fund their lifestyle. They often work hand-in-hand with the Expat low-life and indeed become one if their money-supply is cut-off when they are found out or rumbled.

Most likely hangout: Pattaya.

The Expat Low-life - Unfortunately, this is something that Thailand tends to be burdened with more often nowadays. A combination of Thailand being a mainstream travel destination, a weak baht (during the late 1990s to late 00s) and perhaps the degeneration of certain western countries.
The Expat low-life is most visibly manifested in the farang 'beggars' who claim to be penniless travellers requiring urgent funds to get home (when their sole intention is drinking money etc). Another variant includes the airport tax scammers who beg for money to pay their air-tax fees. Usually though they infest bars and cause hassle with the local night women and are general troublemakers to others.
Pattaya, Phuket, and other tourist spots tend to attract most of them in large numbers where they remain, until their money runs out or they expire. In the provinces they don't tend to last very long, as after a spell of 'decline' the locals send them on their way.
Occasionally an uber-low-life will arise in Thailand and maintain a presence in the online Thai Blogosphere. Here they can take on parasitic proportions and become a distant menace to other websites that focus on Thailand.

Most likely hangout: It can vary, usually anywhere there are others they can bother and annoy others.

For more on the Expats Guide to Thailand click here now.


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