Top tips for moving to Bangkok
Thailand is a popular destination for leisure travel, and most locals speak just enough English to interact with tourists. But moving there is a completely different experience. Our guide this week provides basic information that can make settling into Bangkok a little easier.
It is necessary to obtain both a non-immigrant visa and a work permit in order to be employed in Thailand. The first step is to get the Non-Immigrant Visa Category “B” (Business and Work Visa), which is the relevant for applicants who wish to work or conduct business in the country. Applicants can either do so at the Thai consulate in their place of residence or apply for it in Thailand. This visa provides holders with a single entry for up to three months and can be processed within three days.
Once in Thailand, foreigners with a Non-Immigrant B Visa can apply for a temporary work permit, which takes up to seven days to process.
With the work permit in hand, applicants can then extend their visa from 90 days to a year at the Immigration department, a procedure that takes 30 days. Once that is cleared, work permits can also be extended at the Department of Employment, which can be done within one day. The extended visa must be renewed every year.
Other types of visas include the Non-Immigrant Visa category B-A (Business Approved Visa) and Non-Immigrant Visa Category IB (Investment and Business Visa).
Relocation and moving companies
- Pacific Orientation Relocation Services (PORS)
PORS is a one-stop shop for expatriates moving to and from Thailand, offering a wide range of services ranging from pre-arrival assistance to home finding to settling-in and even cultural awareness training programmes. Additionally, PORS walks foreigners through the complex visa and work permit application procedures. For more information, visit www.pacificorientation.com; tel +66 2653 0805
- V. Pack & Move (Bangkok) Co., Ltd
V. Pack & Move initially packed furniture for export only before it branched out to provide moving service. Today, it is one of the leading packing and moving companies in Thailand, providing a range of services that includes international door-to-door relocation, moving offices and exhibitions, film production logistics, industrial packing, and warehousing and clearance. For more information, visit www.vpackmove.com/Web2; tel +66 2750 9555
Supermarkets with imported foodstuff
- Foodland Supermarket
Foodland has 11 stores in Bangkok and is open round the clock, every day of the year. It is renowned in Thailand for its fresh produce, meat and bread as well as a great selection of imported western and Asian foods and beverages. For more information, visit www.foodland.co.th
- Gourmet Market
Gourmet Market provides a comprehensive selection of groceries, fresh food products, local and international food and beverage labels, wine cellars and, believe it or not, cigar bars across its branches. A pet mall has also been set up to provide locally produced or imported pet food, medicine and accessories while a vet is available for consultation every day. For more information, visit www.gourmetmarketthailand.com
- Bumrungrad International Hospital
This hospital is one of the largest private, internationally accredited hospitals in Thailand, with 554 beds and over 30 speciality centres. It provides both inpatient and outpatient care and claims to serve over 10,000 patients annually. English is widely spoken by the staff. For more information, visit www.bumrungrad.com; tel +66 2667 1000
- Samitivej Hospital
Samitivej, recognised by UNICEF and WHO, is a leading provider of healthcare in Thailand, offering a range of services from four different hospitals: Samitivej Hospital, Samitivej Sukhumvit and Samitivej Srinakarin and Samitivej Sritacha. These facilities comprise a total of 50 specialised centres. The staff can speak Mandarin Chinese, Hainan Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Punjabi, French, German, Hindi and English. For more information, visit www.samitivejhospitals.com; tel +66 2711 8181
- International School Bangkok (ISB)
Founded in 1951, ISB is an international school based on the North American curriculum and educational philosophy and it runs all levels of classes through to high school. ISB also boasts a range of extra curricular activities to facilitate more well-rounded development of the children. At high school, ISB students have the option to switch from the American system to the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme. For more information, visit www.isb.ac.th; tel +66 2962 5800
- KIS International School
KIS is the only international school in Thailand to adopt the IB programme from early years through to Grade 12, thus gearing students for success in earning the IB certificate in high school before entering university, as well as building a foundation of inquiry-based learning skills. For more information, visit www.kis.ac.th; tel +66 2274 3444
- Leow Maid Services
Founded in 2010, Leow is a maid agency licensed by the Department of Employment in Thailand. The company is specialised in providing local helpers for both local and expatriate families in Bangkok. Their services are divided into housekeeping, babysitting and elderly care. Live-in and part-time helpers are both available. For more information, visit www.leowmaid.com/about.php; tel +66 2171 5373
International driving permits are legally accepted in Thailand for up to six months. After that, it is necessary to obtain a Thai driving licence. Applicants are required to have a basic health check, certification of address and a valid non-immigrant visa. Take note that the form to be filled out is in Thai and it is advisable to bring along an interpreter when applying for the licence. According to law, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and apply in person at the Department of Land Transport, which has several outlets for the procedure in Bangkok. For more information and addresses of branches, call +66 2272 3614; no website.