Planning your Move to Thailand: The Ultimate Checklist

If you’re considering a move to Thailand, you will see that moving to the Land of Smiles can be quite an adventure.

Be ready to enjoy a new expat life in year-round sunny weather but also for a ton of challenges.

So before you start to pack your bags to experience the rich heritage and traditional cities mixed with modern metropolises that is Thailand.

Check out this moving abroad checklist, where we list the top things to do before moving to Thailand.

moving to thailand the ultimate checklist mojomatt blog post

Do Your Research

The most important first step any expat has to do before moving to Thailand is to do thorough research beforehand!

You need to decide on your exact location and moving time carefully, and take a lot of things into consideration.

Luckily for you, a lot of blog posts like this one, forums, and expat groups on social media exist, where you can get the opinion of other expats and locals to answer most of your questions.

Checking these posts and joining online groups can be beneficial for you later on, as you can ask questions along your moving journey and after you settled in Thailand.

Expats and locals in Thailand tend to be very helpful and responsive, so you will surely find answers to your questions and plenty of tips!

Even better, if you can, try to spend a few weeks or months doing your research in the country.

It's quite easy and inexpensive to spend a few months in Thailand to see if it's the right fit for you.

Pick Where You Want to Live in Thailand

It is important to get as much information about Thailand before moving so you're not caught off guard as you move there.

Of course, moving abroad will always present new experiences and challenges, but the better prepared you are - the better experience you’ll have.

Finding the best place for your new life abroad in Thailand is the first step.

Decide which part of Thailand would fit your needs, budget, and personality the most.


Thailand's capital might be the best if you prefer large cities with modern infrastructure.

Bangkok is the financial center of Thailand and by far the most dynamic region, so it’s a great fit for active people who want to move to work or for business opportunities.

Bangkok is cheaper than most US cities or European capitals but has many of the same services available - from high street brands to luxury restaurants and cinemas.

benchakiti park sunset bangkok


However, if you are mainly attracted to the beaches of Thailand, the island of Phuket is probably the best choice, as it has a huge expat population as well.

Phuket is a modern island, with a ton going on, but it's easy the beautiful nature make it also a great place to relax and enjoy a slow live.

The beautiful scenery of Phuket attracts a ton of tourists so you might find Phuket a bit expensive sometimes - but still not as expensive as western cities are.

Chiang Mai

Finally, if you are a lover of traditional and historic places, Chiang Mai, the second-largest city in Thailand, may be the most fitting city for your new life abroad.

Chiang Mai may be more traditional, but you will also find many modern shopping malls here as well - and if you want peace, you can reach the mountains in less than an hour or explore the luxuriant forests all around the city.

The city is also really popular among digital nomads so it's a great place for anyone working online who wants to network!

Calculate Your Cost of Living

To narrow down your options even further, consider the prices and cost of living in Thailand.

The northern part of the country - where the city of Chiang Mai is - is cheaper than the south, however, it is farther to the sea.

Phuket tends to be more expensive but offer beautiful sceneries and a luxury lifestyle in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

Bangkok offers something for everyone and will please those looking for a cheaper lifestyle than in the West as well as those looking for a lavish lifestyle in Asia.

And if you want to live more simple (and cheap) life, you can always settle in other regions of Thailand.

Now, once you take these factors into consideration and understand what are your priorities for your new home abroad in Thailand, you’ll be able to better decide which city is best for you.

Before moving or to help you learn more about Thailand before you move, again, we recommend you join expat groups or communities and connect with locals to ask specific questions.

Really, don’t be afraid to ask!

There are many people willing to help and great resources to help you coordinate and plan your move abroad.

visit of an apartment in bangkok

Speak with Relocation Experts

Once you’ve officially decided that you want to be more than a tourist in Thailand, you can speak with a relocation specialist who can help you navigate the visa application process and guide you each step of the way.

You can use a free relocation concierge platform to be your personal moving assistant and help you coordinate your move to Thailand, which is a great option if you don’t know where to start or how to plan out your entire move abroad, which can be rather stressful.

Secure a Visa

Before arriving in Thailand, you will need to determine which visa will allow you to stay long-term because while there is a tourist visa for 60 to 90 days in Thailand, you’ll need a long-term visa for a permanent stay.

There are several options that will allow you to work abroad, study abroad or retire abroad.

Thailand is also a hub for tech founders, entrepreneurs, as well as digital nomads, teachers abroad, and even social media influencers.

So there are plenty of options to move there, with each their best type of visa.

two thai girls holding a sign that say thailand elite

Pack Your Bags

Once you’re ready to move and pack your bags, there’s one important factor to keep in mind when moving to Thailand - you don’t need to stock up on winter clothes.

In fact, the clothes you bring may not be what you plan on wearing for your new life in Thailand, as styles and fashion are different all around the world.

So consider packing only a few summer clothes, because they’ll be what you wear most of the year!

If you’re having trouble downsizing for your move abroad, we recommend you pack your favorite and most personal items, because you can pretty much buy anything you want in Thailand.

The country has modern shopping centers and awesome markets where you can build your new style.

moving to thailand the ultimate checklist mojomatt pinterest

Ready to start your journey and become an expat in Thailand?

Make sure you check everything carefully on your moving checklist so that your stay will be stress-free and you can enjoy your new life in the Land of Smiles.

Any questions about moving to Thailand?

Schedule A Call To Chat With Me

Mojomatt on his phone at home in Bangkok

Anything you would add or remove from the list?

Let me know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Planning your Move to Thailand: The Ultimate Checklist”

  1. What kind of access do you get to their medical facilities on their 10 year elite visa. I am HIV positive, non detectable and would like to stay that way. Can I get local insurance and what are the costs of hiv medications. I am currently living working in Japan where I pay 1000 dollars for 90 days (meds costs 4000) worth of meds as my medical insurance pays the rest. I would need the same deal in order to consider moving there. I already know hiv is not a restriction. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hey Tom, that’s a really specific question. The 10 year elite visa doesn’t come with special access to medical facilities, they just happen to have discounts and deals at some private hospitals in the country and an annual checkup. From what I heard HIV medication isn’t super expensive here. I guess the best route for you is to get a quote from a health insurance to know how much is would cost to cover the treatment in Thailand. I believe most private hospitals will be able to get the medicine, and the red cross is well known to provide a lot of HIV treatment in the country, so I guess that’s an option to have access to the treatment for “cheap”. Good luck with that. If you have other questions about moving to Thailand, feel free to hit me up.

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