You like your work and you’re successful, but still you’re unsatisfied. You know you’re making good money, but after you pay rent and bills, car payment, insurance, and shop for food there isn’t much left over to have fun with. Why wait until you’re old and retired to enjoy life? Why not start living your dream life right now? In this digital age, there’s no reason you need to be stuck somewhere you’re not happy with. Keep working with your current clients, but do it from a tropical paradise where your dollars or euros go further. Relocate to Thailand.
Why relocate to Thailand?
Thailand has been a popular retirement destination for a long time, but in today’s world there’s no real reason that you need to wait until you’re old and withered to relocate. Unless you’re an avid downhill skier, most people would jump at the chance to swap the cold, gloomy winters of North America and Europe for the sunny skies and coconut palms of Southeast Asia.
Thailand has a little of something for everyone. On the one hand, it’s a newly-developed nation with a modernized infrastructure. Fast, reliable internet is available in every city. Glistening mega-malls draw in shoppers from all over Asia, and tourists flock to stay at luxurious beachside resorts on the southern islands.
On the other hand, Thailand is a country with much rural charm still intact. Green rice fields cover much of the countryside. Every morning, tens of thousands of barefoot Buddhist monks step out from their temples to collect alms from pious villagers. Young people still respect their elders, and neighbors casually stop by to chit-chat and joke around.
Thailand has warm weather year-round. It has plenty of sandy beaches. It is known throughout the world for its unique, spicy cuisine and fun-loving population. People tend to be genuinely friendly and easy-going. In short, Thailand is a wonderful place to live.
Thailand is also a place where you can get more out of life. The overall cost of living is much lower than in western countries. You can do more with less money spent. For example, if living in Chiang Mai, it would only take $2000 to get the same quality of life that would cost $5,200 in Chicago. Or if you made your home in Bangkok, $2,800 would buy you the lifestyle that a New Yorker spends $7,300 on. Earning dollars, pounds, or euros from your clients back home and spending locally in Thai baht is one of the biggest advantages to relocating. Stretch your money further to take more vacations and buy better toys for yourself. Make your Facebook friends jealous as you sip cocktails by the sea yet again while they’re busy shoveling snow at 6am just to get their car out of the driveway. This alone makes moving to Thailand from the US for example even sweeter!
Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket?
Thailand isn’t a tiny country. It has several distinct regions, giving you several choices where to relocate to. If you thrive on the excitement of big city life, then Bangkok is the place for you. A bustling metropolis of 10 million, Bangkok is home to people from all over the world. Living in the Thai capital gives you access to endless dining options, a vibrant nightlife, high-end shopping galore, a huge dating pool, and local offices of many international companies. Bangkok is also a transportation hub with international flights to nearly anywhere in the world. And whenever you need a break from the city, there are beaches just a couple hours away.
Chiang Mai is the most important city in northern Thailand. For 500 years it was the capital of the separate Lanna Kingdom. To this day, the Chiang Mai people retain a unique identity with their local dialect and regional cuisine. The heart of the old city, bound by a square moat, is free of high-rise buildings and full of colorful temples. Many outdoor activities are possible in the surrounding green mountains. It’s a university town with tons of coffee shops, inexpensive restaurants, and bars. The pace of life is slower than Bangkok. Many expats and digital nomads make it their home.
Phuket is the largest island in Thailand. It has been one of the world’s top beach destinations for many years. Scuba diving among whale sharks, leopard sharks, and other fascinating marine life is one of the major attractions to the area. Living on Phuket gives you many options for shopping, dining, and nightlife with the added bonus that you can head to the beach on a moment’s notice.
Iglu has offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket so you can pick the best relocation spot to match your personality and lifestyle.
Why work with Iglu in Thailand?
Iglu has 7 years experience with helping digital professionals relocating to Thailand. The way our business model works helps take the headache away from all the boring and stressful administration (i.e. invoicing and accounting etc) whether you run a solo operation or a thriving startup. In addition, We take care of everything so you can work legally in Thailand, focus on your work and enjoy the amazing Thai lifestyle. You simply conduct your normal work for clients and invoice through Iglu. You then receive 70% of the total invoiced as your take-home salary. The other 30% pays for Iglu’s expenses and covers all of your local taxes and social welfare payments.
Why is this a better deal for you?
To start with, you get complete healthcare coverage. Enrollment in the social welfare program allows you to visit the local hospital of your choice and receive treatment and medication without having to pay anything out of your own pocket. The average American pays around 25% in taxes and has to pay for ridiculously expensive healthcare on top of this. Most Europeans are paying a minimum of 35% in taxes back home—and some much more. It’s easy to see that keeping a full 70% is a better deal.
Attractive tax benefits
Thailand has a relaxed taxation posture on money earned outside the country. As an employee of Iglu, you would have a tax home established in Thailand. This could exempt you from owing income tax in your home country. These two factors can be quite a big money saver for those with an online income if structured properly. (For more info on taxes in Thailand, you can read this PDF).
Working with Iglu you will get a Thai work permit and 1-year visa to stay in Thailand. This visa can be renewed annually without having to leave the country. Being fully legal makes it much easier to do things like buy a vehicle or condo, acquire a Thai driving license, open local bank accounts, and apply for Thai credit cards. By comparison, the digital nomads who constantly hop from country to country typically stay in Thailand on tourist or education visas and endure endless uncertainty and hassles to stay here.
If you have any questions about the Thailand business visa and work permit process at Iglu, you can read more about it in this post.
In addition to this, Iglu gives you a place to work and a community to plug into. You get to use our modern office space with super-fast WiFi, flatscreen monitors, printers and scanners, meeting rooms, free espresso coffee and drinking water. Our staff assists with all government-related paperwork—taking the headaches out of the visa process. You mostly just have to put your signature on a bunch of photocopies for us. We can also help you out with finding a place to stay and vehicle to rent or buy. Iglu’s private Facebook group is also a great resource for connecting with others to share tips on local living, join events, or network to find help for an upcoming project.
I’m ready. How to make it happen?
If you’ve made up your mind to relocate to Thailand—or if you’re on the fence and want to ask some questions—contact Iglu to get the ball rolling.
You can read up on the specifics of our relocating to Thailand program. The general requirements are as follows:
- You work in software development, design, marketing, or other online, tech/digital related activity
- You have a relevant university degree plus 2 years experience in your field, or at least 5 years total experience
- You’re at least 22 years old
- You have an existing client base or able to find your own clients
- You earn a minimum of $2500 USD / month
- You can commit to a 1 year contract
How to prepare for living in Thailand
It’s a good idea to come visit Thailand as a tourist at least once before deciding to completely uproot yourself. If you’ve been to both Chiang Mai and Bangkok you can easily tell how different the lifestyle is going to be in each place. Bangkok is probably more exciting, but might be a little too much for some—while Chiang Mai is more laid back, but some might find it boring.
You can get by living in Thailand with only using English, but you’ll have much more enriching experiences, a better understanding of Thai culture, and generally more fun if you learn some of the Thai language. The best way to learn Thai is directly from a Thai speaking teacher who will correct your pronunciation mistakes. Thai is not a difficult language to learn, but it would be difficult to produce the correct sounds by simply relying on books. Before you come to Thailand, you can start learning by taking lessons with a tutor over Skype.And once you’re in the country, there are many Thai teachers who can give private lessons for around $10 per hour. You’ll find that it won’t take very long to get the basics down. At the time of the post Iglu is providing complimentary Thai language lessons to help give all our team members an opportunity to start elementary Thai lessons should they wish to continue with private tutoring.
Do some reading to get familiar with basic Thai history, religion, and culture. A little knowledge will help you understand much more of what’s going on around you when you land in Thailand. Many foreigners fail to grasp the importance of things like personal appearance, respect for religion and the monarchy, social hierarchy, and family obligations. Understanding the basics of Thai culture will help you to avoid unintentionally offending anyone.
Thailand isn’t the right place for everyone, but there are plenty of expats who love it here so much that a permanent move back to their homeland is out of the question. If you’re ready to start a new life in the “Land of Smiles,” Iglu can help make it happen.