Although many of us come to Thailand to start a new life away from the ties of our home country culture, it can be very beneficial to not isolate yourself completely within the Thai society and become an active member of your local expat community.
If you choose to stay alone with only your Thai partner and her friends and family, this may seem like bliss at first but eventually you will start to miss the familiarity of western company.
Life in a foreign country can be a lot of fun, especially if you make an effort to learn the language and some of the customs. Your Thai partner will most likely be very proud that you are trying to fit in with Thai culture and staying away from some of the more well known expat haunts around town.
However, as a long term expat resident of Thailand, you will eventually need the company of other expats and depending on where you choose to live this can be found in many forms.
Some of the villages around Central Pattaya and in East Pattaya, more commonly known as the darkside are in many ways like a ‘mini England’ and are solely or 90% occupied by westerners and their Thai families. If you choose to live somewhere like this then it will be very easy to become part of an expat community just by getting to know your neighbours or visiting the local eatery.
If you prefer to live further out of town or limit your exposure to other expats then you may want to join an expats club which you can attend weekly and learn useful information about visas, insurance, bank accounts, driving licences and other essential items about life in Thailand.
It’s important to draw a line between your family life and your expat friends, all too many foreigners cause problems in their family by discussing their private life with their friends. Don’t let anyone know the financial arrangements between you and your partner, this should remain between you as a couple. In the same way that Thais can sometimes cause problems by discussing private matters with their families, foreigners can create the same problems by discussing with and taking advice from their friends.
However, on a positive note being part of an organised expat community can provide you with a much needed connection to home, the ability to have a conversation in your native language, enjoy food from your home country, find out useful information about Thailand and more.
As with everything in Thailand, be careful what to believe and check the source of the information thoroughly before acting on it. At Key Visa, we recommend that you only take professional advice when it comes to legal matters and if you are unsure of the best place to get this advice your local expats club will be able to point you in the right direction.
If you are interested in joining Pattaya Expats Club you can visit their website https://pattayaexpatsclub.info/wp/ or go along to a meeting at the Mercure Hotel every Friday morning.