5 Factors to Consider When Choosing an International School

Every parent wants the best for their children. Nourishing and healthy food, a home in a safe neighborhood, and healthy relationships with people who support their development are just a few of the elements of a great childhood. Also part of every parent’s wish list is a quality education for their children. Great parents want to be able to provide a solid foundation for their children’s self-sufficiency, and an education that inculcates a love of learning and an ability to think critically will be essential towards achieving that goal.

Electing to attend one of the best international schools in Singapore will almost certainly provide this kind of education and prepare children to embrace a bright future. But how does one choose the right educational institution to attend? To see if the school you’re eyeing for your child is right for you, consider the following.

Studying in an international environment (photo: https://www.sais.edu.sg/)

Integration Between Curriculum and Extracurricular Activities

Unfortunately, there is no single metric that parents can use to determine the quality of the education their children are likely to receive at a given school. This makes determining which international school will provide your child with the right education a bit of an inexact science. That being said, there are a few factors that point to the quality of an educational institution, and naturally, one of them is the curriculum.

As many children who attend international schools are often being prepared for further studies abroad, choosing a school with a curriculum that builds towards that goal is crucial. Of course, a child must receive the requisite training in the various academic disciplines. This is simply par for the course. But to be considered a truly exceptional learning center, an international school must marry its classroom learning with activities that support and enhance the learning process. How well do the two integrate into one another? If they seem to be complementary, you can be sure that the system designed to educate your child was assembled with care.

Teacher-Student Ratio

Many educators espouse the need for a manageable student-teacher ratio, especially in the earliest stages of childhood. It is at this point in development when children’s attention spans are shortest and the need for personal engagement by the instructor is most crucial. As they become more accustomed to a school environment and learn to become self-starters, the ratio of student to teacher can taper off, with most studies pegging these ratios at between 25 to 30 students per teacher by middle school.

Retention Rate

Another important factor that suggests the quality of a school’s educational system is its retention rate, or the percentage of students who are able to complete their courses and graduate. This number should also include year-on-year retention, or the percentage of students who are able to move on from one year or grade level to the next.

Children learn at different rates, so retention of 100 percent is unlikely. However, unusually high numbers of students who are unable to complete their courses, or who are unable to progress through the various grade levels, may indicate flaws in the school’s educational system.


Many students who attend international schools are children of expatriate parents and may need to move around a lot depending on where their parents are deployed. Hopping from school to school becomes much easier if children are sent to an international school that is a member of a central body of schools. This factor may not be relevant for everyone, but for some, it could be a dealbreaker.

Joining a school with satellite campuses in other countries makes the transition from one to another much easier, with all past classroom credits being transferred on to the student’s record. This allows them to continue their education seamlessly and with minimal backtracking.

Multicultural engagement (photo: https://www.sais.edu.sg/)

Multicultural Engagement and Student Body Makeup

Most international schools have a student body with members from different nationalities and cultures. This provides its students with one of the biggest advantages that studying at an international school can offer: the exposure that the school provides its students to individuals of different cultural backgrounds. Learning to be open and accepting of people with different beliefs and backgrounds is quickly becoming, not just a valued skill, but a nonnegotiable one. Individuals who are better equipped to navigate the multicultural space that is today’s global village will have a distinct advantage when it comes to networking and relationship building.

Also related to this is the school’s medium of instruction. While most international schools use English as their primary language, there are a few that offer classes in other languages as well. For expatriate students, this allows them to rediscover their cultural and historical roots while also allowing foreign students to fully engage with cultures different from their own.

Education is usually the primary building block of an individual’s future. Selecting how that building block is formed is therefore crucial to a child’s prospects. That said, by taking the above factors into account when choosing a school for your child, you’re likely to make the selection process a little easier.

Simple Road Safety Tips When Renting a Scooter in Phuket


Phuket is a beautiful island, and if you don’t travel around, then you will miss out on so much. Of course, they are many excellent organised tours, but often you want to take things at your own pace and not be dictated to about what you do or don’t see. It is worth taking some time out and getting a plan about what you want to see and what else is close by.

One of the best ways to get around Phuket is on a scooter, but you want to make sure you use a reputable company so why not rent a scooter at phuketairportscooterrental.com? That way, you can be confident that you have rented a bike which is roadworthy and safe to drive. However, you must appreciate that driving in Phuket, isn’t the same as what you may be used to, so here a few simple tips to help you stay safe.

  1. Drive on the left

Although it may sound a little obvious, in Thailand you drive on the left-hand side. It is something that can take some getting used to if you are from many parts of Europe or the US, for example. If you are more accustomed to driving on the right, take your time to get used to everything, especially at junctions.

  1. Expect the unexpected!

Cow on the road

Cow on the road

Regardless of where you drive in the world, you should always keep your wits about you. However, that is even more, the case in Thailand. Thailand has one of the highest numbers of road casualties in the world as the standard of driving can leave something to be desired! Always double check your mirrors before turning or changing lanes and make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to get out of the way. It is common for traffic to be travelling at excess speed.

Drivers should also be aware that traffic will frequently be travelling in the wrong direction on one-way streets and sois so always look both ways before turning. Although locals don’t tend to leave much braking distance, it is recommended as other drivers tend to stop unexpectedly should they see friends or a street food seller.

  1. Never get road rage

The worst thing that you can ever do when driving in Thailand is to display anger, no matter how tempting it may be. Losing face in Thailand can result in an extreme reaction, so biting your lip is to be advised. Hand gestures, particularly the raising of the middle finger, are likely to be met with an aggressive response. It is not uncommon for drivers in Thailand to carry weapons so you may get far more than what you bargained for!

  1. Use of the horn

Using your horn in Thailand is generally not a sign of aggression; it is merely to let others know of your presence. Drivers in Thailand can be easily distracted, so making them aware you are there may save you from a minor accident. Although this may be alien to you, it can be wise to use your horn if the person in front is behaving erratically. It shouldn’t be too loud or done with aggression and a pleasant smile as you pass will also help.

  1. Quality of the roads

Poor street quality in Phuket

Poor street quality in Phuket

Although the roads in Phuket have certainly improved in recent years, there are still a lot of streets that have potholes, particularly towards the sides. Being aware of the quality of the roads and giving yourself time to react to potential problems is a necessity in Thailand. It is one of the many reasons why you should watch your speed as hitting a hole in the road can cause serious injury and significant damage to your bike.

  1. Parking

It is worth noting that other drivers do tend to park anywhere, often as close as they can get to where they want to go. It can mean that cars are stopped in driving lanes even if they are blocking traffic at a junction. Once again, allow yourself plenty of time to react and use care when pulling out. If you are parking, you should avoid parking where there is a continuous yellow or red line.

  1. Inexperienced drivers

Phuket is an island which is full of tourists, many of whom will never have ridden a scooter before as many companies don’t check if the renter has the appropriate license. While twist and go bikes are easy to become accustomed to, you should be prepared for nervous and shaky drivers. It goes back to point #2; you should expect the unexpected. Remember, even if you are familiar with motorbikes, driving in Thailand is a whole new ball game.

  1. Crossings

Drivers and pedestrians should exercise care when crossing the road, even, if not more so, at a designated crossing. Very few drivers stop and show little regard for the signals. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to get knocked off bikes for (correctly) stopping at a crossing and the vehicle behind driving into the back of them. Always double check before stopping and if in doubt, continue with caution.

  1. Traffic Lights

Traffic in Thailand

Traffic in Thailand

When you are at traffic lights, you will have probably noticed that the motorbikes congregate at the front. It is standard practice and indeed expected. We would recommend doing the same for your own safety but be prepared to set off quickly when the lights change. You should also be aware of traffic not stopping when the lights change to red, so make sure you conduct the necessary checks, both with vehicle travelling in a different direction and those behind.

  1. Common Sense

Finally, you should always use common sense when riding a scooter in Phuket. Always wear a helmet even if you are only travelling short distances and other drivers are ignoring the advice. Never drink and drive even if you have “only” had a couple of beers regardless of how tempting it may be. Finally, you should always carry your driving license with you. Really, this should be a Thai driving license or a valid international driving permit.


6 Best Places to Learn Thai in Bangkok

One of the great things about living in a new country is the opportunity to learn about the culture and, of course, the language. Speaking to Thai people on a daily basis will inevitably help you pick up the basics but to really progress, you will need a few professional lessons. Speaking the language, even if it is just at an elementary level, will make your life easier and enhance your whole experience of living in the country.

Daily life is Thailand is easier if you know Thai language

Daily life is Thailand is easier if you know Thai language

Bangkok is a great place to live with great shops, restaurants and bars. Most people use a professional laundry service, to make daily living more convenient but even in all of these situations; speaking Thai will be hugely beneficial. Here are six language schools that can help you to get to grips with Thai.

  1. Duke Language School

Located on the 3rd floor of the Trendy Building, Sukhumvit Soi 13, you will find the highly regarded Duke Language School. They offer classes throughout the day to suit your schedule and your lifestyle. Courses that will entitle you to qualify for an Education Visa (ED) along with corporate training, are also available.

  1. AAA Thai Language School

AAA Thai Language School is situated in the Wannasorn Tower, Phayathai Road and offer a range of courses to suit all abilities. For those who are entirely new to the language, the Preparation Thai Course would be an excellent starting point and allow you to gain some confidence. Private, semi-private and group lessons are offered.

  1. Walen International

Walen International is in the Times Square Building on Sukhumvit Road. The school provides an interactive style of learning with students being taught several words and their different uses. In class, you will be required to answer questions to establish your level of understanding. The school believes that this is a more natural way of learning a language.

Learning Thai in Bangkok

Learning Thai in Bangkok

  1. AUA Language Centre

AUA Language Centre is one of the longest established language schools in Thailand. In the Bangkok Metropolitan area, there are seven schools so you will easily be able to find one that is relatively close to your home or place of work. They offer an extensive range of courses that incorporate reading, writing and speaking with short videos used to demonstrate certain aspects.

  1. Pro Language School

Found in the Times Square Building, Pro Language offers an easy and enjoyable approach to learning a new language. Their learning program is more relaxed than at many of the other schools but equally professional. A range of courses are available that cater for individuals, groups as well as having corporate training available.

  1. Learn Thai Style

Learn Thai Style is entirely different. It is a far more personal approach to learning as you choose a teacher in your area. They will meet you in a coffee shop, come to your home or even offer online learning. The lessons are still structured, although far less formal with greater scope for flexibility. The courses can be tailored to your needs.

Why Speaking Thai is So Beneficial in the Workplace

Thailand is a beautiful country, and many visitors fall in love with the people and the culture. As a result, a small but still significant percentage of those visitors decide to make Thailand their home. Some are retirees while others are still of working age and need to find jobs locally to support themselves during their stay.

In terms of 'farang', a European in Bangkok (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

In terms of ‘farang’, a European in Bangkok (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

Finding a job in Thailand for a foreigner (often called a farang or falang) is not always as straightforward as you may imagine. It is best to use a recruitment agency such as Job Worker Service who bring business and workers together. You do not need to be able to speak Thai to obtain a work permit, but it certainly has many benefits. Here are just five:

  1. Gain Respect

Respect is a hugely important part of Thai culture, and if you aren’t respected, it can be a significant barrier – something that is a severe problem in the workplace. Whatever your role, it is likely that you will have people working for you or you will be in a teaching role. Being a teacher or leader requires respect for you to succeed. Many of your team will probably only speak a smattering of English at best. If you can’t speak their language you will lose their respect and subordination is common and extremely hard to stop once it has started.

  1. Better Communication

Being able to communicate with your team is vital in any organisation, and this can only be done by talking directly to those concerned. It will mean that you can relay the message that you want to convey and not be obstructed by needing it to be passed through various chains of command. When this happens, are you totally confident that the correct message has been delivered to the relevant person? Of course, communication works both ways, and your team will feel more confident being open with you if they can talk Thai.

Learning Thai is fun at Asoke Language Association

Learning Thai for the workplace

  1. Can Join in Team Activities

Team building and social events are viewed as being important in modern business. They build morale, increase loyalty and make the workforce happier in their work. There are benefits for both the individual and the organisation. However, it should be apparent that to build a team; you will need to work closely with those around you and being able to talk to one another is a critical factor.

  1. Greater Productivity

Greater respect, better communication, and being able to join in with your team will all combine to help increase productivity within the business. While having a happy workforce is one thing, but they must be motivated to achieve the desired results and meet the objectives of the organisation. Inevitably, an increase in productivity will produce better results, your goal as a business leader, manager or teacher.

  1. It’s Polite!

Finally, being able to speak Thai within the workplace is simply more polite. We are guests in the country and should respect the Kingdom’s culture, values and language. Even if you can only speak a small amount of Thai, it will show that you are making an effort and this will be appreciated.


Doing Your First Phuket Holiday Right: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

Thailand has many tourist destinations that attract hundreds of thousands of travelers each year. One of these destinations is Phuket, known for its beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters. Foreign or local, tourists flock in droves each year to Thailand’s largest island to see its beauty first hand.

If it’s your first time traveling to this island paradise, you might want to check out Traveloka’s tour packages to Phuket. It’s a good way to save some money and time since you’ll book your flight tickets and hotel room in one go. For other travel tips, check out our list below about some of the things you need to know before going on your first holiday to Phuket.

Kamala Beach Is Popular, but More Congenial Than Other Well-Known Beaches

Phuket is a beach bum’s wonderland, with long stretches of white sand beaches, sandbars, and surrounding gorgeous islands. The most popular of these beaches are Patong, Kata, Karon, and Kamala, and as such, you’ll find some of the best hotels, restaurants, and bars in these tourist-favorite locations. For a quieter, more family-friendly setting, however, consider going to the last of these—Kamala Beach. It usually doesn’t get as crowded as the other three, which is perfect if you have children who want to run around or who get antsy with big crowds. The clubs are also far enough away from the beach and most hotels, so you’ll have plenty of peace and quiet.

Kamala beach in Phuket (หาดกมลา), by Tuderna, wikimedia commons

Kamala beach in Phuket (หาดกมลา), panoramino by Tuderna, wikimedia commons

The Island Isn’t All About Beaches

Phuket is definitely a haven for beachgoers, but it isn’t just about the sand and sea. The island is also teeming with cultural, natural, and historical charms. For one, you can visit the sparkling white, 45-meter-tall statue of Buddha sitting on top of Nakkerd Hills. Seeing the towering Buddha statue is an experience in and of itself, and it also comes with the bonus of having a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape.

Phuket is also known for Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Here, you can see elephants roaming around freely, interacting with their fellow gentle giants. If you visit during mealtimes, you may even be invited to help prepare the elephants’ food. There’s also an observation deck where you can watch the animals take a bath in the lagoon.

Thailand Phuket Elephants_panoramio, by Scorewith German, wikimedia commons

Thailand Phuket Elephants_panoramio, by Scorewith German, wikimedia commons

For those who want to explore Phuket itself, you may want to walk around Phuket Town. The charming neighborhood has plenty of preserved heritage buildings, which bore witness to Phuket’s heydays as a tin mining town. Over the years, artists have also filled Phuket Town’s walls with murals and artworks. You can see some of them on Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Krabi Road.

It’s a Great Place to Disconnect

Internet connection isn’t too much of an issue in Phuket. You can find plenty of restaurants and cafés that offer free Wi-Fi, and your hotel will most likely have a Wi-Fi network as well. However, the speeds tend to be slower when compared to other city centers. It’s as if the island is telling you to turn off your devices for a bit and do something else than looking at a screen. Indeed, Phuket is a great place for you to disconnect, relax, and just appreciate the beauty of nature.

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Southern Thailand, taken by Wolfgang Holzem, wikimedia commons

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Southern Thailand, taken by Wolfgang Holzem, wikimedia commons

It Has Awesome Spas

Phuket isn’t really a shopping destination. There are street and night markets, of course, but you won’t really be able to shop till you drop here. Better leave that for when you visit Chatuchak and Siam Paragon in Bangkok. However, what’s great about Phuket is that it has a lot of great spas so you can relax even more. From a simple foot massage to a luxurious full-body Thai massage, from aromatherapy to hot stone massage, you’ll surely be utterly pampered. Body scrubs, hand treatments, manicures, and pedicures are also popular services in Phuket spas.

It’s a Foodie Destination

Thailand as a whole is a foodie destination, and Phuket is no different. It’s just that the beautiful beaches and islands often overshadow other aspects of this paradise. With that being said, Phuket is a veritable foodie haven. Not only will you find places that serve traditional Thai dishes and Phuket specialties like por pia and mee Hokkien, there are also a lot of international restaurants on the island. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and even Turkish restaurants dot the streets and beaches of Phuket. If you’re also interested in preparing your own Thai food, you can even find cooking classes in Phuket. These usually come with market tours so you’ll know how to pick the freshest ingredients.

Phuket is one of those destinations that will make you come back again and again. There’s something that will appeal to any kind of traveler, and you’ll see it for yourself once you finally visit. Book that trip today, and experience the paradise that is Phuket!

Learn Thai at ALA Language School in Bangkok

To most Western people (me included) learning Thai language seems to be a scary undertaking. Not only is Thai a tonal language which means that there are five tones, but Thai also has 44 consonants and 30 vowels which makes learning it a challenge for foreigners. However, on the level of grammar Thai seems to be simpler than most European languages like English or German since Thai has fewer grammar restrictions and exceptions. Thus, forming sentences in Thai appear to be easier and much more straightforward.

Learning Thai at Asoke Language Association

Learning Thai at Asoke Language Association

Well, let me include some of my own learning experiences with Thai language. First of all, I must admit that I’m not proficient in Thai and that I have only basic knowledge. I’m a native speaker of German and I’m also a language instructor for German and English. However, until this day I haven’t mastered Thai language. This is due to different reasons, first I was not thaught Thai as a child (meaning I didn’t grow up with Thai). When I was very small though, like four to six years old, my dad thaught me a bit of Thai. However, later we didn’t speak Thai at home at all and since I grew up in Germany there was also no urgend need to learn the language.

Welcome to ALA Asoke Language Association

Welcome to ALA Asoke Language Association

So the years went by and it was until much later when I was in my early 30s that I wanted to learn some Thai. Thus, I enrolled in two courses at the community college in Hamburg, Germany. I guess I did up to level A 2. After that I didn’t continue learning Thai because I hardly ever used the language and I rarely travel to Thailand. For this reason, there was only little or no opportunity to actually speak Thai. Hence, the courses at ALA language school also sound interesting to me, if I’d decide to go to Thailand!

Classroom at ALA in Bangkok, Thailand

Classroom at ALA in Bangkok, Thailand

There are some advantages of speaking Thai as a foreigner. Firstly, you will be more accepted by Thai people if you know their language and it also help you to understand Thai culture and colloquialisms better. In this way, you will be able to understand some basic aspects of Thai culture like grengjai (being gracious). Knowing Thai it will also be easier for you to make Thai friends, to find a Thai partner and to get integrated into their community. What is more, learning Thai might also increase your chances as a foreigner to find employment in Thailand.

Learning Thai for travel and work at ALA

Learning Thai for travel and work at ALA

After all, it might not be so difficult to learn Thai language! First, it is possible to learn Thai without learning to read and write. That might be sufficient knowledge for traveling. Only in a second step, if you decide to get more into depth, you can learn the Thai alphabet. Now you may ask ‘How to learn Thai the best way?’. Well, firstly it is important to find a helpful teacher or a good language school respectively.

Learning Thai is fun at Asoke Language Association

Learning Thai is fun at Asoke Language Association

Thus, I’d like to present you the Asoke Language Academy (ALA) located in Bangkok (Asoke/Nana). ALA is a newly established language school that focuses on helping international students learn Thai as a second language while they are in Thailand for work, play, or travel. The school offers group classes as well as private instruction which students can take advantage of.

ALA Language School Logo

ALA Language School Logo

The curriculum is flexible and can also be personalized for each student. In this way, it is more of a personalized learning experience. Thus, before starting a course, ALA likes to learn why the students want to learn Thai and how they intent to use the language. Hence, it is possible to personalize the students’ experience. ALA offers the most current curriculum, custom school textbooks, daily news as well as videos from the internet.

Learning Thai at ALA

Learning Thai at ALA

What is more, ALA also offers an ED-visa course that can allow students to stay in Thailand studying Thai with the school while traveling around Thailand or visit the Bangkok area with the 6-months or 1-year programs available. This might be very valuable since it allows them to immerse themselves in the language during their learning experience.

Nice atmosphere at Asoke Language School

Nice atmosphere at Asoke Language School

Finally, we may say that it is really recommendable to visit the Asoke Language Academy when you want to learn Thai in Bangkok while travelling or for work. There you have the opportunity to get a personalized curriculum as well as an ED-visa course which might be of interest to many foreigners not only from Western countries but also from Asia.

A Short Guide to Koh Larn, Thailand’s Coral Island

Escape Pattaya’s crowded and touristy beaches and head over to Koh Larn or Coral Island. This paradise island is only 7.5 km away from the nearest shore in Pattaya and is a popular day-tour destination. While the island itself is only 4 km long and 2 km wide, the beaches are pristine and surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise waters.

How to Get There?

There are a two of ways of getting to the island. The cheapest option involves riding a ferry, which costs 30 Baht per person and takes about 40 minutes. On the other hand, you can opt to ride in style on a speedboat, which costs between 300 and 2,500 Baht. The cost may be higher, but it slices the travel time in half.

You can rent the speedboat at the many shops in the Bali Hai pier. However, if you want to get the best price, it’s best to shop around and negotiate. As for the ferry, you can choose between the ferry that goes to Tawaen beach pier or the one that anchors at Na Ban pier. Either way, the ferry begins its journey from the same Bali Hai pier.

Koh Larn island, photo by Alex Voinich, wikimedia commons

Koh Larn island, photo by Alex Voinich, wikimedia commons


Where to Stay in the Island?

Due to the rising number of tourists visiting the island, there are quite a number of new places to stay on Koh Larn. Different accommodations are available such as hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even homestays. Checking in at one of these เกาะ ล้าน  Koh Larn accommodations instead of the ones in Pattaya means you can save on fares if you plan to fully explore the island.

What to Eat in the Island?

If you like seafood, you’re in for a treat at Koh Larn. It’s best to sample the fresh seafood from the downtown market, especially if you’re staying at an accommodation with a kitchen. For day-trippers, restaurants and cheap food stalls dot the island. Aside from serving world-class Thai cuisine, they also have western, Asian, vegetarian, and halal foods.

Fresh seafood in Thailand

Fresh seafood in Thailand

Main Beaches of the Island

The west side of Koh Larn is where the best beaches can be found. That said, all beaches in the island feature white sand and tropical blue waters, so you can’t go wrong wherever you chose to stay.

Tawaen Beach

Tawaen is the most popular beach with daily visitors numbering around 2,000 to 5,000. Luckily, it’s also the longest with 685 meters of pristine sandy shore accommodating vacationers. Guests have an assortment of water activities to choose from such as jet ski rentals, banana boat rides, and parasailing. What’s more, it’s also very commercial, with restaurants and souvenir shops lining up the shore to cater to every visitor’s whim.

Samae Beach

With a 530-meter shoreline, Samae is the second-longest beach in the island. The sand is not quite as fine, but the beach is still worth the visit, as it features some of the classiest resorts in the country. You’ll also be glad to know that you won’t go hungry with the number of restaurants on Samae Beach.

Tien Beach

Take your Instagram shots in Tien, as it’s one of island’s most beautiful beaches. It’s got a respectable 400 meters of beach front with plenty of Thai and western restaurants as well. The vibe at the beach is more relaxed, but you can still engage in aquatic activities like in the larger Koh Larn beaches.

Koh Larn beaches, photo by pongwit wikimedia commons

Koh Larn beaches, photo by pongwit wikimedia commons

Nual Beach

Nual Beach or Monkey Beach gets its name from the group of monkeys that live on the hillside. In the past, very few tourists ever ventured out on its 350-meter shoreline, but now, the beach has become even more popular. Catering to this rise in visitors are makeshift restaurants and food stalls serving different Thai dishes and western fare as well.

Tonglang Beach

This 215-meter beach used to be one of the most challenging to access. However, a new concrete road makes the commute faster and safer. As one of the smaller beaches on the island, you’ll find less tourists and a more relaxed ambiance. That said, you could still find resorts and food stalls that cater to visitors.

Tayaiy Beach

The smallest of the main beaches in Koh Larn is the Tayaiy Beach with only 140 meters of shoreline. If you want the most secluded beach hideaway with the least crowd, you can spend your time here. Keep in mind that there’s only one restaurant and limited accommodation in the area.

Are you excited to go on a holiday to Thailand and learn more about tourist secrets Asia guide? Consider staying in Koh Larn and experience for yourself why many vacationers are choosing it over Pattaya.

4 Ways You Can Start a New Life in Thailand

Many people dream of one day cashing in their life in their native country for the adventure and excitement that comes with immigrating to a foreign country. In recent years, people have changed in more traditional choices of country, such as the USA and Canada, for more obscure and differently cultured locations across the world. One such location that has received recent popularity is Thailand, mostly due to its legendary status as a fantastic holiday destination. However, the situation in Thailand for non-native long term residents is far from straightforward and can be very confusing for the uninitiated, so it is best to do a substantial amount of planning before making the leap to your new life in Thailand.

Living in Thailand, Thai flag

Living in Thailand

However, for those that have their hearts set on Thailand as a destination to make a new life, you need to be aware that many jobs in Thailand remain reserved exclusively for Thai nationals and are completely inaccessible for foreigners. Meaning your options are rather limited in terms of employment and you may have to consider an industry or profession change, and if this is something you are prepared to consider then read on to see a few suggestions of how you could do this.

1.     Teaching

Now it really wouldn’t be an article about relocating to Thailand if we didn’t at least mention teaching English as a potential career choice. Certainly, this is the stereotypical job that foreigners in Thailand work and most Thai people will assume you are an English teacher once they find out you live here, regardless of your actual job. This is because most long-term backpackers living in the country will usually fund their travels by teaching on the side. However, this option has become less accessible in recent years due to some quite sweeping changes made to the education system in Thailand.

Whilst there are some exceptions to the rule, pretty much every teaching job in Thailand now requires their foreign teachers be educated to a university level, with most jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree (usually in any subject) in order to be eligible for the working Non-B Visa and Work Permit required to live and work in Thailand. Unless you have these qualifications then it is better to consider another approach if you are serious about starting a new life in Thailand.

2.     Starting your own business

Now Thailand is known for many things, stunning mountainous regions, beautiful beaches, and more recently, big business. This is due to Thailand having the strongest economy in South East Asia, and it has in recent years become a business hub for the entire region, with corporations and international; businesses flocking to Thailand to take advantage of the comparatively low employment and startup costs of establishing a business. If you have a strong idea for a business and a little cash in reserve to get you going, this route could be good for you.

Westerners in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

Westerners in Thailand (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram@knack66)

With the economy in Thailand being so strong, the potential scope for new businesses is very broad, but here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Import/Export
  • Bars and Restaurants
  • Digital Marketing Agency
  • Website and App Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Coffee and Beverage

However, as with any of these suggestions, there are some drawbacks. Thailand has a reputation for bureaucracy, particularly when dealing with business and immigration procedures. As such, you can expect to require the services of an experienced lawyer to set everything up and deal with the legal side of things.

3.     Diving

As a location world renowned for its beautiful and crystal clear waters and remarkable coastline, Thailand services around 32 million tourists a year. The majority of those will be attracted to one of Thailand’s many seaside locales in order to soak up the sun, go on boating trips and, on a more relevant note, diving, and snorkeling excursions. Anybody that has qualifications in SCUBA diving can consider making a relatively easy living for themselves doing something they love. Koh Tao, an island just off the coast of Thailand, has become something of a centralized diving hub and is a great place to start when prospecting for potential work.

Beach and boats on Koh Phayam*

Beach and boats on Koh Phayam

Most dive centers require you to be qualified up to a certain level, usually Divemaster, to be able to work for them. Some centers even offer what are known as “diving apprenticeships” which allow you to work, earn money and learn the skills necessary to progress to the level of Dive Instructor, which is an avenue to getting even better work within the industry.

4.     Freelancing

While this can be a slightly legally grey area, Thailand has always been known as a freelancer’s paradise, allowing those who choose this route cheap living expenses and a large market for which to advertise your skills. However, do be aware of the potential legal pitfalls of this option, make sure that you properly consult with a legal expert in order to ascertain what is and is not illegal to do whilst in Thailand. Generally speaking, the problem starts to arise once you begin receiving money and performing the work in Thailand. As far as immigration is concerned, any foreigner working in Thailand, for payment in Thailand needs to hold a valid work permit.

Ensuring that everything you do in Thailand is legal and above board in all respects is crucial. The rules in Thailand regarding immigration requirements are notorious for changing rapidly, suddenly and without warning. Naturally, working as a freelancer usually for your own clients will pose some tricky legal challenges for you to overcome. But this has become such a popular route that companies have even set themselves up as freelance collaboration companies in which they set you up with everything you need to work, like a work permit and visa, in exchange for a portion of your earnings.

Moving to Thailand can be an exciting, refreshing and fun change of pace from your old life in your home country, however, as with any big move, it requires the proper amount of research and forethought to execute properly.

Discover a different side of Thailand: “One Night Stay with Locals”

From Southern provinces that you may already be familiar with such as Phang Nga and Chumphon, to the more remote Northern provinces of Lampang, Nan and many more, 13 destinations have been carefully chosen by the Tourism Authority of Thailand as part of this newly-launched “One Night Stay with Locals” project.

Not only are these villages very remote (meaning you will beat the crowds even in high season), there is also a huge variety of community-focused activities available, such as getting your hands dirty picking fruit in orchids with the locals, taking tractor rides through the jungle to waterfalls or heading out on fishermen’s boats to find the catch of the day!

One Night Stay with Locals

Spanning across four provinces (Lampang, Chiang Rai and Nan) there are four different communities to visit in the North of Thailand as part of this One Night Stay with Locals program – each one as fascinating as the next. Tucked away in the mountains of Lampang, there is the chance to go miang leaf picking with the locals at Baan Pa Miang, as well as to learn how to make (and eat) the popular dish using this produce.

ป่าเหมี้ยง-Lampang-One Night Stay with Locals

ป่าเหมี้ยง-Lampang-One Night Stay with Locals

ป่าเหมี้ยง-Lampang- learn how to make (and eat) the popular dish

ป่าเหมี้ยง-Lampang- learn how to make (and eat) the popular miang leaf dish

Neighboring Chiang Rai province has two destinations to choose from: the laidback Pangha Homestay near the border to Myanmar where you can learn all about the Tai Lue people and the old-age craftsmanship, or Baan Tha Khan Tong, a thriving community next to the Mae Kong River that combines elements of Isaan and Lanna culture. To truly get away from it all, Nan province’s Sila Petch village feels like it is in the middle of nowhere, yet there are still plenty of friendly locals to show you around the area and guide you through the forests to a waterfall.

ท่าขันทอง-Tha Khan Tong Chiang Rai

ท่าขันทอง-Tha Khan Tong Chiang Rai

ท่าขันทอง-Tha Khan Tong Chiang Rai

ท่าขันทอง-Tha Khan Tong Chiang Rai

In addition, Baan Khiri Wong Kot in the northeast of the country (Udon Thani) lets you experience a true taste of Isaan – especially the deliciously spicy food, rural countryside and famously friendly Isaan hospitality from the locals.

คีรีวงกต-Udon Thani

คีรีวงกต-Udon Thani

คีรีวงกต- Udon Thani

คีรีวงกต- Udon Thani

Tourists also flock to Thailand’s Southern provinces for the beaches, boat rides and adventure activities. In the southern communities, you can experience all of this and more – but still far away from the crowds. For example, at Phang Nga’s hidden Baan Sam Chong Nuea community there’s a chance to explore swamps and mangrove forests with a local fisherman while helping to afforest the area. At Pa Tew (Bang Son) in Chumphon, most of your time will also be spent on the water while eating as much seafood as you can, rafting and spotting fireflies in the evening.





Other local communities waiting to be discovered are located in the less-frequently visited provinces of Phatthalung and Yala. These include the stunning Tamod Community where you can join in with a range of sufficiency economy educational activities, as well as kayaking and taking in the sunset over the reservoir, while Yala’s Chulaporn Pattana 9 Tourism Community is famous for its gorgeous combination of forests, mountains and rivers.





Last but not least, other choices of local communities that you can visit includes Bo Hin Farm Stay in Trang, Phrom Lok in Nakorn Si Thammarat, Laem Pak Bia in Petchaburi and Laem Klat in Trat.

แหลมกลัด- Trat

แหลมกลัด- Trat

Food at Nakorn Si Thammarat

Food at Nakorn Si Thammarat

For more information, please visit ‘One Night Stay with Locals’ and check out Facebook and stand a chance to win free trips with locals.

A Complete Guide to Beach Weddings in Koh Samui, Thailand

With their stunning and romantic scenery and the chance to make some long lasting memories, a beach wedding in Thailand is popular with couples who are planning to tie the knot. The large and lovely island of Koh Samui is a great place to get married as it boasts a large number of stunning sandy beaches, excellent resorts complete with luxurious spas and honeymoon suites and plenty of activities for the happy couple to enjoy while they unwind and enjoy this piece of paradise. Here are some things to take into consideration if you are thinking about getting married in Koh Samui.

Beach Weddings in Koh Samui, Thailand

Beach Weddings in Koh Samui, Thailand


Choosing the Right Time of Year

Thailand features three distinct seasons; the winter season, the summer and the monsoon season. The winter runs from November until February and this is typically the most popular time of year to arrange a beach wedding in Thailand as couples are treated to plenty of dry days and the weather is typically cooler at this time of year. While there are plenty of dry days from the end of February until the end of June, temperatures soar at this time of year and April and May in particular tend to be very hot and humid. While temperatures fall at the end of July, rainfall is common until the middle of October. Couples who want to beat the heat without paying inflated prices during the height of the tourist season will find that there are plenty of great deals to enjoy in October and March.


Selecting the Perfect Beach

There are several stunning stretches of golden sand on the island that make ideal locations for Samui beach weddings. While Chaweng is the largest beach on the island, this is also the most popular area of the island among tourists and the bars that line the beach pump out loud music long into the night. Just to the south of Chaweng, Lamai features a number of upmarket beachside resorts that offer luxurious services, although the nightlife scene here aimed more at party people than those who want to unwind in style. For a more romantic experience, couples are sure to love the quiet northern shore beach of Choeng Mon. Couples who choose to tie the knot here can be almost certain that the beach will be deserted, while a few luxurious hotels can be found on the cliff top overlooking the beach, providing a stunning setting for a tropical wedding. The northern coast is also home to Mae Nam, which is a narrow stretch of powdery golden sand that boasts stunning sunsets and a laid back atmosphere.


All Inclusive wedding Packages

Many of the leading Samui wedding planners such as resorts and hotels off all inclusive wedding packages. People who opt for one of these wedding packages will find that everything is taken care of for them, from the wedding itself to the reception, the Samui wedding photographer and accommodation for the happy couple and their guests.


Planning Your Budget

Of course, before you can select a wedding package or start planning your beach wedding in Thailand, you will need to work out how much money you are willing to spend. Important considerations include the cost of accommodation and flights, activities in Thailand and the wedding reception. It is possible to cut costs significantly by choosing to get married in the low season when there are plenty of deals and discounts to choose from and couples can also save money by shopping around and booking their beach wedding in Koh Samui far in advance.

by Wassana Lampech