Rachel’s Five Expat Packing Tips for Thailand

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Thailand | 1 comment

What to pack! It’s probably the ultimate dilemma before taking off on your new adventurous life. Considering what is necessary and what you absolutely cannot live without can cause conflict. You don’t want to have any regrets. So, here is my list of five ‘forget-me-nots’ Expat Packing tips I used for moving to Thailand.

Expat Packing: Health Stuff

You can get almost any medication you need in Thailand, but if you are on a more unique medical regime, check with a hospital first. The most unusual fact about medicine in Thailand is that differs greatly from back home. exp

Pharmacies are everywhere in Thailand, and you can buy medications like antibiotics over the counter and quite cheaply, yet some medicines that you may think will be easy are not so. Over-the-counter painkillers are basically only Tylenol and Asprin.

Anything stronger and you will need to see a doctor at the hospital. But don’t worry, a consultation for something simple is pretty cheap, usually less than $15.

Be prepared to have a different brand name for some things. It may come in unfamiliar packaging but will be the same drug.

If you wear contact lenses but have astigmatisms, you will need to bring your own supply. You can access regular prescription contact lenses here.

Expat Packing: Practical Stuff

There is a well-known online service in Thailand called Lazada, and you can find almost anything you could possibly need.

Expat Packing: A peek in my kitchen shows that minimalism is a part of expat life. By Rachel Devlin
Expat Packing: A peek in my kitchen shows that minimalism is a part of expat life. By Rachel Devlin

That said, you want to be comfortable, and one thing that most expats notice straight away is that there is an absence of quality bed linen. They also do not sell top sheets. It is not something Thai people use. So, I always recommend you pack your own linen.

Big fluffy western towels don’t try in the tropics well, so it is better to use the thin Thai versions of towels. They just suit the climate better.

Anything you could need in your kitchen can be bought here. Keep in mind, there is a tax on all imported goods, so if there are some fancy kitchen gadgets you cannot live without, it may well be worth packing.

If you are sending things over via a container, I would definitely sneak in a few of your favorite kitchen gadgets. I snuck over my cast-iron pot for slow cooking and a stick blender.

But I wouldn’t recommend shipping furniture. All condos you will rent are fully furnished. And the furniture is cheap here. It isn’t the most economically advantageous thing to do. But some expats do ship over large items.

Expat Packing: Personal Stuff

Skincare products and deodorants over here contain ‘whitening agents’. I am not sure what that is, but I don’t like the idea of it personally. So, it is a good thing to bring over a good supply to last you until you can find the local products that will work for you. Many take the opportunity to find Korean and Japanese skincare products that are reputable.

If you are a larger size than the average South East Asian, pack a few extra shoes, underwear and swimwear until you can source the right places that offer what you need. A large foot is not an impossible challenge, but a challenge nonetheless.

Expat Packing: Just For Fun Stuff

Expat packing is an art in itself. By Rachel Devlin
Expat packing is an art in itself. By Rachel Devlin

Thai TV is in the Thai language. Even though they offer pay-TV, few channels broadcast in English, and it costs around $35 a month. I must add that smart TVs over here are pretty affordable. It is then probably best to take your Netflix or other streaming services with you.

Computers can cost more in Thailand, too. Many have English keyboards but also double with Thai characters, which can be a bit visually overwhelming for some. Luckily, laptops easily fit your hand luggage!

Thailand is not a wine-drinking country, but Thai people also consume wine. But it is not the most popular alcoholic beverage.

You wouldn’t want to ship over your collection because it would go bad in the heat. And you can buy some wines here.

Expat Packing: Girls Stuff

A big issue for some is that Thailand doesn’t have tampons, or they are quite elusive. If you manage to find them, they won’t be organic. Thai women don’t use them at all. Pads are in plentiful supply and menstrual cups are available through online shopping.

I’ve also heard that not all kinds of contraceptive pills are available. So, again, pack a big supply to give you time to find the right doctor to help sort everything out.

Of course, these are some Thai-specific expat packing tips – but they may also inspire you to add questions to your research checklist to avoid unwanted surprises when you arrive. Expats from around the world here at TCI are ready to answer your question. Why not check it out and sign up for free? 

by: Rachel Devlin