Escape from Thailand – Do You Have a Plan?

I had an interesting conversation with some guys here in Southern Thailand yesterday about the future of Thailand. Sometimes I think I’m over-exaggerating the idea that Thailand is going to be a scary place to be when that certain event nobody dares talk about – happens.

But, apparently there are plenty of Thais that are thinking the same thing. In fact, these guys were planning for a much worse scenario than I ever thought would happen. One guy is trying to get a passport so he can go to Germany. Another is planning a quick exit strategy with his family to move to Malaysia. They were telling me that large numbers of Thais believe that parts of the south – large parts – will be going to war because there is a high-up guy in the military that commands the southern army and they have their own agenda.

What this means – the truth of it, the reality of it – is all just hearsay at the moment. Maybe these guys are watching too much TV or listening to too many anti-government radio broadcasts. I don’t have any idea. But, it makes me think harder about what is going to happen at a future date.

Is Thailand going to be totally inhospitable for foreigners? Is Thailand going to be warring within it’s own borders as various factions fight for power? Is the military going to attempt to take over – and, is the military united as one – or, will they split up into different groups and fight against each other?

Quite a situation could develop. Not that it will – but, the possibility for unrest is there. Maybe it’s likely.

Do you have a plan to escape Thailand – if or when that becomes necessary?

I wasn’t thinking all that seriously about it before, because I tend to just ignore everything that is going on. However, it’s probably something each of us expats living in Thailand – need to spend some time thinking about. Probably a lot of time.

What are you going to do – what is the plan?

For us – I guess we’ll do things like get baby’s passport in order, get legally married, and all that. Though it wouldn’t be my first choice… or maybe not even my 5th choice, we’d be prepared to move back to the states if there was no better alternative. I’d like to consider some other countries first… Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, Fiji, and I’m always looking for more. I am glad we didn’t buy property – and it’s not likely we ever will buy something in Thailand. The risks are just too high with the present state of things.

If I was single – I’d probably not even be thinking about this… I’d just wait to see what happens. Those of you that have family in Thailand are probably thinking more about this issue.

Feel free to write me email if you don’t want to respond in the comments section. Keep in mind that I’ll edit comments when necessary.

Thailand’s Future and Other Possibilities

Thailand elections are coming up in July and we’re only like a 1.5 months away. Once again, uncertainty fills the air. It’s hard to imagine a country with this much flux can carry on as it does… and yet it sure does. Thailand is resilient. Apparently investors aren’t scared off by the prospect of whatever might happen in Thailand up until this point because – it just hasn’t been THAT bad. Sure it’s been bad, the way political parties and groups kill each other off is disturbing. The way people get shot at during protests is disturbing as hell.

But the thing is… Thailand keeps right on rolling because there hasn’t been a really major event – an uprising. A revolt. A revolution.

Is such a thing coming to the streets of Bangkok this year? To the smaller districts?

I’ll venture a “no” guess. Not yet. But, I don’t see anything really good happening this year – Thailand united behind one Prime Minister and government. If Thaksin’s younger sister wins – the military may have a coup. If the yellow shirts win there may be a revolt. Either way – just not much chance of anything great happening.

Over the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out, as you probably have if you’re an expat living in or spending a lot of time in the country – is it still safe to be here? That question is almost always, unless you’re living in Bangkok or the deep south – YES. It’s safe.

Is it smart to remain here?

That’s the other question. As expats we have other options at home. Most of us do. Personally I could make enough money to pay the bills and get back into American society – if I could stand it. I’m not sure I could. I don’t see the US as a great alternative to Thailand.

I wish I had another alternative. Don’t you?

The Philippines is some place I’ve never wanted to live – the food really. I just couldn’t take the local food on a long-term basis. I’m sure of that. I had a lot of it in Hawaii – and had my fill really. I’m done with that. Chicken Adobo is great… the rest of it, you can keep.

I like Indonesian food – but don’t think it would be a great transition from Thailand. Anybody done that?

I like Japanese food – but they seem to have zombie problems up there at the moment.

I like Indian food – to beat all. Is there a quiet place in India where I wouldn’t run into annoying Indian business people much? I think I would love India – but quite honestly, after living in NYC, and experiencing them in Penang, Malaysia and some parts of Thailand – I just couldn’t stand it. Is that what living in India is like? Anybody know a great place in India to live and have a peaceful life?

Laos is pretty damn sleepy, and the food is OK – almost Thai-like. I don’t think it is a good place for expats. I’ve talked to expats that live there and they are followed around a lot. That’s weird enough to turn me off the country.

Singapore seems like the USA – or worse.

Malaysia might be OK. They also have a lot of political issues, corruption, and other undesirable elements, but maybe for expats it’s pretty OK for living. Anybody done that?

China, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, those places never interested me at all.

Vietnam might be a place to consider. I have heard it is a little more harsh than Thailand. Meaning, the people aren’t as nice and smiley as Thais. LOL. Is it as safe for foreigners in Vietnam as it is in Thailand? Anybody?

Which brings us to Cambodia. Sure, the only decent place for foreigners in the country might be Phnom Penh, and even that has a very limited infrastructure for expats. But, it’s damn easy to stay there and create a business. They have great food (the foreign restaurants). Cambodia seems like an alternative in some ways. In others, no.

The people are living in squalor, but that means there is a lot of opportunity to help them. I’d love to try. Wouldn’t want to move my family there though.

So, for the time being… Thailand is it. If Bangkok erupts in flames and bullets – we’re far enough away not to catch any of it. I hope it always remains that way.

You have any reservations about staying in Thailand for the foreseeable future? What about long-term? Five years from now – will you still be in Thailand?