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Want to Spend Your Sabbatical in Thailand? Here’s How to Do It

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Joanne Poh

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It would be pretty awesome to be able to eat $2 pad thai every day of the week, in between $8 massages and shopping sprees at hip malls where everything costs no more than $20. You do that, of course, by moving to Thailand, or at least spending a sabbatical there.

For the many Singaporeans studying Thai or hanging flower garlands on singers’ necks at Thai discos, living in Thailand is a dream. Here are five ways you can do so:

 

Enrol in a master’s degree course

If you’ve been thinking of enrolling in a postgrad degree course, you might want to consider an English-taught course in a Thai university.

For instance, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok conducts a fairly wide range of English-taught master’s degrees in areas like finance, business, architectural design, economics, engineering and Southeast Asian studies, which cost 80,000 (3,220 SGD) to 86,500 baht (3,482 SGD) per semester.

 

Enrol in a Thai language course

Those who work remotely or are business owners and are looking for a way to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time can consider enrolling in a Thai language course.

Not only will your newly acquired language skills come in handy when you’re trying to get lucky at Thai discos, they also don’t cost that much. For instance, AUA in Bangkok charges 150 baht (6 SGD) per hour, or 22,528 baht (907 SGD) for 200 hours (you need to clock at least 180 hours in 90 days to qualify for the visa).

 

Teach English

The easiest way to find work on short notice in Thailand as a foreigner is to work as an English teacher. Don’t expect to make tons of money—you’re looking at the equivalent of about 1,200 to 1,500 SGD if you have no experience, although the work-life balance will be good and you can obviously live on much less.

On the other hand, if you do have teaching experience and certification like CELTA, you might be able to make the equivalent of 3,000 SGD to 4,000 SGD teaching at private international schools.

 

Apply for an internship or job there

Most Singaporeans don’t really think of applying for jobs in Thailand as they’re afraid they’ll earn peanuts. But there’s actually a growing number of (non Thai-speaking) Singaporeans who’ve been posted to Thailand by MNCs they were working at back home, or who are working in high paying PMET positions they applied for on their own.

While it’ll be tough to find a decently paying job in Thailand as a fresh grad, experienced hires with marketable experience who can come in at a more senior level and have regional experience stand a better chance.

For instance, Agoda.com is currently looking for engineers and accountants to join their Bangkok office, and no, you don’t have to speak Thai.

If you’re still a student or just starting out in your career, you also have the option of applying for an internship, though you should be prepared to not be paid.

 

Get a retirement visa if you’re over 50

Finally reached 50 years of age? You now satisfy the age requirements for a Thai retirement visa.

The financial requirements are a bank account with at least 800,000 baht (32,202 SGD), a monthly income of at least 65,000 baht (2,617 SGD) or a combination of the two.

The retirement visa is valid for a year but you can renew it so long as you continue to satisfy the financial requirements.

Would you consider spending a sabbatical in Thailand? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.