I have been in both countries and I see them as great travel destinations, and also livable countries as well. Thailand is always going to be ahead of Cambodia in terms of living conditions, I remember the first time I went to Cambodia about 6 years ago, they didn’t even have ATMs! But now, as I understand it, they have many.
My first trip to Thailand was in 1998 and most of my time was spent in Koh Samui. Back then Samui was pretty much dirt roads and had a lovely feel about it – it really felt like backpacker heaven to me. I loved it so much that I felt like I wanted to go back there for the whole of the next year that I was living in Australia.
One of the first things you should think about when you decide that you want to live in a new country is what kind of a Visa is available to you.
Visas for Thailand.
Forward 10 years and I am living here full time studying Thai on an Educational Visa. The visa is a good option for me. Being under 50, I am still too young to retire in Thailand, I do have the money in the bank to retire, but they will just not allow me to do it until I am 50. I don’t really mind learning the language to stay here, I quite enjoy it as it often gives me something to do or to write about for this site.
I do know of other people who are on my Thai language course but who don’t actually attend any lessons. I try to get to as many lessons as possible these days, as I have paid for the lessons and also I have a lot of free time on my hands right now.
Other types of visas available for Thailand are as follows.
1) Multi Entry Tourist Visa.
I have had one of these in the past and they can allow you to stay for up to 9 months of the year. I think that they are only available from your home country, so this can be very costly to get if you are in Thailand already. One stipulation of the Multi Entry Tourist Visa is that you must report to immigration every 3 months to verify your address AND also leave the country every 3 months as well. This option did work out rather costly for me, the only *benefit* over the ED Visa is that you don’t have to attend lessons (although some may say this is not really a benefit).
2) Visa on entry
If you arrive by air, you will be given 30 days to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand. If you arrive by land, then you will only get 14 days.
3) Non-Immigrant O Visas.
There are quite a number of ‘Non O’ Visas available, ranging from reasons such as visiting your parents to working here as a volunteer – they can be valid for a full 12 months.
4) Business Visa – Non-B visa.
If you can start a business, then you will be able to arrange a Business Visa providing you can hire 4 members of staff (only Thai staff, foreign staff not included). The other way to get a Business Visa is to be hired by a company who can offer you the Visa. These Visas can run indefinitely depending on how long your business runs for or how long you can keep your job.
Visas for Cambodia
Cambodia is a lot easier country to organise a Visa, people have been living here for years without having to leave the country.
The Visa names have changed slightly, they now have 2 different Visas that you can apply for on entry.
1) Tourist visa – it will cost you $20 and its valid for a month.
2) Business Visa (now called ordinary Visa – $25 and is also valid for a month, but can be extended after this for a year for an additional cost.
Unlike Thailand, Cambodia has much more relaxed working laws for foreigners.