Thailand Elite Visa: my experience and review

For the last several years, I have been traveling full time. It is something that changed my life and that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But with it also come challenges. There is a burden in starting over again and again every several months – figuring out a new city, developing new friendships (though I am lucky enough to be able to reconnect often with many of my friends around the world thanks to communities like Hacker Paradise and Nomadlist), finding a productive work environment, and also the more basic things like just getting phone service and figuring out transit, etc.

Of all of the places that I travel to, I continue to return to Asia as a primary home. Any other foreign passport-holder like myself living this lifestyle will tell you about the instinctive need for a de-facto home. Some place you can go to (in the part of the world you wish to live) that you always know you will be welcome, where you’ll never worry if you’ve made one too many border runs, and where you can set up some roots, even if you plan to continue traveling a lot of the time.

Spend enough time in expat circles in Thailand and you will learn about the various options for staying here long term. These include the Education (ED) Visa, Business Visa, Investment Visa, Marriage Visa (for those married to a Thai), Retirement Visa (only available to those over 50) and, finally, the Thailand Elite Visa (officially the “Privilege Entry Visa”).

I recently went through the process of obtaining the Thailand Elite Visa (Superiority Extension version) and want to share my experience, as well as thoughts about who it is good for and why I chose it. Read more

A day in the life: Koh Chang under COVID quarantine

Several weeks ago I arrived on the island of Koh Chang, about a 4 hours’ drive and a ferry ride from Bangkok. For myself and my girlfriend this was a sort of arbitrary choice. We had been staying in the nearby city of Rayong, where we have friends, but knew that we may be shut in for a very long time and wanted to put ourselves somewhere where we could at least have some vague feeling of normalcy and enough infrastructure to buckle down and work on some projects. We looked at a map and Koh Chang seemed to be the only choice. It has actually turned out to be the perfect place for us in this moment.

I do think we will ultimately look back on this time as very extraordinary, and so I wanted to document what it is like to be stuck on this very small island, in the middle of the ocean, in the midst of this global pandemic.

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What’s Happening In Thailand

I am writing this post for anyone with friends or family in Thailand who is wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic is being handled here. It is written from the perspective of a US expat of many years who is still in touch regularly with family and acquaintances back in the US, and who is monitoring the situation there (and here) to the extent I can.

How is Thailand Fighting COVID-19

The main tool that Thailand is using to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which you will become immediately aware of if you set foot in the country, is control of movement (checkpoints and curfews) and temperature/health screening.

Temperature screening

If you choose to leave your place of residence (and most people here are voluntarily choosing to do this as little as possible), you will have your temperature screened at any building you enter. Read more