Whether you are moving by yourself or with your family, there are certain purchases that will help make your transition into expat life here easier. A practical list:

Matching nail polish is optional
Matching nail polish is optional

1. A fan.

I know this seems silly and perhaps even redundant but I lived in a house and now an apartment both with ceiling fans and I still use my fan from my studio apt days. A fan is a handy thing, even with A/C. I watched a friend use it as a ‘poor man’s dryer’ and I cool down my bathroom after showering, really, a simple contraption but necessary in this humid climate.

Do NOT throw baby out with bathwater.
Do NOT throw baby out with bathwater.

2. A wash tub and drying rack.

If you don’t do your own laundry, then you don’t need it. Missing sock anyone? But a wash tub is a cheap way to wash your own clothes. Bathroom or washroom sinks aren’t the same over here; sometimes it’s tricky washing your own damn face!

It’s best to do like the Thais and get a wash tub for dedicates and such, and maybe even the dishes.

You won't regret putting together your own first aid kit.
You won’t regret putting together your own first aid kit.

3. Rehydration salts, ginger tea, and Imodium A-D.

Sorry! You will get sick. Happens to everyone, and when it does, you won’t feel like going to the nearest pharmacy. Diarrhea or tong sia is very common and when you get it you’ll want to rehydrate, stop it (if you’ve got a bad case) and soothe your tummy (ginger or peppermint tea).


4. A cloth/reusable/eco shopping bag.

If you do your own laundry down the street or soi, you’ll want something to carry your clothes in. A laundry basket seems logical but I like my crushable bag, something I can sling over my shoulder and carry easily up and down stairs.

These are also great for heading to the outdoor market with. I don’t like backpacks, they make you sweaty and a shopping bag can be easily folded up into my purse.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee or tea?

5. A hot pot.

Even if you have a kitchen, this little dorm room contraption is perfect for a quick cup of tea, coffee, or MAMA noodles. I also use it when I do the dishes. There is no hot water at the sink, so greasy dishes need some hot water to help get those pots and pans clean.

My what big feet you have...
My what big feet you have…

6. House slippers.

Welcome to the world of hardwood and tile floors. Carpet doesn’t live here. Why would it? And as strange as it might sound, nice little slippers to put-put around the house is a nice luxury for 25 baht. Especially when it is cold!

NOT suppositories.
NOT suppositories.

7. Earplugs/headphones.

It’s noisy here. Depending on where you live makes a huge difference, but even when I lived away from the city, I was bombarded with cicadas, frogs, ducks, dogs, Public Service Announcements, and monk chants. When I lived in an apartment I felt like I was going to go crazy every time a motorbike pulled in.

So do yourself a favor, and buy earplugs. I wore them to get to sleep until I got used to the noise and proper headphones are great for apartment living.

Fishes are optional.
Fishes are extra credit. And they eat mosquitoes!

8. Plants.

We’re moving into extra credit here, but plants can be such a lovely way to help make your place feel like a home. (That sounded sooo Better Homes and Garden.) Most apartments here are studios and/or have a ‘hotel’ feel about them. So take advantage of living in a tropical climate and get thee some foliage. You can buy plants at Sunday market and KamThieng Market next to Tesco Lotus, north of the Old City, before the SuperHwy.

vacuum9. A vacuum.

This contraption revolutionized my life when I was living with 2 cats in the bamboo forest. I lived in such a dusty home and it drove me mad but I accepted it, believing all I could do was sweep. It’s like I forgot that Thailand has modern amenities. And I took great pleasure in vacuuming ants.

Really must stop matching polish w/ household appliances.
Really must stop matching polish w/ household appliances.

10. Tupperware/Refrigerator

Ants. Are. Everywhere. I’ve made my peace with some of them but I draw the line in the kitchen. Consider buying a fridge if you are in an apartment for a short amount of time, it’s worth it, even if you don’t cook. Tupperware is also a good idea for keeping the ants away.

*Things to reconsider purchasing or bringing:

During the rainy season this material becomes moldy.

Rattan furniture.
My first apt had rattan and it started to mold. This apt has a rattan couch and its been painted white. I’m guessing to stop it from molding.

Thick towels.
Yeah, same thing. During a really soggy rainy season you’ll be begin to understand why Thais don’t have certain things/materials. Dryers are rare, but if you have one this will eliminate mold and mildew from growing on your stuff.

Anything electrical that won’t work with the different wattage.
Check out: Here’s a good site: http://treehouse.ofb.net/go/en/voltage/Thailand

Did I miss anything? What’s on your list? 🙂

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