Lifestyle Design: Spending Time In Thailand

I thought it best that before I ask others about their Thailand trips and lifestyle design in Thailand and in general that I first answer the questions myself.

I am Very much hoping that this will be a regular feature on here  with people who visit Thailand often, take mini-retirements or perhaps live indefinite in the land of smiles. The point of the operation is to appeal to people who spend or want to spend different periods of time in Thailand according to their desires and circumstances and not a one size fits all plan. The overall purpose in the long run is to hopefully provide information that might be useful to those planning to spend more time in Thailand whether sooner or later.

1)What is your name and can you tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Trevor Bide and I am from the south – west of England and I am the author of this blog Engaging Thailand Tips. My work here covers a range of subjects but primarily is about Thailand, niche travel in Thailand, spending longer periods of time in Thailand and lifestyle design in all areas of life from an eastern and western perspective.

2) When you stay in Thailand how long are your periods Of stay

These are normally single monthly periods, but I have been going in and out of Thailand consistently since 1984.

3) When in Thailand where do you spend most of your time

I like to travel around a bit but I must admit that Chiang Mai in the north and the royal beach resort of Hua Hin on the west coast have been favourite locations over the past  few years.

                                  Chiang Mai

4) Do you have a goal to eventually spend longer in Thailand and if you do when do you think that will happen.

My youngest daughter is coming up 15 years old and deep in to exam territory in the UK, so not interrupting her schooling comes first at the moment. We have in the past few years taken her out of school for a month, but done it on the months where she actually had two weeks school holiday, but to say they are not too happy about it is an understatement and healthy debate has taken place. I have actually watched her grow, learn and adapt to a new culture whilst continuing to do her school work online, but I don’t want her penalised in an absence sense and that to affect her results, so I am playing ball for the moment. It means the forthcoming trip will be the first in a long time that she has not been with us.

Later it will be 3 month straight off visits and then I think the 6 month – 6 month format will suit us well, getting rid of those colder UK months sounds good to me.

5) Where do you stay and would this continue to be your accommodation method during later longer stays

Guest houses are our favourite method and we have made good friends with guest house owner families in both Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. We have even been invited to attend family meals and been looked on favourably with regards to rates. We pay about 500 baht per night roughly £10 pounds which includes a clean room with a fridge, television a bit of writing space and shower with hot and cold water. This is fine for us I have never required the comforts of the Sheraton just a place to lay my head. For later longer stays I will probably look at serviced apartments or doing a 3 month deal with one of our friends at the guesthouse.

Baan Pim Guesthouse Chiang Mai

6) How do you or would you fund your lifestyle what lines of income would you have in place

Well, at present our travel jaunts are supported by our Thai Catering business in the UK and other UK-based self-employed activities. At present it is the good old-fashioned way of living beneath your means and saving the money for things you want to do like spending more time in Thailand and other travel. I am currently working on building an online business to become more location independent meaning it won’t matter where in the world I am I will still be able to make a living. I must admit to always having had a dislike for conforming to the 9 – 5 formula and have been self – employed for more than 20 years, I certainly put major priority on creating as much freedom of time as is humanly possible.

7) What would a breakdown of your average daily spend in Thailand be?

This is something I will get in to deeper later on, but for the time being the best tips are to live a Thai lifestyle as much as possible.

Like I mentioned the accommodation is about 500 baht per night (£10.00) and I find some of the most delicious and least expensive food at the Thai markets. The best bet is to eat Thai food as much as possible. The only time I eat western food is for breakfast with a good helping of porridge oats and honey the rest of the time I eat Thai and love it. The internet cafe’s are mainly 30 – 35 baht an hour and I can do everything I need to do, I basically need an hour at the start of the day and an hour at the end.

Transport wise I enjoy to travel on foot most of the time, but for other journeys a short journey in a taxi if necessary or better and cheaper still the bus. I am not a collector or someone who wants to buy much stuff at all and find I don’t really need much. However my passion is reading so informational based books come in to the reckoning once in a while. There is one thing I always need and that is plenty of green tea.

 When in Chiang Mai I do pay the 99 baht fee to use the gym and swimming pool, but I class that as a continued health investment, in fact I find and pay to use a gym where ever I am. I made a habit out of keeping the joints moving about 8 years ago and have kept that going daily. The gym is preferable especially in Bangkok as Bangkok street running is not that kind on the joints, but you do learn to out run the stray dogs that want a piece of you.

A daily cost is obviously based on your type of lifestyle and whether you are single, married or married with children. I shall endeavour to cover more on this soon and under those various categories.

Delicious And Inexpensive Market Food

8) What possessions do you carry with you when you travel or are you able to stay fairly clutter free?

I am actually fairly adept at travelling light nowadays, but I am still trying to teach my wife this one. I actually despise endless bags and things to carry and have a basic small  bag with enough clothes for the duration and some valid reading material and a writing pad for note taking absolutely essential. I will of course also have wash bag and passport. This will of course be accompanied by my wife’s 4 suitcases, slight exaggeration as I have now got her down to one. I don’t even take a lap top with me, but make use of the many internet cafe’s in the area.                                                 

9) How do you manage the administrative side of your finances when on your travels including banking, insurance plans and any mail?

I always have a full yearly travel insurance deal and apart from taking a bit of getting started money the bank card and ATM machine is an extremely convenient method. Most of our business nowadays comes via e-mail which I will check once a day and the phone is switched to the answer machine back in the UK. Somebody monitors the calls and if there is anything urgent would let me know straight away on our away number. In the early day’s  I would worry about all these things when we first started going away, but when I get back the business is still in motion and we haven’t been missed.

Tip: Great breakfast Sailomjoy In Chiang Mai

10) Where in Thailand would you still like to visit?

The goal is to travel everywhere in Thailand over the next couple of years and especially more around the south. I have been to the south staying in Krabi, the Ranong hot spas ,Ao Nang and Surat Thani before and found it very beautiful, but I want to explore the south entirely and I have also only scratched the surface of the north – east of Thailand as well. I intend to take in some of the less well-known places and love just wandering and exploring.

11) Do you have any other travel goals left to fulfil, places around the world that you would like to visit?

When I was 18 years old and yes that was a while back, myself and a friend did an around the world trip where we worked our way around the world. There was no on-line world in those day’s, no chance of being location independent back then or connecting with friends and family on social networking sites.

In fact there was not even the mobile phone or the internet. Although my parents wanted to know where I was all the time I think they used to dread the collect call back from New Zealand from me to check on how Manchester United had got on. Do you remember those day’s you spoke to the operator who found out first if they would accept the charges and then connected you if they did. What a joy and oh how much easier that trip would have been back then if we could only have sent a text message from a cell phone.

Anyway I digress, the point I was getting to was that world trip gave me an ever lasting travel bug fever and I still have it. The plan is to spend longer periods of time in Thailand, but further world travel also.

The trip I and a friend embarked on took us to Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Tahiti, New Caledonia and Europe. I never got to South America where I would have liked to have visited Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and the like, but perhaps the football world cup in Brazil for 2014 should be a major goal, now that would be a special carnival atmosphere. If there is two things the Brazilians do well it’s playing football and putting on a carnival.

There is also a lot of Europe I still want to see yet and much more of Asia as well of course. I say Asia of course meaning it’s the place where I feel most home.

12) What do you do with your spare time when in Thailand and would this change if you stayed indefinite or for longer periods of time.

Life evolves and people change, but the main of my day would remain the same. I always object to the phrase of going on holiday as I have never been one to just sit on a beach in the hot roasting sun looking like a lobster or roaming the tourist attractions with a bag of travel memorabilia.

I enjoy travel off the beaten track to learn new things and new ideas, but certainly travel for learning and pleasure.

                   Having A Wander

13) If money and time were not a problem what would be the thing that you could not wait to do each day

Learn something new in my many varied topics of interest (whether that be by reading something or by personal experience) and use the information or skill to benefit not only mine and my families lives, but the lives of other people also.

14)  If you could learn 3 subjects or courses, what would they be.

  • The first would definitely be continued Thai language learning for better conversational ability I mean to really become fluent. My reading skills are not bad at all, but I spend more time on reading Thai than speaking or listening to it and that is obviously why it is the strongest element of my Thai language ability.
  • The second would be a martial art
  • The third would be a course on decision-making and problem solving if one exists

15) Where do you see yourself in 3 – 5 years time, what are your future goals

Basically more of what I have said above starting with 6 months of the year in Thailand, a bit of time travelling to other places in the globe and the rest of the time at our base in the UK. Finally all hopefully supported with a good online income, but there’s a way to go there yet.

16) Give us an outline of your ideal day in Thailand

It would not be a lot different where ever I was but Thailand would be the location of preference. It would consist of a few hours learning, some online work, reading, exercise, good family meals and match days with a cold beer watching and cheering Manchester United on to victory.Now that’s a great day.

The Manchester United Bar & Restaurant, Bangkok

For more articles and Information on spending longer periods of time in Thailand, life design and living in Thailand please vist the Engaging Thailand website . The specific articles for these categories can be found at the link below.



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