Moving, Relocation, Shipping to Bangkok or Thailand

What should you bring?
What should you not bring?
What is a good moving / shipping / relocation company?

The most difficult part of moving to Thailand is when you first arrive, if you have none of your property which you take for granted in your home country.

For a little while, it's OK to be living out of a hotel because you are so excited about your new country and have many things to keep your attention occupied. However, there comes a time when you want to settle into our new home.

Many people make arrangements with international moving company before they have decided upon where to live. This is OK. The international movers can simply ship your items to Thailand and then hold them until a home is decided upon. You may decide where to live before the goods arrive, but you may also be surprised at how quickly your things will get here, too.

You can buy a lot of things at the stores here in Thailand, especially if you are moving to Bangkok. The main considerations are your time getting oriented in stores, efforts to communicate with store salespeople who generally don't speak English, energy to haul boxes of all this stuff home in multiple taxi rides (and if you're outside Bangkok, taxis may not be as ubiquitous), money spent buying things again that you already have, becoming familiar with new replacement items, and your preferences of products.

If you don't want to spend a lot of time shopping in a place where you don't speak the language, and want to be up and running in Thailand almost immediately, then you should ship your household items in advance using a good shipping company.

Personal affects generally sail thru customs if you are using a reputable shipping agent. However, it is strongly recommended that you do not try to cut corners. You should:

  • Use a reputable shipping company, with good representation in Bangkok and Thailand
  • Insure your goods
  • Do not try to slip in items for resale over here, disguised as personal affects

Many people ask "Should I bring my car?" Usually, the answer is "no", and instead you should lease or buy one over here. Cars are subject to a high luxury tax, equal to 200% of the car's value when new, as assessed by Thai customs (actually, the combined value new of overseas price plus local price), plus tax on the transport fee. In Thailand, you drive on the left side of the road, so cars from countries like the U.S. with right side driving are hazardous here, especially when passing. Tips on buying, leasing, servicing and driving a car in Thailand are in the section on Driving yourself by car

The electricity in Thailand is 220 volts and 50 hertz (cycles/second). If you have 110 volt accessories from the U.S., Japan or elsewhere, then you will need a transformer. Most devices are not significantly sensitive to the difference between 50 and 60 Hz, but some are. You should also pay attention to grounding/earthing. These considerations are covered in the section on electricity

Televisions are a consideration. Thailand is on the PAL-2, system B/G. Many televisions on the modern market are able to switch between the different standard systems, but you should check your TV's documentation first. As noted elsewhere on this website, "Do not bring a TV from the U.S. unless it can do PAL-2, and from other countries you may have some problems. There are video systems which can do all the main standards of the world, but there are many which cannot. The TV system in Thailand is PAL-2, system B/G, like much of the world, not NTSC as in the U.S. There is PAL-1 and PAL-2 (or I/II) in the world. Not all PAL systems will work fully in Thailand. For example, the UK uses PAL-1, and the Thai PAL-2 system is similar but has a different sound carrier frequency. Germany uses PAL B/G, but Thailand doesn't use NICAM, though some channels use the German Zwietone system. This topic is way beyond the scope of this article on what to ship, so if you really, *really* want to bring your video system, do some research first."

Please note: ThailandGuru has been swamped with questions asking for recommendations on whether to bring particular items. ThailandGuru does not have the time or resources to give everyone free advice on such matters, unless you are a supporting customer in another way, or if you are willing to give us worthwhile advice for free, in which case we are willing to do so in kind.

For DHL, UPS, etc., see also the ThailandGuru section on international couriers. However, these are not suitable for shipping your personal affects.




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