What to Buy If You’re an Expat Leaving Thailand and Going Home


A lot of expats live in Thailand but most of them eventually move home. When you live in Thailand, you get used to buying what you need and being able to buy it cheaply. So, for many expats, they don’t realize there
are a lot of things they should buy while they’re still in Thailand. If you’ve lived in Thailand for a while and are moving home, don’t forget to buy the following things before you leave because, believe me, you’ll regret it later if you don’t.

Get Some Clothes Tailored Before You Leave Thailand – One of the things that is very cheap in Thailand and incredibly expensive in the US is tailored clothes. In Thailand, you can buy a tailored suit, two pairs of pants, and two or three shirts for less than $200. If you’re planning on moving back to Europe, Australia, the US or Canada and know you may need new suits then make sure you buy them in Thailand before you leave.

The great thing with doing this too is the tailor will keep all your measurements on file then later, if you need another suit and don’t gain weight, he can make one to your measurements and ship it to you.



Buy Thai Silk Before You Leave Thailand – Thai silk is some of the best silk in the world. Before you leave Thailand, take advantage of the cheap silk in Thailand and buy some scarves, shawls, shirts, skirts etc. I’ve had several expat friends who have left Thailand and have shipped boxes of Thai silk home before they left. Once home, they realized they could use this silk to give as gifts to anyone who had a special occasion at a fraction of the cost of a similar gift in their home country.

Buy Thai Handicrafts – Thai handicrafts are very beautiful and gorgeous quality too. In Thailand, you can buy carved wood furniture, pewter ornaments and statues, imitation flowers, pillows, sheets, kitchen utensils,
chopstick sets, handblown glass, handmade pottery and so much more. Once you get back to your home country, you will realize that a lot of the Thai handicrafts you took for granted because they were everywhere in Thailand are actually unique and beautiful.

If you don’t buy some to take home with you, you’ll get home and see your boring western house and realize you should have. So, go to one of the many markets in Thailand, visualize your home and then buy a some beautiful Thai handicrafts to remind you of your time in Thailand.

Buy T Shirts, Jeans and Shorts Before You Leave Thailand – Living in Thailand, I take it for granted that most t shirts are $3 and a pair of shorts is $4.50 and the quality is beautiful. When you get back to your home country though, you’ll also realize how expensive a lot of casual clothing is, so make sure you buy t shirts, jeans and shorts before you leave. Stock up on your casual wardrobe in Thailand and save money so that, back in your home country, you have less expenses.

Buy Prescription Eye Glasses/Sunglasses/Contact Lenses Before You Leave Thailand – I’ve always thought prescription eye glasses in the US are ridiculously expensive. In Thailand, I can get a pair of prescription eye glasses with designer frames for less than $140, including the eye examination. Contact lenses too are cheap (around $15 for a box of 15 pairs).

If you wear eye glasses, prescription sunglasses or contact lenses, make sure you stock up before you leave Thailand and, like the tailors, the opticians will keep your information on file if you ask them and you can order from them again when you’re back in the US or Europe.

Buy Leather Shoes Before You Leave Thailand – Buying leather shoes in Thailand is inexpensive but very expensive in the US or Europe. Before you leave Thailand, stock up on several pairs of new leather shoes (for men, women and kids, if you have them) so you don’t have to waste money on them back home. Even some of the brand name leather shoes are cheaper in Thailand than they would be back home.

Check out places like Central Department store (especially when they have a big sale), or one of your local markets.

Photographs – Getting photographs taken for passports, visas, traveling etc. is dirt cheap in Thailand. A set of 10 passport sized photos just over $3 and they’re printed while you wait.

If you think you might need photos for any reason when you’re back in your home country, get them taken in Thailand, especially as adults don’t change in appearance that much so you can use them for a couple of years or more.

Buy Thai Snacks or Favorite Food – One thing I guarantee you will miss about Thailand is all your favorite Thai snacks and Thai food. Make sure you buy a few packets of your favorite snacks or food to take with you, so you can eat it at home and think fondly of your time in Thailand. Even though I usually only end up back in my home country for a couple of weeks before I return to Thailand, I still take packets of spicy crackers, Mama noodles, Thai rice cakes, my favorite seaweed potato chips and lots more stuff.

Don’t forget, when you move back to your home country from Thailand, you will be in serious sticker shock as you really have forgotten how expensive it is back there. Buy anything from Thailand that you think is cheaper than at home because, even if you have to pay a little extra for excess baggage, you’ll still be saving money in the long run. And, if your company is paying for your move back home, then there’s no need to worry about cost. Right?

Photo – Buy all your favorite Thai snacks before you leave Thailand