I gave myself about a month to find and buy a house in Chiang Mai, and was told I was being very optimistic, so my advice is to give yourself longer and not follow my example.
Saying that, I did find a place after 2 weeks and fell in love with it, and I must admit did go through the mill and learnt a bit in the process.
So, what I will do is tell you a few of my experiences and you can take what you need, you can laugh or just enjoy (I hope) the blog.
I have to explain, if you have not read my other blogs, that my girlfriend is Thai, and that we were moving to Chiang Mai because it will be near her village and family. I must admit, prior to meeting her I was not aware of Chiang Mai and I must confess, I am so pleased we have bought a house there, it’s a wonderful province it’s fairly untouched by the tourist industry. The main tourists are back packers and I have read that it’s the third cheapest place in the world for back packers. There is a large Ex Pat community as well as lots of activities for those who have moved there to live from abroad. I have been to Bangkok and Phuket and not a fan, but everyone is different.
We went looking for a house and it turned out, unknown to me, with different priorities, now you would have rightly assume, we would have talked about it, well we did, however Thai’s being Thai, she do not tell me all the stuff that you needed to know. It either does not come into their head or they assume you already know.
Thai’s are very superstitious,( a subject I will cover at a later date) but some superstitions that were not explained to me, until a falang (Foreigner in Thai, a word I will be using regularly) friend explained a few in relation to houses and the buying of houses. Thais don’t like or will not buy, second hand houses, the reason is simple, they do not know if anyone has died in the house, so there may be spirits there, and the other reason, is status, or as most Asian countries call it, face. They have no problem with there own family houses as they know the history but not unknown ones.
It is assumed that if you are with or married to a Falang it is thought we are all rich, so, it is expected that we will buy a new house and a new car. This as well, is not spoken of or touched upon, by your other half, but only learnt from other Falangs. You may think I have only just started this relationship but again no, I have been with my good lady for around 3 years, and from what I have been explained, I could be with her for 20 years and unless someone else tells me , they will never explain all these little items.
So there we were, looking for a house, me looking for a second hand house, as it’s the European way, not to mention, I can see what it’s like with furniture not to mention a lot cheaper. I had discussed this with her and she nodded, with understanding and enthusiasm. So off we went, me looking for a house that is cheaper possible second hand and to my liking, she looking only for a house brand new, me none the wiser.
It was only after I was taken aside my one of my falling mates that the facts were explain and I was enlightened. So I then sat down with my good lady and asked her about my new found knowledge, and low and behold she admitted she will not buy an old house. I asked why she did not tell me and did not see any reason why she should as she thought I knew.
This is typical of Thai culture and relationships between Thais and Falangs. They are wonderful people, caring and have a great attitude toward life, but do not explain a lot of their culture or beliefs, you end up confused and annoyed. Mainly because you don’t understand why they do things and why you seem to be against this invisible force that you just can’t get hold of and is just beyond your reach, until that is someone shows you. Bingo then it all makes sense.
So the lessons have l learnt is simple, talk to those who know, do some research and have an open mind. It’s so easy to blame the person, your other half, but as I discovered, talking to other falangs married to Thai ladies, it’s not them, it’s their culture.
I hear many a person in the UK saying that people living in the UK don’t understand or try to understand the country and people of the country they live in. I agree with them, but as I will be living in another country and with different cultures, well it’s my turn to understand them and their culture. For the sake of my sanity and my relationship.