Building a home in Thailand

When you marry a Thai woman, as I did, you also marry her whole extended family. It is not uncommon for farang (foreigners) to not know this, and it leads to many eventual divorces. I had spent enough time in Thailand to understand this, and took it into account before proposing. The Thai people and culture have much appeal, and I decided to make the big cultural leap.

As part of our premarital negotiations, we agreed to spend 6 months or more a year in the USA, and 4 to 5 months with my wife’s family in northeastern Thailand, with the rest in international travel. Covid disrupted the latter, and that continues to be on hold pending a normalization in travel risk.

Thailand is quite a bit warmer than the Pacific Northwestern USA, so we have come up with a nice seasonal accommodation: we spend April through October in Washington State, which is a nice weather time, and November through March in Thailand. This is the cool season there (cool meaning as low as 60°F at night, highs in the low 80s), with little rain.

Our first ‘winter’ in Thailand, we built a 2200 SF home adjacent to my wife’s mother’s house where she grew up, in our village of about 600 families set in the rice fields of Isaan, Surin Province.