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 (usually) 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. March gets warmer, and April is considered the hottest month of the year in Thailand, often reaching over 100°F.

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.

Building Pin's house in Isaan