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Stay in Myanmar or return to Thailand?

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Decisions, decisions!


I've been teaching in Myanmar for a few years at an international school.  I also run my own educational charity, donating school books to orphanages and schools, and providing free English lessons at the weekend.


Now I'm expanding my charity work to benefit more Burmese students.  To allocate more hours to this work, I have resigned from my in-class teaching job.


But that creates 2 problems:
- I still need an income for living and running my charity.  This will come from online teaching (I already have secured this work at a rate equal to my in-class job).

- I need to get a new business visa, because my existing visa is sponsored by my previous employer.


This is where it gets interesting...


Without a Myanmar visa, I have to return to live in Thailand, (I have a Thailand Elite visa).  I can continue my charity work in Ranong, where there is a large Burmese community.  But volunteer work needs a WP in Thailand, which means that I have to apply to register my charity in Thailand - a lengthy and somewhat expensive process.


But I can get a Myanmar long-term visa, due to recent changes to the Company Law Act.  From August 2018, individuals (Myanmar or foreigner) can register a private, not-for-profit company, (ideal for a charity).  That company only requires one individual and there are no minimum investment requirements!  (A for-profit company needs $50,000 USD investment).


So I can register my charity, then use that not-for-profit company to sponsor my one-year, multi-entry visa, then teach online AND do my charity work from within Myanmar.


I've got used to the low cost of living in Myanmar. The people are very friendly, (like Thailand 20 years ago).  The country is very safe, (so long as you are not a Rohingya..). I've been learning to read/speak Myanmar language.


I feel that if I stay in Myanmar, there could be a whole world of business opportunities popping up in the next few years.  Hey - there could even be wife #4!


So what would I be missing if I didn't return to live in Thailand?

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Well you've spent a few years in Thailand before, so it holds no surprises for you and probably nothing new since you departed previously.


If there are going to be a "whole world of opportunities popping up" then why not stay there and ride the wave with them. New challenges, business opportunities, romantic involvement and so on.


I'm sure you will have made some friends there, but if you haven't, then get onto it asap!


Good luck with whatever you decide.


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You seem to be very lonely in Myanmar and what is all the money good for if you can't share it with someone


Quick clarification - It's lonely in the city of Nayypitaw, due to the restrictions imposed by the police/army.  But these restrictions only apply in Naypyitaw.  In any other Burmese town, I'm free (within reasonable limits), to do as I please, socialise with whom I please etc).


If I were to remain in Myanmar, I would be living in the border town of Myawaddy, spitting distance from Mae Sot, and with visas for both countries that allow unrestricted movement across the border as many times as I wish.

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you give solid good reasons for staying in myanmar, no real visa issues, no clearly-expressed negatives and ask others for reasons to return to thailand (?)

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...and ask others for reasons to return to thailand (?)


Precisely!  Just what does Thailand have to offer me since I first moved there in 2002?  Prices have rocketed, the natural smiles on Thai's faces seemed to have faded, there seems to be a whole host of dubious foreigners living in the country, the visa rules are being tightened up (or existing rules more strictly applied etc).


The only thing that's a positive for me (I have strange priorities!) is that I have an unrestricted radio ham licence in Thailand, but not in Myanmar.  I need to find a new hobby if I decide to remain in Myanmar...

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Can you elaborate more on the costs and procedures associated with setting up a basic business or charity in Myanmar?  And how much for the associated visa, how long it lasts, and how long the process takes?  [can PM any sensitive info]

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5 hours ago, simon43 said:

Without a Myanmar visa, I have to return to live in Thailand, (I have a Thailand Elite visa).

So you are one of the few with an Elite Visa so I would never even consider staying in Myanmar long term .

After all Thailand offer a lot more than Myanmar when it comes to infrastructure and you can travel anywhere you want, better options on food , cinemas, malls , islands , beaches etc. 




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@4evermaat, the financial requirements to set up a for-profit business are not attractive.  You have to invest a minimum of $50,000 and with that business it can sponsor a business visa application (lasts one year, costs about $600, renewable each year).


That was the law, and that didn't interest me at all.  But 2 months ago that law was amended to allow for the registration of not-for-profit companies, with absolutely no minimum financial requirement for registration.


I can see that living in Myanmar on a not-for-profit registration could be attractive if one is genuinely running a charity organisation.  It wouldn't work if you just want to live in the country (with an external income source), because you do have to operate your charity, submit accounts etc. 


Balo is generally correct concerning the lack of infrastructure.  Travel is only restricted in a few areas where ethnic fighting is a risk.  For me, I prefer nature etc, not shopping malls, cinemas or expensive restaurants.

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