This week I am currently in Vietnam for a mini vacation and have been meeting so many people. When it is revealed that I live in Bangkok, the main response is, “Oh yeah, and how is living in Bangkok?” often followed by an, “I didn’t like Bangkok much when I was there.” Trust and believe I know exactly what they meant, when I first travelled to Bangkok, I hated it. The city was loud and too obnoxiously touristy (looking at you Khao San Road), Tuk-Tuk drivers were constantly bothering me, and the air pollution is a real problem. However, it is a city that I have really grown to love and proudly call home.
If you are anything like me, you worry about a lot of unnecessary things. With that in mind, the prospect of moving to a completely foreign country is terrifying and feels almost impossible. It’s not. You can do it! I have five reasons why Bangkok is the perfect expat location. Let me show you!
The best of both worlds
I say this often when people ask me how I feel about living in Bangkok. It’s not a small village where it is difficult to indulge in goods and services from back home. You can get around the city speaking only English, eating only western food, and living a similar life to the one you had back home.
On the flip side, you can find Thai cultural experiences everywhere. Eat at a food stall on the corner and speak Thai with the locals. Pray at their temples and enjoy their night markets. Sometimes it is nice to have the convenience to do both.
Cheap and good eats
The food here is so tasty, fresh and very affordable. Even if you are paying “farang rates” for a dish or some produce, it can’t be more than a couple of dollars; a minimal amount compared to back home. My favourite thing is the abundance of fresh fruit all year round and that will something I miss when I leave.
My biggest recommendation to anyone who comes to Bangkok is to explore the many different neighbourhoods of this city. Bangkok is so big and is full of so many cool areas. Some of my favourites are:
- Chinatown: Close to Hua Lampong MRT Station, Yaowarat is a busy street lined with Chinese signs and looks like a scene out of a movie. (To be fair, I think it has been featured in a few movies including The Hangover) You can find so many different foods, especially some of the best seafood in Bangkok. I particularly like to visit Chinatown to go to Sampeng Market, which is a market where you can buy fabric, beads, and other crafting supplies at amazing prices.
- Pan Road: This small road and area is a short walk from Surasak BTS Station and has many good vegetarian Indian food options. There is also a beautiful Hindu temple located at the end of it. I also enjoy the many unique cafes that lie just off Pan Road, my favourite currently being Printa Cafe.
- On Nut: This area right around the On Nut BTS station has a lot of really good cafes to work at as well as an Eco-refill station. On Nut is a great place to stay as its a bit of out the city but close enough by train.
The people are always smiling
Ok not always and you, of course, meet unfriendly Thais just like in every other part of the world, but Thai people are very friendly. Bangkok is a great first expat city because you can stop anyone on the street to ask for help and most people will stop and help you with a smile. No need to feel scared that you are going to be permanently lost in this great, big city!
Bangkok is a nice homespot/hub if you are wanting to travel around Thailand and Asia. Flights are incredibly cheap and you can get to at least five neighbouring countries easily by road. Since living in Bangkok, I have travelled more than I could have possibly imagined I would be able to just purely because of the convenience of where I’m located.
It is really easy to also travel around Thailand with being situated in Bangkok, with three bus stations and a long-distance train station in the city, you could go anywhere your heart desires.
It’s not always rainbows and butterflies living here but these have to be my reasons why I really enjoy it. When choosing a new place to call home, you have so many options these days. For the most part, I don’t find living here too difficult and if you embrace the culture, your experience will only be elevated.