Moving to a foreign Country was honestly something that I decided to do out of the blue. I mean, I flirted with the idea a bit before but I remember the time that I called Natalie one day in July 2017 and said, “I’m going to move to Thailand in November.” It was very matter-of-fact. It was very sure. It was probably one of the most certain statements that I had uttered in a long time. Not a whole lot of thought went into the idea which can be looked at as both a positive and negative aspect. So, why Thailand? It’s one of the questions I get asked the most so let’s talk about why I chose Thailand and why I fell in love with Bangkok and decided to stay longer than my original plan.
I wish I could say that I dreamed of visiting Thailand since I was a little girl and had these grandeur thoughts about travelling to this beautiful country. I didn’t. The most that I knew about Thailand at the time was about Loy Krathong (also known as Yi Peng) because the festival was on my bucket list. It didn’t disappoint, more about that festival in a later post. I think a lot of people expected me to move to Japan if anywhere in Asia since I have never been shy about my Nippon obsession but since I have never really talked about Thailand, it was a surprise. I honestly don’t know why I chose Thailand to begin with. Like I mentioned in a previous post, my good friend Julia had backpacked S.E. Asia back in 2016 and vlogged her memories and Thailand was her first stop so I think that is where the original idea stemmed from.
Thailand seemed so exotic. So different than my life was at the time. And truthfully, it just sounded cool, “I’m moving to Thailand.” It kind of started as a joke, living in Vancouver is expensive and I wanted more in life. I wanted to travel, particularly around Asia first, and living in Thailand could get me closer to all my travel destination dreams. When things got rough with my work or mental health, I’d just think, “Whatever, I’m just gonna move to Thailand. I’ll buy a one-way ticket and leave.” Slowly, it started to become something that didn’t sound like a bad idea.
But that was it. It was kind of hard to explain to people when I told them I was leaving for Thailand that I just wanted to do it “because it seemed cool.” No one understood and everyone thought it was insane that I was blindly moving to a country that I never showed any real interest in. It’s a bit embarrassing when I think about it now but my thoughts all changed once I spent my first day in this country.
Ok, ok. I didn’t blindly move here. I was just seriously considering it at first. If you have read my blog from the beginning, you will understand a lot of the reason I embarked on this trip, but I had no obligations to go back home. No job, no apartment, and a supportive group of family and friends who I can easily Skype with. I always thought though, if, on the off-chance that I didn’t like Thailand, I would travel to another country and see if I liked it there instead. The possibilities were quite endless but it turned out that I fell in love with Thailand within the first week of being here.
Although I believe that participating in Loy Krathong during my first week here contributed to my desire to stay, there are many more aspects of Thai life that keep me in this country. These are my personal favourite things about Thailand. Of course, this is just my opinion and my comparisons are to life in Canada.
Number 1 has to be the street food.
It is the thing I will miss the most when I leave. Even though I typically get the same thing, you can’t beat delicious homemade street food for under $2. Also included in that is the abundant sources of fresh fruit that you can buy. Pineapple, papaya, mango and durian are almost a staple at every stall with other fruits offered when they are in season for a mere $1 or less.
Number 2 is the laid-back vibe.
People aren’t ever really in a rush here, sometimes that drives me crazy but for the most part, it helps a lot with my anxiety. Because the people here are mellow and do things at their own pace, it makes me feel more comfortable to follow suit.
Number 3 is, of course, the landscapes, the temples, and the architecture.
Everything you can see here is so beautiful and interesting and I’ve only been able to see a small portion of it so far. There is a large range of topography within such a small country, from the mountains of the north to the coastlines of the south. If you follow me on Instagram, you will also know how much I love visiting the different temples. Chiang Mai is still probably my favourite place in Thailand so far but I have a list of some other smaller destinations to visit before I have to leave, so I have a feeling that may change.
Number 4 is the transportation and how easy it is to get around here.
This point kind of pairs with number 3 but is also Bangkok specific, so I’m going to break it down into two parts. To get around the Country is so simple. You can take either a train or bus (and sometimes a boat) to just about anywhere and it is quite affordable. You can see all those sites that you are wanting to see. This is also not only restricted to Thailand but is a great way to gain passage from Thailand to many of the neighbouring countries. Flying, for those so inclined, may not be as cheap but still a viable option if you are on a time crunch.
The different modes of transportation within Bangkok is no joke. You can ride any of the multiple train lines that they have, jump on a bus (literally), journey the Chao Phraya, travel like a local on the back of a motorbike or songtaew, or disco in the back of a tuk-tuk. There is so much more I can say about this topic, but that is also for another time. All in all, being able to get around this city makes it much easier to live here.
Number 5 and the last thing I have to add to this list today is something I like to call Eastern life meets Western life.
This one is pretty specific to why I have chosen to stay in Bangkok. I’ve talked about how nervous I was to move to a foreign country. Unable to predict how my depression would react to the stark change and culture shock. Because Bangkok is so large, you get a nice amalgamation of the two worlds which is probably why it has become such a popular destination for expats (especially English speaking ones).
What I mean by this is, there are many opportunities to explore and soak up Thai culture and customs not only within Bangkok but in the many small cities in the surrounding area. I have many chances to stumble and learn the Thai language; which is genuinely one of my favourite things. It is so easy to get away from the “hustle and bustle” of the already chill city, to decompress and see some nice sites. I also enjoy being able to get some great street food, of course, and to shop at the many different marketplaces where I can find and buy almost anything I can think of.
Then on the flip side, I still have some of the comforts and luxuries that I would have from back home by simply going into the heart of downtown. I know that I will be able to find clothes from stores and eat at restaurant chains that I could go to back home. Another thing is that since Bangkok is such a tourist hub (one of the many reasons why people don’t like Bangkok) it works out in favour of expats because we can still accomplish a lot of tasks in English such as mailing a letter, opening a bank account or even go to a movie. I even get to go to dance classes in English and most people within the city have at least a basic knowledge of the English language. Although I have my own thoughts on whether an expat should learn the local language or not, it is a privilege to be able to speak English while in a country where that is not the primary language; especially on those frustrating days when no one seems to understand your Thai.
As I slowly fell in love with Thailand and the city of Bangkok, I gained more and more reasons why I think that it’s a great city to not only travel to but also live in. I hope to share all the good, bad, and so-so experiences with you soon as I am getting more motivated to write again.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read! I’ll see ya next time.