Bangkok, Thailand Report of what it's like to live there - 06/21/13
Personal Experiences from Bangkok, Thailand
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. I've lived in Europe, Australia, Australia.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
US Embassy Employee.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
All are great -- most are downtown with great views of the Bangkok skyscrapers.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Easy to find, cheap prices.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
Nothing. It is easy to buy online -- but even this is not really needed, as there is everything here.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Loads of them -- every price and every type. A fantastic street meal will cost around $2, and a New Year's Eve Lobster dinner will cost $200.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Mosquitoes and sometimes cockroaches.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Available, but it might take time to find a good one. I pay $200/month for 20 hours a week.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Loads of them! Most buildings have one.
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
Easy and available on most streets.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Yes. Not sure which ones.
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Yes. Usually provided by the building.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
It helps and would make the experience of living here more enjoyable. Unfortunately, I don't speak the language, but I get by fine on my "taxi Thai".
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Bangkok is not a very handicap-friendly city.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Absolutely safe and very affordable -- most taxi fares run around $3.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
Any vehicle, but I bought a scooter to get around the streets of busy Bangkok.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
No, sorry, I used the one give to me by the embassy.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
Not really. Work permits are very difficult to obtain.
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
I wear a tie during the week, except for casual Fridays or during the three/four warmest months: Smart Casual.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
I hear that there is some purse-snatching on the streets, but I have never known anyone who has been a victim.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Not really. Very good and cheap.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
Moderate in Bangkok, good everywhere else.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot and humid and wet during the rainy season.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
I don't have kids, but I hear that the schools are great.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
So many options!
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Yes, yes, yes.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
Absolutely! The Thais are about as understanding and tolerant as anyone can be.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
None that I have experienced or heard about.
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Playing with a baby elephant near Chiang Mai and scuba diving off Koh Tao.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
EVERYTHING! Movies, eating out, clubbing, concerts, you name it.
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
The spicy food, the friendly people, the beautiful beaches. And everthing is so affordable.
11. Can you save money?
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Absolutely! I haven't left yet, and already I want to come back.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Jeans, sweaters, and cold-climate clothing.
3. But don't forget your:
Suntan lotion, sunglasses, and flip-flops.
4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
Hangover II? LOL.
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Do you have any other comments?
Bangkok is fantastic!