This post is a continuation of my previous post where I talked about how we ended up moving from Seattle to Bangkok and in this post, I will share our experience of living in Bangkok.
Now, at first idea of living in Thailand might seem like a dream come true for many people but my experience made me realize that this dream does come with its own challenges which can be frustrating at times. That said, a positive attitude goes a long way and all these challenges can be overcome with a small effort and lots of patience 🙂
When we landed in Bangkok there were a couple of things that we had to get sorted as quickly as possible – rent an apartment, find a good international school for the kids. Finding an apartment is not that hard as long as you are certain about your needs and your budget. But finding a good quality education (i.e. international school) is really hard. Bangkok alone has 100s of international schools with tuition fees ranging from $2,000 – $30,000 per student per year.
We were able to find a nice apartment in the heart of Bangkok named Shanti Sadan on Sukhumvit Soi 59. The apartment was conveniently located near the BTS (sky train) Thong Lo station and we found good international schools for our kids. Bangkok Prep in Thong Lo and St. Andrews in Soi 71. These schools were not top of the list but really great when it comes to education at a somewhat reasonable price.
Benefits of Living in Thailand
Like every other place, there are multiple benefits to living in Thailand. I’ll list down a handful that I experienced:
- Cheap Cost of Living: Relatively low cost of living when compared to living in a big city like Seattle
- Multicultural and Diverse: Thailand and especially Bangkok is essentially a melting pot of cultures – to put things in perspective my workplace had 70+ nationalities when I started and similarly, our kid’s schools had 55+ nationalities. Living in Thailand has given us and our kids a new perspective on life and we have come to a realization – the American way of doing things is just another way and not the only way to do things.
- You got Help: You can get a living maid who will do everything for you is ridiculously cheap. $300-$600 a month can get you a person to help you with all your household chores.
- Travel is a breeze: Living in Thailand, the heart of Southeast Asia makes visiting neighboring countries super easy and super cheap. You can practically visit a new country every long weekend.
- Best beaches and Tropical Weather: Thailand has got some of the world’s best beaches like Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Samet, Phi Phi Island, Pattaya
- Great Night Life: Bangkok and most other cities in Thailand have lots of clubs, bars, restaurants that are open pretty late at night. If you are a party animal you can party 24/7.
Challenges of Living in Thailand
I don’t want to give you a rosy picture of living in Thailand. While it has a lot of substantial benefits to living in Thailand but it does have its fair share of challenges.
- Learning Thai goes a long way: Most people in Thailand don’t speak or understand English and if you don’t speak Thai be prepared to pay Farang prices i.e. marked-up prices.
- Bangkok traffic is horrendous: Driving in Bangkok is a nightmare and the traffic is chaotic, to say the least, but the BTS sky train is the most predictable, convenient, and reliable mode of transportation.
- Never mess with Thai people: In general Thai people are very warm and polite but if you mess with them you would be in big trouble. My advice – stay out of the trouble.
- Avoid conversation about the Royal Family: Thailand is a monarchy and Thai people worship their king and the royal family. So avoid getting into any controversial discussions about the king or the royal family.
I don’t want to scare you with all the challenges but its better to be aware. If you are a bit cautious you can really avoid the problem and enjoy the great food and country. In our first 6 months, we were able to visit Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi Island, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Singapore, Doha, Prague, and New Delhi. Where ever you go you’ll have a lot of great photo opportunities so make sure to carry your camera gear with you.