The majority of expats who end up living in Thailand find themselves in Bangkok, where there are the most job opportunities in Thailand, both for teachers and people in other lines of work. But expats are not simply forced to live in Bangkok against their will; Bangkok has a lot going for it. Foreigners in Bangkok get by with a comfortable life of staying in plush condos, dining out regularly, hanging out in expat pubs and enjoying a range of services and facilities to suit their tastes.
A high level of luxury and good value living are two characteristics that attract many foreigners to settle in Bangkok, and although the city has its shortcomings, they are far outweighed by the ever-friendly Thai smile, unique character, local culture and excellent hospitality delivered in English.
Here’s an introduction to essentials, such as sorting out your visa, finding a condo, finding a job, and how much it all costs:
The Bangkok lifestyle
Even if you live elsewhere in Thailand, you cannot help but avoid making regular trips back up to the metropolis, and for many people that is a joy rather than a chore. Those living in Bangkok learn to live with the traffic and crowded urban environment; it’s a small price to pay for experiencing Thailand’s trendiest and most sophisticated environment.
The frenetic pace and intense atmosphere of Bangkok streetlife can be draining for some, exhilarating and exciting for others – the seemingly endless options for night time entertainment is a paradise for some, an exercise in money mismanagement for others, and the unfathomable array of Thai food options puts some people in culinary bliss. Being the transport hub of the country, you’re only a few hours away from a stunning tropical beach or mountainous landscape. You’ll also find the Thais in Bangkok simpler to assimilate with.
It goes without saying that Bangkok is quintessentially Thai at its core, and if you want to you can really get stuck in and live the Thai way – Thai food is on every street corner, there are Thai language schools everywhere to help you pick up the lingo (essential for connecting with Thai people), or you can live in areas where there will be scarcely any Westerners to be seen. But if you prefer to live a Western lifestyle, then all the mainstays are available allowing you to do just that.
The expat community is centred on the Sukhumvit area, where there are modern condos and low-rise neighbourhoods within reach of the metro or Skytrain. It’s also convenient for hanging out with other foreigners in the numerous pubs, tourist spots or fine restaurants in the area. Others who’ve been in Bangkok longer and are perhaps married to a local may decamp to the middle class suburbia further out. Wherever you are, there is always something to amuse you in this enormous, fascinating city.