Bangkok. The city that never sleeps, a capital of culture and commerce in Southeast Asia. Bangkok is also the place where I’ve called home for the last four years. It’s been an amazing experience living as an expat in this vibrant city, so I wanted to share some insights about what it’s like to live here as well as how to make your time in Bangkok even better!
Bangkok is a city that offers everything from the best in modern living to ancient temples and palaces
Bangkok is a large city which means it offers a vast array of interesting things to see such as temples, palaces and shopping malls. You’re never bored of what’s on offer in this city because there is always something new to see!
Bangkok also has a range of modern facilities such as supermarkets, restaurants and cafes so it can be easy living here for expats who want that type of lifestyle.
There are plenty of things happening every day too with festivals taking place all year round – both Western events like Halloween parties or Thai ones like Songkran Festival (which celebrates the beginning of Thai New Year).
The best thing about Bangkok though is its people. They really go out their way to make you feel welcome from small gestures at the airport when they’ll say “welcome back” which makes me smile each time I leave.
Expats can enjoy a lifestyle with luxury villas, high-end restaurants, world-class shopping malls, golf courses, and spas
Renting in Bangkok, while a bit more expensive than other parts of Thailand, is much better value than you’ll find in Europe or the US, you can rent a luxury villa for as little as $1000 a month.
The city’s world-class shopping malls are well known and include Siam Paragon, Emporium Shopping Complex, swanky Central World Plaza and the Rajdamri Arcade which is home to all your favorite high street shops like H&M or Zara..
Bangkok also has an abundance of restaurants from fine dining at Nobu Restaurant (one Michelin star) to phat Thai noodles you can eat on the go. The capital even has its own golf course: Royal Golf Club which offers membership packages that start at less than two thousand dollars per year on annual contracts.
If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing then visit one of Bangkok’s many spas where you can pamper yourself if you wish, get a massage or a manicure, a facial or even a mud bath!
Bangkok is an international city where you can meet people from all over the world and it’s easy to immerse yourself in its diverse culture with so many things to do.
There are many opportunities for international schools and universities in Bangkok so expatriates can find their perfect fit for their children’s education
If you have children of school going age then there are some excellent schools available for them in Bangkok. Expatriates are offered a number of international schools to choose from, depending on their needs.
Many expats will find themselves in Bangkok for work and they might not be able to bring their entire family with them but may still want an excellent education for the children that have made the move with them. International schools offer some great opportunities when it comes to this kind of schooling situation which is why so many expat parents opt for these kinds of establishments in Bangkok.
There are also plenty of universities available too if you’re looking into higher level studies such as undergrad or postgrad degrees. Universities can often be very competitive places, especially at undergraduate level, but there are enough choices around town to ensure that any given student has a good chance to be accepted and enrolled.
The cost of living is very reasonable when compared to other major cities around the world
Although Bangkok is a bit more expensive than other parts of Thailand, that is to be expected as it’s the Capital City of the country. Compared to the West, Bangkok in generally is a very affordable place to live, especially if you are earning Western salary levels while you live there.
Renting a condo is relatively cheap, you can often find a pretty nice unit for about $500 a month, and a furnished one at that! In comparison, renting in New York or London would be much more expensive than that.
You may expect to pay a little bit more in rent if the condo is near to one of the BTS elevated train stations, but the price differences aren’t terribly vast.
Bangkok has one of the best public transportation systems in Southeast Asia and going anywhere within city limits or outlying suburbs can be done by bus, metro or train for just 20 baht (US$0.60) per ride! It costs less than $30/month for an unlimited monthly pass on all forms of transport including long distance train rides from Central Station.
You’ll find the cost of food to be very reasonable also, although if you are buying Western food then you may expect to pay a premium (prices may be similar to what you’d expect to pay in your home country, the same goes for imported beer also).
Restaurants tend to be well priced, you of course can go to some very high end establishments and spend a serious chunk of change for a fancy dining experience, but you can also find many middle of the road eateries where you can get incredible food for prices that sometimes need to be seen to be believed.
Clothing is also very well priced, although one thing you need to be mindful of is that Asian people in general tend to be more slender than a lot of Westerners, so if you’re on the larger side of the scale then you may have some issues finding clothes that fit well, and even when you do then you may pay a relatively high price for them.
Expats will have access to all of the amenities they would need while abroad without having to spend more than they should on one place
There are many outdoor spaces to work out, including Lumpini Park which houses a well-maintained running track. If you want more of an indoor workout then there’s always the Bangkok Sports Club or one of the YMCA centres dotted around town (both require membership).
And if you’re after some yoga in your life, Yoga Siam has excellent teachers and classes as does The Teak Tree House on Sukhumvit Soi 38, while Namuang Thai Massage Center offers massages for less than $30 USD per hour.
Many condo / apartment complexes will include a gym in the building which is included in the price of rent, many will also have a pool which means you can get a decent amount of exercise in without having to pay additional fees. Not all condos will have this feature but quite a few will.
Is Bangkok good for expats?
As an expat, you’ll need to earn a decent salary in order to live well. The cost of living can be quite high if you want the finer things in life but there are ways around this problem too.
You can find some cheaper places and items that still offer good quality (for example, driving your own car as opposed to hiring one) or work out deals with local vendors so they give discounts for cash only purchases instead of credit card transactions like many others will do.
The city has plenty going on: take some time every day to really experience the city, for a few hours at least!
And don’t forget about Bangkok’s nightlife – it sometimes goes on till dawn….. unless you’re looking for somewhere quieter then maybe grab some dinner in a restaurant and go for some drinks in local bar, night life doesn’t always mean night clubs.
Where do expats live in Bangkok?
There are a number of very nice areas of Bangkok where you can find reasonably priced condos, apartments and town houses.
Areas like On Nut, Ratchada and Phra Kanong are all very close to the BTS line and have plenty of well priced properties for rental.
On Nut is a nice area that has a lot of expats in the area and Phra Kanong is an up-and-coming neighborhood that many young people are moving to.
Many foreigners prefer areas like Ratchada, where it’s easy to find apartments for rent or condos for purchase with reasonable prices and good amenities close by.
The downside of these neighborhoods is that they can be quite far from all major commercial hubs such as Sukhumvit so you may have to travel into town if you want something more specific than what’s available locally.
However, as mentioned previously, they are all quite close to the BTS elevated train system so getting to and from some of the bigger shopping malls shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Bangkok has it all. For those looking for a city with the best in modern living to ancient temples and palaces, Thailand is your destination. It offers everything from luxury villas to world-class shopping malls, golf courses, spas and international schools or universities!
There are many opportunities for expats who want to live an amazing life abroad. The cost of living is very reasonable when compared to other major cities as well. If you’re ready for new adventures then don’t hesitate any longer; get packing because this paradise awaits!