Why Expats Love Bangkok

Thailand is a tropical paradise, a place that people from colder climates often dream about, where one can live in lightweight clothing all year round while basking in the sun. Bangkok has been increasingly known as a top expat destination. Despite the traffic jams, sweltering heat, and complicated language, many expats who come here have never left because life was so good for them here. Though at first it can be quite a challenge to live in any foreign country, in a short time, Bangkok starts to feel like home to a lot of people because of its vibe and friendly locals. Here are all the reasons why expats love Bangkok.

Beautiful Bangkok

The Variety of Restaurants and Cost of Street Food

Most homesick expats who are trying to get to know the Thai culture would often love to have a taste of food from their home country from time to time. So even though the exotic fare of Thailand is without a doubt scrumptious, sometimes the palate craves for something familiar. That’s why it’s good that there are tons of Western restaurants in Bangkok that offer the real thing, unlike other Asian countries where good Western food is hard to find. Some of the most popular places for Western food include Burger King, Hard Rock Café, Au Bon Pain, Sizzler, American Rib Company, and Roadhouse Barbecue. These places make it possible to have a break every now and then from Thai cuisine.

thai food
Thai Cuisine

Speaking of Thai cuisine, a lot of expats have gone mad over the local food, with most of the best ones found in street stalls, which you can find in every corner of Bangkok. Food is very cheap here, and it’s possible to eat as much as five or six times a day and spend a fraction of what a typical lunch costs back home. Breakfast at a street stall is as little as 80 cents for a large bowl of noodles or a plate of rice with a meat viand. Lunch can be had at the same price, and even lunch or dinner at a nice restaurant can cost as little as $2.00. You can even have Japanese food for as low as $5.00 for a full meal with sushi.

Aside from the low price of food, the variety of what’s available in this city is outstanding. Bangkok is a huge melting pot of cultures, and with culture comes cultural food. Here, you can find the best Middle Eastern food outside the Middle East, and Indian and Malaysian food is not hard to find. As for the street food, Bangkok’s reputation for 24-hour street food gets crazier with every corner. From the relatively familiar krapow gai (fried chicken and basil) to the more exotic barbecued duck tongues, bird’s nest soup, and pig’s brains soup, it’s a place for those who like to embark on a gastronomic adventure.

The Job Opportunities

Surprisingly, there are quite a lot of job opportunities in Bangkok. Even though many jobs are open for the locals only, teaching English, starting your own business, or numerous sales or editing jobs are available to Western expats. Be aware though that these jobs pay less than similar Western jobs, but that’s just because the cost of living in Thailand is so low. In the end, you might even find that you’re making more money here than back home, simply because you have more buying power here.

The Cost of Living

Due to the low cost of living in Bangkok, it is possible to live luxuriously even while earning half of what you used to make back home. Maids, manicures, massages, tailors and personal drivers can all be enlisted for a fraction of what you’d pay in a Western country. Foreigners who are on true expat salaries live a posh lifestyle, complete with gorgeous apartments, household help, and enough money to buy pretty much whatever they want. Even those who are not earning expat salaries find that they still make more than the national average, and it’s very easy to get spoiled. Overall, you tend to work less, have a more relaxed time at work, work with nice and friendly people, and even though it’s true that you make less money, cost of living-wise and tax-wise, you make a lot more. Moving to Bangkok can be a great way to save money, especially if you decide to retire there, where your pension can give you a much better lifestyle.

Thai Beer

Entertainment is very cheap here. Eating out is inexpensive, and watching a movie is quite cheap, with a reserved ticket from a top-of-the-line theater costing only $3.00. English books are cheaper here than in the US and Europe, and computer games are inexpensive, as well as CDs and DVDs. Be aware though that what you’re buying may not be the real deal, as Bangkok markets are teeming with a lot of pirated goods. Even alcohol is cheap here, and a lot of Western men come to Bangkok for the booze alone. A bottle of Chang or Singha Thai beer in the supermarket is as low as 95 cents, and in a bar or restaurant, you’re not likely to pay more than $2.00 for a large bottle of Thai beer. Cocktails are less than $3.00 and the variety is endless.

The Travel Opportunities

thai beach
Thai Beach

It’s very cheap to travel to neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Airplane flights are often as cheap as $75.00 for a roundtrip, and 4-star hotels are inexpensive when you get to your destination. You can also go to the beach for a quick weekend getaway. It’s possible to get to a beautiful Thai beach within an hour and a half south of Bangkok. If you go there by bus, it will only cost you as little as $3.00. It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to take a weekend trip to a Thai beach, soak up the sun, go parasailing, swimming, play golf, or relax by the hotel pool for a fraction of what it will  cost in the US or Europe. A weekend away in Phuket or Pattaya can cost you as little as $25.00 a night, and with cheap food, drinks, and cheap shopping everywhere, it’s easy to turn one trip into a monthly or even weekly habit. When one lives in Bangkok, it’s like being on vacation for the most part of the year.

Thai People

Thai people are kind, helpful, and easy to get along with. Simply put, they are some of the nicest people in the world. Because Thais are friendly and non-aggressive, working in a Bangkok workplace is so much more relaxing than in a Western office or business. Expats love working in Bangkok because the people here make work so much fun and less stressful.

The Weather

If you like hot, sunny weather all year round, then Bangkok is for you. Many people who move here come for the weather, especially people like the Brits who come from a country that’s cold and damp all the time. The average temperature is 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit most of the time, and sometimes it can be quite hot, and you’ll find that your clothes are damp with sweat more often than not, but if you love the idea of waking up to a bright, sunshiny day every day, and if you don’t like to wear a coat or jacket, then Bangkok is definitely for you.

All of these reasons add up to why a lot of expats choose to make Bangkok their permanent home. Though relocating to another country is a big step, Bangkok, and the people living in it, can make the transition smoother for anyone who wants adventure and fun for the rest of their lives.

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