Moving to Bangkok
One of the world’s premier tourist destinations, expats moving to Bangkok will find themselves in a wholly different cultural environment within the familiar framework of an international city. It is a city of contrasts, however, with the glamour of its upscale malls and tourist attractions a sharp contrast to the grit of its slum areas.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, its largest city and the centre of business, culture and politics, enjoying significant regional importance in Southeast Asia. As a result, it is often the centre of political tensions, most recently when the government was overthrown by the military in a bloodless coup in 2014.
This has, however, been the case for decades - there have been a dozen coups since the country's first one in 1932. Upheaval and change are a regular part of life in Bangkok, and foreigners have been largely unaffected by the coup and the political demonstrations leading up to it. Expats are, however, advised to keep an eye on the latest headlines.
The cityscape is carved by canals that branch out from the Chao Phraya River, which snakes through the heart of Bangkok. The natural landscape not only shapes the city’s layout but also daily life, which is seen in its floating markets and the cultural customs of its residents.
The majority of Bangkok's expat population moves to the city for its cultural attractions and a cost of living far below that of cities such as New York and London. While skilled expats can be found in industries such as finance and logistics, most foreigners find that teaching English is the easiest way to make a living in the Thai capital.
The city’s unwieldy expansion has also contributed to it being known for having some of the worst traffic in the world. Motorcycle taxis fearlessly weave through endless lines of cars, leaving many new arrivals feeling that they either have to wait forever or risk their lives to get to their destination.
The downsides of life in Bangkok are, however, more than made up for. The city is renowned for its vibrant entertainment scene and the warmth of its residents. It provides opportunities for everyone from young, single expats to expat families, who can enjoy a laidback lifestyle without sacrificing on the quality of international schools and healthcare facilities. It is even a popular medical tourism destination, for the high quality of care it provides at affordable rates.
As a result, expats are more than happy to endure minor discomforts to enjoy a life in this diverse and unique city brimming with vitality.