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Bangkok is a feast of sights and sounds. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping malls, open markets, golf courses, temples, parks and an array of exotic scents all combine to make up the expat’s lifestyle experience in Bangkok. Expats new and established alike will find themselves with plenty to see and do in the Thai capital.
A weekend in Bangkok can fly by in a blur, and whether a foreign resident takes the tourist route through the city's countless side streets or prefers to settle in and sit shoulder to shoulder with the locals, there's never a dull moment.
Shopping in Bangkok
From trinkets found at the city’s famous floating markets to high-end fashion, Bangkok has it all when it comes to shopping. Expats merely have to decide if they are in the mood to trawl street stalls for the perfect bargain, or if they'd prefer the easy access of mega malls which house everything, from cinemas to bowling alleys and even the odd aquarium.
For fans of shopping malls, an entire weekend in Bangkok can be spent at Siam Paragon, which is easily accessible by the BTS Sky Train. Other major malls are the Emporium, Central World and MBK, which are all within a short distance of one another.
Those after a more authentic shopping experience can try out Bangkok’s ever-popular open markets. Chatuchak market, said to be one of the world’s largest flea markets, offers excellent value for everything unusual and unique the country has to offer.
Nightlife in Bangkok
Bangkok comes to life at night and new arrivals eager to spend a weekend in the city will have no trouble finding a variety of vibrant entertainment venues. Whether expats want to let their hair down and dance the night away or prefer to sip on cocktails at sophisticated rooftop bars, there's something for almost everyone in Bangkok.
Sukhumvit is popular with expats and tourists alike, while Royal City Avenue tends to be frequented by a more local crowd. While Bangkok has an excellent range of clubs and bars, those looking to enjoy good live music may struggle here.
Eating out in Bangkok
Locals in Bangkok are passionate about food. Often, the very first question Thai people will ask one another is, "Have you eaten yet?”. It won't be long before expats begin to understand what food means to the locals and to appreciate the amazing variety of food in Bangkok.
Whether a streetside noodle dish with homemade broth or a local vendor concocting spicy somtam, a plethora of exciting dishes are available, tasty and reasonably priced.
Naturally, at some point, every expat experiences a yearning for different options or something that tastes like home. Bangkok happily obliges with a whole host of bars and restaurants offering good quality international dining options, but at much higher prices.
Sightseeing in Bangkok
Every new arrival should take a trip to the Royal Grand Palace to view the wonderful architecture, learn about the country’s royal family and see the world-famous Emerald Buddha. The many Buddhist Temples (wats) in and around the city are also well worth a visit.
Most tourists pick out the generic spots for their sightseeing, but expats who wish to get to know the city on a more personal level should consider taking a bike or walking tour instead. Given the heat, walking tours aren't exactly commonplace, but there are a few companies who have strived to put together routes that bring across the authentic charm of Bangkok.
Expats wanting to experience something a bit rough and tough should head down to the Lumpini Muay Thai stadium in Silom for some blood, sweat and tears. Boxing, Thailand’s national sport, offers an exhilarating experience as well as a fascinating insight into Thai culture.
Sports and outdoor activities in Bangkok
Dotted around Bangkok are a few green parks which offer residents the chance to enjoy a picnic, take a paddle around the pond, walk the dog, play with their children, or simply take a break from the rushed pace of city living.
Bangkok is the perfect place to try Muay Thai. There are also plenty of great cycling and running routes in and around the city. Those wanting to escape the soaring temperatures will find a number of reputable gyms and yoga studios throughout Bangkok.
Alternatively, those looking for something a bit different always have the option of heading out to a golf course. There are plenty of quality courses situated around Bangkok which offer excellent value for money.
Are you an expat living in Bangkok?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bangkok. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Hailing from the Mecca of darts, Stoke on Trent, it didn't take long until my born and bred imperial instincts came knocking, instructing me to go out and teach the world the English way. Consequently, I find myself spreading the linguistic tongue of a rusty, has-been Empire to a generation who love their BB more than their mum.
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