- Download our Moving to Bangkok Guide (PDF)
One of the world’s premier tourist destinations, Bangkok presents expats with a wholly different cultural environment within the familiar framework of a cosmopolitan, international city. Expats moving to Bangkok are usually mesmerised by its cityscape, which is carved by canals that branch out from the Chao Phraya River.
Snaking through the heart of the city, this natural feature not only shapes the city’s layout, but also daily life. The influence of the river and its canals can be seen in its many floating markets and the cultural customs of its residents.
Living in Bangkok as an expat
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, its largest city and the centre of business, culture and politics. The majority of Bangkok's expat population moves to the city for the plethora of cultural attractions and work opportunities. While skilled expats can be found in industries such as finance and logistics, many foreigners find that teaching English is still the easiest way to make a living in the Thai capital, as jobs in this field are plentiful.
While the city contends with notorious traffic jams, expats who choose to use the city's efficient and relatively comprehensive public transport system will not only save money, but also time.
Thanks to Bangkok's multicultural population and friendly locals, expats are unlikely to suffer severe culture shock in the Land of Smiles. While Bangkok's rental market is competitive, new arrivals to the city can easily find suitable accommodation in any of the city's areas and suburbs.
The key factor to securing a home in Bangkok is ensuring proximity to one's workplace or children's schools to avoid long and frustrating commutes. Expats moving to Bangkok should be aware that the city has high levels of air pollution, so it's essential to take precautionary measures such as wearing a mask and running an air purifier at home.
Cost of living in Bangkok
Overall, the cost of living in Thailand is low, but as is typical of a large capital city, Bangkok can be an expensive place to live. Having all the conveniences and amenities that big-city living provides comes at a cost, especially if expats choose to indulge in luxuries such as serviced apartments, fine dining and imported goods. The good news is that, with some planning, it's possible to live in Bangkok on a budget, especially if expats are willing to live a simpler lifestyle more akin to the Thai way of living.
Families and children in Bangkok
Bangkok is renowned for its vibrant entertainment scene and the warmth of its residents. It provides opportunities for everyone from, young, single expats to families, who can enjoy a laid-back lifestyle without sacrificing the quality of international schools and healthcare facilities. The city has even become a popular medical tourism destination thanks to the high level of healthcare available at affordable rates.
Parents will also have plenty to see and do with their children at the weekend, as Bangkok offers many family-friendly attractions. Despite its reputation as a concrete jungle, Bangkok also boasts a fair few green spaces and water parks for families to enjoy throughout the city.
Climate in Bangkok
Heat and humidity are the prevailing weather conditions in this tropical city. During the hot season from March to May, the mercury frequently reaches and exceeds 30°C (86°F). The wet season arrives just as temperatures start to wind down around the end of May. Downpours are frequent, so it's best to get into the habit of carrying an umbrella. In November, the rain abates with the arrival of the cool season, which still has pleasant temperatures around the 68°F (20°C) mark.
Sun-loving expats moving to Bangkok are sure to enjoy the many perfect beach days that the city offers between the wet and hot seasons. Whatever the weather, the vibrancy of Bangkok is hard to beat, and the city has a lot to offer new arrivals should they come with an open mind and a sense of adventure.
What do expats say about living in Bangkok?
"Thailand offers opportunities for adventures and shenanigans that – to your average salary worker in the West – are outrageously exotic, and sometimes life-changing." Read more of Greg's comments about living in Bangkok.
"What I enjoy the most about Bangkok is the weather, the people, the food, the energy, and the feeling of freedom you have when you live in this city. It’s an exciting city with a lot of things to do, and where everything feels possible. Overall, I would say that the quality of life is way better in Thailand compared to France for me. Not only are services cheaper and more easily accessible, giving you access to more without breaking the bank. But I also feel like there are more opportunities for work, business, and to meet new people than in France. Read more from Matt, a French expat living in Bangkok.
►Planning your move? Check out Pros and Cons of Moving to Bangkok
►Frequently Asked Questions about Bangkok concisely answers your most pressing questions
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.
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