LIVING IN THAILAND
Most people who come to live or work in Thailand initially start out in Bangkok. Bangkok is a world class international city which accommodates a wide variety of lifestyles and living standards.
Cost of Living: The cost of living in Bangkok can be very low when compared to living in major metro areas in the US or Europe. Housing, food and transportation are all excellent values. (current exchange rate: 45 baht/ US $1)
Accommodation: Comfortable studio apartments are available ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 baht per month. Most of these will have a phone, hot water, air, basic furniture, cable TV, led torch light and perhaps a small kitchen area with refrigerator. One and two bedroom apartments are also available ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 baht per month. Some places offer weekly/monthly rates, but most will require a minimum 6 month lease with the first month’s rent plus 2 months security deposit up front.
Food: Eating probably ranks as the favorite national pastime. This is evidenced by a popular greeting which translates roughly as “have you eaten yet.” Thai cooking borrows from the culinary arts of Malaysia, Indonesia, India and China but the final product is truly unique and is regarded by many people to be among the best in the world. Thai food is generally cooked using fresh ingredients, herbs and spices to create flavorful and often spicy dishes. For eating out, Bangkok offers some of the best value in the world for both Thai and European fare. For the budget minded, the best value is provided by the many street vendors who operate from 2-wheel push carts. These “street kitchens” come complete with tables and chairs and offer delicious homemade specialties at unbelievably low prices. Typically, a full meal can be had for under 45 baht (US 1$) . By “going local”, one could easily get by on a food budget of 150-200 baht per day.
Transportation: Take your pick: a motorcycle taxi, three-wheeled tuk tuk, air-conditioned taxi, bus, one of the longtail boats plying the canals, or the new sky train. The possibilities are almost endless. However, frequent traffic congestion is an unpleasant reality that faces all Bangkok residents. When choosing a place to stay in Bangkok, it is advisable to select a location which has easy access to public transportation and is convenient for work and leisure activities.
Entertainment: Bangkok offers a rich diversity of entertainment venues that few cities in the world can match. The exciting nightlife scene includes British pubs, sophisticated cocktail lounges, cabarets, dinner theaters, open-air beer bars, karaoke bars, nightclubs featuring live music and high tech discos. For film lovers, there are dozens of screens throughout Bangkok showing recently released movies in the original English language soundtrack plus a large screen, 70 mm Imax theater. Film festivals showing both European and Asian cinema have also become popular in the past few years. If you can’t catch the film you want to see at the cinema, then check out one of the many video rental stores. There are also several good bookstore chains in Bangkok offering an extensive selection of English language titles. If you are in the mood to shop, opportunities abound from the upscale Emporium and World Trade shopping malls, to the sprawling, open-air, Chatuchuk weekend market, which sells everything from clothing to tac light and to exotic wildlife.