Living in Bangkok
The mere mention of the name ‘Bangkok’ stirs the imagination and works up a sense of excitement and adventure like no other. Asia is a different world, Thailand a tropical oasis, and Bangkok is the epicentre of it all. No other city on Earth comes close to equalling the mystique that surrounds it… or does it?
Actually, the modern city is nothing like the old-world images that might be jumping into your head, and I do admit to being a little disappointed that this is the case. Bangkok is fast becoming just another urban metropolis with the same high-street brand names that you’ll see scattered around all over Europe and North America but, at the same time, the city does still have a charm and character of its own. It retains the unique Thai cultural heritage that a life in Thailand always comes with.
At any rate, when you are living in Bangkok rather than merely visiting the place, you’ll come to appreciate the modern comforts and amenities that economic development has brought. Old world nostalgia is a fine thing, but for most expats and long term visitors it definitely takes a bow compared to things like modern healthcare, cuisine, infrastructure, transport and the rest.
In terms of the cost of living in Bangkok, there are no surprises. As you would expect, prices for just about everything are significantly higher than in other areas of Thailand. The value of real estate in the capital city is much higher, particularly in the city centre, and that leads to expensive property costs whether you choose to rent or buy.
If the allure of Bangkok girls has got you thinking about retirement in Thailand, or perhaps a career relocation, you needn’t worry too much about costs. By way of comparison, it is still a lot cheaper than most major western cities – estimated at not much more than a third of the overall cost of living in London or New York.
Bangkok is every bit the modern metropolis, and life there is often crowded and hectic. Add to that the stifling heat and humidity at certain times of the year and you’ve got a place that can easily drive you nuts.
Speaking of driving, I’d advise anyone to avoid it, it isn’t necessary and it can cause problems. I can personally assure you that driving through downtown Bangkok during rush-hour is no fun at all, it’s total gridlock and no-one gives an inch!
When driving you have no option but to force your way into tiny gaps and, in the event of an accident, you can be sure that you will be blamed whether it’s your fault or not. I’ve even heard of a westerner that witnessed a traffic accident as he was driving along; having some medical training he stopped to make sure everyone was okay.
By the time the police arrived the two drivers involved had concocted a story that laid the blame squarely on the westerner. Presumably, neither of the Thai drivers had any car insurance and they assumed that the westerner would have it… and so were going after a pay-out.
Luckily, Taxis are an extremely cheap alternative, and there’s also the
option of the sky-train for getting around town (although it does get