What I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Bangkok

What I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Bangkok

Back in October, I decided to move to Bangkok after completing my teaching certification course. I chose Bangkok because of the job opportunities, the city life and the fact that it is easy to travel to other countries and cities.

Moving to a foreign city has all the same stresses as a city in one’s country along with culture shock and many surprises. My first few weeks in Bangkok were exciting and stressful and there were definitely some things I wish I had known prior to moving here.

The most important thing I had to deal with was finding a job and place to live. I ended up having a two-week trial run at a school in suburban Bangkok. During that time, I was living in a hotel nearby the school. I didn’t like the area I was staying in and I thought it was important to be closer to the center of the city. I finally settled on an apartment that was about 45 to 60 minutes away from my job.

I’ve discovered that expats live all over Bangkok and that after a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is travel an hour to get home.

Looking back, I would definitely have searched for a place closer to my job instead of the central part of the city. I thought expats would only live in the center and the commute wouldn’t be so bad. But I’ve discovered that expats live all over Bangkok and that after a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is travel an hour to get home.

moving to bangkok
I moved to Bangkok with no prior knowledge of the city.

In addition to having an apartment and job, it is essential to be able to direct a cab in Bangkok. The city doesn’t have the greatest public transportation system and I find myself using cabs almost on a daily basis. When I first moved to Bangkok, I thought cabs drivers would know specific locations such as hotels or restaurants. However, in order to successfully get anywhere, one must know the street name and the name of the area. Having a phone number of the place one is going to is also helpful.

Before arriving to Thailand, I wish I had learned basic phrases in Thai such as “left,” “right” or “straight.” Knowing how to direct a cab driver in Thai can be useful and I now find myself using these phrases regularly.

The last thing I wish I had known when moving to Bangkok was to expect surprises, stay relaxed and have an open mind.

Strangely enough, I also struggled with shopping. This might seem silly considering the amount of malls crammed into Bangkok. However, looking for extremely specific things can be challenging. At the beginning, I had problems finding specific polo shirts for my job and various work supplies I needed.

The malls and markets can be so big, crowded and overwhelming that I used to hate going to them. I have found that asking the locals where to find certain things can be useful. Although the Internet can be helpful, sometimes cheaper and more convenient stores can be found through word of mouth.

The last thing I wish I had known when moving to Bangkok was to expect surprises, stay relaxed and have an open mind. During my first few weeks here, I found myself getting frustrated and annoyed when things didn’t go my way.

A lot of people speak little to no English, so it’s important to be patient when someone doesn’t understand what you’re saying. Other things in Thailand are also different than in the United States and that took me some getting used to. For example, I used to get annoyed when stores didn’t accept credit cards, but eventually I learned to just carry cash with me at all times.

moving to Bangkok
I learned it’s important to be outgoing and friendly.

Moving to Bangkok was a great learning experience and my mistakes and successes have made me into a more independent and self-sufficient person.

It’s also really important to be outgoing and friendly. One thing I did right was look to make lots of friends and travel buddies. I was able to meet a lot of people through my job and through friends of friends. In addition, there are a variety of Meetup groups that cater towards people of various interests. It is a good way to meet people and assure a positive experience abroad.

Moving to a foreign city is hard and frustrating. I moved to Bangkok with no prior knowledge of the city and no idea what I was doing. If I could re-do anything, I would have made sure I did plenty of research and talked to anyone who has been to this location before. Moving to Bangkok was a great learning experience and my mistakes and successes have made me into a more independent and self-sufficient person.

Moving to Bangkok

 

What I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Bangkok

Related Reading

Two Weeks in Northern Thailand: Finding my Bliss
Visiting Koh Phi Phi, Thailand on a Budget
9 Things that Surprised Me about Traveling in Thailand
First Time Thailand… It’s Now or Never
Travel Thailand: Land of Smiles
How the Phi Phi Islands Surprised Me
6 Lessons I Learned While Teaching in the “Land of Smiles”

Have you traveled to Thailand? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear  from you.

What I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Bangkok top photo by  Lisheng Chang on Unsplash

About Jenny Tolep

Jenny TolepJenny Tolep is currently working as an English teacher in Bangkok, Thailand. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new places, meeting new people and photography.

2 thoughts on “What I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Bangkok

  1. Avatar
    Fatima
    July 6, 2016
    Reply

    Hello

    I am going to Thailand at the end of this month and I am definitely considering the option of staying there for a year or so.
    This was very helpful.
    Thank you very much

  2. Avatar
    Sammy Bell
    August 24, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Jenny!

    I am leaving in about a month to teach English in Thailand, too. Since your article was posted about a year ago, I was just wondering if you were still over there teaching. I would love to talk to you and hear anything else you have to say about your experience!

    -Sammy

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