Why I Love and Hate Living in Bangkok
When I think of Bangkok, an array of words come to mind. I think of traffic and pollution, heat and congestion, nightlife and excitement, culture and adventure. My opinion of this city constantly shifts between love and hate for the urban Asian lifestyle.
I chose to live in Bangkok over another city or town in Thailand mainly because it seemed like the easiest option. As a 22-year-old female who traded her college robes for an international plane ticket, a big city with plenty of job opportunities, expats and Western amenities seemed like the best choice.
On my bad days, I always wonder what my experience would be like if I had chosen to teach English in a small Northern town or on a tropical island. I think about how simple it would be to hop on a bicycle for 15 minutes to get to work verses taking four different modes of transportation to a commute an hour to work.
With so many people crammed in one space, Bangkok is the hottest place I’ve been in Thailand.
My main hatred for Bangkok is the traffic. Going down the street in a cab can take 20 minutes and everyday is a traffic jam. It is rare that I am able to hop right off the train and be at my end destination. There is almost always a cab ride or 15-minute walk after using public transportation. It takes forever to go anywhere.
In addition to the traffic, the city is hot, congested and dirty at times. With so many people crammed in one space, Bangkok is the hottest place I’ve been in Thailand. During the majority of the time, I feel gross because I generally break into a sweat as soon as I leave my house. Bangkok can feel dirty due to all the pollution, garbage swimming the river and abundance of rats and cockroaches roaming the streets. I have even had a rat crawl under my feet in a movie theater.
I’m sure it sounds like Bangkok is the last place anyone would want to live considering all of the above. But there are some great things about living in Bangkok as well. First of all, there are plenty of job opportunities available and opportunities to travel. I had no problem finding a teaching job when I arrived and there are many other career options available as well.
In addition, traveling is simple here. There are two international airports, multiple bus and train stations and tons of travel agencies. I have been able to travel to many places in and outside of Thailand, such as Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia. I love that, in Bangkok, it’s easy to plan a weekend getaway or a quick trip during the holidays.
Although I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else in Thailand, I wouldn’t trade my experience in Bangkok for anything – despite the rats.
What I also love are the endless possibilities of things to do. Bangkok has everything from giant shopping centers to massage parlors to cooking classes to bars and clubs. Luxurious activities like attending rooftop pool parties or going to themed restaurants and skyline bars are relatively affordable and are fun and exciting. I never have to worry about being bored because there is always something new and different to try. In addition, western amenities are always available and definitely needed after being away from home for a long period of time.
Every home has its advantages and its disadvantages. I have found I often sway between two extremes when thinking about the city. Although I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere else in Thailand, I wouldn’t trade my experience in Bangkok for anything – despite the rats.
Photos for Why I Love and Hate Living in Bangkok by Unsplash and Jenny Tolep.