In a city such as Bangkok, or any city around the world for that matter, there will be things you’ll love and things that you will come to hate. So we’ll start with the negative points and then move on to the positives about living in the City of Angels.
Things about Bangkok that are downright unpleasant:
- Pollution, the obvious one. Yes, it’s a no brainer of course, as most cities will have you breathing in more than your fair share of air-born poisons, nevertheless Bangkok is one of the most polluted cities on the planet, and will arguably shorten your life if you stay there for a long period of time. In fact, if you live in the centre of Bangkok, you will feel like you are breathing through a soiled nappy half the time.
- Hazardous roads always remain a major concern, especially considering that there are 66 road deaths per day in Thailand and this country also has the second highest road death fatality count in the world, second only to Libya. Bangkok’s roads are noticeably more chaotic than the rest of Thailand, with the exception of Pattaya. If you are staying in Bangkok but haven’t yet made a will, perhaps now would be a good time.
- Dodgy taxi drivers are a general annoyance and tarnish the trade of good taxi drivers in Bangkok. Most taxi drivers are great; however, you will meet your fair share of taxi drivers who won’t switch on the meter or will go the more profitable scenic route to take you to your destination. It’s not so much the loss of money for paying too much for the fare that will leave you fuming, it will instead be the fact that the dodgy driver in question thinks that you are too stupid and green to realize that he’s ‘taking you for a ride’.
- Coldness in Bangkok, temperature wise, does not really exist, but being a city the people are not going to be as friendly as the folks out in the countryside; thus Bangkok will at times feel cold and emotionless. You may find yourself befriending a coconut like Tom Hanks did in Castaway in order to make a genuine friend at first; although rest assured that even though city folk generally are a bit more guarded they will eventually open up to you once they get to know you.
- Wiring in Bangkok is especially nonsensical at first glance in Bangkok, (and on the second and subsequent glances for that matter) with cables all being the same black colour, all crisscrossed and tangled up like an airborne, overhead-pasta-assault-nightmare. If you are of average height or shorter, then the good news is that you probably won’t be decapitated, electrocuted or tangled up in them. Tall people however will have to duck down low in some areas of Bangkok.
- The word ‘Bangkok’ is annoying, yes you heard me, annoying, but why is it annoying you may ask? Well, it sounds really ugly to native English speakers. Seeming as this is supposed to be a translation of the ‘City of Angels’ it does a poor job of describing the beauty of the Thai capital. Arguably, people say that the word Bangkok was translated from ‘village by the stream’ etc, that’s all good and well but . . . no, it still sounds bad. It’s right up there with equally suggestive imaginative alternatives such as ‘Hitfanny’, ‘buttslap’ or ‘Breastcollision’.
Things about Bangkok that are just great:
- 24 hour food availability is a great perk for living in Bangkok. You can literally get up at anytime of the night and find food. There are even 7 Eleven stores and other convenience stores that open 24 hours per day. As an added bonus, if you visit a 7 Eleven in Thailand you will meet ‘7 Eleven dogs‘ guaranteed. There is almost always a dog chilling out on in front of the 7 Eleven entrance door.
- First-class entertainment abounds in Bangkok. There are clubs, pubs and events happening all over Bangkok all the time. It is truly the city that never sleeps and makes other cities look quite boring in comparison, entertainment-wise.
- Transport around the city is abundant and there are plenty of options to choose from. You can take a taxi, a bus, a tuk-tuk, the MRT or the BTS Skytrain around the city easily and affordably. If you have ever had the unfortunate pleasure of driving through the centre of Bangkok in your car looking for a parking space, then you will appreciate Bangkok’s public transportation options even more.
- Good company can be found in Bangkok very easily, as there are so many clubs, groups and hangouts where like-minded people can meet up. For example, you can join a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, join the Bangkok Chess League, Field hockey club or even just meet people at one of the many sports clubs around the capital.
- Familiarity is a big advantage to expats or holiday makers staying in Bangkok, where English is spoken widely and even sign posts are jointly in English as well as Thai. If you live outside of Bangkok or a tourist area, you will have no choice but to ardently learn Thai in order to survive and be independent. In Bangkok you could arguably get by without knowing a single word of Thai.
- City culture in Bangkok is very cosmopolitan. You will not be blasted with maw lam disco music in the early hours of the morning or have too many people looking at you as if you were from another planet, as you might do in more remote areas. Bangkok is pretty open-minded and caters to all nationalities. If you want to eventually move to more of a Thai area you can always live on the outskirts of Bangkok; where you will be able to live Thai style but with the centre of Bangkok not far away for when you yearn familiarity.