You probably know that Bangkok has become very popular in the recent years.
Many people have come to Bangkok for vacation, but many others also relocate here and become expatriates or commonly known as expats. That’s why cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai have been popular destinations for expats relocating to Thailand. According to Wikipedia, expats range from mainland Chinese, Indian, Japanese, American, European, Taiwanese, South Korean, Australian, Arab, Malaysian, Singaporean, Filipino, New Zealanders and more.
But Thailand is its own culture compared to Asia or South East Asia with its intricacies in culture and dynamics. And there are many things you may not know about Thailand.
In the sections below we will be focusing specifically on Bangkok and some advice when you arrive. We invite you to share your comments on what we think may help you get accustomed and integrated to Bangkok Culture.
#1 – Start Off with Communications
Communications is critical here in Thailand and especially in the city where everyone has a mobile phone! To reach anyone at any time, you can just send them an online text message or directly call them. Your easiest solution is to get a SIM card right after exiting the baggage claim. It’s cheap and easy. We advise that you prepare a smart phone where you can download LINE or FaceBook apps because it’s a 98% guarantee that anyone you meet will have either one of those installed on their phone that you can connect with.
#2 – Local Community Transportation
If you’re still at the airport with your bags, you can choose to take the express airport train. It’s fast and cheaper than a taxi, but you will probably have to take a taxi when you get off at your required station. Or you can take a taxi to go directly to your hotel.
There are many local transport routes that take you around Bangkok when you’re here. There are local buses, local boats and local motorbike taxi’s that take you where you need to go. But the most common community transportation methods are the BTS and the MRT which are trains (above and below ground) that travel around the main areas of Bangkok allowing access to most anywhere.
If you cannot get to where you’d like to be from those local community transportation services, there are always taxi’s because taxis are everywhere in Bangkok. Tuk Tuk’s are also available, but unlike Taxi’s they don’t have meters and prices will be negotiated by the driver. Try to avoid Taxi’s that don’t allow the meter to be turned on.
But what about Uber? Uber is also available in Thailand. But for Uber you will need a credit card or Thai bank account to connect to. It’s not as advisable if you’re in Bangkok for vacation or short stay, however this option is available here in Bangkok.
#3 – Local Culture: Being Respectful is the Key
This doesn’t apply to just Bangkok, but any other city or country you visit. It’s always best to investigate about the culture of the place you are about to visit. Thai people are very friendly people. It’s not that surprising for them to come to you to initiate a conversation or offer some advice. A couple things to know about the local culture and respect are:
1. The Head is the Holiest Body Part
The head is considered holy. There is a firm belief that the head is the strongest link between the person and Buddha. It is advised not to touch someone’s head or play with someone’s head unless you are sure that they would not be offended.
2. The Foot is the Lowest Body Part
Just like the Head as the Holiest Part, the foot is the exact opposite. The foot is low to the ground and considered dirty. You should not point your foot to objects or use your foot to pick up items. The feet should also not be pointed in the direction of the head. It is not advised to place your feet on a head rest in any case because 1. Your feet are placed on a head rest which is a place for the head and 2. If someone walks past your, your feet would most likely be pointed at their face or head.
#4 – Humility is Admired
If you want to integrate the Thai Society you should know that for Thai people, humility is the most important virtue. Bragging or audacious behavior is not seen with good eyes for most Thais. Most Thai’s are very nice and friendly, by reciprocating that behavior and smiling most Thai’s will appreciate this friendly gesture. They are happy to help where they can and will sometimes go out of their way to help you specifically. Being humble is admired amongst most Thai’s and will get you far in Thailand.
#5 – Meeting Other Expats
Meeting other expats in Bangkok is also very easy. Bangkok is known for its legendary nightlife, but there are many local hangouts and venues located all over Bangkok. Nightly events are held at bars or restaurants where you can meet other expats interested in the same music, food or event types. For example, if you want to enjoy a good evening while listening to Jazz and Blues, then Apoteka on Soi 11 or Bamboo Bar are some places to go. Expats also often enjoy Bangkok via some of the best rooftop bars. Places like Vertigo, Park Society, Sky Bar, Above Eleven, Zense and more. There are a variety of types of venues for all different types of preferences.
Another favorite in Bangkok are networking nights or party type events that also happen many times and in different areas around town monthly. Networking nights are nights where groups of people with the same interests such as Book Clubs, Business Networking Nights, Food Clubs, Dance Nights (like Salsa) and more meet regularly for drinks and discussions with similar people.
Did you know all this about Bangkok?
The rich and vibrant city that it is. Full of international influences gathered around a rich Asian culture distinct and which can only be described as Thai. You must experience it to know it and we hope that our little advice helps you to get along well with the Thai Culture. So go on now, book your ticket… because you’re going to love Bangkok!