An Expats Guide To Adjusting To Life In Bangkok

Adjusting to life in any new environment can feel strange at first, but we humans are surprisingly adaptable. Of course, if you are planning on moving to Bangkok, then you likely have a very good reason, however, that doesn’t change the fact that there will be a few things that will take some getting used to. 

In this article, we’re going to share some helpful tips on what to expect and how to adjust to your new life as a Bangkok expat! Reā reìm t̂n kạn ley!

Understand your visa situation 

One of the drawbacks with living life abroad is the visa situation. Do plenty of research and make sure that you are getting the right visa for you. 

You should expect to have to leave the country every 90-days or so (or head to immigration) to get a stamp. It can be tedious, but it’s a small price to pay. 

Brush up on the currency 

It’s always strange adjusting to a new currency – particularly when they deal in the thousands (e.g., ฿1,000 Thai Baht is roughly $30 USD). 

Just make sure you understand the conversions inside and out as it’s all too easy to spend way too much when your wallet is filled with what feels like Monopoly money. 

Master the public transport system 

The biggest culture shock for most people moving to Bangkok is the traffic! So, master the public transport system and save yourself a headache. 

The BTS Skytrain or MRT might seem overwhelming at first, but they can save you a whole lot of time, rather than being lazy and getting a taxi during rush hour traffic. 

Learn some basic Thai and study the ‘Wai etiquette’ 

While many Bangkok residents will speak English, going the extra smile and picking up some basic conversational Thai will go a long way. In fact, the Thai people are very proud of their heritage and love it when foreigners make the effort. 

Also, brush up on ‘Wai etiquette’ (the prayer like greeting Thais use), and show your respect. 

These things aren’t expected, but immersing yourself in the culture is highly recommended. 

Join some expat groups 

There are plenty of expat groups on social media and we recommend joining them. You’ll be able to find plenty of advice and recommendations from an active and welcoming expatriate community. 

Such groups are a great way to discover accommodation opportunities, such as Ideo Mobi Sukvumvit, and you’ll discover some of the best bars and restaurants in the city as well. It’s all about who you know in Bangkok! 

Plus, it’s always nice to connect with people from your home country when you are feeling a little lonely or overwhelmed. 

Be patient and open minded 

There will be many things that frustrate you. But in the same breath, there will also be so much that will take your breath away. 

Thailand is a wonderful country with a beautiful culture and Bangkok is a capital city that has something for everyone, including cultural tours, exploring temples, going to rooftop cocktail bars, wine tours, cookery classes, Muay Thai, shopping, and much, much more. 

Explore, be social, dine out, and never be afraid to ask questions. There will be difficult days, but if you go in with an open mind (and do plenty of research), you will have the time of your life!