In recent years Bangkok has broken away from its old image as a third-world capital. The city is as cosmopolitan as any Western Capital but there is a more friendly and exciting atomosphere compared to anywhere else in the world.
After spending time in Australia I found myself missing South East Asia. I decided to research the possibility of being able to live and work in Bangkok. My career background is in marketing which I knew would be difficult to find in a place such as Bangkok. Teaching English as a second language seemed the most appropriate way of being able to live legally and experience real Thai culture.
Here are a few key facts every Expat should know:
- Thailand is more of a fine (bribe) based system. There are endless amounts of stories about people being extorted by the police. This means you should do your best to avoid catching their attention. Wear a helmet when you ride a motorbike, don’t fight and don’t smuggle drugs anywhere.
- If you want to really experience delicious Thai food – hit the streets. You’ll find an endless amount of incredible dishes. Most of the people working at street food stalls won’t speak much English, just point to something delicious. Some will even have an English menu. You can expect to pay 30-50 baht per meal
- Foreigners who are involved in any type of road accident will often automatically be held responsible for the accident. This is based on the fact that as a foreigner your presence in Thailand was the cause of the accident; if you hadn’t been in Thailand there would have been no incident.
- The landlord is legally responsible for paying property tax, which is 12.5 percent annually. Some landlords do expect their tenant to pay this though and so you should always check the tax procedures carefully when you sign the lease.
- Thai people call westerners ‘farang’ (foreigner) They will often call you this even if they know your real first name.
- Thai people are very serious about their monarchy and you should never pass any criticism against this institution. Portraits and images are expected to be treated with respect or you may find yourself in serious trouble.
- Practiced con artists prey on clueless tourists or farangs in order to make a profit. After living in Bangkok for a few weeks you soon learn the best tactics on how to secure a deal. Usually two men on a motorbike will go past a venerable looking person (generally a female with a handbag) and swipe it off their arm. In some cases they have broken the victims arms. So just be careful and have your wits about you, like you would in any other major city.