Posted by: ghostdawg2 | July 13, 2009

Living in Thailand: So What’s It Like? By Amy Starkey Praphantanathorn / February 21 2009

Summary: One expat shares her experiences adjusting to life abroad in Thailand.

Living in Thailand - So What's it Like?

This post is for those of you who have not yet lived abroad and wonder what it's really like living in Thailand. It depends on what kind of person you are and your perspective on your life, the attitude you have upon arrival and how prepared you are. Someone who had no choice but to come will likely have a different outlook than someone who deliberately chose Thailand as a place to live.

My experience is that because I'm an adventurous person who loves to explore, I was excited every weekend and holiday for well over the first year of my arrival in Bangkok. If I didn't have a holiday weekend where I could travel to another destination within Thailand, then I explored Bangkok. I saw all the tourist spots, off the beaten path places, art galleries and sometimes just chilled (literally) in a movie theater for a couple of hours.

Everyday life during the work week became "normal" very quickly. There was an element of interest in working with Thai colleagues and their way of doing business (for more on that, please read the book Working with the Thais, by Henry Holmes). I worked out just about every evening, had dinner, fiddled around on the computer, read a good book, had my nightly shower and went to bed - very routine, and unexciting. You need an element of routine in your life otherwise you will be exhausted in no time. Some people need more routine than others - I feel most comfortable if a majority of my life is expected with regular doses of spontaneity and newness.

But it depends on how much you notice, too. I loved walking to work in the early mornings noticing the doves and myna birds calling out and smelling the incense occasionally from homes making morning merit.

Occasionally monks would make their morning alms collection. Tropical flowers in bloom. The smell of various breakfast foods in the air. Motorcycles and samlors and tuk tuks going up and down the small soi. My routine commute to work always had elements of newness and touches of the exotic for me.

My life felt like a long holiday for quite a good amount of time. If you're curious about new places and have a love of learning, then living in a new city, not to mention a new country, will be a thrilling experience. The challenge of the language barrier will certainly keep you on your toes, too. But keep a cool heart and become more like a Thai when things don't go as you planned - Mai pen rai - nevermind.

Arm yourself with a good map and even though you are not a tourist, buy a Thailand guidebook for your weekend and holiday excursions. You'll have a better time the more prepared you are, and the great thing is that there is no sense of urgency to see it all because you're LIVING here and if you miss something you can always return. Take your time and really get to know the place you're exploring. You'll have a deep sense of understanding and fulfillment in many ways. Enjoy!

About the Author

The Expat Women's Guide to Living in Thailand is a blog and e-book guide is the only source of information for female expats living and/or working in Thailand. Most websites and guidebooks for expats in Thailand are for men since there are far fewer women in residence. We have different needs than do male expats and this comprehensive blog and e-book is filled with useful, up to date information.

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