The 10 Best Things About Thailand
If you ask an expat what they think about Thailand, their answer is dependent upon how long they’ve been in the country. More specifically, their answer depends on what ‘cycle’ of optimism or pessimism they’re experiencing. Expats genuinely have a love – hate relationship with the country, and it’s easy to see why.
Thai culture is polarizing to Westerners. On one hand, foreigners might fall in love with the lackadaisical management style of Thai employers. Your job in Thailand might genuinely be the easiest job you’ll ever have. On the other hand, foreigners might grow tired of the lack of accountability from their peers, an unfortunate side effect of Thailand’s social construct of “losing face”.
Regardless of where you are in your Thai experience, here is a list of some of the positive things you should be mindful of when living in the wonderful country of Thailand.
- Thailand is socially progressive.
While the West battles over gender identity, pronouns, and representation, Thailand seems to be leading the charge in gender expression and cultural acceptance of gender non-conforming individuals.
One of the best examples of Thailand’s progressive acceptance of gender expression is seen in their own language. The particles “ka” and “krap” are used at the end of sentences to add a polite tone to your words, and they also indicate to the listener what gender you identify as. “Ka” is feminine and “krap” is masculine. This linguistic phenomenon is liberating to anyone who worries about how to broach the subject of their new or ever changing gender identity.
Additionally, Thai parents and school teachers have been known to recognize gay, lesbian, and trans attributes in children from an early age. Sometimes, during special school events, adolescent ‘ladyboys’ are encouraged to apply makeup and express themselves as the beautiful women that they feel they are.
2. It’s easy to be a hermit.
Many foreigners who travel to Thailand come from small towns. Bangkok, in comparison to small, suburban, Western communities, might seem like an overwhelming change of pace. However, the language barrier and overall convenience of living in Bangkok allows even the most anti-social of us to have a fulfilling, comfortable, memorable experience.
For context, you might be the type of person who gets anxiety about the normal human interaction involved with ordering food at a restaurant. Your fears might be multiplied by the thought of dealing with interacting with a non-native English speaker. The fact is, there’s no need to worry as most restaurants that are worth going to have pictures on the menu. You can feel free to point at your desired dish and stare at your shoes while your server delivers your order to the chef. Also, if actually leaving your house is a concern, you have apps like Grab and Food Panda who will deliver freshly cooked meals from various restaurants directly to your condo.
3.Expats are friendly.
If you’re feeling a little more social, you can check out the seemingly endless amount of expat bars in Bangkok. Every bar has a slightly different scene, so you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for if your liver can handle it.
Looking for a quiet, classy pub for a casual conversation with friends? You’ll find many Irish pubs with generous happy hours and friendly patrons. Prefer imported beers with exotic ingredients? There are also plenty of beer bars with a constant rotation of interesting brews to sample.
If you’re not much of a drinker or you’re having a hard time meeting friends in bars, expat Facebook groups might be another place to check for like-minded foreigners. The conversational format of Facebook groups provides a format for you to suss out prospective friends. Are you looking for a shit talking edge lord to make dead baby jokes with? Browse through comments on any post in Bangkok Expats and shoot some friend requests. Feel like you haven’t heard literally all of the ladyboy jokes? Join a Pattaya based group and hunt for your favorite amateur comedian. All jokes aside, there are some genuinely cool people online doing some interesting things over here in Thailand. I’m sure they’d love to make new friends, if you’re cool enough.
4.Thailand has the best 7 Elevens in the world.
If you’ve ever had 7 Eleven for dinner in the states, you’ve probably also had suicidal thoughts. Western 7 Elevens simply do not have the quality of food or service that Thai 7 Elevens have.
Not only do Thai 7 Elevens offer whole foods like salad, fruit, and frozen vegetables, they also have an array of delicious microwavable sandwiches, entrees, and desserts that would make any character in “Half Baked” faint.
5.The cost of living and lifestyle is unbeatable.
If you live in Thailand, I challenge you to write down your budget and compare your lifestyle to the city you came from. How big of a room could you afford to rent? How often would you be able to eat out? How much would a prostitute cost? The truth is, there is no comparison. I live on the 34th floor of a brand new high rise condo. For the same amount of money, I would be sharing a house with an elderly couple back in the States.
6. You’re less of a loser over here.
Have you ever seen Dragon Ball Z? Do you remember how Vegeta was able to use a special machine to manipulate gravity in his workout room so that he could train to fight under extreme conditions? That’s kind of what it’s like living in the West. The expectations of Western culture are sometimes overwhelming. You should be married at 18, own a house in your 20s, have kids by 30, and anything less is considered a disappointment.
If you’ve lived life under these constraints, you’re Vegeta under extreme gravity. So the moment you step foot in to Thailand, you’ll realize how inhumanly strong you really are. Your banal life experiences in the West make you a celebrity out here. Oh, you’ve seen a band perform live in a bar? You stayed in a Motel 6 while on a business trip? You’ve eaten pizza in New York? You’re cool as fuck, and Thai women know it.
7.The heat is a blessing in disguise.
Have you noticed how awesome Asian people’s skin is? They’re like porcelain dolls (until their 60s), and I believe that the humid, hot weather in Southeast Asia is partly to blame. Living in Thailand is like living in a sauna. Every day, your pores are steamed clean by the baking sun. For foreigners who like a nice golden brown tan, a single stroll to the market will get you shades darker than any tanning salon in the Midwest.
8.Thailand has immigration figured out.
Whether you’re a conservative, crypto fascist, or simply a person who respects borders, you’re concerned about immigration. Thailand is the perfect example of how to manage immigration with bureaucratic policies. The Thai government has a thumb on everything from your metro card registration to your home address. The government is so good at keeping foreign invaders out that the foreign invasion of “tourists” has been declining over the last few years! A true testament to proper immigration laws.
9.Thai phone plans offer actual unlimited data!
As far as I know, there is no legitimate “unlimited” high speed data in the Western market. Most Thai phone service providers have an option for genuine unlimited, high speed 4G data. I pay around 30 USD every month and receive blazing fast internet on my phone. I can actually forget to switch to wifi when I get home and sometimes don’t notice or care.
10.Weekend vacations are spectacular and cheap.
Credit: The Thaiger
What would a weekend vacation look like in your home town? A trip to the bowling alley? Maybe a 5 hour drive to the nearest amusement park? Perhaps if you have the money, you could fly to a fun location, but any city worth visiting in the West has expensive hotels.
If you’re living and working in Bangkok, you have a ton of options. Beach towns like Hua Hin and Pattaya are a quick 2 – 4 hour van ride away and they offer amazing seafood, beautiful beaches, and friendly women. If you’re more of a forest and mountain type of adventurer, take a cheap plane ride up to Chiang Mai and rent a bike for a day. You can explore any of these fun locations for around, I would say, 250 USD for the whole weekend. That’s on the high end, honestly. If you were eating locally, staying in hostels, and taking the cheapest modes of transportation, you could be looking at a cost of around 100 USD for a fun filled 2 day trip.
I’ve also heard of Japanese house wives taking day trips to other countries. Literally day trips, like flying to Hanoi, Vietnam at 9 in the morning, exploring the city, and returning home at around 9 in the evening. Actually, I think, I’m going to try that soon. I’ll let you know how it goes.