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what is Bangkok really like?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Cez24, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. Cez24

    Cez24 New commenter

    Just wondering if any of you have recent experience of living in Bangkok. I have heard people love it, never want to leave- yet people also say it is heavily polluted so don't know what to think!
    How far is Bangkok to a really nice pleasant beach? Are the living conditions ok? I am just worried about living in SMOG! I see there are swimming pools near blocks of living accomodation so the air musn't be that bad?
    I am also worried about the sex industry, is the town in Bangkok really sleazy? are younf females safe to walk around on their own?
    Are there any clubs to join for expats to meet others and make friends??
    Any info would be great!

  2. For women...horrible!
    Only positive thing for me..Was the opprtunity for travel to other paces like Vietnam, India etc.
  3. Cez24

    Cez24 New commenter

    why would it be horrible for women? What horrible experiences did you come across? Have you any warnings?
  4. lottee1000

    lottee1000 Occasional commenter

    I'd completely disagree! I love living in Bangkok! (And I'm young, female and single). Of all my friends here only one has ever had a problem and that was a bag-snatching, which could happen anywhere. As a rule, men leave you alone so there's no hassle, and depending on where you choose to hang out the sex-trade is almost non-existant. Obviously, it's there if you want it (and a lot of people obviously do!) but it's very easy to avoid and there's plenty of places to go out where it is not at all an issue.
    In terms of safety, I walk most places by myself, at night, with no qualms at all. Obviously there are some rough bits, but there's no reason to be there so not really an issue.
    As for air pollution, yes there is some, seen less as smog and more as cloud. I'm asthmatic and don't suffer anymore here than at home (UK). It's something you're not generally aware of, I don't think. If anything, the noise is more intrusive.
    The nearest nice beach is Ko Samet, about two hours drive and then twenty minutes on a speedboat. So not great for the afternoon, but perfectly do-able for a weekend. Can be on the beach by seven on a Friday night, can't be bad!
    the one thing I do agree about- it's an excellent base for travel across Asia!

  5. I certainly didnt have any problems with crime or harrassment. That wasnt what I was alluding too.
    When Im in a country I like to get away from the expat tribe and mix with the locals to learn and live in their culture I found that difficult or non existence.
    Things have certainly changed since I was there. We had to go on a dodgy ferry and once again it was always with expats. And the mosquitos???? The beach is no big deal really.
    I guess it all depends on why you go to another country.
  6. JimShortz

    JimShortz New commenter

    As a teacher in a British curriculum school in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand (for 6 years now) I wouldn't consider Bangkok - but then other people love it. To me it's too hot and steamy in Bangkok all year round with no break from that heat, as well of course as being a huge metropolis - too big for me I'm afraid. Chiang Mai on the other hand has a 4 month long cool season that really balances out the year, has a lovely cultural side, and there is still plenty going on - it's still a major city! My comparison to the UK would be like comparing Nottingham (Chiang Mai) with London (Bangkok). I know which I prefer... but then lots of people would disagree with me.
    There are 5 international schools up here in Chiang Mai (1 British and 4 USA curriculum), and I believe that they are all advertising jobs via their websites at this time of year. Come to the lovely city...
  7. Well, I've been offered a job there and I have never been there so don't know what I would be getting myself into really....
    Some of my family think it's a bad idea and say its the most horrible place they could think of.. but maybe it is down to opinion??
    Don't know.... Any other comments on what could be bad about it or good about it so I can make up my decision....
  8. i think it also depends on the school too....some i would say go for it great place to work, others in BKK are horrible.
    Working in a decent school there will help with the quality of life.

    Airasia, fly anywhere in the region cheaply and explore SE Asia
    Kids are lovely and Thai's generally
    Teachers respected.
    BKK and Thailand are facinating
    Good social life
    Amazing time spent at 5* resorts and the like.
    weekend by the pool/beach
    depends on the school
    western women - single largely forget about meeting anyone, and many break up with partners soon after arriving.
    shallowness of Thai people - all about looks and money
    lacking in culture that you can access - need to speak Thai/learn it
    humid and polluted - but not that bad

    Go for it, if you hate it you can leave.
  9. great thanks for advice here.
    a lot of me wants to go for it.. well i am a bit bored at my current school and need to get a bit more out of life... why is it impossible to meet anyone out there? What about other teachers or expats you might find??
  10. A good friend of mine has been teaching in BKK for almost 2 years. Female and has really enjoyed the experience. I went out for a visit last summer for 3 weeks and had a great time. Food is fantastic get the take away directory they deliver anything you could possibly want. I would think relationships and meeting a partner difficult as the Thai girls are both beautiful and very amiable. They are willing, polite and dont talk back. We did some Island hopping and I did my PADI dive course in the warm waters of Koh Tao which I would recommend. Flights to beautiful tropical islands might set you back about £25 return and accomodation in beach huts £6-12 a night (get a fan at the least and maybe air con) sleeper trains are also an idea if you want something cheaper, but obviously the travelling is longer overall. Life is cheap and a teacher can easily afford a maid, great living accomodation (if not paid for by the school anyway as many have their own apartments) and regular Thai massage, although beware a real one can be a shock as they can be a little painful. Transport links bus, rail and taxi are excellent so there is never really any need to be wandering around alone at night anyway as its very cheap for a taxi. be cautious of Tuk Tuks I think they are dangerous although I never saw a single accident when I was there which surprised me. There is loads of traffic in places it is a major city after all. Markets and stalls might try to rip you off so be sure you are aware of prices before you part with your cash. Shopping facilities are amazing very clean and well equiped. I found the begging hard and certainly felt guilty walking past young children in the streets late at night who were often a pitiful sight. The Thai people hold their royal family in high regard and you need to respect that partly as it is appropriate to do so and secondly you could find yourself arrested if you dont. (flipping coins and stopping them with your feet for heads or tails for example is quite an insult) It is a Buddish country and patting a child on the head or anyone else for that matter is also insulting. I loved the place and if I didnt have family of grown up children and 2 grandchildren to consider I would work out therre tomorrow. School facilities are fantastic. Enjoy it if you go I wish you the very best it will be a wonderful experience.
  11. Cez24

    Cez24 New commenter

    Isn't there a lot of political unrest at the moment? People are protesting in the streets, using guns, throwing fire bombs etc sounds a really dangerous place!!
  12. everyone has been very patient and continued to answer your questions. Even in the previous post; solicted advice. Frankly you are now clearly looking for any reason not to go, and possibly don't have the sense of adventure that teaching overseas requires.
    sounds a really dangerous place!!
    if you want lonely planet advice go to their website.
    and don't bother going to BKK as you clearly are not in love with the idea.

  13. Cez24

    Cez24 New commenter

    u sound quite aggressive here. I don't see any reason to be tbh.
  14. no just bored of posters like you asking the same inane questions repeatedly and on topics more appropriate to the lonely planet genre of websites.
  15. Cez24

    Cez24 New commenter

    Well it is a life changing thing, not just a holiday so a lot of thought is needed. Many friends and family think I am mad going to Bangkok so I needed other people's opinions and you can't just ignore what's in the news at the moment and consider if it will have an effect on your life.
    I just want some comfort really with positive comments about living in Bangkok so I can reassure my family and friends.

  16. I'll give you some comfort. Bangkok is a noisy, polluted place, but vibrant, alive, interesting, fascinating. It is big enough that it has everything. It is not a dangerous place. It has the seedy side but that can pretty much be avoided. I am married with a a four year old and if we could get jobs in a good school in Bangkok we would be there in a shot. Thailand is cheap. You will live well, save well, travel well. What else is there?

  17. I am currently teaching in Bangkok and am about to sign a new 2 year contract. Bangkok is a GREAT place to live. Do not worry about the demos, Bangkok is very safe for ex-pats Think about how many people in the UK have guns on the street and how many people are shot or stabbed each week - it doesn't happen here! The demos are nothing to do with ex-pats and they are confined to certain parts of town. The British Embassy give up to date accounts about where to go and where not to go. Life is going on as normal, shopping centres are open, as are cinemas and restaurants so life is normal. School was closed on friday and will probably close again on Monday but that is only becuase the excess traffic around the city will prevent many students from being able to get to school not because it is dangerous to be on the road. The press do not do Bangkok any favours. Bangkok is a million times safer than London.
    BTW - It is VERY difficult for single girls to meet men in Bangkok, I know this as there are a large number of single female teachers in my school, must of whom are leaving after 1 contract for this reason. If this is important to you then Bangkok is the wrong city.
  18. Bangkok - MAD!!!! I loved it!!
    Ok, it was some time ago I visited as a tourist pre-teaching life, and the first place I went to leaving kangaroo land. But seriously loved it - yes polluted and a bit grimy, however it was/is so vibrant and amazing, could have easily spent more time there. Would love to go there to teach. Also like what others have said it's an amazing base to jump off to the rest of SE Asia (luuuurve SE Asia) oh to see lovely Laos again....

  19. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    It's full of people wearing red shirts.
  20. percy topliss

    percy topliss Established commenter

    Bangkok is, at the moment in something of a turmoil. Absolutely nothing has happened or is happening but lots of people are worried that something will and that is leading to quite a few parents keeping their kids off school. Most of the big schools have been shut for one day but are now back and just waiting to see if the Red shirts will pack up quietly or kick up a fuss as this is probably their last chance.
    Generally though Bangkok is a fine place to live as an expat teacher. There are undoubtedly places where you will earn more money but I think that when you take the "value added" of lifestyle and location in Asia into account Bangkok is the place to be.
    There are all sorts of schools here. From the way too big "established" school to the smaller "run by a despot" type with everything in between. Most of the staff that I have worked with over the years have been nice people who seem to have a samey type of outlook on life which has been grand.
    You are probably right about young single girls to some extent but I have also known many that have come out here and thoroughly enjoyed everything that they have done. Be it trips to the closer islands with the faculty for a weekend or the whole 8 weeks in New Zealand for the Summer.
    As with everywhere else Bangkok is completely what you make of it. When you first get here it will undoubtedly be bakingly hot, however, you acclimatise and all the buildings here have cool areas and air conditioning. There will be strange smells which you either learn to put up with or avoid. Lets face it, you are leaving your comfort zone in order to have a look at other cultures and a completely different part of the world. Some people revel in it whilst others almost immediately make tracks for home, I suspect to regret their cowardice for a long time. You won't know what sort of person you are until you get here but that all adds to the fun. I think that everyone goes through phases but the days that I love the place certainly outweigh the days that I dislike it and as long as that continues I shall stay here.
    Good luck with your decision.

    "There will be rivers of blood!" Shut up Enoch!

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