Moving to a new country can be difficult.
Choosing where to live in that country, is even harder.
Especially when you’ve never spent more than a few days there.
When I first moved to Thailand, I didn’t have a job so didn’t have an area that I needed to live close by too. I had heard about Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams, so when I began my apartment search I wanted to ensure that I was close enough to the key spots to avoid a long commute everyday. I had a friend helping with the house-hunt and introduced me to an area called Pinklao.
Pinklao is a relatively quiet area when you compare it to the likes of Sukhumvit. There are a handful of expats dotted around, however most of them work long teaching hours so socialising with thy English speaking neighbours doesn’t really happen. But the area itself seems lovely. There’s various restaurants within walking distance, it has a large shopping centre, two cinema’s and plenty of food stalls to get your street food fix, but most importantly, it’s a mere ten minute (traffic free!) commute to the MRT/river transport options.
I managed to find two apartments that I liked, but unfortunately the one that had a bath (major selling point for me as I’m a total water baby) also had a rather large construction site which was going to be around for two years or so whilst they built another high-rise next door. So in the end I settled for option two. No bath, but no noise!
It’s not until you live somewhere that you realise the positive and negatives that an area has. Pinklao had a pretty equal balance in the sense that neither swayed the way I enjoyed life until one happened. For instance, every time I wanted to venture into the city, Pinklao was a negative because I would need to hail a cab, catch a boat (or MRT) and then a BTS just to get there. Getting a cab the whole way there was also an option, but it was an option that required two hours and for you to have the patience of a saint.
So that option was regularly skipped. Unless I was returning home at 3am because YAY no traffic!
To be fair, that was our only real negative, it was just inconvenient because that one negative, was the one that affected my plans. Especially when most of the socialising is done in central Bangkok. But it wasn’t all that bad because it made me appreciate venturing out even more because even if I was just popping out for lunch, it felt like a day trip.
Living in a less busy area has also helped a lot in making me feel more settled. Whilst culture shock can be a positive thing when constantly travelling, it has a much more negative effect when you move to a new place to live. Living away from most of the English speaking people in Bangkok wasn’t ideal in terms of making friends etc, but it did help me get through the shock of culture change, and settle into appreciating it more. And whilst a lot of the people I encounter on a daily basis don’t speak English, the fact that they smile and wave excitedly when they see me coming is very sweet. Especially since the motorcycle taxi’s know me enough to stop overcharging me now!
Bangkok is an extremely large place so if you’re thinking of moving over here there’s a few questions I recommend you ask yourself before committing to an apartment.
- How far away from your job is it?
- Is it near a BTS / MRT?
- Is there more than one way in/out?
- Is there a supermarket nearby?
Asking yourself these questions can really help in finding the right place for you, and when you’re sitting at home or in a nice little cafe, instead of sitting in traffic, you’ll be glad that you did!