- Download our Moving to Bangkok Guide (PDF)
Bangkok is a feast of sights and sounds. Restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping malls, open markets, golf courses, temples, parks and an array of exotic scents all combine to make up the lifestyle in Bangkok. New and established expats will find that the lifestyle in Bangkok offers them plenty to see and do.
A weekend in Bangkok can fly by in a blur, and whether a foreign resident takes the tourist route through the city's countless side streets or prefers to settle in and rub shoulders with the locals, there's never a dull moment.
Shopping in Bangkok
From trinkets found at the city’s famous floating markets to high-end fashion, Bangkok has it all when it comes to shopping. Expats merely have to decide if they are in the mood to trawl street stalls for the perfect bargain, or if they'd prefer the easy access of mega malls which house everything from cinemas to bowling alleys and even the odd aquarium.
For fans of shopping malls, an entire weekend in Bangkok can be spent at Siam Paragon, which is easily accessible by the BTS Sky Train. Other major malls are Iconsiam, CentralWorld and CentralPlaza WestGate.
Those after a more authentic shopping experience can try out Bangkok’s ever-popular open markets. Chatuchak Weekend Market, said to be one of the world’s largest flea markets, provides excellent value for everything unusual and unique that the country has to offer.
Nightlife in Bangkok
Bangkok comes to life at night, and new arrivals eager to spend a weekend in the city will have no trouble finding a variety of vibrant entertainment venues to pop into. Whether expats want to let their hair down and dance the night away or prefer to sip on cocktails at sophisticated rooftop bars, there's something for everyone in Bangkok. Sukhumvit is popular with expats and tourists alike, while Royal City Avenue tends to be frequented by a more local crowd.
Eating out in Bangkok
Locals in Bangkok are passionate about food. It won't be long before expats begin to understand what food means to the locals and to appreciate the amazing variety in Bangkok. Whether a streetside noodle dish with homemade broth or a local vendor concocting spicy somtam, a plethora of exciting dishes are available and are both tasty and reasonably priced.
Naturally, every expat experiences a yearning for different options or something that tastes like home, and Bangkok happily obliges with a host of bars and restaurants offering good quality international dining options, though at much higher prices.
Sports and outdoor activities in Bangkok
Dotted around Bangkok are a few green parks which offer residents the chance to enjoy a picnic, paddle around the pond, walk the dog, play with their children, or simply take a break from the rushed pace of city living.
Bangkok is the perfect place to try Muay Thai, a form of Thai boxing. Those wanting to escape the soaring outdoor temperatures will find several reputable gyms and yoga studios throughout Bangkok. There are also plenty of great cycling and running routes in and around the city.
Alternatively, those looking for something a bit different always have the option of heading out to a golf course. There are plenty of quality courses situated around Bangkok which offer excellent value for money.
Where to meet people and make friends in Bangkok
One of the most daunting parts of moving to a new city is making connections and building relationships with new people. Below are a few suggestions for expats looking to meet new people in Bangkok.
Established in 1976, the New Zealand Society Thailand hosts a variety of cultural, sporting and social events for Kiwis living in Bangkok to connect with their culture.
The AFL Bangkok Casuals League is the most popular expat amateur league in Thailand. Expats of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to join and build lifelong friendships with both locals and expats.
BAMBI is a non-profit volunteer organisation providing an opportunity for connection for expecting mothers and mothers with young children of all nationalities. The group provides pre- and post-natal support while also organising playgroups and activities for young children around the city.
Expats who would like to develop their communication and leadership skills while building relationships with people from all over the world will love the Bangkok Toastmasters Club. This non-profit organisation offers a supportive environment for its members to nurture their public speaking skills.
►For information on sightseeing, shopping and nightlife, read our See and Do in Bangkok page.
►For more on entertainment, have a look at What's On in Bangkok.
What do expats say about the lifestyle in Bangkok?
"I love the controlled chaos of Bangkok. It offers experiences that match any mood, from wild and unpredictable to civilised and even boring. You can have a great evening out for 500 baht, or $500, it just depends on what you’re looking for. There is also Thai culture and Thai people, which are wonderful and fascinating. The expats that make their home here are a wild, crazy, and never-boring mix of people from around the world. They all come with their own interesting stories and experiences to share." Read our interview with Canadian expat Greg to learn more about living in Bangkok.
Are you an expat living in Bangkok?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Bangkok. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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