14 March 2020

Tips For Newbies In Bangkok

Tips for Newbies in Bangkok

So, you’ve just touched down in Thailand, ready to begin your big adventure living in Bangkok. It’s a city of over 10 million people and chaotic at the best of times. Being overwhelmed when you first arrive is natural.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone to give a newbie some tips? Well, look no further.


Finding a Condo

Assuming you’re not on a Bangkok ex-pat package, you’re going to need to find a place to live. How do you do that when you can’t read the Thai language? Estate agents and the Internet.

Start with the net. Craigslist Thailand is a very popular site for finding Bangkok accommodation. Ads on the site generally are in English, have photos and contact info.

The ads on Craigslist will introduce you to agents who will ferry your around town to see various properties. There’s no fee to use them, as they get a commission off your first rental contract.

A Google search for “Bangkok estate agents” also will turn up various Thailand property broker websites. There are also hundreds of dedicated sites online for condo and apartment rentals such as Hipflat, DDproperty, & RentHub, which are aimed at Thais making them very good for finding excellent, cheap deals, however, many listings are not in English and the owners/agents may lack the ability to communicate with you as they only speak Thai. Don't rule out this option, take a look.

Another fantastic place to find condo rentals in English and on familiar territory is Facebook. Not only is the Marketplace flooded with places to rent, but there are also hundreds of dedicated ex-pat groups, many of which are focused solely on condo and apartment rentals and sales. A quick search on Facebook will present you with plenty of choices.

Bonus Tip: Install the Line and WhatsApp messaging apps on your Android or iOS smartphone, as most agents use these rather than phone or SMS.


Phone Basics

Those Line or WhatsApp apps will be work if there is Wi-Fi, but if you really want to get started on the right foot in Bangkok, you need a working phone. Thailand 7-Elevens all sell “tourist” SIM cards that you top up to pay as you go. But the cheaper and better route is to get a post-paid SIM.

With True Move-H, you don’t even need an address or Thai work permit to get one, just your passport and an e-mail address. Rules may vary at other carriers such as DTAC or AIS.

For around 800 baht / $26 / £20 per month, a post-paid package will come with around 16Gb of data, 300 minutes of call-time and 300 MMS/SMS included.


Internet & TV

If you researched internet speeds in Thailand before taking the plunge the chances are the information you read is out of date or written by someone with an axe to grind. The reality is home internet connections are amazingly fast – and cheap.

Most basic packages come in at around 500 baht per month for 50/20 download/upload speeds. Throw a few hundred baht more to your ISP and you'll be hitting 100/100 all day long. And any talk of bottlenecks on hitting international websites and services is a thing of the past. Net speeds at home, and on mobile networks is certainly not that of a third world country and will run cheaper than most services and speeds offered in North America and Europe.

And while on the topic of having the internet at home brings us to TV choices. Believe it or not all you will need is Netflix. The basic package starts at 280 baht per month and new sign-ups get the first month free as a trial. Sure, it doesn't have the same catalogue as the US or UK but there is more than enough to keep you entertained on the few nights you'll be home chilling out.


Easy Commuting

Getting around Bangkok means you’re going to have to use mass transit, both the BTS Skytrain and MRT subway. The tip here is don’t be one of those people always queuing for tickets or tokens.

The first thing to do is get a top-up card for each and fill it with Thai baht and trips so you can breeze past the ticket windows from then on. If you settle on an apartment far from work, you can also buy roundtrips at a slightly discounted price.

Services run from 5.30am until midnight and with more extensions coming to both the skytrain and subway year after year, there won't be much of the city the sprawling network doesn't reach.


Rent isn’t Everything

The common mistake while apartment hunting is to zero-in on the cost of the rent. While that’s undoubtedly important, don’t let it eclipse your view of the total cost for accommodations. You also have to factor in the cost – and sometimes availability -- of transportation. Can you even get a taxi or motorcycle late at night after seeing a late movie in downtown Bangkok?

On the surface, that 68-square-metre one-bedroom unit out past the On Nut BTS station for 15,000 baht a month would seem to be a much better deal than the 58-square-metre condo for 18,000 baht a month within walking distance of the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre MRT subway stop.

But if your job is near the intersection of Asok Montri Road and Sukhumvit Road, consider this:

The round-trip fare between the BTS On Nut and Asok stops is 80 baht. That’s an average 1,760 baht a month. Roundtrip between Sukhumvit (Asok) MRT and Queen Sirikit is 32 baht, or 704 baht a month. Also, consider you’ll likely have to pay at least 50 baht a day round-trip for a motorbike taxi to take you to and from the On Nut station (1,100 baht) while you can walk to QSNCC MRT.

So, your 15,000-baht rent actually costs you 17,860 baht a month. That’s just 40-baht less than living downtown and means you have to spend at least an hour a day commuting roundtrip versus 15 minutes. And that's just commuting to work, not nights or weekend adventures.


Taxi Troubles

Taking a taxi in Bangkok is something you'll become accustomed to over time. You likely took a cab from the airport when you first arrived and all was well with the ticketing system and booths.

Forget all that because when you are on the street and want to grab a cab it is a different ball game from the organised setup at Suvarnabhumi.

Taxis display either a red or green “For Hire” light in the lower corner of their windshield when they are looking for a fare. Waving them down, jumping in the back seat when they pull over and telling the driver where you'd like to go is not how the system works on the ground.

Waving down a cab is where all norms go out the window. If the driver doesn't roll down the passenger side window to ask where you are going then you open the door and definitely don't jump in because depending where you are, over half will make some feeble excuse as to why they can't take you to your destination such as, no gas, bad traffic, shift finishing in 10 minutes and 100 others from the lazy cabbies handbook.

Problem number two is whether they will use the meter or not. The best advice for newbies is, no meter, no fare. It keeps things simple and will save you getting taken for a ride with a mega inflated fare for a trip that would cost a fraction of the price if the meter was switched on.

Rejections are just part of life and depending where you are, such as an area popular with tourists or out late at night clubbing, then expect to be refused. Don't ever let it bother you as there are far more important things to worry in life about rather than a lazy taxi driver.

And remember, Bangkok has 140,000 officially registered taxis, so there will be another one along shortly and there are some really nice people behind the wheel.


Making Friends

Having left your family and friends behind in your home country to start your new life in Bangkok you might be feeling a little lonely or homesick to begin with, which is natural. Humans needs company, it's part of our makeup, but finding friends may be a little daunting or for some even a bit scary.

You will meet lots of new people going about your daily business and new colleagues at work will most certainly make you feel welcome as all Thais do but friendships take time to develop and most definitely do not happen overnight.

Sure, you can go bar hopping in Bangkok and indulge in some barstool chit chat with other ex-pats and tourists which can be both fun and cumbersome.

You might need the company of a lady to give you a release from the stress of apartment hunting, starting a new job and just finding your feet in not only a new country but a new culture too as Thailand really is a country like no other on every level.

You've certainly heard about all that Bangkok has to offer from watching TV and movies like The Hangover, and yes, if you want a night of fun with twin sisters, a midget and a monkey, you can make that happen in Bangkok but slow down for just a moment.

Wouldn't a nice dinner, a drink or two, a look around some of the wonderful tourist attractions you've seen and read about followed by a little bit of passion with a beautiful, exotic temptress not be a more sensible way to dip your toe in the water before blowing up bars and landing yourself in jail?

Online dating is one way to start as is going to Nana Plaza and taking a go-go dancer for a liaison. Then there are the dating apps like Tinder that you might have used before but all have both  advantages and disadvantages.

Online dating takes time and effort when you need a date tonight or tomorrow. Going to a go-go bar is and can be fun but are you going to find a lady who ticks all the boxes? Tour guide, fun, good company, can speak a decent level of English and who also knows how to please a man behind closed doors? It is like looking for a needle in a haystack and an expensive hunt too with the price of drinks, barfines, hotels and her fee too. Tinder in Bangkok is like a game of Russian roulette with as many ladyboys as ladies looking for love and more – and no, most of them keep it a secret and surprise you with their hidden attachment when the lights go out.


The Easy Alternative is an Online Escort Agency

A quick Google search for “Bangkok Escorts” returns over 6,000,000 results which is incredible. With a massive population there are literally hundreds of company's vying for your business and sadly, most are unreliable, untrustworthy and dishonest. Booking a date with most agencies will end in disaster and leave you out of pocket.

That is why you should just go directly to Absolute Angels Bangkok where you will be in safe hands as they are one of the largest and most popular agencies in Bangkok, with years of experience in the escorting business under their belt.

From the comfort of your home, you can browse dozens of profiles, look at photos of their escorts, read their bio and stats and find a lady that fits your needs, whatever that may be – dinner, dating, touring, travelling, company or after dark companionship.

Once you have made your selection the AAB team will answer any questions you may have, check what you want and need from the escort you have decided upon to ensure she can fulfill those requirements and they will be there every step of the way with you during the booking phase to make certain you will have a great time with the girl you have chosen for your date.


Show me the money

Everything mentioned above is going to cost you and for that you will need some folding stuff in your wallet. Using an ATM card issued in your homeland is okay to tide you over for a couple of days but fees and charges start adding up and they can get out of hand very quickly so what you need is an account with a local bank

Your employer may be able to assist on this front and be certain to check if they need you to have an account at a specific bank as many require this and double checking with them will save you a lot of time and trouble by opening an account with a bank not in their system.

If you are not tied to any particular bank then head to the Emporium branch of Bangkok Bank located on Sukhumvit Road close to Phrom Phong BTS station where you will find the staff to be foreigner friendly due to its location.

The easiest option is to open a savings account that comes with a passbook and ATM card. When speaking with the assistant, insist on the Mastercard version of their debit card as the default is UnionPay which most online services don't accept.


Now you are ready for Bangkok city, relax, have fun and enjoy all that The City of Angels has to offer.

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