There are always important factors to consider when moving abroad. Where to live, what to pack – and, most importantly – what life will be like when you get there. What's the healthcare system like? Will my children be happy here? Is it safe?
Thailand (also known as 'the land of smiles') is a beautiful country. There's a large expat community out there, plenty of great International schools, and a lifestyle that will stop you from ever thinking the grass is greener on the other side. It doesn't get much greener!
So, put aside any concerns that you may have about Thailand, and Bangkok in particular - I'm here to give you five reasons why re-locating to Bangkok is a great idea (based on my own experiences of living there).
1. Efficient healthcare
Thailand is very efficient in many ways and the Thai people take great pride and care in their work. The country's work ethic can be witnessed across a lot of occupations – not just in the healthcare industry. If you plan on having a family in Bangkok and are worried about giving birth there – fear not. My mum gave birth to me in Bangkok at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital and having asked her of her experiences there compared with giving birth in the UK, she had nothing but raving reviews. The hospital staff were very warm and professional – even if they did let it slip that she was in fact having a baby girl, despite her not wanting to know!
Please note that my experience of Thailand is mainly based on Bangkok, a large city – so be aware that remote areas of Thailand may not have the same healthcare facilities.
Also, remember to make sure that you have the appropriate health insurance arranged and that you've received the correct vaccinations before jetting off.
2. Plentiful food
There is food to suit all tastes in Thailand – from the farang's favourite of Pad Thai to the more adventurous array of street food on offer. Coq(roach) au Vin anyone?
There are a lot of healthy options though in Thailand – therefore it's no surprise to hear that being healthy there doesn't require too much effort. There are a lot of healthy and low fat options, for example, Tom Yum Soup
– a popular soup in Thailand, has been linked to fighting off cold and flu viruses.
3. Great weather
Thailand has three official seasons – hot, cool and wet. I'd take the 'cool' part with a pinch of salt though. That word in the UK would probably have a polar opposite definition. Their 'cool' is our hottest day of the year (ever) most likely.
The rainy season is hard to define. As with any weather report, it's not necessarily going to be accurate and there are contradicting reports out there. I've been in Thailand during the monsoon season when it's unfortunately rained heavily for a solid day, several days in a row, but I've also been there during the rainy season where it's rather considerately rained for approximately one hour, roughly every evening at 5pm – right after my swim and right before dinner. Perfect ?
When the sun shines though – it shines! Even when it's overcast, don't be fooled as this is often the most dangerous time to be sunbathing. I've been fooled before – fallen asleep under the overcast sky and woken up miserably burnt. To make matters worse, I had a flight to catch that night. Fortunately this was prior to the 100ml rule – which I of course took advantage of by carrying an excessively large bottle of after sun in my hand luggage which I re-applied religiously every 20 minutes.
So, take it from me and remember to keep yourself fully sun protected – lots of sun cream, even when you think you don't need it.
4. An excuse to keep fit
Living in a hot country, you're able to spend a lot more time outside. This is a great way to keep yourself fit and healthy – swimming, playing tennis, running and so on. If doing this alone isn't your idea of a good time then there are always groups which you can join for example, Hash House Harriers is a group of non-competitive running social clubs which operate across Thailand for example in Bangkok and Phuket. It's “a drinking club with a running problem” – catchy title if I don't say so myself.
5. A beautiful place to raise a family
There are some fantastic properties available in Bangkok – houses that you can certainly make into a comfortable home. It's important to consider location though when choosing a place to stay. Traffic in Bangkok can be awful at times (sitting still for 40 minutes type of terrible), so choosing somewhere that is close to your work and children's school will certainly pay off. If not that, then being close to the Skytrain or underground should certainly help you.
For more information on Thailand, check the latest government advice given by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) here.