Thoughts After Two Years of Living in Thailand

On June 10th it will be two months since I moved to Thailand after living in Taiwan and the United States. It’s been a fun two years but also quite a challenge to adjust to a different environment and country.

What I like after living here for two years:

  • Thailand has the best food of any country I’ve visited. Thai food is overall quite healthy (although it’s definitely not perfect) and very affordable. It’s also easy to find good Western and Chinese food here at a reasonable cost.
  • Travel in Thailand is easy and very cheap. There are so many nice hotels and destinations here, from well-known places like Phuket to small islands that I can easily reach within two hours on the plane or by bus. The amount of variety is amazing, from beautiful beaches to temples inside caves.
  • I can afford a big apartment here compared to in the United States, where property is expensive even in smaller cities and less popular areas. Even in the center of Bangkok it’s cheap to rent a huge apartment with a nice view.
  • People are very friendly and always smile and take talking to you seriously. Service is so good and people always seem very happy to help you, even if you have a difficult request. There’s none of the service-just-for-a-tip attitude you get in other countries.

What I don’t like after living here for two years:

  • Bangkok has a serious traffic problem that makes it almost impossible to get around. According to the BBC it is one of the worst in the world. The other day I spent two hours in a taxi and only went less than one mile. The city needs to expand the MRT and BTS to make getting around easier for residents.
  • The driving here is so unsafe. People drive too quickly and do all sorts of illegal maneuvers. More than 80 people die on the Thai roads every day. There is no sense of following the rules and people behave too selfishly and dangerously when they’re behind the wheel.
  • It’s so hard to find high quality products from abroad. Shoes, clothes and electronics from overseas are very expensive due to Thailand’s import taxes, meaning I have to go to Singapore or Hong Kong to shop for many things.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to live, but it isn’t perfect. After two years here, I’m very happy and look forward to staying for a lot longer, but there are many things I miss about the United States and other countries that are hard or impossible to get here in Thailand.