The “city of angels” – indeed Bangkok shares more than just its alternate name with LA. It is similarly spread out over a vast area, and the traffic can be just as bad. In spite of that Thailand’s bustling capital continues to grow in both population and size: over 14 million people call Bangkok’s metropolitan area home, making it the nation’s most populous city by far. What is more, there is no sign of this trend slowing down as Thais and foreigners alike continue to settle in Bangkok in large numbers. This explosive growth has definitely created some problems: notably traffic congestion and air pollution and while getting around can be a challenge, the continuous improvement to the city’s public transport system is bringing relief on both fronts. Metro (MRT) and sky train (BTS) services are both very efficient and increasingly widely used.
Bangkok has an undeniable charm that cannot be described, it has to be experienced. It fascinates and attracts millions of visitors per year, however there are several features that also make it one of the most exciting and popular cities in Southeast Asia amongst expats.
Economic and Administrative Centre
Bangkok is the economic and administrative centre of Thailand which means that there are some excellent career opportunities for foreigners with the right qualifications. Many large banks, financial institutions and multinationals corporations have offices in Bangkok that require the kind of experience and professional expertise that is still largely unavailable in Thailand. These companies offer excellent pay and benefits, especially by local standards. Expats employed by such companies enjoy a truly luxurious lifestyle in Bangkok.
For those who crave the action of the big city, there is simply no other place in Thailand. There is always something to do in Bangkok day or night. From high-end shopping and getting pampered at a luxury spa, to watching a movie in 3D at one of the city’s massive cinema complexes, experiencing a muay thai fight at the famous Ratchadamnoen stadium, or even ice skating and surfing in the middle of downtown, the list of activities is endless.
Then of course, there is simply soaking in the sheer energy and exotic atmosphere of the city: its sights and sounds bright lights and lively streets. One can just stroll along the busy outdoor markets, visit one of the many palaces and temples or just relax at tranquil Lumpini park.
Exploring the city’s 50,000 eating establishments is a culinary adventure that is sure to not to disappoint. Naturally, the full spectrum of Thai cuisine is well represented: from flaming hot southern curries, to Malay-influenced halal fare and the green-rich Issan specialities. In addition, Bangkok offers virtually every kind of ethnic food imaginable. Chinese, Indian, Burmese, Vietnamese, French, German, Italian and Japanese, you can find it all. The range and types of restaurants is just as impressive. From the omnipresent street food and neighbourhood hole-in-the-walls, to trendy fusion restaurants and 5-star establishments ran by internationally acclaimed chefs, nothing is missing.
Bangkok’s nightlife is the stuff of legends and despite recent crackdowns by the authorities on some of its more excessive sides such as drug use, nudity and late opening hours, the city continues to pack a wallop when it comes to having a good time. From glitzy rooftop bars such as world-famous Sky Bar and Vertigo, and ultra trendy dance clubs of Silom, t the laid back, beer-infused charm of Khaosan Road, Bangkok has something for every taste and budget.
Booming Property Market
For those looking for investment opportunities, Bangkok’s hot property market and especially its condo segment definitely present some exciting opportunities. Despite of some concern of oversupply recently expressed by government agencies, confidence in the market remains strong. Developers continue to launch new projects and take up remains healthy averaging 62% for the first quarter of 2013. With outlook remaining positive, for expats buying a condo in Bangkok can be a great living arrangement for a long term stay, as well as good investment.
World Class Shopping
Finally, what would a world-class city be without world-class shopping. Siam Square, the city’s most famous shopping area alone can keep even serious shopaholics busy for days. Home to several large malls, including the massive Siam Paragon – one of the biggest and most exclusive shopping malls in all of Asia, the area is always an exciting and fun place to walk and discover. For a more authentic local experience Chatuchak (or JJ for short) market is where one can find almost anything: clothing, household items, furniture, decor, handicrafts, artwork, even plants and pets. It all comes along with a the kind bustle and chaos so typical of Bangkok. JJ market is also anticipating a renovation project which will add a much needed A/C system.
Although the city has exploded in size within a very short period of time focusing on modernization and commercial development, Bangkok has managed to preserve its historical and cultural heritage. The city would not have the same richness to it without its many temples, palaces and museums that make it a truly a truly special place in the region.