Bangkok is an Expat’s Paradise…

Compared to many world capitals, Bangkok is one of the cheapest in terms of cost of living. When I say cheap, it doesn’t mean the quality is compromised because most of the time, I find the quality of food and products in Bangkok (or Thailand) to be acceptable. In fact, I consider Bangkok to be an Expat’s paradise. Of course, being an expat entails a lot of responsibilities or expectations. Otherwise, why will your company hire you if you cannot deliver. So this makes stress and time for relaxation and all those related activities a must in an Expat’s schedule.

In Bangkok, you can enjoy branded (or copy) designer labels at highly discounted price. Malls are literally on sale year-round. You just have to be patient and have a keen eye in finding the best bargain or sale price all over town. Copy goods are also A quality that’s why a lot of foreign tourists troop to Bangkok to buy these goods.

Last Saturday, my friends and I trooped to the annual ICC Fair. This fair has been attracting hundreds if not thousands of Thais for quite sometime because in here, you can buy hugely discounted designer brands like Lacoste, Nike, Adidas, Guy Laroche among others. Of course the most visited area is the Lacoste sale wherein discounts of up to 70% can be availed. Since this is my fave brand, I wasted no time to go to the venue and I was able to buy a pair of shoes, a bag and 2 caps. Unfortunately, the shirts left when we arrived are all L or XL American Sizes so I wasn’t able to buy 1 for me. Only thing when going thru this kind of fair compared to the usual Mall sale is that it is doubly hard for me cos not only should I brave the battalions of shoppers to get to the counter and ask for my size but also I had to attempt speaking in Thai so the sellers can understand me..It was a bit frustrating that after finally reaching the counter after “wrestling” it out with fellow shoppers is that the size I want is already “No Have” or they cannot understand what I’m trying to say…Damn, I really have to improve my Thai language skills. Please allow me to brag about my shoe in this blog..hehehe.


Another factor why I consider Bangkok to be a paradise for an Expat like me is because you can enjoy a wide variety of food at a cheap price. Take for instance a set of meal in popular Japanese Restaurant like Fuji or Zen. A normal bento set range approx. 150-250 per set which includes Soup and Salad. During lunch, the set includes hot coffee or tea even! In Manila, if you eat in similar restaurant, you probably would pay min. 250 Pesos to almost 400 Pesos per set. That is precisely the reason why I can only often eat in Komorosoba (SM Megamall) or Tokyo Tokyo and rarely in Saisaki. LOL.


I also find Apartment or Condo rental cheaper if compared to Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai and other cities. A normal studio type apartment would cost between 5,000-8,000 baht and would slightly go higher if the condo has swimming pool or other facilities. Of course it depends on the location. A typical apartment in Sukhumvit or Silom area would be much more expensive but still cheaper if compared to other cities I previously mentioned. I heard that if you rent apartment near the outskirts of Bangkok, studio units would even be less than 3,000 baht. Only thing is that you have to travel farther going to and from the office. It can even be less if you share the room with another person. All Filipinos that I know who are working in Bangkok are either staying alone or sharing with 1 or 2 (maybe max. 3 persons) per unit. This is definitely better than fellow Filipinos working in Singapore or Middle East wherein they have to share the flat with up to 10 persons.

Domestic travel is also not a pain in one’s budget. Few months ago, me and a few of my colleagues went to Cha-Am and Hua Hin which is a popular weekend destination for Bangkokians due to its proximity to the city (approx. 2 hours from Bangkok). We actually maximized that 2 Days/1 Night trip. We left Bangkok very early in the morning, went to a local market to buy food and dessert, eat Buffet lunch then head to the Resort. At night, we went to Hua Hin market for some more shopping and eating. The following day, after checking out of the hotel, we had a very big Buffet Seafood lunch then do some more shopping of sweets and some souvenir along the way. In total since we shared cost, I only spend not more than 2,000 Baht including all the food, sweets, transportation and hotel accommodation. This is similar to other cities the reason why many backpackers from Europe or US just fly to Thailand without any pre-arranged tours or accommodation and they just stay in guest houses, ride local transport and eat local food in the roadside.

There are definitely more factors why Bangkok is an Expat’s paradise over the examples I’ve written above. This could be the reason why the number of Expatriates in Thailand is increasing year by year. Of course the number is not as high as that of Singapore or Dubai wherein a big chunk of their workforce are foreigners. However, I’ll not be surprised if soon more and more Expatriates will consider working here…

Charming Cha-Am

Last weekend, I went to Cha Am Beach, Thailand with few of my colleagues and some of their family members. This trip was actually planned over 5 months ago but due to our very busy work schedule and since I also asked to delay the trip as I intend to bring along someone but it never happened so we finally planned 3rd week of September. Fortunately the weekend we went to the beach, the sun is very bright which actually lately we have been missing  the sun especially with torrential rains and thunderstorms especially in the afternoon.

We went first to Don Wai Market, a popular riverside market in the suburban town of Nakhon Pathom. Hundreds of tasty desserts and foods can be bought in this market gaining huge popularity to Bangkokians due to its proximity to the capital. We went there very early in the morning. Fortunately, the weather is not too warm and the crowd is not as much. They say in the afternoon or Sundays, the corridors of the market is so full you can barely walk. Many stalls sell the very sumptuous boiled duck. Really, while writing this piece, I am salivating just imagining back the palatable ducks we saw in the shops!
After buying some foods, we headed to a Sukiyaki Restaurant in Ban Pong near Nakhon Pathom. The Eat-all-you-can Sukiyaki (similar to what you see in MK Restaurants) costs only 99 Baht per person including refillable drinks. Of course there is not as many selection as that of MK Restaurant but for 99 Baht, how can you complain. You need to finish within the allotted time of 90 minutes otherwise, all the foods left will be charged at 20 Baht per 100 grams. It is actually an ample time to finish the lunch. My group consumed all the food in our table including dessert for only 1 hour sharp!
Then we headed off to Cha-Am Beach.
We stayed at the Grand Pacific Sovereign Resort and Spa, a 5 Star Resort offering a stunning view of the sea and has 3 level swimming pool. With the promotional rate they are offering right now, it is indeed value for money. The Coffee shop has a wide range of Breakfast item including crispy bacon (my favorite!) and a big salad bar.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

The Hotel room is spacious with full amenities like own private balcony, a day bed, separate shower area and bath tub.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign

We had our dinner in the Hotel’s Italian Restaurant– Celestino and the food is visually appealing as well as appetizing. A perfect match over a glass or two of their Italian Red wine.

Grand Pacific Sovereign

Grand Pacific Sovereign
Grand Pacific Sovereign

After dinner, we headed to the famous Hua Hin Market which is less than 20 minutes away by car. Wide range of Thai desserts and various delicacies are available and not to mention seafood restaurants. Since we are still full right after dinner, I only bought a cup of ice cream worth 25 Baht for 3 scoops with many toppings to choose from. This ice cream kiosk is really so popular that you have to go through a long queue before reaching the counter.

Equally mouth-watering are the dried barbecued squid with spicy dipping, boiled sweet corn, roasted duck or chicken. Also popular is the rotee bread with either banana, egg or banana and egg filling. The best part is the foods being sold are very cheap!

Hua Hin Market

Hua Hin Market

After we checked out of the hotel, we had our lunch in “Dang Seafood Restaurant” located in Samut Songkran on the way back to Bangkok. This restaurant started with just few tables in its dining area and has expanded many times since then.

You can view the kitchen from the dining area which is quite big. My colleague said one cook will only prepare 1 or 2 kinds of dishes so they can prepare it very fast. True enough, less than 10 minutes after we ordered, all the foods were served in our tables. The best dish for me is the deep fried fish which is very crispy and tasty and the steamed prawns.

My spice level is not same as Thai but the dipping sauce full of chilli is really very nice and not to mention sweat-provoking. LOL. I was joking them my tissue consumption is more than the shells or fish bones in my plate as I had to wipe my sweat a lot after eating the spicy food.
This was my 2nd time in Hua Hin/Cha-Am. Last year was with some of my Filipino friends. I would love to go back to this place soon which is much more quiet and family-friendly than Pattaya.