Bangkok is one of those vibrant global cities that has it all. Businessmen, tourists, locals, expatriates, singles and families will each provide a unique description of the city, as it has so much to offer that no two stories will be alike.
I’ve been living in this city for seven months now and this has given me the chance to get a good feel of what it has to offer me, the good and the bad, as both a stay-at-home mom and a mom to a toddler. Here is my version of Bangkok:
My experience in Bangkok has been relatively positive. I love what this city has to offer me as an expatriate, especially the convenience of having things done easily. I can find most of what I need in my neighbourhood: cafes, restaurants, malls, supermarkets and kids’ activities are within easy walking distance from my house. For the first time in 12 years, I don’t own a car as I do not find it necessary. I enjoy walking in my neighbourhood, and if I need to get out a little further, finding public transportation is not a challenge.
In addition, I absolutely love the outdoor activities that we get to do with my two year-old daughter: Lumpini Park is close by, and I’ve also taken her to a couple of small gardens around the city where she gets to feed animals. Before we moved to Thailand the only animals that she had the chance to see where birds, cats and dogs. We also took her to the zoo where her dream finally came true — she had the chance to meet huge elephants in real life!
The city is relatively safe, Thai people are very affectionate, and both locals and expatriates are very welcoming. This makes it easy to move around and discover the city. One of my favorite aspects is how readily we get pampered in Bangkok; specifically, spas are available on every corner. No wonder everyone is in a good mood and no one is stressed out in this city.
As wonderful as it is to be immersed in the constant movement of this city, I can’t help but dislike the traffic, which can get really bad (a common complaint by many). Also, we come from a trilingual culture where French is fluently spoken, and it was pretty challenging finding a nursery that would provide my daughter with an education in this language, let alone finding one that is located in our neighborhood. While I was lucky to find a good nursery that offers her the type of care that I want for her to receive, the commute takes a total of 3.5 hours, a sizeable chunk of time. This slows me down in getting things done and can cut into my day, causing some inconveniences.
Another frustration that I come across as a mom is one that started off as a friendly gesture but turned out to be, in the long run, much less pleasant than I initially thought. My daughter and I both happen to have curly hair, and in Thailand this translates into getting photographed – all the time. Each time we leave the house, one or two people will stop us to take a picture of my daughter, which makes me feel uncomfortable as they don’t always ask for permission, and I’m really not inclined to having her picture taken by complete strangers.
Like any large metropolis, living in Bangkok comes with a price: living in a polluted city. While this hasn’t had a direct impact on our lifestyle, it still affects us and as a mother, I am constantly keeping this in mind. Even though the government is working hard on solving these issues, the fact remains that today both the water and air are polluted and we are exposed to this on a daily basis.
All in all, Bangkok is a great city that never sleeps, and that’s what I like about it. It is in constant motion, events are scheduled each month and there is always something fun to do in and around the city. Whether as a family or as a couple, we never get bored.
By Ghada Karam, a first-time mom who lives in Bangkok with her husband and her two-year old daughter. She enjoys gossiping about being a mom and about her daughter’s tantrums. She thinks tantrums are great. They spice-up her day. Her work has also appeared on BLUNTmoms, Bonbon Break and BKK Kids, Mamapedia, and Sammiches and Psych Meds. You can follow her latest news on Confidential Mommy Talks, or socialize with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.