10 ways you can tell you are a Bangkok Expat

Grand Palace Bangkok

1. You check how much change you have before you get in a taxi, because you can’t bear another run to the cash point in the rain whilst an angry driver harrumphs at you, revving his engine.

2. When setting the table for dinner, you put down a fork and spoon rather than a knife.

3. Time is no longer a precise measurement, but a vague promise of when you may be somewhere.

4. Over the year, you get more public holidays than leave days.

5. The concept of walking anywhere has become alien to you.

6. When someone smiles and says yes, you no longer take this as an affirmation. You desperately run through your Thai smile repertoire – is this a confused smile? Angry smile? Couldn’t give a toss smile?

7. There is a secret to squeeeeeeeeeeezing yourself on a full sky train at 8:20 every morning. You learnt this after months of waiting politely whilst smartly dressed ladies with poufy hair slinked on in front of you.

8. You’ve worked out that every stall at Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ to the locals) also has a branch in an air-conditioned shopping mall in the city, so you no longer spend your shopping Saturdays hot, lost and feeling alone in the crowd.

9. A special walk and look means that tailors, scammers, prostitutes and beggars leave you alone, even in Nana.

10. You know the friendly food stall sellers in your neighbourhood so well that they now prepare your order as you approach, remembering to put the sauce on the side and only include one chilli.

Bangkok Sunset

This post was inspired by a post I found on the blog Between Worlds.

14 thoughts on “10 ways you can tell you are a Bangkok Expat

  1. Would love to know which shopping Malls in the city have the JJ stallholders?

  2. Would love to know which shopping Malls in the city have the JJ stallholders?

    1. Hi Steph! Many of the jewellery stores can be found in Terminal 21, my favourite bag store, Sleeveless Garden is in the basement of Rama 9 Central Mall, some of the silver shops from JJ are at MBK. Clothes wise – there are some shops at JJ that also have stalls at Platinum Mall. The only way I have found this out, sadly, is by spending one Saturday morning too many at Chatuchak!

      1. A quick few. 🙂 eyes moving from sidewalk to above you head all quite naturally and with such precision so as to avoid any dangling wires and/or potholes!
        Also, not feeling that pressure to order right away even though they stand three feet away looking on. ( ok, I may still have trouble with this one!)
        I don’t think this one takes long o figure out whatsoever but crosswalks here in Pattaya, are just nicely painted lines on the road for decoration and nothing more. Do NOT cross thinking that cars will stop or even slow! 😛

  3. Oh wow would love to visit Bangkok at least once. Great things to remember, thanks! I can definitely relate to number 3, concept of time keeping and being punctual is a rarity which annoys me so much. It is weird when we live in such a fast paced society where we want everything instantly at our fingertips yet somebody else’s time is not valued because its all about ‘ME’.

  4. Ha! So true, I do manage to walk everywhere, but everything else is spot on in living in Chiang Mai and Phuket!

  5. Numbers 9 & 10 was my experience when I lived in Manila. They are so respectful and they know how to make you feel at ease. Thailand is my next stop and will certainly keep your tips in mind.

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