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Expat Communities in Thailand: What to do and where to go

Thursday , 26 April 2018 NEWS

With its strategic location and generally low cost of living among many other favourable qualities, Thailand is a regular feature on lists of the best places for expats to settle in.

The kingdom attracts thousands of expats from all over the world annually, making up about 4% of the total population. Expats in Thailand fit many profiles - young professionals looking for exciting opportunities in one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, retirees who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and relax in a quiet beach town for a change, and even families who are looking to educate their children in a culturally-rich environment while enjoying a comparatively lower cost of living.

Thailand’s cities are as diverse as its people. Bangkok usually attracts the city-dwellers, who thrive in fast-paced environments and are open to living in environments that have a blend of tradition and modernity. Families also benefit from modern amenities like mega shopping malls stocked with international brands, highly-ranked international schools and high-quality medical care. Beach towns like Phuket and Hua Hin are more popular among retirees seeking laidback lifestyles and a break from cosmopolitan cities.

Thailand’s vibrant expat communities have made their own mark on the country by setting up their own enclaves for fellow expats to meet and mingle.

Here are three popular hangouts and activities among Thai expats.

Shopping & Food

Siam Paragon is one of Bangkok’s main attractions, with over 250 international luxury brands and shops in a sprawling 500,000 square metres of retail space. The mall is also home to world-class cafes and restaurants. Kid-friendly cafes like Moomin Cafe and Freeze Frozen Yogurt are great for creating precious moments with families. If you’re all tuckered out from shopping and need to rest your feet, the Sansiri Lounge is a comfortable pitstop with facilities for you to rejuvenate.

Night Life

Thailand never sleeps. It does not matter if you are someone who has recently made the move to Thailand or just a visitor for a few days, feel right at home when you visit bars and restaurants that are founded by fellow countrymen. Sip on a familiar drink or have a homemade meal at one of the many F&B outlets that Thai expats have set up to facilitate casual meetups and conversations among members of their own community.

In Bangkok, The Australian Pub is a big hit among many expats, with Aussie bar staples such as live sports, live music and a wide selection of alcoholic drinks. Cheap Charlie’s is another classic on the Thai expat bar scene, famous for its pocket friendly beer prices-prices going as low as 60 baht (USD 1.90) for a bottle of Thai Singha beer. For those who would like to enjoy their night out with a million-dollar view, they can head to the top rooftop bars in Bangkok for a memorable night out

With Phuket and Hua Hin being resort towns popular among tourists, there is no shortage of nightlife entertainment spots. The White Lotus Sky Bar in Hua Hin is quiet and laid-back, with a breath-taking view of the mountain range. The Factory Bar is one of Phuket’s famous bars that hosts many of the hottest parties in Thailand. With international DJs gracing its stages and music playing non-stop until the sun rises, this bar is perfect for those who are looking for the ultimate party venue.

Leisure Activities

For those who have not made their holiday plans yet, fret not! Thailand itself has many events and festivals happening all year round. Songkran, the Thai New Year and the kingdom’s biggest and most important festival, kick-starts celebrations in April. Other seasonal activities include Whitewater Rafting in Khao Yai National Park in September and Loy Krathong, Thailand’s very own festival of lights, in Phuket in November.

Spontaneous travellers who wish to engage in activities happening year-round, can visit the numerous museums to learn about the rich Thai heritage or even go snorkelling in the pristine, world-class beaches of Thailand. Taking up traditional Thai cooking classes is another easy and enjoyable activity that the whole family can engage in.

Along with assimilating with the locals, the Thai expat community has also managed to carve out an identity for themselves and celebrate their uniqueness.

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