What we think

We conducted a survey and asked the current teachers about their personal experiences and opinions about Thailand, living in Bangkok and working at KIS to give you a better understanding of what to expect. We also asked them about their personal highlights of things to do in Bangkok.

Please click on the links to read the individual sections:


Living in Thailand

In our staff survey we asked our current teachers about their experiences in and impressions of Thailand. As you will see, there are some answers that appear on the list of what we enjoy and love about Thailand as well as the list about challenges and frustrations. This illustrates how varied our personal experiences are and how each individual needs to find their own way to make expat life a positive and rewarding experience. By sharing our thoughts and impressions, we hope to assist you in mentally preparing yourself a little better about what to expect from your move to Thailand.

“As an expat living in Thailand, what do you like about Thailand, Thai culture etc?”

  • beautiful country, good weather, easy to travel within the country, being close to the beach, culture, temples, interesting historic places to visit
  • I like feeling ‘safe’ here (compared to my home country)
  • Positive outlook of Thais, non-aggressive culture, Thai hospitality, friendliness of the thai people, smiles, approachability, laughter and helpfulness of so many people. People are friendly – they will laugh at you (so get used to it) but they are trying to be friendly!
  • “namjai” (Engl. “water heart”: spontaneous warmth and compassion that allows families to make anonymous sacrifices for friends and to extend hospitality to strangers)
  • I admire the religious aspect and how it unites and bonds families
  • The devotion of Thai people to the king
  • how Thai life centers around food
  • The whole “mai pen rai” (“Never mind”) attitude that people have. I have become more patient and relaxed about most things
  • the way people take their time doing things
  • the acceptance of babies and small children in public and the warmth that strangers show to babies and small children
  • Food
  • Shopping
  • I like the fact that everyone sticks together; we all know how rough it can be but we are all there for each other because we are going through the same situations. I have a group of friends and a social scene
  • Everything (it has become my culture now, too!)
  • I do not have the feeling of being an intruder
  • I have liked Thai people and their culture since the first time I came here in 1995
  • Great service found in almost all service industry (hotels, restaurants etc.)

As an expat living in Thailand, what do you find challenging or frustrating to deal with?

  • Understanding the tonal language, Thai language is still hard after 4 years
  • Closeness (physically) of people, rushing at the elevator or train door (not waiting for those to get off first)
  • Saving face (i.e. being told something will be done or is fine, only to avoid confrontation), two types of smiles and two types of “yes”, you never really know the true feelings of someone in a particular situation because they always smile
  • When you are frustrated, Thai people simply laugh or smile and that is not the emotion that you want to deal with when you are angry
  • Thai time (punctuality), the easy and relaxed attitude of locals towards getting work done within a certain time frame can be annoying at times, the way people take their time doing things
  • the weird and illogical steps you need to go through to get things done, it takes too many people to do one simple thing
  • The government seems to come up with new crazy law that makes no sense to a westerner
  • The growing desire for material things, their belief that all foreigners are rich
  • The sudden closure of a route or a service during a normal day for no rhyme or reason can be stressful to the common people on the street, the ability to shut down the roads for what feels like hours to allow for dignitaries to come through; these are not always very important people!
  • It’s important to know that Thai people have a very long memory
  • “Mai pen rai” (“nevermind”) – not everything is a nevermind-situation
  • Taxis that refuse to take you somewhere, Taxi drivers can be annoying and ask many personal questions. Don’t get mad at cabbies. Not worth it and can go wrong fast. Know the Soi of where you are going and guide them from there. Intersections are good to use as landmarks. Maps are not that helpful to show a cab driver, nor are names of tiny streets.
  • dealing with the bill at the end of the meal

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Living in Bangkok

In our staff survey we asked our current teachers what they liked about living in Bangkok. Here are their responses (similar responses are grouped together):

  • Having a nice apartment, access to high standards of living
  • Being able to afford a maid
  • Low cost of living
  • Eating out, awesome food, being able to eat for really cheap
  • Ease of local & international travel, excellent travel hub, being able to escape to the outer regions of Thailand and other parts of Asia
  • The climate, warm weather
  • Lovely & friendly people, Thai people are generally very friendly and helpful, compassionate and friendly atmosphere in Thai society
  • The relaxed and safe feeling – not being afraid getting mugged around a dark corner
  • Lots to see & do, shopping, variety of market places for shopping
  • Slow paced city, colorful city
  • Good transportation system, I don’t have to drive a car
  • Lots of things to occupy your time, arts, art galleries, concerts, plays, clubs, night life, movies, great social life
  • Medical services, buying drugs over the counter (i.e. antibiotics),
  • Having heaps for different experiences than living at home
  • Beauty treatments

And here are their answers to the question about what they don’t like about living in Bangkok:

  • Traffic
  • Pollution
  • Lack of green spaces
  • Lack of nice places/streets to walk
  • Electric and telephone lines and concrete posts everywhere
  • Bad architecture
  • Humidity
  • The whistle happy guards out on the street
  • Growing too quickly, lack of urban planning
  • Lack of suitable males
  • Stray animals

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Working at KIS

Here are the results from our staff survey about working at KIS:

“What is the best thing about KIS?”

  • Spirit of community, general friendly atmosphere, easy going people, good working environment, relaxed and friendly vibe
  • Staff & students, supportive staff members, supportive heads and management team
  • Strong teamwork,team teaching
  • Very organized
  • Location
  • Beautiful and clean buildings
  • Excellent attitude of the students to new learning
  • Staff commitment to community of the school & outside the school
  • Small size
  • IB curriculum

“What do you enjoy the most about working at KIS?”

  • team teaching, good team work, opportunity to work with dedicated teachers who act as my mentors, being supported and encouraged to be innovative in teaching styles and technology, working with another team member to bounce ideas off each other, respect as a professional teacher from other staff and working with a great team
  • great staff members, easy going people, the helpful nature of staff
  • the vibe, the atmosphere at school, the sense of community
  • ongoing teacher training sessions for professional development
  • since working at KIS I never get that “Sunday evening feeling”
  • great classrooms and outdoor space
  • access to resources, school supports buying materials
  • delivering the PYP program
  • the children
  • hours of work

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And here are our personal highlights of things to do:

Activities

  • Sunday brunch at a big hotel
  • Take advantage of super cheap cinema experiences or treat yourself to a movie where you get the lazy-boy chair with a  blanket (VIP ticket)
  • Keep your eye out for the thai craft sales www.thaicraft.org
  • Wait for a cool morning and go crazy at Chatuchak weekend market
  • Go shopping at Asiatique night bazaar
  • Enjoy the view over Bangkok on the Observation and Revolving roofdecks on the 77th and 84th floors of Bayoke Tower
  • Go for a walk in Lumpini or Chatuchak park
  • Take a river boat taxi
  • Go to the Flower market
  • Buy a good map and be adventurous, we used Nancy Chandler and did some exciting things like taking a train to Samut Songkran and were the only farang on the train
  • Speak to Ashley, KIS teacher, for golf or football advice. ashley@kis.ac.th

 

Sightseeing / Trips

  • Grand palace
  • Wat Po to see the reclining Buddha and treat yourself to great massage inside the templegrounds
  • Vimanmek Palace (Phra Thi Nang Wiman Mek); the largest golden teak wood palace in the world
  • Visit Jim Thompson House, one of the best preserved examples of a traditional Thai house in the city on Soi Kasem San 2, off Rama I Road
  • Go up to the Golden Mount and enjoy the view
  • Take a long tail boat down the Chao Praya river and visit the royal barge museum
  • National Museum
  • Kao Sarn Road because it is such a gong show (backpacker area)
  • China Town
  • Enjoy the view at any of the riverfront restaurants over lunch or dinner
  • Head to Ko Krut for a lazy Sunday exploration
  • Go to Kanchanaburi or Koh Samet for the weekend

Restaurants / Bars / Clubs

  • Food by Phone and Food Panda deliver to your home from a  large selection of restaurants.
  • Use the Eatigo app for discounts of up to 50% from many restaurants.
  • Best Sunday brunch using the Eatigo app: 27 Bites.
  • Have a cocktail at sunset at Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar (Banyan Tree Hotel) or Sirocco rooftop restaurant (State Tower) to appreciate how big the city is. There are many other rooftop bars also worth visiting.
  •  Above 11. Sukhumvit Soi 11. Fraser Suites (Top Floor)
  • Japanese Food: Isao Suk Soi 31
  • Bei Otto on Sukhumvit Soi 20 sells decent brown bread, cakes and pastries. (German Restaurant)
  • Mango Tree. Sukhumvit Soi 4
  • Western Food. Roast @ Seen Place, Thong Lor.
  • Soul Food Manakorn. Northern Thai street food done up right – Thong Lor Just up from Suk – 02 714 7708
  • Beirut (Middle Eastern) in 3 restaurants serving excellent Lebanese food.
  • Limoncello Pizzeria (Sukhumvit Soi 11)
  • Sunrise Tacos (Buritos, Tacos, Margaritas etc.) near Asok
  • Nefertiti (Egyptian) on Sukhumvit Soi 3/1
  • Shawarma wraps on Sukhumvit Soi 3
  • Expensive buffet lunches at Shangri-La Hotel, Anantara Riverside resort and many others.
  • Coffee Beans by Dao (cakes) on Ekamai 12
  • Crepes breakfast at Crepes & Co
  • Thon Krueng seafood restaurant on Thong Lor Soi 15
  • Face Indian/Thai/Japanese Restaurant on Thong Lor Soi 38
  • Roadhouse Barbecue – smokehouse & grill on Rama IV Rd.
  • The Coffee Maker (Thai and Western) on Thong Lor Soi 9
  • Charley Browns (Mexican) on Sukhumvit Soi 11
  • Cabbages and Condoms (Thai / Western) on Sukhumvit Soi 12
  • Coyotes (Mexican) on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Great happy hours for cocktails.
  • Siam Paragon food court. Central Chit Lom food court.
  • All you can eat Oishi seafood dinner (Japanese restaurant chain)
  • Cheap Charlies – funky expat bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11
  • Soi Rambutree by Khao Sarn Road
  • Saxophone by Victory Monument for Blues fans
  • Funky house night at Tapas Silom Soi 4
  • Spasso club at Grand Hyatt Erawan
  • Popular expat pubs: Bull’s Head, Robin Hood, Londoner

Live Music and Dancing

  •  Aussie Bar. Sukhumvit, Soi 11
  •  Firehouse (blues) Sukhumvit, Soi 11

Pampering

  • Panipas to get pedicures, manicures and haircuts on Ekkamai Soi 19
  • Massage at Body Tune on the road next to Emporium
  • Tony & Guy hair salon
  • Best Facial and Hot Rock Massage – Amaranth on Suk Soi 19, First Soi turn right and then a left.- 022560100

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