Published on March 6, 2014
Globaleye Relocation Guide Bangkok A Guide to Living and Working Overseas www.globaleye.com
BANGKOK OVERVIEW Bangkok is the capital and the most populous city of Thailand. The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq. mi.) in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and has a population of over eight million, or 12.6 percent of the country's population. Over fourteen million people (22.2 percent) live within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region, making Bangkok an extreme primate city, dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms of importance. The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok. The city is now a major regional force in finance and business. It is an international hub for transport and health care, and is emerging as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment. Climate Like most of Thailand, Bangkok has a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification and is under the influence of the South Asian monsoon system. It experiences hot, rainy and cool seasons, although temperatures are fairly hot year‐round, ranging from an average low of 20.8 °C (69.4 °F) in December to an average high of 34.9 °C (94.8 °F) in April. The rainy season begins with the arrival of the southwest monsoon around mid‐May. September is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 344.2 millimetres (13.55 in). The rainy season lasts until October, when the dry and cool northeast monsoon takes over until February. The hot season is generally dry, but also sees occasional summer storms. Geography The Bangkok city proper covers an area of 1,568.737 square kilometres (605.693 sq. mi.), ranking 69th among the other 76 provinces of Thailand. Of this, about 700 square kilometres (270 sq. mi.) form the built‐up urban area. It is ranked 73rd in the world in terms of land area by City Mayors. The city's urban sprawl reaches into parts of the six other provinces it borders, namely, in clockwise order from northwest: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom. With the exception of Chachoengsao, these provinces, together with Bangkok, form the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Time Zone GMT + 7 hours Cost of Living Compared to the UK and many other Asian countries the cost of living in Thailand is reasonably low. Below is the average cost of renting an apartment in Bangkok:
Average Rent Per Month Long Term* Serviced Apartments** Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre £400 £600 Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre £225 £450 Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre £1150 £2000 Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre £525 £1150 *Long term rates are subject to a 2 months deposit, plus the first monthly payment on signing the agreement. Water and electricity is extra. **Serviced accommodation only requires each monthly payment in advance, with no deposit. They have a hotel sized room, which normally includes a fridge, microwave and electronic hob, plus a daily maid service to clean and make the beds. Cable TV is standard. Water and electricity is included. Currency The Baht (Sign: ฿; Code: THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang. The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand. Bills come in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50 and 20. Coins are 10, 5, 2 and 1 and tiny Satangs (equivalent to pence). Satangs are denominated in 25 and 50 coins. Major hotels readily accept major currencies for payment, though the exchange rates are poor. Traveller’s Cheques are accepted at banks and hotels. Foreign currencies can be readily exchanged for local currency at a bank or money changer. Credit Cards and ATM’s All major international credit cards, such as American Express, Diners Club, Master Card and Visa are accepted at most tourist hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shopping complexes. It is possible to apply for a local debit card, billed in Thai Baht, and you will need to open a local account to obtain these. Banking, money and taxes Banks in Thailand are modern, reliable and easily accessible with numerous ATMs and English‐speaking personnel in main branches. Full accounts can be opened by foreigners with work permits. There are a number of international banks that operate in Thailand. Normally documentation is in dual language (Thai and English). Expats workers are liable to tax in Thailand. The tax rate for residents is calculated on a progressive scale starting from 10% (for annual income exceeding THB 150,000) to 37% (for anything exceeding THB 4,000,001). Thailand has signed tax treaties with most western countries preventing double taxation for expats. Tax forms are often in Thai so it may be necessary to hire a Thai tax planner to complete even simple tax forms. Communications Country code: 66 Telecommunications in Thailand are based on an extensive network of telephone lines covering the country. TOT Public Company Limited and True Corporation operate the majority of the telephone network in the Bangkok metropolitan area while TOT Public Company Limited and TT&T Public Company Limited operate the telephone network in other provinces. The outgoing code is 001, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the United Kingdom). City/area codes are in use, e.g. Bangkok is (0)2 and Chiang Mai is (0)53. To dial a mobile in Thailand an 8 must precede the city code. International direct dial facilities are available throughout most of the country. Mobile phone networks cover most towns, cities and holiday resorts; operators use GSM 900, 1800 and 1900 networks. Internet cafes are available in the main city and resorts. Broadband Internet is readily available in major cities and towns, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket, but is still to be sought after in smaller villages and in the countryside.
Culture Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese. It is important for foreigners to observe and respect local Thai customs. The wai (putting cupped hands in front of you and bowing slightly) is a more acceptable form of greeting than shaking hands. Thais use first names rather than surnames. Senior Thais, or those of a much higher standing are normally referred to with the prefix ‘Khun’, pronounced coon, (such as Khun Johhny, or Khun Nattiya). Wait to be introduced to others, as this is an indication of rank. Often the hierarchical structures favours the elders in a group and respect must be given accordingly. Formal, conservative attire is favoured for business meetings. Business hours are usually 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Dress is informal, although beachwear should be confined to the beach. Drugs are illegal and travellers should know that possession of even small quantities will lead to imprisonment and deportation, and that drug traffickers risk the death penalty Entertainment Bangkok is a friendly and cosmopolitan city brimming with wonderful attractions and activities for people of all persuasions. Despite the pollution, humidity and traffic congestion, Bangkok is a great place for expats to relocate to. There is a wide variety of shopping malls and markets. The MBK Shopping Centre supplies everything from clothing and jewellery to toys and electronics, while Chatuchak Market is the world’s largest weekend market with 9,000 stalls. There are also world class shopping malls, such as Siam Paragon and Centralworld. Bangkok nightlife might have a seedy reputation because of the strip clubs and go‐go bars. However, there are plenty of more conventional English style pubs and cocktail lounges. Food and Drink Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of milled rice per person per year. Good restaurants can be found all over Bangkok. Service tends to be fast and the food that you order is usually brought to you fairly quickly ‐ much quicker than it would be at most restaurants in the West. Virtually all restaurants in the popular areas, tourist areas, shopping centres etc. have menus in English and functional English is usually spoken by the staff. For the drinkers out there, Bangkok can burn a big hole in your wallet. Drinking in Bangkok is often no cheaper than the West if you drink beer or imported spirits, and wine is extremely expensive.
Healthcare / Hospitals There are excellent international hospitals in Bangkok, but hospitals and clinics outside the main urban areas are not always up to Western standards. Many hospitals require guarantee of payment for bills, which can be expensive and may delay treatment. To avoid such problems, private health insurance is strongly recommended. Knowing you and your loved ones have the necessary vaccinations gives you peace of mind when relocating to another country. When your destination is Thailand, be sure to get the following recommended vaccinations: • Diphtheria • Hepatitis A • Typhoid You should also consider vaccinations for: • Japanese B Encephalitis • Hepatitis B • Tuberculosis • Rabies Vaccine recommendations for travelers are subject to change, so it’s a good idea to check current requirements with your doctor before departing. You should also make sure that tetanus and polio vaccinations are up to date for you and other family members. Transportation Bangkok’s rapid demographic growth and urban expansion has overburdened its infrastructure, including the road network and public transport. Driving around Bangkok is only recommended if you live in a location, e.g. in a provincial suburb, with a long commute and bad public transport links. There are high import taxes on motor vehicles, and buying a new car isn’t that cheap in Thailand. For example, a Volvo XC60 is Bht3 million new (£60k). The roads in Bangkok are not well maintained, though most street signs are bilingual (i.e. in Thai and English), and drivers – particularly motorcyclists – can be rather reckless. Expatriates without a car usually prefer using the BTS (Skytrain), which is the overhead railway, or the MRT, which is the underground. There is an Airport Rail Link to get from the airport to a number of stations in Bangkok. Last but not least, there’s always the cab. There are a number of them in the city, and the fares are on the metre and relatively cheap, with the fare starting at Bht35. All are air conditioned. It is recommended that you refrain from using Tuk Tuk’s. These are the 3 wheeled modes of transport and are prone to accidents. Main Airports Getting to and departing from Bangkok is relatively easy. Bangkok has two airports: there is Suvarnabhumi (pronounced suwarnipoom) International Airport, about 30 km east of central Bangkok, as well as the old Don Muang Airport in the north.
USEFUL CONTACTS Hotels The Regency Sukhumvit Soi 22, Sukhumvit Road. +66 2 259 7420 Imm Fusion near Sukhumvit Soi 50, Sukhumvit Road, +66 2 331 5555 Windsor Suites Sukhumvit Soi 20, Sukhumvit Road, +66 2 262 1234 Hospitals Bangkok Hospital 2 Soi Soonvijai 7, New Petchburi road, Bangkapi, Huay Khwang, 10310, Thailand +66 2 310 3000 Bumrungrad Hospital 33 Sukhumvit Soi 3, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand +66 2 667 1000 Schools Bangkok Patana School 643 La Salle Road (Sukhumvit 105), Bangna, Bangkok 10260, Thailand +66 2 785 2200 Harrow International School 45 Soi Kosumruamchai 14, Kosumruamchai Rd., Sikun, Don Muang, Bangkok, 10210 Thailand, +66 (0) 25037222 Shrewsbury International School 1922 Charoen Krung Road Wat Prayakrai Bang Kholame, Khlong Toei, Bangkok 10120, Thailand, +66 2 675 1888 Bangkok Emergency Contact Numbers Police Crime Fire Highway Police Ambulance and Rescue Medical Emergency 191 195 199 1193 1669 1554
TRAVEL TIPS Be prepared Generally, overseas travellers are more likely to be injured through unintentional injuries than to be struck down by exotic infectious diseases. In fact, accidents and traffic collisions are the most frequent cause of death among travellers, so ensure you have good insurance and if you are hiring a vehicle, ensure it is in good working order. Copy your documents In the unfortunate event of your luggage going missing, or your passport / wallet is stolen or lost, it is a good idea to have copies that can help you with re‐issues. Take 2 coloured photocopies of your passport, plus visa stamps and documents, driving licence, important prescriptions or other ID documents. Make 2 sets of the documents and keep these copies separate from your main luggage, preferably in 2 separate bags. It is also a good idea to copy scanned or photocopied documents to an Internet based e‐mail account. Make sure someone at home knows how to access it in case of an emergency. Vaccinations Check with your medical practitioner on what vaccines are required before your travel. Due to your medical history, you may require more than one dose, or you may need boosters for childhood vaccines. Check the latest travel advice and travel bulletins for your destination before you depart, and also while travelling, so you can ensure you have the latest information. Common diseases contracted by travellers include those which are the result of eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or not practising safe sex, plus a number of mosquito or tick‐borne diseases endemic to tropical areas. Be sure to take measures to avoid being bitten such as wearing light‐coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs, regularly applying an appropriate insect repellent and staying in mosquito‐proof accommodation or using bed nets. Taking medicines with you Book a check‐up at your doctor or dentist, before you leave. If you wear glasses or contacts lenses, bring an extra pair of glasses and your prescription. Persons taking prescription medications should make sure they have an adequate supply for the trip, and/or bring their prescription, making sure it includes the medication trade name, manufacturer’s name, generic name, and dosage. Please also be aware that certain medicines are forbidden in Dubai, such as Codeine. Please check that any medication you are taking is legal and if you are unsure please contact us and we will check for you. Prepare a simple medical kit of over‐the counter medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamine, antiseptic and diarrhoea medication), band aids, thermometer, sunscreen, and insect repellent. When travelling overseas with medicine, (including over‐the‐counter or private prescription) it is important that you talk to your doctor and discuss the amount of medicine
you will need to take. Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking, and stating that it is for your own personal use. Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it is clearly labelled with your own name and dosage instructions. If you have to inject your medication, inform your airline before you travel and, if necessary, arrange a letter from your doctor explaining why you need to carry them. Your health on long‐haul flights Keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing. To help avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT): drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and whilst seated, stretch and rotate your feet and lower legs. Walking around the cabin at regular intervals will help. Scuba Divers If you have been scuba diving, don’t travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive. Coping with Jetlag Factor the effects of jet lag into your itinerary. In order to cope with Jetlag you should get a good deal of sleep before your journey. It is also important to rest as much as possible during your flight. Planning to arrive at your destination as near to the time when you normally go to sleep will also help with the adjustment. If you are able to plan your itinerary allow time on arrival for adjustment or plan meetings at similar times to back home. Some people advise changing their watches to destination time when they get onto the plane. While this helps many people, for those who are on regular medication, such as diabetics, watches should remain on home time until you are able to adjust your medication to local times on arrival at your destination or as suggested by your health advisor. On arrival at your destination get active as soon as possible, as exercise has been proven to improve productivity. Adjust your meals and activities to local time as soon as you can. Exposure to light is also a good way of naturally allowing your body to adjust. If you need to take a short nap, do, it will help refresh you, but don’t forget to use an alarm clock or wake up call to get you up! Lost Luggage If you happen to lose your baggage on arrival at your destination airport, tell the airline immediately and get suitable compensation. Agree on an amount you can spend on essential items that you will need and give them an address to deliver the luggage to when they find it. It is wise to make a copy of your passport details and any other important papers or vaccination certificates that you are carrying with you when you travel. Leave them in a safe place in the office or copy to an Internet based e‐mail account. Make sure someone at home either a partner or friend knows how to access it in case of an emergency. You will need photo identification even for air travel within the UK. Personal Safety Be aware of your surroundings at all times; thieves will use many tricks to distract you ‐ wiping something off your shoulder while an accomplice is picking your pocket, getting young children to surround you while they plan to rob your belongings. Trust your instincts, especially when visiting countries where a high poverty rate comes along with high petty crime rates. When not attending meetings, try to blend in with the crowd when out and about ‐ try not to look like a visitor! When enjoying the local nightlife, guard your food/drinks and keep your wits about you. Beware of the fact that you will be an easy target after a few too many drinks. Avoid walking home to your hotel late at night, even if it is close by. Get a taxi. Don’t take shortcuts through poorly lit areas; it pays to trust your instincts in these situations. Keep your wits about you when making new friends – men and women may come across very friendly indeed if you are the route to an easier life. Be careful of telling people where you live. Unsafe Water ‐ What to do If travelling to more remote areas with poor sanitation ‐ only drink boiled water, hot beverages, such as coffee and tea, canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine. Ice may be made from unsafe water and should be avoided. It is safer to drink from a can or bottle of beverage than to drink from a container that was not known to be clean and dry. However, water on the surface of a beverage can or bottle may also be contaminated. Therefore, the area of a can or bottle that will touch the mouth should be wiped clean and dry.
MALARIA AWARENESS The Mosquito – Disease Carrier Mosquitoes transmit the viruses responsible for yellow fever, dengue haemorrhagic fever, epidemic polyarthritis, and several forms of encephalitis and, most famously, malaria. Mosquitoes lay their eggs wherever there is standing water, ponds, salt water marshes, or even puddles and discarded containers. Only female mosquitoes bite, as they require blood to produce their eggs. What is Malaria? Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes; the most deadly strain being plasmodium falciparum. The mosquito unwittingly transmits this parasite when biting its victim. These parasites then spread to the liver where they take one to four weeks to multiply. Once mature, they spread throughout the red blood cells resulting in the first symptoms – a flu‐like fever, which, if left untreated will lead to liver failure, coma and ultimately, death. Symptoms Malaria symptoms are very similar to flu; however you may not suffer from all of them: ・ High Fever ・ Headache ・ Vomiting ・ General ill feeling ・ Muscle and joint aches ・ Jaundice / yellow skin tone Medical attention should be sought immediately if you have any symptoms that could be malaria. Ensure that you can get to medical facilities 24 hours a day, and know your options when in developing countries. Bear in mind that once malaria symptoms strike, you will not feel like travelling very far. Malaria can kill within 48 hours of developing symptoms. Risk Areas Mosquitoes have been found all over the world, however not all mosquitos carry malaria. The countries below are malaria hot spots, if you are travelling to them, it is necessary to take medicinal precautions. Malaria is one of mankind’s oldest known killers, dating back almost 5000 years. What attracts mosquitoes? ・ ・ ・ ・ Carbon Dioxide ‐ we exhale it when we breathe and also secrete it from our pores. Fragrances such as deodorant, soap, shower gel, even cosmetics on the skin Body heat and sweat Dark Coloured clothing Repel mosquitoes ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ Cover up after dusk Use a repellent on your skin Close doors and windows at night Avoid lingering near stagnant water, ponds, lakes, and old containers are breeding grounds If you are out after dusk, wear a long‐sleeved shirt, trousers in a closely woven fabric and cover feet with socks If you must wear thin clothing, buy a fabric friendly insect repellent, as mosquitoes will bite through the fabric
On Skin Choose insect repellents with DEET, on any exposed skin ‐ highly effective against all biting insects. Do not put your trust in products without DEET, no known natural remedies have been scientifically proven to provide a barrier for your skin. When visiting countries high in temperature or humidity, choose a repellent with 50% DEET protection, as humidity coupled with sweating will evaporate the repellent and reduce its effectiveness. Read labels carefully and do not be complacent with re‐application. Aroma Repellents ・ ・ ・ ・ Buy a pyrethroid coil or a plug‐in insecticide Lemon eucalyptus oil and citronella are natural fly repellents. It is not recommended that you rely on them as their potency wears off quickly, but they may be of use alongside the above. Ultrasonic devices and bug ‘zappers’ are not effective against mosquitoes Make sure window and door screens are intact so that mosquitoes cannot get indoors Mosquito Nets If you are sleeping in an unscreened room, a mosquito net is advised. Nets come in a range of mesh weaves ‐ choose wisely depending on your situation. Heavy‐duty nets get hot and uncomfortable, whereas others may not offer enough protection, so do some careful research into the climate you are going to be in. A permethrin spray can be used on a mosquito net and sometimes clothing. It will instantly kill any mosquito that lands on it. This, coupled with a skin repellent creates a formidable barrier. Antimalarial drugs There are several different types of medication depending on such factors as area to be visited, length of stay, type of travel, your own medical history and drugs you may already be taking. Highly sensitive persons may consider antihistamines to minimise allergic reactions to mosquito bites, and other insects you may encounter for the first time. If you think you have Malaria Seek advice from a medical professional to discuss the most appropriate anti‐malarial medication for your needs. Visit the nearest medical facility as soon as possible for emergency treatment. If you go to an area where a well‐equipped hospital cannot be reached within 24 hours, take emergency medicines with you. Precaution Summary ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ ・ Take anti‐malarial medication as prescribed Screen doors and windows Sleep under a mosquito net Spray your room with insecticide Wear long trousers and sleeves after dusk Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin when outdoors Awareness of the risk of malaria if you are travelling to a foreign country. Bites Avoid bites and reduce the chances of getting malaria. Comply with the appropriate drug regimen for the area you are visiting. Diagnosis Malaria can be fatal but early diagnosis and treatment is usually 100% effective.
CONTACTS Globaleye Bangkok Level 18, Park Ventures Ecoplex 57 Wireless Road Lumpini, Patumwan Bangkok, 10330 Thailand Tel: +66 2 309 3441 email@example.com www.globaleye.com Dubai Head Office P.O Box 24592 Villa 801, Al Thanya Street Umm Sequim 3 Dubai United Arab Emirates T: +971 4 404 3700 F: +971 4 348 6362 Toll Free: 800 4558 firstname.lastname@example.org www.globaleye.com
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