After getting back from Laos I decided I wanted to rent an apartment and just relax. For the past 2+ months I’d been moving to a new city every 3 or 4 days and now I just wanted to settle down for a bit.
I had a few goals for this trip, one was to see as much as possible, while another was to experience living life as an expat in a foreign country. I figured three months in one place would give me the experience I wanted living as an expat.
Finding an apartment proved harder than I thought. I lived out of a hotel for a week or so while I tried to locate a place to live. None of the leasing agents wanted anything less than a six-month contract. I stopped by a few of the condos and inquired about rooms for rent, and while they would rent for three months, I didn’t find anything I liked.
I ended up renting a guest house for a month, while I tried to figure things out and save some money over the cost of a hotel. A guest house is a cross between a hotel room and a studio apartment. It’s a large room, usually with a couch & tv. There is no kitchen but they usually have a microwave and kettle. There are no amenities or services other than having your room cleaned every day.
They are usually located on the floors above a business of some kind, like a café, restaurant, bar, or other business. Some have private entrances, others you need to walk through the business to get to the stairs – there are no elevators.
Mine was nice and modern, though nothing fancy. The only objection I had was with the shower. It’s what’s sometimes referred to as a wet shower, where the shower, sink, and toilet is in the same room. Mine had a separate area for the shower, but I had to walk on wet floors to reach the sink and toilet till it all dried out.
My everyday life for the month was non-eventful. I had no real plan or agenda other than to enjoy myself but I managed to fill the days up all the same. I imagine this is what early retirement is like. I explored the city a little more checking out the restaurants and bars around town.
I found a nice German restaurant that severed some great food.
I also checked out a place said to have some of the best burgers in Bangkok. The burgers were pretty good, but the meat doesn’t taste quite the same over here. The restaurant is decorated in gear from firefighters from around the world.
While Bangkok is a modern, cosmopolitan city with great restaurants, trendy bars, and a lively expat scene, it is also jam-packed with people, air pollution, and traffic that will drive a sane man crazy. Plus, it’s expensive.
Travel Plans – Singapore and Vietnam
Although I enjoyed my time in Bangkok, it’s not a city I’d like to stay in long term. I was happy I didn’t rent a condo for three months as I was ready to get out of Bangkok and see some new places. When my lease was up on the guest house I decided to travel to Singapore and Vietnam.
You need a visa for Vietnam and it is not a country where you can obtain one upon arrival. The Vietnam Embassy in Bangkok wasn’t too far from where I was staying. It is located a short walk from the Skytrain station so it was really easy to get to. The door isn’t well marked, but I found it after walking past the first time (or two).
After my experience in getting a Thai tourist visa in Vientiane, I was prepared for the worst. But when I went inside, I found there was only about 5 people and no line. I filled out the form, handed it in with my photos, documentation, and money and was told to come back the next day. Took about 20 minutes.
Christmas In Bangkok
I wouldn’t be in Bangkok for Christmas, but I did enjoy some of the decorations they put up around town. It isn’t like back in the State’s where decorations are everywhere. Here they are mainly displayed at tourist and foreign areas like shopping malls, business parks, or any place that caters to foreigners. Christmas is well over by now, but thought I’d share them anyway.
Teddy Bears seem to be the main Christmas decoration this year.
And a giant Santa keeping an eye on you.