Thursday, 16 October 2014

Expats & Thailand: A Love/Hate Relationship

Many expatriates in Thailand can’t help but harbour an ambivalent attitude of love and hate for their host country. Certainly, there are two sides in the coin for this Southeast Asian nation which prides itself as the only in the region not subjugated by a Western power. It is for this reason that the country changed its name from Siam to Thailand, taking on the word “Thai” which means free in the native language.
Akin to this free spirit is the Thais non-domineering and friendly nature. This is what has gained favor most among expats, the better half of their feelings for this country that urges them to stay despite the negatives that they too encounter here. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the Thais are among the friendliest in the world, accommodating and caring even to complete strangers.
Positive Thai outlook
The more relaxed way of life in Thailand compared to Western cultures is another enticement for expats to overrule whatever they dislike in living in this country. Thais have a very positive outlook on life. When faced by adversity, their typical approach is “mai bpen lai,” meaning “never mind and don’t worry” as the unwelcome predicament will soon pass. With this fundamental in the ebb and flow of life in Thailand, a positive outlook too becomes ingrained among the country’s expats.
Cost of living which is considerably more affordable than in developed countries is another vital reason why farangs choose to stick it out in Thailand. For a fraction of the rates in Western cities, they can have upscale living quarters in Bangkok, for instance.
Life and leisure advantages win
And while Western dishes are widely available locally at great prices, Thai cuisine compares favorably with the best of the world but doesn’t cost that much. The same is true with local shopping which not only offers competitively priced quality items but also enables alternatives from a wide range of goods, be it in shopping malls or night markets.
Lastly, leisure spots in Thailand like ShaSa Resort are plus factors that can outweigh the minuses that bother expats about this country. Even just an overnight stay at the beaches of Koh Samui can be enough for love to prevail over the hate that some expats entertain about living here.
photo credit: ol'pete via photopin cc

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