Bangkok is famous worldwide for many different reasons, but one common question is, are there any disadvantages of living in Bangkok Thailand? I’ve had the fortune to live in Thailand and Bangkok for many years, and just like every capital city, there are pros and cons when living in Bangkok.
In today’s article, we are going to be exploring 17 disadvantages of living in Bangkok. Before we begin, Bangkok is a beautiful city, and it’s a fantastic place to live; however, as it is the capital and offers a different way of life compared to the North and South, it is therefore not for everybody.
Table of Contents
Disadvantages Of Living In Bangkok Thailand
High Living Expenses
One of the most significant disadvantages of living in Bangkok Thailand is the high level of living expenses. To compare the living expenses of Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we recently published an article focusing on these two cities but to summarise; your money will go much further living in other cities outside of Bangkok.
The metropolitan area of Bangkok can be costly, especially close to the BTS line (sky train); moving slightly outside of the downtown area can save 11-17%, we have calculated. Nonetheless, living is manageable, but you may need to budget marginally higher if you are thinking of living in Bangkok long-term.
Moderate To High Crime Rate In Certain Areas
The level of crime statistically in Bangkok does slightly fluctuate depending on what source you are reading. Still, on average, the crime index ranges between 40 to 50, which is a moderate-to-high score. Some categories, such as corruption and bribery, rank high (more on this later)
Across the Internet, there are thousands of different reports from expats living in Bangkok and those who have recently traveled. Most often, one of the disadvantages of living in Bangkok Thailand is the crime rate they advise. However, some additional reports indicate that crimes are higher in tourist areas, especially during events.
Can Become Quickly Overcrowded
One of the magical things and a disadvantage of living in Bangkok Thailand is just how busy the city can be in moments. For example, you may find yourself at the local park, and at the moment the clock strikes 5, the office staff finish, and the park begins to fill up.
If you are someone who uses public transport, which is highly likely if you live in Bangkok, you may find during peak times; transportation becomes near impossible. As a result, you may need to wait several times before you see an available sky train.
Ongoing Covid-19 Lockdowns
The ongoing Covid-19 battle is a fascinating one as in Bangkok, restrictions have been tough for the local community. These include both local citizens and the expat community. At the time of writing this, we are heading towards the end of 2021, and during the last few months, the covid-19 lockdowns have affected Bangkok life several times.
What’s important to remember when looking at the disadvantages of Bangkok Thailand is that Bangkok is indeed the capital city, so naturally, there will be more disadvantages than other similar cities.
Air Pollution In Bangkok
Air pollution can be terrible living in Thailand. Many of those who have lived or visited Chiang Mai will know just how polluted the city can be during the burning season. But one area that can also suffer heavily is Bangkok. The burning season affects areas such as Bangkok, and the traffic (which we will mention next) plays a big part in the overall pollution. As a result, it’s not uncommon for the air quality to be deemed toxic and unhealthy. Therefore, we recommend downloading an air quality app for your safety if you plan to live in Bangkok.
Heavy Traffic Through The City
At the time of writing, just under 11 million residents are living in Bangkok. With all those people and families, traffic remains one of the most significant disadvantages of living in Bangkok, Thailand. Thanks to the sky train and the underground train, traffic has eased ever so slightly because if you are looking to go somewhere quickly, you will most likely take the two former options. Nonetheless, it’s not uncommon to remain stuck in a traffic jam which can sometimes take many hours.
Food Hygiene Can Be Lacking
Food hygiene is paramount, but unfortunately, some establishments lack appropriate food hygiene levels due to the high levels of customers. During my time in Bangkok, I was ordering food from a restaurant, and at the start of my meal, there were only a few seats filled. However, after I have finished my meal, over 90% of the restaurant was filled and a small queue developed outside. It is astonishing just how busy some establishments can become. Unfortunately, this was not a rare occasion, and food hygiene can easily slip when this happens.
Frequent Scams Across Bangkok
Scams are unfortunately widespread in Thailand in general. Still, one specific disadvantage of living in Bangkok Thailand is the high level of scams, some of which target foreigners residing in the capital. It’s challenging to police specific scams, and many scams succeed. You may have heard about the computer scams common in certain parts of the world, such as India? It has been reported that some scammers use Thai money mules around Bangkok to move money around.
Can Become Hot Very Quickly
With such a large population in Bangkok, it’s no surprise that the city itself can become very hot rapidly. So you may find yourself on the train or taking a walk to the shop and suddenly start sweating. Other areas in Thailand can become much hotter than Bangkok, but the heat you will experience living in Bangkok is a different kind of heat. During the summer months around the city, I often saw locals having to stop work to rest in the shade as the heat was too overbearing.
Inflation has skyrocketed the cost of living across certain southeast Asian countries, and in the capital of Thailand, price rises for locals and foreigners have been no exception. Unfortunately, many locals fall into the poverty line and do whatever it takes to survive. When visiting and exploring Bangkok, it’s common to see visible poverty. This is pretty standard around many parts of Thailand, but Bangkok seems to be one of the highest areas for seeing visible poverty. This will also increase or decrease depending on the area you are exploring.
One of the great things about living in Bangkok as a foreigner is that there is a great deal of entertainment and nightlife. Nonetheless, one disadvantage of living in Bangkok Thailand is that nightlife, including entry and drinks, does not always meet expectations. Some venues in Thailand have a crazy high cost for the simplest of beverages. So essentially, when you visit these places, you pay for the venue and the view because the drink itself costs a fraction of the price.
Thai Dialect Difference
If you have learned the Thai language or are currently learning Thai, you may find it very difficult to communicate with locals living in Bangkok if you have learned and practiced your Thai language with Thais in the South or North. Some dialects can be so intense for those living in Bangkok that other Thais can sometimes find it challenging to understand locals from Bangkok.
High Hospital Costs In Bangkok
There are many different types of hospitals around Bangkok. Some, such as Bangkok hospitals, are known to have a high price tag. If you are planning to live in Bangkok permanently or for a long time, it is recommended to obtain health insurance. Personally, local health insurance such as Thai FWD health insurance is what I use as it’s much more convenient if you need to claim compared to overseas insurance.
One thing I notice in Bangkok is just how much dominance many corporations have in Bangkok. I like to shop locally, but I found it very difficult to find a small business on the main high street.
Due to the high levels of crime we discussed earlier, it’s no surprise that certain areas across Bangkok have a high level of surveillance. Still, even though this is for public safety, it can also be a disadvantage of living in Bangkok, Thailand.
Corruption in Thailand has been well documented. To date, there have been countless stories, documentaries, and investigations about the levels of corruption in Thailand. Corruption is widespread in Bangkok. When we think about corruption, we tend to think about government officials, but corruption is across all industries, including the private and public sectors.
It’s Hard To Feel At Home Living In Bangkok
Have you ever gone to a new place and just felt like this is home and that you are meant to be there? I have had this experience several times especially living in the Philippines. Nonetheless, I found it very difficult to feel that Bangkok was homely in any sense of the word. Bangkok is a beautiful and fantastic place, but it may not be the best option for long-term living. Feedback from expats who have spent a lot of time living in Bangkok has stated that it is difficult to feel part of the community as a foreigner, so living in Bangkok doesn’t feel homely to them.
Life In Bangkok As A Foreigner – Summary
When I decided to first live in Bangkok, I moved from Chiang Mai simply because I felt like my social life needed a kick up the butt. So if you are looking to increase your social circle and meet new people, you will find it in Bangkok!
There are many benefits of living in the capital. Still, as we are focusing on the disadvantages of living in Bangkok Thailand today, we haven’t had the opportunity to discuss some of the benefits. If you can afford to live in Bangkok long-term, you may find that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
However, if money is slightly tired and you are looking to save cash, Bangkok is not the best option. Suppose you are a single individual and you’re planning on dating. In that case, you may find that some dating venues can be costly, which is why I do not recommend Bangkok to singletons looking to save money.
However, one significant advantage that Bangkok has is that it is a capital city, and because of this, it does have a modern living and exciting way of life. So if you are looking to try new things and meet more people, Bangkok may be perfect for you.
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