What a wonderful life in a tropical metropolis

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own fact.

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Mostly this is the first country what people visit in Asia. Tourism has a long history here. Despite you can read about many positive expat experience in different aspects, it was not my first choice. But I was convinced to put it into my top 5 countries in this region and pre-arrange months here to make my own opinion.

Bangkok is actually ranked the third most livable city in Southeast Asia after Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. (Of course, you should decide you agree with this or not …)

One of the world's most popular tourist cities with roughly 20 million international overnight visitors from broke to luxury ones. I think we could say, Thailand doesn't always attract the best of them. Most of them are ruining the future of wanna-be good players, who are trying to get in to the country or even trying to stay there to do something nice.
Tourism destroys. Places are falling victim to their own popularity, people loving them to death. It even makes things worse when profit comes ahead of everything. As you can see in many-many places in many forms.

Thailand has become also a hub for expats. What is the main selling point? Not a big surprise: low cost of living.
People think Asia is dirt cheap. Living on a budget in Bangkok usually means eating overpackaged, artificial food from the street three times a day, traveling by bus, and sleeping in a shared twenty square meter studio without AC or kitchen. Is it living or is it just surviving? So, while it can be true for some idea of lifestyle, on the other hand if you want to live in the exactly same quality level as you do in Western Europe, it can actually cost more, just be aware.

I tried my best to avoid all of the most famous tourist places. I visited more local | expat neighborhoods, events, programs because my main focus was how could you live here well and sustainably? Is it possible? If yes, then is this a place or country where I would like to spend more time?
Spoiler alert: my months in Thailand were enough. No, this is not meant to be a long-term relationship.

Bangkok may be the most-visited city on Earth, but it remains one of the least-known to outsiders. In the grip of a property bubble and construction explosion, it moves faster than any eye can cope with. [1]
My question is: which direction? Unchecked urbanization could leave residents in a critical situation

Thailand is considered as one of the most vulnerable city to climate change impacts. Currently, the capital is sinking and there is a danger of massive flooding in the near future due to extreme rainfall.
South Asia is already at risk from extreme heat waves because the annual monsoon brings hot and humid air on to the land. If warming is not tackled, levels of humid heat that can kill within hours will affect millions within decades.

Asian cities are centers of economic growth and in case no action is taken increasingly uncertain weather events will damage infrastructure and livelihoods. A lack of basic services and social safety net can exacerbate the negative effects in the case of a disaster. Climate proofing is crucial. City leaders, urban planning authorities need to make sure existing and future infrastructure can cope with increasingly frequent impact of natural disasters. This means installing sanitation infrastructure that is able to cope with higher-than-anticipated rainfall, water systems that work even during droughts, electricity pylons that can withstand high winds, and roads that don’t crack during heatwaves. At the same time, cities need to become part of the climate change solution. Making them resilient also means making them less energy-intensive through more and better public transport, energy-efficient buildings, and greater use of renewable energy. [2]

Stop. What is affecting you now? At this very moment

Do we know what's in the air we are breathing? Have you ever thought about it? Breathing clean air is the most basic of human needs. It is an unfortunate fact that it has become a luxury in many parts of the world. Thailand’s national air quality standards are weak compared to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. Citizens in Africa, Asia or the Middle East breathe much higher levels of air pollutants than those in living other parts of the world, meaning that who immigrate to Thailand are subject to a much higher level of air pollution than they are probably used to. This is not new phenomenon here, it is a really serious health problem and it just gets worse each year. Major sources are: open burning, manufacturing industries and transportation.
Water scarcity is a global threat which also highly affects Thailand. Like other Asian countries, increasing population, urbanization, agricultural and industrial expansion is impacting the water quality of various water sources.

You breathe, drink (water), eat to survive. Listen and talk to live. But there are some rules what better to follow not to end up in a bad place.

Religion and the monarchy are best not talked about in Thailand. As a foreigner stay out of these topics and keep any thoughts to yourself. Keep in mind it’s a criminal offense to say any negative opinion of the royal family. Anyone can bring a complaint against anyone else for whatever motive and they must always be formally investigated. Thais are united by their loyalty to the monarchy. Stand in respect for the King and love the royal family. Culture is deeply rooted within the monarch system.

Don’t forget, royalty formally rule. Every year since Thailand’s military junta came to power in a coup in 2014, it has promised and failed to hold an election. They work under the claim of bringing stability to the country, but it has led to strict limitations on free speech. Expanded government surveillance over the to the Internet is one of the human rights violations by the junta. Tens of thousands of websites in Thailand have been blocked, but censorship has become more severe and less transparent. The country is no stranger to restricting books either that it believes threaten national peace and security.
The Thai police do not have a great reputation either, better to get in touch with them only if you absolutely have to. If a Thai policeman wanted to make your life difficult, he could, so under no circumstances provoke them or give them any reason to do so. Never say anything rude or insulting and leave sarcasm outside.
Are these things good or bad? Necessary or avoidable? Maybe it doesn’t matter … Even with the election promised for next year, the military has secured its role through the constitution and will continue to influence Thai everyday life.

If you are the type who sweats the “small” stuff, you might struggle. Perhaps it is time to go? Why ask for trouble?
Try not to let the “little” things bother you too much is one of the tricks to enjoy a happy life in Thailand. There are many good things and of course there are not so good things too. It's the same in every country, only the extent is different. Often, it is just a case of accepting the good with the bad on different scale.
Thailand can be nice, but it is long way from perfect. You need to try and make a balanced decision on where is best for you. Thailand is not paradise, but generally most people still find life better here overall.

Sometimes you just don’t like something without any specific reason. You just don’t like to be with some people, because you are just not comfortable around each-other. We are different and this is good in this way.
What could happen when we all like the same things?
We already have a lot of problems as a consequence of tourism. Having kinda the same bucket-lists to see the world. Moving to the same countries, cities to make a living. Making liveable cities unliveable. Leaving the countryside empty, villages full of unattended houses, dead gardens … Meanwhile overworked people are living in overpriced closets, commuting hours to and back from work. Trying not to eat rubbish, making community gardens on skyscrapers roof. Jogging in a polluted air, because we need to be “fit” and get “fresh” air everyday. From the heat we are running back to an air-conditioned building or from the cold to the heat …
Same same, but different. But how different do you want?

Could you live your life here the way you want to?

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