Living in Bangkok — an experience in privilege

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A year ago, we moved to Bangkok after a long time in the US (16 years for me, 27 years for my wife and their entire lives for my kids). It wasn’t a planned move. Unlike most folks who plan meticulously to experience living abroad as expats, we did things like we do big things — on a whim.

Bangkok is an interesting city. It is an exercise in duality, a city caught in two worlds. Parts of it are developed, modern with world-class infrastructure and remind you of Hong Kong or Singapore. Parts of it are more chaotic, more raw, more visceral — reminding me of my home-city Mumbai or Jakarta. It is growing, and it is growing up.

In the past year, I have interviewed close to 300 candidates for Agoda. I get asked this question by almost every single candidate — why did you move from the US to Thailand? How did you make such a massive decision of uprooting a settled, and by all measures, a happy lifestyle? When I tell them we made the decision in a few seconds, it is not easy to believe. But we make big decisions quickly — buying a house, having kids, moving to a new continent — instant decisions. Buying an air purifier on Amazon — we take weeks. Just how we do things. So this is a status report on how that decision has turned out so far.

In Bangkok, I don’t do chores. And till you have experienced this privilege, you will not appreciate the awesomeness of it. I have time — time to think, time to work, time to write insanely long articles like this one. Weekends are magical — the chores have not piled up. I am no longer a weekend Uber service to shuttle my kids from one activity to another. Weekends are for travel. And Thailand is one of the most beautiful places in the world to do that.

Travel is a privilege I wish the whole world could experience. Travel opens your mind. It makes you more tolerant. It helps you appreciate the global issues a lot more. And travel is awesome in Bangkok. You can fly to most places in Thailand for $30. You can stay at 5-star resorts for less than $100/nt. With a 2 to 3-hour flight, you can be in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, KL, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bali. A 4-hour flight and I can be home in Mumbai. Most folks I know take 10–20 trips every year. Because you can. It’s easy and cheap. It is fantastic

The other thing I love about Bangkok and feeds into my privilege is that things come to me. My personal trainer, the swimming/piano/soccer coaches for the kids, the yoga instructor for my wife, the milk guy, the coconut guy (yes, fresh young coconuts are awesome, and they get delivered) — all of them come home. And with the craziness that is Bangkok traffic, it is a thing of beauty.

Mayur Kamat is VP – Supply Product at Agoda. Read more about Mayur’s experience in Bangkok in his full article on LinkedIn here.

If you’re interested in experiencing life in Bangkok for yourself, check out our Bangkok-based vacancies here.