Let’s talk about the honey lime drink pictured below for a second.  It is freaking delicious!  I typically buy myself one as a treat when I go to the Thursday market held at Srinakharinwirot University.  The popup market is home to various vendors selling everything from clothing and toys to street food and produce.  One of my favorite parts about the drink is the handy-dandy plastic handle.  It allows me to easily carry my beverage and purchases at the same time.

It’s been quite a few months since I shared Bits of Bangkok part 4, but I have compiled some new tidbits to share about how expat life in Bangkok is a wee-bit different than life in America.

Tidbits about living in Bangkok as an Expat from America. | Life's Tidbits

Bits of Bangkok – Part 5

  1. Children are provided with plastic plates, cutlery and cups in almost all restaurants.  This is super handy and makes sharing meals with my toddler that much easier.
  2. Changing tables are nearly impossible to find, even in very kid friendly places.  While this is no longer an issue for us since Jellybean is potty trained (wahoo!) it was really annoying when we first moved here.  The lack of changing tables surprises me given what a baby/kid friendly country Thailand is.
  3. Pushcarts at the airports are free.  There is no rummaging through your purse for change, jamming the coins into a slot and then trying to extract a pushcart like one has to do in the States.
  4. Pregnant women wear a safety pin on the belly part of their shirts to signify they are pregnant.  I guess the idea behind it is patrons on the train will give up their seats for you.  Not entirely sure why someone would need a safety pin though as it’s usually fairly clear who’s pregnant. :)
  5. Sometimes it’s okay to round down when paying.  For example, if your taxi ride comes to 41 baht a taxi driver will accept 40 baht.  I never have felt comfortable with this and always round up, but rounding down is sometimes common practice.
  6. Some public restrooms you have to pay to use.  This includes places like parks, markets and other tourist attractions.  It’s usually only 2 baht, but if you don’t carry change on you it can be problematic as the toilet attendants don’t typically have the ability to break bills.
  7. Toilet paper is sparse in public restrooms.  Usually you can deposit 5 baht into a dispenser for toilet paper, but ever once in a while there are no dispensers to be found, which can be hugely frustrating.
  8. Sorry for the potty theme, but as someone who’s constantly peeing (thanks pregnancy!) I’ve started to take note of where bathrooms are and their conditions … so yeah, last potty thing.  Toilet paper is thrown into a small trash can next to the toilet instead of down the toilet.
  9. At most indoor playgrounds and play areas children take their shoes off to play.  We keep socks in our bag just incase we unexpectedly stop someplace to play and Jellybean needs socks.  She’s totally programmed to take off her shoes when we arrive places … it’s going to be a problem when we move back to the States.
  10. Need to pay you kid’s school tuition?  How about your cable bill?  Cash or bank transfer is the preferred way to pay any and all bills.  We recently rented a jumpy house for Jellybean’s 3rd birthday party and the email confirmation included their bank’s name and account number.  It was then left up to us if we transferred the money into their account or deposited the cash directly to their account.  Thailand is definitely a cash based society, which is so different from the USA.

Incase you missed it, please check out the firstsecondthird and fourth installment of Bits of Bangkok.  More of our Bangkok adventures, to date, can be found here or please follow along on Instagram.

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Bangkok now feels familiar and very much like home.  There are so many things I love about this city!  Though I would be remise if I didn’t say there are also characteristics that drive me absolutely batty, like the traffic and, more often than not, the humidity.  But, like most things in life you take the good with the bad.

We’ve been in Thailand for nearly a year!  Coming up with bits about Bangkok has become, well, a bit more difficult recently.  I think could be due to already sharing a number of tidbits as well as how everything now feels commonplace.

Bits Of Bangkok Part 4 | Tidbits about living in Bangkok, Thaliand as an expat from USA | Life's Tidbits

I’ve been keeping notes in my phone and I’ve compiled a list of some new tidbits about Bangkok …

  1. Shops on wheels {see picture above}.  From brooms and dusters to food and spices, each navigates their way through the busy streets of Bangkok.  All the while blaring a horn to ensure all potential patrons know they are a-comin’!  I often wonder how much they actually sell considering I’ve rarely seen anyone purchase something.
  2. To keep with the shopping theme, there are an abundance of pop-up shops in malls.  The goods available for sale are always changing.  I’ve seen everything from clothing, shoes, food and books to motorcycles.
  3. Water is incredibly affordable.  This is probably because the tap water isn’t potable, but either way I will take it!  Buying a bottle of water from 7-11 will run you about 10 baht (about 30 cents).
  4. Many places like restaurants, department stores and the malls don’t open until 10am.  I often forget that places aren’t open at 9am and have found myself sitting outside the mall (not so) patiently waiting for 10am to roll around.
  5. The Thai national anthem plays everyday at 8am and 6pm.  It plays on the radio, television as well in the BTS/MRT.  I’ve only been on the BTS once when it played – Thais and foreigners alike stopped walking and silently stood to show respect until the anthem concluded.
  6. Napkins are more like tissues … okay they are tissues.  Thailand needs to change this STAT!
  7. Let’s talk butter for a moment.  Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter?  I’m not talking about when you’re baking or cooking.  In Thailand, butter for your toast is always unsalted.  It tastes kind of strange to me without the salt.  Are we heavy handed in America with salt?
  8. Booze can only be purchased during the hours of 11am-2pm and 5pm-12am.  Between the hours of 2pm and 5pm – no buying booze from stores for you.  :)
  9. Check-in kiosks are virtually non existent.  In the states they always want you to check-in for a flight at the kiosk and only if you have an issue or need a baggage tag do you speak to an airline representative.  In Thailand, more often than not, check-in will be a personal affair, not online or at a kiosk.
  10. Scrambled eggs must be ordered dry, else they come out runny, very wet or undercooked … at least by American standards.

What’s your favorite tidbit about Bangkok so far?

Incase you missed it, please check out the firstsecond and third installment of Bits of Bangkok.  More of our Bangkok adventures, to date, can be found here or please follow along on Instagram.

signiture_nicole

 

When we first moved to Bangkok I was lucky to meet a few women who were willing to show me the ropes.  Originally I was looking for outdoor playgrounds, however the Bangkok heat quickly makes for a sweaty and overheating child.  It became apparent the more popular thing to do with toddlers in Bangkok is indoor play areas.

While there are other play areas in Bangkok, below are a few of our favorite places.  We rarely venture to play areas that aren’t BTS accessible as I’m always trying to avoid sitting in Bangkok traffic!

Indoor Play Areas for toddlers and children in Bangkok, Thailand. | Life's Tidbits

Molly Fantasy

Otherwise known as Kidzoona offers a mix of play options from play pretend (sushi bar, grocery store, pizza shop, etc.) to a playground amidst a sea of balls, a bouncy track and a large inflatable slide.  Not to mention, there separate area with a train table, blocks, magnetic toys, and more.  The entrance of Kidzoona is an arcade with Molly Fantasy and a merry go-round in the back.  The promise of riding the merry go-round is the only thing that will coax Jellybean out of the play area when it’s time to head home.

Location:  Ekkami BTS Station, Gateway Ekkamai Mall, 4th floor
Time Opens: 10am
Tip: Bring socks for everyone.  Socks are required for both children and adults.  If you forget socks don’t fret, you can buy them there.

Molly Fantasy a great play area for toddlers and young children in Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Molly Fantasy a great play area for toddlers and young children in Bangkok, Thailand | Life's Tidbits

Imaginia

Imaginia subscribes to the learn through play concept.  It is home to a gigantic slide (that takes your picture on the way down!), a coloring/arts and crafts area, a wooden playground, a small library, and much much more.

Location:  Phrom Phrong BTS, Emporium Shopping Complex, 3rd floor
Time Opens: 10am
Tip: Bring socks for everyone.  Socks are required for both children and adults.  If you forget socks don’t fret, you can buy them there.

Imaginia Playland at Emporium Mall in Bangkok Thailand. Great indoor play area for toddler and young children. | Life's Tidbits

Imaginia Playland at Emporium Mall in Bangkok Thailand. Great indoor play area for toddler and young children. | Life's Tidbits

Central World Indoor Play Area

Central World is so large one can easily get lost just trying to navigate through all the restaurants and shops.  The free indoor play ground has a variety of slides, a small rock climbing area, a seesaw and more.

Location:  Chit Lom BTS, Central World, 6th Floor
Time Opens: 10am
Tip: This indoor play area is FREE!

CentralWorldIndoorPlayArea-3

CentralWorldIndoorPlayArea-2

CentralWorldIndoorPlayArea

Funarium

Funarium offers two play-gym areas, one for those under 3 and a bigger area for the older children.  This place isn’t lacking in things to do with ball pits, basketball court, a bicycle/scooter track, and daily sing-a-long shows.  Despite being under three, my daughter prefers the big kid area, which means I get to climb around with her.  I try to wear legging (instead of shorts) in an effort to protect my knees a bit.  

Location:  Short taxi ride from Phrom Phrong BTS, Emporium Shopping Complex, 3rd floor
Time Opens: 10am
Tip: Bring socks for everyone.  Socks are required for both children and adults.  If you forget socks don’t fret, you can buy them there.

Funarium an indoor play area for toddlers and young children in Bangkok, Thailand. | Life's Tidbits

Funarium-2

Playtime

The primary area of this indoor play area is a large play-gym, similar to Funarium.  There’s also a separate space with a sandpit, an area for those under 3 and more.  The space also include a cafeteria where a drink, snack or lunch can be purchased.

Location:  Short Walk from Ekkami BTS, Parklane Ekamai 3rd-4th Floor
Time Opens: 9am
Tip: Bring socks for everyone.  Socks are required for both children and adults.  If you forget socks don’t fret, you can buy them there.

Play Time an indoor play area in Bangkok, Thailand. Great place for toddlers and young children. | Life's Tidbits

Which of these play areas look most appealing to you? If you live in Bangkok any you might add to the list?

signiture_nicole

Bangkok is a large city and it takes a little while to figure out how to navigate around.  Jellybean and I have gotten really good at riding the BTS within the first few weeks of arriving in Bangkok.  It’s probably our most frequently used method of transportation, second is either a taxi or good old fashion walking!

Whether you are moving to Bangkok or just visiting I hope this transportation guide will help you get around Bangkok a little bit easier.

Bangkok Transportation Guide, Tips for traveling in Southeast Asia | Life's Tidbits

TAXI

Taxing is fairly affordable with the meter starting at 35 baht and then a couple of baht every hundred meters.  That said there are a few challenges to taking a taxi.  The first and foremost is the traffic.  The second is many drivers don’t know where things are.  If you give them the name of a street and a soi, you will arrive at the cross roads and the driver will look to you for directions to a specific place.  When we first moved here I had to use GoogleMaps to navigate through the city.  At the time this was very frustrating, but now I know how to get to my destinations and the taxi drivers are more than happy to go whatever route I ask.

TIP 1: ALWAYS, ALWAYS drive with the meter on. If the taxi driver tries to negotiate a price you will most likely overpay.  For example, I have taken a taxi to my daughter’s preschool enough times to know it is usually 50 baht, give or take.  Taxi drivers will often tell me it’s 100 baht {I’ve even been quoted 200 when there’s traffic} … I know that’s not a good or fair price and I wave them on their way.

TIP 2: Carry small bills and/or change with you.  Taxi drivers won’t have change for big bills like 500 or 1000 baht.  On more than one occasion I’ve had them tell me they don’t have change for 100 baht, which can be pretty frustrating.  I’ve made a habit of always having a some 20s with me when I plan to take a taxi.

MOTORBIKE TAXI

Motorbike taxis are cheap and quick.  The fare should be negotiated prior to your ride.  During rush hour motorbike taxis are a great alternative to taxis.  They easily get through between the cars and tend not to sit in traffic.  Be careful to keep your extremities and belongings close to you … and hold on tight as the drivers go quickly between the cars.

TUK TUK

Tuk Tuks are mostly used by tourists or locals to transport their goods from/to a market.  The fare will need to be negotiated with the driver.  Despite not having AC, like the taxis, and aren’t as easily maneuvered through traffic, like the motorbike taxis, tuk tuks tend to be more expensive.  They will likely overcharge you and as a result we rarely use tuks tuks.  Beware of the scams … if they offer you a cheap day tour you will likely be taken to many of their friends’ shops, for which they likely receive a commission for each person they bring!

BTS (Bangkok Transit System)

Also known as the Skytrain.  This is the mode of transportation we use most often.  The fares are extremely reasonable and fairly easy to navigate as well.  The trains are very clean and after a long walk the AC feels amazing!  They have single journey tickets, daily tickets and monthly subscriptions.  If you plan to be in Bangkok for a while or ride the BTS a lot I would recommend purchasing a Rabbit card, which can be topped up with money as needed.  This way you don’t need to queue up for buying tickets for each ride.

MRT (Mass Rail Transportation System)

Similar to the BTS, one can purchase a single journey tickets, 1 day, 3 day and monthly passes.  The MRT also has stored value cards that can be purchased for those living in or spending more time in Bangkok.  It’s also worth noting that the MRT will take you to places like the Chatuchak Market.

BUS

I have yet to take a bus in Bangkok.  As far as I can tell it’s not very straight forward and the bus schedule is often unreliable. As a visitor, and even as a Bangkok resident, it might be safer to stick to the other transportation methods available in Bangkok.

BOATS

There are several types of boats running up and down the Chao Phraya River.  There are express boats, river taxis, long tail and more.  The long tail boats are definitely the ‘fun’ way to travel the river, but some of the other boats might be a better fit depending on where you are going.

So there you have it.  A wide variety of transportation methods to get you where you want to go in Bangkok.  Despite the variety, I must admit there are days I truly miss my car!

Signiture_Nicole

Run Jump Scrap!

We are about halfway through our first year in Bangkok!  I no longer have to sit in taxis with my GoogleMaps open.  I can successfully navigate the driver to all of the places we frequent.  We have favorite restaurants, street food vendors, manicure places and so much more.  Bangkok feels more like home with each passing week and it helps that we’ve had family in town visiting.  We’ve done a lot in the past couple of months and yet we still have so much of Bangkok and Thailand to experience.

JJ Market in Chatuchak | Tidbits about living in or traveling to Bangkok, Thailand. Expat in Southeast Asia | Life's TidbitsThis picture was taken at JJ Market in Chatuchak. A must see when in Bangkok!

Some tidbits about Bangkok …

  1. Plastic bags are EVERYWHERE.  If you purchase fruit from a street vendor they will cut up the fruit, put in a plastic bag without handles, and then throw it into another bag that has handles.  We get food delivered sometimes and certain dishes will come in a plastic bag and tupperware.  I find it so strange, why is so much plastic necessary?
  2. One of my favorite things about seeing a movie in Bangkok is that you can reserve a seat when you purchase your ticket.  The need to show up to movies half hour early to ensure you aren’t sitting in the front row of a newly released movie is gone! Woot woo!
  3. As far as I know, in the States if you purchase something like dish soap and it runs out you just chuck the bottle and purchase a new one.  In Thailand, you can purchase a refill bag.  It’s pretty much a ‘plastic bag’ filled with dish soap, Head-to-Toe Johnson & Johnson, etc. and so you can pour into the plastic bottle to refill it.  It’s kind of genius and I don’t know why we don’t do this in the US … and if we do, I am totally behind the times.
  4. When eating at restaurants food comes our whenever it is ready.  It rarely comes out all at the same time and often feels like you are eating in shifts.  Whenever your food comes out you eat it, else it will be cold!
  5. Another interesting thing about restaurants is the waitress/waiter will rarely, if ever, bring you the bill before you as for it.  This is such a huge contrast from dining out in the States where the check is more often than not delivered to the table before being requested.
  6. Walking down the street you can often hear the buzz of ‘live’ wires.  The wires are all tangled together, some hanging down low enough you could grab it and how one would identify a certain wire is beyond my comprehension.
  7. Living in such a heavily populated city one would probably expect to hear sirens, however the noise pollution is more often than not something other than sirens.  In DC I became strangely accustomed to the sound of sirens and eventually hit a point where they didn’t wake me up at night.  I’ve heard possibly only three sirens since arriving in Bangkok, and each time I feel my heart start racing with worry.  Such a stark change from my reaction to the sirens in DC!
  8. You can order pizza by the meter … just go ahead and wrap you head around that!
  9. Despite many services being a lot more affordable in Thailand, manicures are actually more expensive than in DC.  The manicures here are more spa-ish and include an arm scrub/exfoliator so I guess you are getting more, but I still found the price a bit surprising.
  10. Motorbikes will often jump up onto the curb {with no warning} and speed down the sidewalk during rush hour in an effort to avoid sitting in traffic.  Motorbikes would never get away with driving on the sidewalks in the States!

And if you missed it, please check out the first and second installment of Bits of Bangkok.  More of our Bangkok adventures, to date, can be found here or please follow along on Instagram.

signiture_nicole

 

 

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Run Jump Scrap!
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