Daily necessities in Bangkok



You can drive in Thailand with a valid international driving license or a driving license from your home country for three months. If the license from your home country is not in Thai or English, you must carry an English translation. Beyond three months, you will need to apply for a Thai driving license if you plan to continue driving in Thailand.

Many expats hire cars on year-long agreements. These agreements usually cover insurance, maintenance, car tax, etc. and may also come with a driver. This is more convenient than buying a car.

If you are interested in owning a car in Thailand, take note that cars are relatively expensive to purchase due to the high taxes imposed on them. Second-hand cars are also widely available.

Domestic help

Many expat families hire house workers as it is relatively cheap to do so. Some see great advantages in hiring house workers who can help provide them with more free time and an easier lifestyle.

Some expats don’t like the loss of privacy and the challenges of an employer/employee relationship. Also, the people you hire may not do things the way you want them to, and some tasks you might be better off doing yourself.

Typical positions of house workers:

  • Domestic helper: Cleaners or helpers can be hired for a full day, or even just half day, to wash clothing, clean the house, sweep, etc. Some can even cook Thai food for lunch or dinner.
  • Cooks: Most cooks will be highly skilled at cooking Thai food, but not so much at Western food. You may have to show them how to cook your favourite dishes.
  • Nannies: Thai women can be hired to look after your children.
  • Drivers: A driver can be invaluable in Bangkok’s traffic, where you may be waiting for an hour or two each day. Usually, the older ones know the city well and are used to road conditions. Younger ones may not be as experienced and maybe reckless. Driving yourself can be dangerous if you don’t know the area, and you may even get tied up in legalities in the case of an accident. Some expats fancy hiring a car with a driver included in the contract, but it may be cheaper to hire individuals than renting through an agency
  • Security Guards: Most apartment buildings for expats have security guards, but if not you might want to consider hiring one. Some areas may be at risk for robberies at night, or while you are away at work.
  • Manual Workers: For renovations or repair at your residence, several contractors can be hired in the city.

Religious taboo

You will notice that there are many Buddhist monks in Thailand as Buddhism is the main religion of the country. Take note that Buddhist monks are prohibited from touching or being touched by any female. If a monk is accidentally touched by a female, it will be considered an abuse of the code of conduct of the monk and the monk would have to confess the offence. The woman herself would be considered to have committed a moral sin. However, if you are not a Buddhist, this rule would not apply to you! Nevertheless, the rule still applies to the monks. Female foreigners should take care when walking down the street not to accidentally touch a monk.