20 February 2017

Ghada Karam - Expat in Bangkok, Thailand

Ghada Karam - Expat in Bangkok, Thailand

We’ve had the chance to talk to Ghada Karam, 34, a Lebanese expat who has moved to Thailand with her family. Mrs. Karam who has lived in Bangkok for a while, now works as a blogger. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I’m originally from Lebanon, and I lived in Bangkok for a while.


Q: What made you move out of Lebanon?

A: We’ve always been expatriates, and we’re used to this lifestyle. My husband got a job offer in Bangkok and we loved the idea of moving to an Asian country.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I’ve recently moved to Canada (a few weeks ago), however prior to that I lived in Bangkok. Living in Asia was something we’ve always wanted to do, and when my husband goes his job offer in Thailand, we jumped at the opportunity to move there.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I lived in Bangkok with my husband and daughter. Adaptation went pretty well as we’re used to moving around, meeting new people and exploring new cities. My daughter was two years old, which made it easy to transition and adapt to her new nursery


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I’m not sure how to define home and homesickness. For someone who has been moving around so much, adaptation becomes an easy process, especially in this digital era of smartphones. Technology has made it very easy to transition to a new country: Finding the stores that we want or the food that we’re used to, driving to the destination that we have in mind, keeping in touch with friends and family are all available through our phones. I can’t imagine how expatriates adapted to their new lives in the previous decades… it must have been a complicated process.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Thais are very welcoming, peaceful and warm. The only issue we can face with them is the language. Not many of them can speak English, but I have to say that they do try their best to provide you with the best service that they can deliver, despite the language barrier.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Thailand? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: I think that it’s easy to find people who share the same interests as you, through online communities, expatriate groups, embassies, work or in the school/nursery circles of your kids.


Q: How does the cost of living in Thailand compare to your home?

A: All in all, I find the cost of living in Thailand to be much cheaper than in other countries, especially with the transportation. I did not have to get a car (or even rent one) as Bangkok provides different types of transportation that are much cheaper than anyone else. However, if you want to enjoy a good meal in a five-star hotel, or if you want to buy your clothes from international (ready to wear) retailers, the prices would be similar to what I would be paying in my home country. 


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Thailand is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: I never had any major health issues during my stay in Thailand, so I can’t speak much about it. However, I know that many people would visit Bangkok for medical tourism and I think this says a lot.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Lebanon or Thailand?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Our health insurance was covered by my husband’s employer. We never had any issue with them or with their service.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Thailand? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: The mover was selected by my husband’s employer, and I have to say that the move went pretty smoothly. The packing was done properly and all our items were delivered safely.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: The language was the biggest challenge throughout my stay in Bangkok.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Thailand?

A: Thailand is a very nice, easy country to live in and adapt to its lifestyle. The negative sides of living in a city like Bangkok are the pollution and the traffic. Although I enjoyed living in this city, I would be concerned as a mom to live there for a long period of time.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Thailand is a wide country. It has a very generous nature and it would be good to take the time to explore it.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Well yes, in fact, I’ve recently moved to Canada. My experience in this new country is very short and I can’t really talk about it yet, which is why I chose to talk about Thailand instead.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: To travel around Thailand and to visit the neighbouring countries!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Thailand?

A: As a mom, my favourite go-to website was BBK.com. It is a great source of information for moms of young kids and it provides the latest updates and happenings.