In today’s globalized economy, people are moving around in both directions to seek opportunities in different lands. Many able-bodied and educated workers seeking a better life have come to Western countries to fill labour shortages present in those nations, while many people, young and old, have moved to the Far East and the Global South to seek out employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in those regions of the world.
In the latter case, one of the more popular destinations has been Thailand. And how! With beautiful weather year-round, amazing food that can be bought for rock-bottom prices on the streets, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and friendly down to earth locals, this nation is a no-brainer choice for many expats.
Yet with the high humidity, gridlocked traffic, and unstable politics of the countries’ capital Bangkok, English teachers and corporate station chiefs alike long for escape from its annoyances on some weekends. While longer beach holidays may have to wait for allotted vacation times, thankfully there are places within easy reach of the Big Mango that can provide a reprieve from the madness that Bangkok can sometimes thrust upon anybody.
With that established, let’s discuss three quick getaways for expats working in Bangkok, Thailand.
1) Hua Hin
A beach resort mostly frequented by Thais and long term expats, Hua Hin is situated just a mere two hours south of Bangkok on the Southern highway to Phuket and the Gulf Islands. With no shortage of tall condos and hotels dotting the long sea beach for many kilometres, chances are there will be a room waiting for you here – but do book ahead, especially in high season and on holiday weekends. This resort may not be Koh Samui, but its beats the grime of the city, the cold of the northern latitudes, and many other beaches in the region, surprisingly enough.
2) Ko Samet
Those seeking an island escape should make their way down the region’s fast freeways to Rayong (the one in the east, not Ranong down south near Burma), where a ferry to the tiny (but popular) island of Ko Samet awaits. Mostly a national park, Ko Samet retains much of its charm despite its increasing popularity with Thailand’s rising middle class. Those seeking to make the most of their weekend should park their butts on Ao Tubtim or Ao Wai, which are considerably quieter than the main beaches further up the island.
Not in the mood for sand and surf, but still looking to get out of the big city? Then head into the jungle and up into the mountains of Kanchanaburi to the west, located a short stone’s throw from the Burmese border. Here, the main attraction is the River Kwai, not the bridge (which is overtouristed), but for the river guesthouses where you can sleep in houses above the flowing river. The waterfalls of Kanchanaburi National Park are an excellent day trip, and if you feeling like taking a dip after all, you can slip down natural waterslides, have fish nibble at your feet, and take an invigorating shower in the cool, flow of the waters of this protected area.
Bangkok: Best Experienced In Moderate Doses
While BKK has its attractions and benefits, humans are creatures of nature, and accordingly, we need to make a point to connect with it on a regular basis. By taking trips out of Bangkok every so often, you get to rekindle your love for this amazing city, while experiencing some off-the-beaten-track Thai destinations.