We moved to Bangkok two years ago. We were on our way with my husband’s company to Angola; bags packed, by that I mean 20 x 75lbs bags packed ready to go when we found out the move was no longer on. We had been evacuated from Erbil Iraq 10 months earlier because of ISIS takeover of Mosul and so another devastating blow and we wondered what we were in for.
Thankfully with many on our side including God we ended being placed in Bangkok – a wonderful second choice. We then hurriedly had a pre-assignment tour of Bangkok which was really a search for housing. Boy did we search! Bangkok is such a cosmopolitan place and while we were living in Houston we lived very close, within walking distance to downtown, so we thought that since we were moving to Bangkok just us our belongings and our beautiful dog then perhaps the bustle and vibe of Sukumvit or somewhere downtown was the place for us. In total, we looked at about 50 properties downtown and in Nichada and a couple of other areas in four days. It was hot exhausting work. I love looking at property and I wish I could say it was fun but unfortunately it was quite disappointing.
We had determined a range that we were willing to pay and for the money we were willing to spend and having a pet the properties we saw downtown, with the exception of two, were old, dated and layouts lacking in function. Plus, although almost all Thai people love dogs it is amazing what an unfriendly place Bangkok is for dogs; from where to walk them, to soi dogs chasing you. There was one property downtown that we seriously considered. It had very limited storage but the facilities were great however the dog was to be neither seen nor heard. We were to literally hide him whenever we had him in the public space of the apartment. Still for me living the downtown life was very alluring and hard to give up. During this pre-assignment trip, we also saw 25 or more properties in Nichada Thani, what I would call suburbia Bangkok or what the residents of Nichada call “The Bubble”. It was actually my husband who said to me that he thought it best if we lived in Nichada because he felt it would provide us with more of the lifestyle that we live. My husband and I are often been asked why if you have grown children don’t you live downtown – why on earth would you want to live way out in Nichada? We are not crazy, we are not the only ones who have chosen to live way out of downtown and we do have concrete reasons for doing so, they might not be something you subscribe to but the reasons do make sense to us.
For my husband to get to work it is almost easier to get to from Nichada than downtown. We now have two dogs, one we bought once we moved to Bangkok and we, especially I, love being able to walk them on sidewalks in greenery without being chased by soi dogs. When we first came to Bangkok before our house was ready we lived in an apartment on Soi 24 and I walked my dog (then only one) on Soi 26 down to and around K Village.
Unfortunately, I got chased by a pack of three soi dogs, I have been chased by local dogs before but these were very persistent and Louis is just a small Yorkie so it really scared me. This reaffirmed our choice to live in Nichada.
We also like to participate in a lot of outdoor sports like: biking, running and tennis and although I know all these activities are available downtown it just seems like there is easier access to these activities in Nichada.
Living in Nichada as a couple without kids going to a school close by does have its drawbacks and it does take effort to get involved in the community as most things are centred around the school however I don’t think that this experience is any different from being downtown. It would take effort to get involved and to get to know people as well because people are busy with their lives. Definitely people who live downtown have easier access to medical care, shopping and better restaurants but with a little driving we can have that as well and then we get to return to the relative peace of the community that we live in.
We have not completely ruled out never living downtown but for now we are very happy with where we are. Barbara Lewis is a regular writer for EL and a resident of Nichada Thani. Her insightful pieces are a real treat for all readers. Barbara has just started teaching at Rose Marie Academy.