New or moving to Bangkok

What follows is a selection of suggestions from other parents and teachers who have gone through the same transition. It is by no means definitive. Not only does Bangkok grow and change, but each family is different and what works for one might not work for another. The information is provided as a service, and was correct at the time of printing, but is not to be considered as a Bangkok Patana School endorsement.

One of the most useful guide books you can buy on moving to Bangkok is the Bangkok Guide . This book is remarkably comprehensive compendium of valuable information, tips, referrals and contacts for living in this city. Published by the Australian-New Zealand Women’s Group, this book has become an indispensable manual to life in Bangkok and can help with everything from finding a new home to arranging your child’s birthday party. The Bangkok Guide can be purchased from Asia Books or Kinokuniya bookshops and also comes with a handy Nancy Chandler map to the city and a quick reference phone book.

Click on the link below to go directly to the relevant section of the page. All of the information listed below can be found in the Bangkok Patana School Parent Guide.


COMMUNITY SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES

Many families get involved in community sports and leisure activities, including horse riding, martial arts, sailing, dance, scuba diving, fencing, swimming, rock climbing, water skiing/wake boarding and more. For information on community sports and family activities in and around Bangkok, refer to the local newspapers, the Bangkok Guide, the Big Chili magazine, BK magazine or the list of Things to Do in Bangkok, compiled by the PTG.

Bangkok Patana School staff coordinate some community athletics. For information, enquire at the Sports & Activities office and check out the website and the Patana News for regular notifications of upcoming activities. Community sports at Patana include:

  • Tennis lessons for parents
  • Scuba Diving Club
  • Running Club

Tennis courts and playing fields may be booked by calling the Sports & Activities Office on ext 250. Bangkok Patana School facilities are used extensively at the weekends and on some evenings for training and competitions for the wider Bangkok community. These activities are coordinated and run by a number of volunteers. You may refer to the Community Facility Bookings section of the Sports Page on the Bangkok Patana School website, but please direct your enquiries to the relevant coordinators and not to the school. Announcements are usually made in The Patana News.

Community leagues (for children or adults) include:

  • BSL: Bangkok Soccer League, www.bangkoksoccerleague.com
    The season runs October – March and the league is open to boys and girls aged 4-19 who attend international schools. Games and training are held on Saturday mornings on school campus.
  • BJBL: Bangkok Junior Basketball League, www.bjbl.org
    The season runs from late January until mid June. Students aged 5-16 years from many international schools participate.  
  • Bangkok Junior Rugby Lions, www.bkklionsrugby.org
    The season runs from April to July, with playing and training for students aged 4-18. Games and training held on campus.

DO'S AND DON’TS IN THAILAND

Thais are generally very polite, helpful people who almost always aim to please. Because of this, you might notice that often you will not be told “no” directly and much time can be spent while you work something out for yourself. Don’t get cross. Remember, Thai people admire restraint, dislike raised voices and any other display of displeasure:

  • Take it easy, don’t get flustered, especially in the early days.
  • Speak gently; don’t raise your voice.
  • Don’t touch hair and heads of adults or children. It’s considered impolite.
  • Smile. Thais do all the time and will be pleased if you smile too. Smiling can be useful too as it often excuses mistakes or misunderstandings.
  • Don’t lose your temper. A person who does actually “loses face” in Thailand.
  • Use titles when addressing someone. With adults always use “Khun” and then the first name. Surnames are rarely used.
  • Don’t open gifts from a Thai person in public.
  • Remove your shoes at the door before entering someone’s home or small shops.

FAMILY MEDICAL CARE IN BANGKOK

Hospitals and Doctors

Thailand has become the medical hub of Asia with several first class hospitals. The major private hospitals in the city are:

Other excellent hospitals may be located closer to where you live

Both GP and specialist care is readily available and many doctors have trained overseas and speak excellent English. Ask other parents, your insurance company, or consult the Bangkok Guide for recommendations. Doctors usually maintain office hours on a rotating schedule. Some families will receive all of their medical care at one hospital, while others will use a variety of sources.

If you are new to Bangkok, you may find it helpful to collect doctors’ business cards (jotting down their hours and whether you liked them or not). You may need to be proactive about maintaining your family’s medical records and scheduling check-ups. Bring copies of your family’s medical records if moving from another city or country. Pregnant mothers and those with babies and toddlers might wish to join BAMBI, www.bambiweb.org

Emergency medical services may not exist in Bangkok on the same scale that you may have been used to. Families should make advance plans as to how they want to handle emergencies. Maids and drivers should be left with specific instructions and taxi money, should you wish them to transport children to a hospital in case of emergency. Useful telephone numbers include: Any emergency in Thailand (191); Tourist Police (1155), Motorlance 1719 (Hotline for Bangkok Hospital). The first page after the contents section in the Bangkok Guide has a list of emergency numbers that you might find useful to program into your mobile phone and photocopy to stick to the fridge.

Counselling and support groups

The school counsellors, teachers, other parents, groups such as BAMBI and the Bangkok Guide are good resources for information regarding counsellors, information about AA meetings and other similar support groups. International counsellors in Bangkok include:

  • Psychological Services International (9/2 Sukhumvit Soi 43,www.psiadmin.com, tel. 02-259-1467)
  • Bangkok Psych Associates (Liberty Plaza 1000/200 Sukhumvit 55, www.bkkspyacs.com, tel. 02 713 8680)
  • New Community Services (Soi Inthamara 3, Paholyothin, www.ncs-counseling.com, tel. 02 279 8503)
RH Negative Blood

Several blood types, particularly Rhesus (Rh) Negative groups, are very rare in Thailand. You should know your family’s blood groups and if members are Rh negative consider signing up with the Central Blood Register. This does not carry any obligation but if you are called, the chances are your donation will help save a life. You could also contact them in advance of surgery or to find out about donating blood should you be interested.

For more information, or in an emergency, call 02 686 2700 or email centralbloodregister@hotmail.com. You can also register at the BAMBI website. The National Blood Centre at the Thai Red Cross (www.redcross.or.th, tel. 02 252 4106, 1871 Henry Dunant Road), is a well established centre which banks, tests and collects blood. The Centre has an Rh negative club.

Staying Healthy

If you have never lived in another country before, it's probably better to be cautious, at least while you're settling in:

  • Drink boiled or bottled water when you first arrive. Although tap water is safe when it leaves the treatment plant, it can become contaminated by leaks in the pipes. Bottled water can be easily delivered to your home.
  • It can become very hot in Thailand (especially in April – the hottest month), and it’s easy to become dehydrated. Parents and children need to drink water regularly.
  • Tap water in Bangkok has low fluoride content. Some bottled waters may have added fluoride, but many do not. Consult with your dentist about the appropriate fluoride treatment for your children .
  • Wash fruit and vegetables well. Consider soaking in a pesticide removing detergent.
  • If eating from a roadside stall, check the food is fresh and well cooked.
  • Stray dogs and cats are everywhere. Rabies is widespread and every year people die of rabies in Thailand. Watch your children carefully and advise them against touching stray animals. Vaccinations for rabies are available at hospitals.
  • Many people live in Bangkok without ever seeing a snake, but they are common in some Moobaans (compounds with houses and gardens). Most are harmless, but some are poisonous. Teach your children to be careful when they play outside and use your common sense .
  • If it is possible, have a pest control company visit your home each month. This will also help keep cockroaches at bay.
  • Mosquito borne illnesses in Thailand include Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and Dengue Fever. Thailand has both day (Aedes Aegypti, which carries the Dengue Fever virus) and night (Plasmodium species) biting mosquitoes. The best prevention for all of these is to wear light, long clothes and socks or to use mosquito repellents (such as DEET) on bare skin, especially at night or when near rivers, lakes or the coast. Use bed nets if necessary. Do not allow water to collect around your home, as stagnant water (water storage jars, flowerpots etc) is a favourite breeding ground of mosquitoes. Spraying of certain parts of Bangkok (and of Bangkok Patana) to reduce mosquito populations is done, particularly during the rainy season.
  • Malaria is rare in Bangkok, but more common in the country side, so you may need to consider taking preventive antimalarials if travelling to certain areas. Consult your doctor about these, as the recommended drugs change frequently.
  • Dengue fever is becoming more of a concern in Thailand and there have been outbreaks in Bangkok. The number of cases has grown in the last 20 years, and tends to peak in June and July. Since it is carried by a day-time biting mosquito, it is important to take preventive measures, particularly in the early morning or late evening. The symptoms of Dengue Fever vary from mild to severe and include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains, rash, nausea and vomiting. There is no vaccine to prevent Dengue Fever and no specific treatment once infected. Avoid aspirin as this may increase the risk of bleeding. Medical attention should be sought if you suspect infection. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (sometimes associated with bleeding into the skin) may require hospital admission.
  • Running around in bare feet is not advised. Apart from the obvious risks of foot injuries, there are still some risks such as Leptospirosis (from rat urine) and, in rural areas, parasites such as hookworms. If you have walked through flood water you should thoroughly wash all feet and skin that has had direct contact with water.

GETTING TO AND FROM SCHOOL

Patana is on Sukhumvit 105, which is also called Lasalle Road This road runs between Sukhumvit and Sri Nakarin. There are many ways of getting to and from school.

Taxi

Taxis are relatively inexpensive in Bangkok, and it is very easy to hail a taxi from the main school gates - just make sure the meter is on. It is sometimes helpful to have the address you are going to written in Thai, or use your mobile phone to have a Thai speaker give the taxi driver directions.

If you are taking a taxi to school, tell the driver.

"Pai Soi La Salle/ Sukhumvit roi ha, rong rien nanaachat Bangkok Patana kah/ kap."
(Please go to Soi La Salle/Sukhumvit Soi 105, Bangkok Patana School.)

If you’re coming from the other side another part of town from the school is may be useful to tell the taxi driver to take the expressway.

"Pai tang duan dai mai kah/kap?"
(Can you take the expressway?)

You will be expected to pay the expressway toll which it normally in the area of 45 Baht.

Driving

Lasalle Road runs parallel to the Bangna Trad motorway, and there are a couple of short cuts which might save you time:

  • Coming from town, turn onto the Bangna Trad and take the first U-turn bridge. Get onto the side road and turn left on to Soi Saraniwade 2, at the Royal Dragon restaurant
  • Coming from the south, get on the Bangna Trad side road, and turn left (opposite and just a bit past the Central shopping mall) on Soi Sripong. There's an outdoor garden restaurant, Fai Kam, and a green road sign to mark the spot.
  • Transport staff at the school can often tell you the quickest route from your home to school and back.
BTS or Sky Train

The nearest Sky Train station to school is the terminus of the Sukhumvit line, Bearing, which is located at Sukhumvit 107. The Sky Train (“rot fai fah”) is a wonderful way to get around Bangkok, as it whisks you above all of the traffic jams below. If your destination is close to the expressway, it might be quicker to take the motorway in towards town, than to head up Sukhumvit to the Sky Train; everything of course, depends on the traffic.

Bus

You can take a bus to the Sky Train station at On Nut from Lasalle Road. It's about a 20-minute ride on air-conditioned buses # 507, 508, 545, and 511.


HOUSING AND RELOCATION

Deciding where to live in Bangkok can be a big decision, In addition to budget and size you may want to consider some of the following:

  • Are you planning on having a car or driver?
  • Who in the family has to do the majority of the travelling?
  • How far are you from your workplace/school/ major shopping complexes etc?
  • Is there easy access to the expressway/BTS/MRT?
Relocation Companies

Many relocation companies often offer home search and orientations programmes as part of their service, so if you are relocating within Bangkok here are a few companies that may be able to assist:

Serviced Apartments

If you’re looking for something for in the short term while you decide on more permanent accommodation two serviced apartment complexes close to the school are:

Useful Serviced Apartment Websites

For a fuller listing of relocation companies, serviced apartments and hotels, real estate agents etc. see the ‘Moving to Thailand’ section of the Bangkok Guide.


MAKING NEW FRIENDS

One of the best ways to make friends is to take the plunge and get involved straightaway at school. Don’t be shy, take the initiative, be persistent if necessary and please join us. You will always be welcome:

  • Attend school social gatherings (Newcomers Teas, Class Coffees, Year group Dinners, etc) and exchange phone numbers before you leave.
  • Attend a PTG meeting and volunteer to help with an activity. Many of us have made lifelong friends while working together at Patana.

Search out people who are enjoying the many wonderful opportunities which Thailand offers as they’ll be an inspiration and help you feel more settled quickly. Join one of the many organisations, charities or women’s groups in Bangkok.

Below are a few of the groups you may be interested in joining. Most of these groups are involved in a wide variety of activities from including sports, charitable and social welfare work, numerous social activities and outings, travel and more.

  • American Women’s Club of Thailand (AWC, 72/1 Sukhumvit Soi 38, www.awcthailand.org, tel. 0 2712 3381). AWC promotes friendship with Thai people through social, cultural and philanthropic activities.
  • Australian-New Zealand Women’s Group (www.anzwg-bangkok.org, tel. 02 344 6469)
  • Bangkok Babies and Mothers International (www.bambiweb.org, tel. 02 319 9530). BAMBI has many support groups and a network of individuals providing a valuable resource to parents and families. This is a non-profit organisation run by volunteer mothers to support pregnant women and the parents of young children (birth – five years) of all nationalities. The various support and social groups run by BAMBI include the WOMBLES; for working mums, S-Kids; for families with children with an intellectual or physical disability or learning limitations, and the Bangkok Area Homeschooling Network.
  • British Women’s Group (www.bwgbangkok.com, tel. 02 305 8333)
  • International Women’s Club of Thailand (www.iwcthailand.org tel. 02 258 5336)
  • Samutprakarn International Ladies Club (www.silcthai.com)

We’d like to emphasise that this is simply the tip of a very large iceberg. Whether it be photography, golf, amateur dramatics, painting or rock climbing you’re almost bound to find a like-minded group of individuals in this city who have formed a club, organisation or group to collectively pursue that interest and have a good time doing it. For a much more extensive listing check out the Social & Special Interest Groups section of the Bangkok Guide.


 

643 Lasalle Road (Sukhumvit 105)
Bangna, Bangkok 10260
THAILAND
      IB button       Tel: +66 (0) 2785 2200
Fax: +66 (0) 2785 2399
admissions@patana.ac.th