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 GuideÂ . This book is remarkably comprehensive compendium of valuable information, tips, referrals and contacts for living in this city. Published by the Australian-New Zealand Womenâs 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 childâs 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.
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 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:
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 ânoâ directly and much time can be spent while you work something out for yourself. Donât get cross. Remember, Thai people admire restraint, dislike raised voices and any other display of displeasure:
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 doctorsâ business cards (jotting down their hours and whether you liked them or not). You may need to be proactive about maintaining your familyâs medical records and scheduling check-ups. Bring copies of your familyâs 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.
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:
Several blood types, particularly Rhesus (Rh) Negative groups, are very rare in Thailand. You should know your familyâs 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 email@example.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.
If you have never lived in another country before, it's probably better to be cautious, at least while you're settling in:
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.
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 youâre 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.
Lasalle Road runs parallel to the Bangna Trad motorway, and there are a couple of short cuts which might save you time:
The nearest Sky Train station to school is the terminus of the Sukhumvit line, Bearing, which is located at Sukhumvit 107. The Sky Train (ârot fai fahâ) 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.
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.
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:
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:
If youâre looking for something for in the short term while you decide on more permanent accommodation two serviced apartment complexes close to the school are:
For a fuller listing of relocation companies, serviced apartments and hotels, real estate agents etc. see the âMoving to Thailandâ section of the Bangkok Guide.
One of the best ways to make friends is to take the plunge and get involved straightaway at school. Donât be shy, take the initiative, be persistent if necessary and please join us. You will always be welcome:
Search out people who are enjoying the many wonderful opportunities which Thailand offers as theyâll be an inspiration and help you feel more settled quickly. Join one of the many organisations, charities or womenâs 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.
Weâd 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 youâre 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.