Moving to Bangkok with 2 kids...

(33 Posts)
annabellesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 20:26:39

Hello

DH has been offered a job in Bangkok...we have 2 DDs (2 & 4) and I wanted to find out if anyone had recommendations on international schools/ places to live (his office is in the centre of the business area).

Feel a bit overwhelmed so any advice would be much appreciated!

Thank you

ripsishere Fri 19-Oct-12 03:21:44

Are you going to have the school fees paid. That would be my first consideration TBH. We lived there for four years, my DD went to BPS and I wholeheartedly recommend that one.
If you choose to live more centrally, ISB, NIST or Shrewsbury would be my choice. Of those, NIST.
Have a look at their websites to see how long the waiting list is, what the fees are, what the admission policy is etc.
I would recommend BNH over Bumrungrad for health care <bitter experience>
Enjoy it.

annabellesmum Fri 19-Oct-12 07:50:17

Thank you...yes, fees will be paid. We're going on a look see next week and have been trying to work out which schools to look at...from looking at the websites, BPS would be my first choice but I don't want the commute for my DH to be too horrendous (tricky trying to work this out before we've been out there!!). NIST has also been recommended...am I silly to be worried about living centrally because of the pollution?! (I am currently worrying about every single thing there is possible to worry about, driving myself mad!!)

ripsishere Sat 20-Oct-12 01:57:34

Pollution is a fact of life. As you decend into Bangkok on the plane you go through a band of it. The upside is, DD never wore sunscreen while we lived there.
From what I understand, Soi Bearing now has a MRT station, so getting into the city is a pace of piss. When we lived there, it stopped at On Nut.
Alternatively you could live in somewhere like Ekkamai and the school bus could collect them. They are very safe and reliable.

BeanMachine Mon 22-Oct-12 04:44:31

The schools mentioned are all supposed to be very good. Friends with school aged children have sometimes felt that NIST is on the big side for little children and Patana a long way out and unless you want your kids to be sitting on a bus at 6.45 am, your DH would have a long commute.

ELC comes highly recommended as a smaller school option - it's on Sukhumvit Soi 49, I think, and there is a huge expat community in that area. If you're only in Bangkok for a limited time, that would definitely suit younger DC (it goes up to about aged 8 or 9).

If your DH is going to be working in the Sathorn area (CBD) then don't discount St. Andrews. Apartment, school and work could all be walking distance then.

Pollution is a way of life in most Asian cities. It's not good but we figure it's not forever. You can escape to the beach quite easily - especially if you have a car ad driver - and there are parks in the city.

It's a great place to live to travel and see other places too: SE Asia, China, Japan, even Australia and NZ are so much closer.

Good luck on your look see - if you have any more specific questions, let me know - I'm in Bangkok (well, back in the UK right now) with 2 small DC.

annabellesmum Sun 11-Nov-12 21:18:56

Thank you...we have gone for NIST, got an apartment sorted, DH moves in 3 weeks an we're following in Feb so lots going on!!

Appreciate the offer BeanMachine as I'm sure I'll have some questions!!

ripsishere Sun 11-Nov-12 23:25:04

How exciting. Me and DD are planning a trip over next month for a couple of days.
DH must stay here due to tax reason.

ripsishere Fri 16-Nov-12 22:40:21

One more thought, often there is a dual pricing system at attractions. If you get a Thai drivers license, you can show it and generally get around 50% off the entry price.
NOt just attractions, also national parks.

TheBossOfMe Sat 17-Nov-12 09:00:11

I'm in Bangkok as well, living in Sukhumvit, so if you need any advice or someone to show you around when you get here, feel free to PM. I have a 4yo DD as well, and am considering NIST for next year (she's at BSB at the moment). So maybe see you in the playground!

annabellesmum Sat 29-Dec-12 14:02:50

Thanks both...just in the process of getting things organised for the move at start of Feb...DH has been over there for a few weeks already so getting things sorted for us over there (thankfully he's home for Christmas!!)

One more thing...do you have any tips on getting/ managing help at home? I have no clue whatsoever on this, but (obviously) want to get someone who we are all comfortable with and who can do cleaning/ housework stuff plus (eventually) look after the DCs if we want to have an evening out, so English is a must. Any info or advice would be really appreciated!!

BeanMachine Sun 30-Dec-12 06:37:06

Word of mouth is probably one of the best ways to find a helper: if you are moving into a building with lots of people in a similar position (expats/young family), ask around. A lot of maids/helpers have sisters/cousins/friends looking for work.

Another good place is on the BAMBI website - Bangkok Mothers and Babies international. There's a classifieds section with jobs.

Most families I know employ someone full-time (mon-Fri and sometimes Sat morning and/or one evening per week) to help with housework, shopping, cooking, childcare & babysitting.

My personal experience says that instinct is important: you need to be able to work / be with the person closely in the home. References are, of course, important, but I had an unlucky experience with someone with good references, then have had a very good experience with my current helper who had references but had only worked as a maid before (no childcare experience, although she has her own child). She is excellent and has worked for us for 2 years.

Many of my friends have Burmese helpers; they tend to have good English, but it is not difficult to find someone who speaks reasonable English.

Good luck with the move!

alicantina709 Thu 14-Mar-13 01:25:06

Hi all! We will be moving to Bangkok in Mid May. Is there anything in particular that we should make sure to bring with us (vitamins/medicines/etc) or is everything relatively easy to find in Bangkok?

I have a three 1/2 year old son so when we go for our look see will be visiting schools/areas to live. Those of you living in Sukhumvit - do you like living in the area? I know that Sukhumvit is huge and I am worried about choosing the wrong place to live.

Currently we are living in The Philippines (Manila) so I would assume that it is similar (noise, pollution, heat, etc, etc!) but much better - esp when it comes to the food! smile

Any tips/feedback/advice would be greatly appreciated. I am stressing and my DH hasn't a care in the world!!!! ;)

ripsishere Thu 14-Mar-13 02:23:48

Marmite, you could (can) buy it in Villa but it is ludicrously expensive. Also, if you bleed heavily super plus tampons. I never managed to find any above super.
Shoes for my DD were a problem, she has ridiculously skinny feet. Also, if you are a larger lady t.shirts. You can have skirts and dresses made at the tailor for pennies, the tops are more problematic.

alicantina709 Mon 18-Mar-13 06:52:40

Thank you ripsishere! smile

manyhands Tue 19-Mar-13 18:44:05

I remember that buying bras was a nightmare so I'd bring some.

ripsishere Wed 20-Mar-13 05:08:29

Yes, and plain cotton knickers. It's fine if you want nylon lace in a size to fit a twelve year old, sensible knickers? no chance.
Same with shoes, up to a size 4ish you'd be fine, any bigger and you face having them made or buying mens.

KathieC Sun 07-Apr-13 09:32:00

Hi my husband had accepted a job in Bangkok in 3 months time.
I am starting to worry so much I m almost ready to pull to plug.
I see you live in Bangkok, this is unusual but it's there any chance I could
Get a real understanding from yourself another British mum to help me with this. My main concern are; dengue fever, malaria and rabies any experience or feedback.
I am also worried re safety, it's obviously a poor country and we could be potential targets for theft, living in a guarded complex how real is a robbery threat and how do you feel walking about with little ones , safe?
Finally, transport, I ve read its an issue, do most expats but cars for the suburbs and getting out of Bangkok? What about travel into town , we d be near bps, do expats get in taxis without seat belts and child seats? I m worried that I would be able to get about.
My worries may sound silly in my 20,s it would nt have been a problem but with two little ones I do worry. I d really appreciate any help
Kate

TheBossOfMe Sun 07-Apr-13 09:47:05

Stop worrying!

Malaria is non-existent in Bangkok. Dengue is easily prevented with a once a day application (daytime) of insect repellent. Rabies, well, just teach your kids not to approach stray dogs. Same as in any country. I've never heard of anyone here getting rabies. If you do get bitten, straight to the hospital for a wound clean out and a rabies shot. Hospitals are like 5 star hotels.

Bangkok is incredibly safe. I feel much safer here than in London as far as robbery, theft, burglary goes. I have never heard of an expat home being broken into, especially if you live in a condo. I've never known anyone be mugged, a couple of handbag thefts in bars, but that's it.

Btw, it might be poor in general, but there are a lot of very rich Thais living in Bangkok, especially in areas such as Sukhumvit and Sathorn, as well as Bang Na and Nichada. Lamborghinis and Porsches are not that rare, Mercedes and BMWs are ubiquitous. The malls are full of people buying Chanel, Hermes and Prada. It's not exactly living somewhere like Darfur. Trust me, you won't be a target. Not unless you are richer than Madonna.

Just live your life with the same safety precautions that you would in the uk and you will be fine.

I hate gated complexes and the burbs, don't see the point of them and find them extremely dull and isolating, but each to their own. If you do live outside the city centre, a car is a must. Otherwise, you will have to risk taxis, and they might be cheap, but they don't have car seats (they don't in the uk either, for the most part). Bring your own car seat if you can, they are expensive here in comparison.

It's not exactly a hardship posting - many expats here have no intention of ever returning home. You just have to be open minded to different food, cultural norms, etc.

Do you have somewhere to live sorted? Schools? Happy to help with advice, feel free to PM me.

TheBossOfMe Sun 07-Apr-13 09:48:42

Btw, there are 1000s of British expats living in Bangkok, its really not unusual. You will find it harder to make Thai friends than you will to make British ones.

soonmoving Sun 07-Apr-13 10:08:30

Can I barge in here and ask if anyone knows where the UK diplomatic staff in Bangkok send their children to school? As this would be sensitive information, if anyone knows, could they send me a pm please?

KathieC Sun 07-Apr-13 12:26:28

Thanks for your information that really helps, school would be bps where dh would be working and we d be put up in a complex / flat near by. I guess I am simply scared of the unknown.

TheBossOfMe Sun 07-Apr-13 15:21:14

If your husband is working at Patana, you will probably be living in Bang Na or nearby. I would say a car is a must. You can rent rather than buy from Budget, which may be easier. It's expat central round there, no shortage of Brits!

Do feel free to PM, happy to show you the ropes a bit when you get here.

TheBossOfMe Sun 07-Apr-13 16:15:20

And definitely contact Bambi, very helpful at showing new expats around:

www.bambiweb.org/en/

I wouldn't worry too much if you are coming as teachers, though. Teachers are the largest expat profession in Bangkok and British ones are very common. You certainly won't be a target, and unless Patana have suddenly got very generous, you won't be living a lifestyle that warrants much attention. You are likely to be comfortable and not have much to worry about financially, but nothing that will make anyone stalk you or anything! So no need to worry about that. And you will be living in a sociable community with plenty of opportunity to make helpful and gregarious friends. Good luck!

KathieC Sun 07-Apr-13 17:14:41

Thanks again that is reassuring, really am very grateful for your comments.

ripsishere Mon 08-Apr-13 02:09:10

We lived in Bangkok for four years. I felt safer there than I did in either Switzerland or Belgium.
We did have a car and it was useful to get around, although the traffic is so horrendous sometimes it seems unecessary.
If you are at BPS, the skytrain goes right out to the end of Soi Bearing which is the road that runs parallel to Soi Lasalle.
DD had all her vax and medical treatment at BNH or Samitivej.
She had her rabies vaccinations before we got there at the London hospital for tropical diseases. They were painless.
Stop panicking!

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