Living in BangkokIyna Bort Caruso
It’s been written that traveling through Bangkok is like seeing several worlds at one time.
The capital city of Thailand is a force in finance and a creative technology hub. Thanks to low barriers to entry, especially as they relate to neighboring powerhouse cities, Bangkok’s start-up scene is exploding. Here corporate skyscrapers and supermalls offering luxury labels mix with handicraft markets and magnificent Buddhist temples. Bangkok has more than 400 operating temples; bright orange robed monks are a common sight in this city of eight million. One of the most sacred temples is Wat Phra Kaew, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and carved out of a block of jade. The temple is housed within the Grand Palace, a stunning complex from the 18th century that was once home to the King and his royal court until 1925. It is still used for official ceremonies and state functions.
Locals call their home Krung Thep Mahanakhon or Krung Thep for short meaning “city of angels.” For most of the nation’s history, up until the mid 20th century, Thailand was known as Siam. It was the only Southeast Asian country never to come under control of a Western power. As a result, Thai culture is strong. At the same time, the country in general and the city of Bangkok specifically is one of the most visited destinations in the world making it very much a global city.
Infrastructure improvements, particularly in the transportation sector, coupled with residential construction have been progressing at a rapid pace. Status addresses are in downtown Bangkok. Some neighborhoods are dominated by members of the royal family and international buyers, particularly those from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Japan. Pied-a-terres are common. In Thailand, non-residents can buy condominiums, but not land. Land, however, can be leased for renewable 30-year periods.