Getting Ready for Trip to Bhutan (and China)…
As of today, we are a week away from flying to Bhutan (07 November 2019). We get back on 19 November 2019. Five and a half weeks later we fly to China (28 December 2019 through 14 January 2020). We’ll probably be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in Bangkok this year.
With our upcoming trips to Bhutan and China, we have been updating and adding to our winter clothe wardrobe. At first, we thought it was going to be a difficult task to find winter clothes in a tropical region but luckily, we found the Japanese clothing store Uniqlo.
They ended up having everything we needed at fairly reasonable prices.
The extended weather forecast for Bhutan has been trending colder – highs in upper 40’s and lows around freezing. Although the country is quite small, Bhutanese weather varies from location to location mainly depending upon the elevation. We will be experiencing altitudes of between 5,000 ft to 13,000 ft. The highest altitudes will come briefly when we cross a few mountain passes. Most of our overnight stays altitudes will be at 6,000-9,000 ft.
Our trip to China, specifically Harbin’s Ice and Snow Festival is the real reason we needed to upgrade our winter clothe wardrobe.
We will be visiting here during the coldest time of the year (Dec-Jan), with an average high temperature at -13°C (9 °F) and an average low at -25°C (-13 °F). Harbin is at the same latitude as Montreal, Canada. For this we had to buy additional thermal tops, underwear and fleece line pants.
Over the last week we made a trip back to the Thai Travel Clinic (Bangkok) to update our vaccinations. Last time we came here was in 2015. This time we got the following vaccinations:
- Typhoid Booster ($16)
- Japanese Encephalitis Booster ($16)
- Rabies (1st out of 2 shots) – Second shot is needed a week later ($14 each)
- Flu Shot ($11)
Fresh New US Bills
When travelling to another country it’s a good idea (if you can) to get brand new, fresh US bills to take with you (to convert). Some counties are very strict about this (such as Myanmar). To get the best exchange rate it’s a good idea to get $100 dollar bills.
After Two Months of Living in Thailand (Bangkok) – How Has it Been?…
Short answer – it’s been awesome!
Our condo at The Metropolis has been an excellent experience so far. As I’ve said before, we’ve been lucky to have some wonderful people help us along the way (helping us get moved in, set up utilities, internet, etc.).
Sticking with the “life is easy here” theme, paying bills here is so simple. One of the requirements for my retirement visa was setting up a Thai bank account (Bangkok Bank). Once I did that, “practically” all of my bills can now be paid through my Bangkok Bank phone app. If you get a paper bill, there will be a special bar code on it that you can scan with your phone app. From my experience, I have been able to pay every bill within a few seconds (drafts the payment out of my account) with my phone. So easy and so simple!
Bangkok Bank ATM Machine
To make things even more convenient, they just installed a Bangkok Bank ATM machine on the first floor of our condo building!
Getting Around Town
With our new condo conveniently located at Samrong BTS Station, it has been very easy to get to and around Bangkok. Generally speaking, it costs around $1.73 (one way) to get to anywhere in the city. If we need to buy groceries or something for the condo, we can walk to the nearest Big C store (like a Walmart) in about 15-20 minutes. If we need to go to one of the malls in the shopping district, we can hop on the BTS and be there in about 20 minutes.
Food & Eating Out
Breakfast – we tend to eat a light breakfast (something like muesli oatmeal or fresh fruit)
Lunch – what we do for lunch depends on our plans. If we are hanging around the condo, we usually eat at the Thai restaurant downstairs (on first floor). We usually get Thai noodle soup or one of the rice dishes that they serve (each costing 50-60 baht or $1.66 to $2.00). The food here is very good!
Sometimes we’ll get something from fresh food section of Tesco Lotus (like a super Walmart) located at On Nut BTS Station (a few stations away from us). Each morning here, they prepare individual prepackaged Thai food meals that coast 40-50 baht each. They also have prepackaged salads that are very good.
If we go into the city, we like to go to Sizzler. Yes, that’s right, Sizzler! It’s the same Sizzler chain from back in the US. The reason we like to go here is for their awesome soup & salad bar.
Sometimes we’ll spurge and go to one of the awesome hotel international lunch buffets. These types of international buffets in Bangkok are world famous. These places can be pricey but we use an app called Eatigo that can give us a discount of up to 50% off. It’s worth it to go to these types of buffets for just for the sushi and seafood selections (grilled unlimited lobster, oysters, crayfish, Alaskan king crab, tiger prawn and mussels).
Dinner – Just as we were back home in the US, we do not tend to eat dinner here. If we do its usually something light.
Depending on our schedule we use our condo provided gym a few times a week. Lately we’ve been getting most of our daily exercise by walking in and around the city. We use a step app (pedometer) on our phones and have been averaging 3-5 miles a day (sometime more). I can’t say that we exercise everyday but we do our best to stay active as much as we can.
Cost of Living (Per Month)
Below is our rent and utilities costs per month so far.
- Monthly Rent: $13,500 baht ($445.00)
- Electricity: $1,040 baht ($34.00)
- Water: have not received first bill yet (estimated to be $10-$15 per month)
- Internet: $426 baht ($14.00)
- Thai Cell Phone: $100 baht ($3.50)
- Monthly Total: ≈ $512.00
Lawson 108 Convenience Store (1st Floor of Our Condo Building)
It has been super convenient to have a Lawson 108 convenience store on the first floor of our condo building. Very similar to a 7-11 store, it carries just about everything you can think of (food items, snacks, drinks, water & ice, beer & wine, health and beauty supplies, office supplies, etc.)