Adjusting to Life in Thailand タイ生活に慣れるまで 

Published on: June 07, 2019

Having difficulties getting used to life in Thailand even though you’ve also lived abroad before? One mom shares her experiences on how she adjusted to living in Thailand.

By Maya Sakurai / Translated by Hanae Matsumura [日本語記事へ]

I have lived in Thailand for over a year now. Prior to that, I spent several years in North and South America. Coming to Bangkok was a big change and I found myself completely lost amongst the chaos of the bustling city, hot climate, spicy Thai cuisine, and difficulty with the language. I’d like to share the things that helped me feel at home in this city, in hopes that it can offer newcomers some ideas too.

(1) Learning Thai

The Thai language has its unique tones and characters. Not knowing the language can be an obstacle in daily life, especially when taking public transport or in a restaurant. So the first thing I decided to do was to learn Thai. After ten days of private lessons, I applied for a two-month Thai course at Chulalongkorn University to take my learning further.

Student life was challenging with so much to memorize and so many review tests, but I did my best and shared my frustrations with my other classmates from Asia, Europe, and South America. Their support provided a sense of unity and the class became the first place in Bangkok where I felt secure outside my home. 

(2) Enjoying Thai culture

Following the language course, a friend of mine encouraged me to take Ruesri Dat Ton lessons. The instructor, who was a specialist in traditional Thai remedies, would offer us homemade herbal teas and lunch after the lessons. I would practice my Thai as we spoke about Thai massage and meditation. Her kindness made me start to love Thailand little by little.

(3) Finding community through pregnancy and birth

One day when I was studying at the university I started to feel nauseous. “Why am I feeling so sick from studying Thai?” I wondered, without the slightest idea that it was actually morning sickness! It was just two months after coming to Thailand and it was my first pregnancy.

As I was living so far from my family, I actively participated in various BAMBI Bumps activities including a labor room visit to Samitivej Hospital. I attended events hosted by the Japanese Association in Thailand, such as parenting classes, maternity yoga, and breastfeeding meetups. Not only did these help prepare me for giving birth, but they also worked as opportunities to meet other moms in the same situation. Thanks to them, I was able to manage the morning sickness and challenges that came with being pregnant in a foreign country.

Finally, my little boy came into the world last December. 

Though I studied a lot about giving birth and was surrounded by kind, helping people, I couldn’t help feeling anxious. It was a great relief when I safely gave birth to my baby at last.

Now the days with my baby cast a new light to this city. The first half-year in Bangkok was a time of anxiety. Now that a year has passed and my experiences have grown, Bangkok has turned into a lovable city.

I believe we can find comfort anywhere in this world once we start to enjoy living there, though it may take time.

As my life develops on to new stages, I look forward to finding new spaces that will allow me to continue enjoying life in Thailand.




By Sakurai Maya



(1) タイ語を学ぶ





















About the Author

Maya is a Spanish-Japanese interpreter/translator who has worked in various fields in the automobile industry in North and South America. She came to Bangkok in January 2018 and lives here with her husband and young son. She also enjoys swimming, traveling, and salsa dancing.


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