The traffic in Bangkok makes commuting a nightmare for Thai professionals. Regardless of income or social class, gridlock is something everyone in the city has to deal with on daily basis. The stress of being stuck in traffic can impact one’s mental and physical health yet there are things we can do to make the travel times actually enjoyable.
The first thing we can suggest is to leave the driving to someone else. Whether you choose to take public transportation or have a car service, having someone else take responsibility for battling the hundreds of thousands of other drivers will free you up to do other things. So rather than getting aggravated with being stuck in traffic, you can do something you actually enjoy doing which will make the morning and afternoon commute pleasurable.
In January, the video streaming service Netflix became available throughout Thailand. For those unfamiliar with the service, it offers a wide variety of movies and TV series to its subscribers for online viewing. This means the next time you head out for work in the morning, you can be watching top movies or television programs from around the world…without commercials! The only downside is you might be disappointed when you arrive at work as you might not have had enough time to see the ending of your chosen movie or show.
One thing that many Thai professionals would like to do is improve their English, especially now with the ASEAN Community’s adoption of English as the official language of business. Unfortunately, many employees in Bangkok complain that they never have enough time and when they come home after a long day at the office, they don’t have the energy or desire to “work” at something. However, they can take the time wasted commuting back and forth from work to learn English. As a search firm, we encourage expats working in Bangkok to learn Thai as it will help them assimilate into the community. In addition, it will show Thai colleagues and employees that you are making your best effort to respect their language and culture.
Many professionals in Bangkok use commute times to do “housework” which frees up their time on weekends and evenings. This usually involves paying bills online or balancing their bank accounts by reviewing their statements. Please bear in mind that handing financial matters is not advisable on a crowded bus or monorail as people around you may be taking note of your activities and looking for passwords, usernames or other sensitive information. Therefore, only handle your monetary affairs in situations where others are not able to see your screen or sense the nature of your online activity.
One thing that researchers often cite as something that relaxes people is music. In talking with Thai professionals, many have created music playlists specifically for their work commutes. In the morning, they may listen to music that “wakes” them up and gets them ready for a long day at the office while listening to soothing music at the end of the day. Regardless of what mindset they are looking to achieve, they have very specific music in mind to help them make their day easier.
Regardless of how people spend their time in the morning, its important to make use of it. Sitting in traffic with nothing to do will only cause someone to focus on their stressful circumstances which will tire them out physically and mentally. In finding an activity to occupy your mind, you are taking a “mental vacation” from the situation. If you are enjoying a movie, learning a language, listening to music or doing something else productive you will no longer be a victim of Bangkok gridlock.