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Living in Buriram - Canadian Expat Laura


    Living and Working in Thailand Experiences

    # 37: Expat women interview with Laura from Canada who is living in Buriram, Isaan.


    Expat women interview - expat living in Buriram Isaan


    About Me

    I'm Canadian and the first time I arrived in Thailand was in 2006 and stayed in Sankamphaeng (near Chiang Mai) for six months. I returned in 2009 and began my journey in Bangkok. I'm single with no children.



    Living in Buriram

    Currently I live in Buriram (City) and have been here in Buriram for approximately 2.5 years. In total, I've spent close to 4 years of my life in Thailand and I came here to train muay thai (thai boxing).


    I've had what I understand is a less than average stay in Thailand. Most of it I attribute to training predominately in traditional muay thai gyms. Meaning few, if any women and few, if any foreigners in resident, depending on which gym I was at. In addition, there are few foreign women who choose to live in Buriram. As far as I know, there are currently three of us living in the city (of approximately 28,000 people). One has been here for years (I have yet to run into her), the other has been here for a school semester. All of this combined with the fact that I can speak Thai has made me very aware that I'm foreign and that I'm a woman and all that that entails in the negative sense. I've dealt with issues of racism and sexism. In my experience, foreign women are treated and looked upon much differently than foreign men, in a negative way. Our treatment I believe is an extension of how all women are treated in Thailand and shares some characteristics of the experiences of Thai women but some acute differences as well. On the positive side, I've met a number of wonderful people and have broadened my perspective of life in general. I think the positive aspects of living in Thailand are the pace of life, access to fresh, local foods and clean air.



    Thai Language

    I can speak Thai in the sense that a lot of the people I know and hang out with can't speak English or understand it. There have been weeks, perhaps longer, particularly when I first moved to Buriram that I didn't speak any English, only Thai. Not a lot of people can speak English here, or at least people I come in contact with. This may include people in the medical profession. However, I find that Bangkok Thai, particularly that on television can prove to be more challenging for me to understand than when Thai is spoken by someone from Isaan. I can understand more than I can speak and can understand some Lao, although I can only speak an handful of sentences in Lao.



    Renting in Buriram

    I rent a room and I've been very fortunate regarding renting in Thailand. I've heard horror stories of people being exploited here, for example, with the cost of utilities. I've had Thais help me find all of my rooms and they have set me up with honest people. I think that's important. In addition it often seems that if you are well connected, people will treat you better. It's a bit of a safety net. I've had a less than normal situation I believe, where I lived in what in Canada we call a rooming house. The first floor was inhabited by a guy who sold automotive parts on the street. I had to walk through his living area to get to my room on the top floor. I shared the top floor with two Thai students who lived in the room beside me. We shared a bathroom. I paid little over 2,000 baht a month and it was one of the best shared living situations I've had in any country.



    Working in Buriram

    Prior to coming to Thailand in 2009, I sold most of what I owned and rented out the condo I had in Toronto. I lived mostly off the income of my condo. In 2010 I decided to sell my condo and some of what was remaining in storage, invested, and have been living predominately off of my savings in conjunction with the interest of my investments. In 2009 I began writing for a foreign website which provided some additional income. I have scaled back the muay thai and currently practice it recreationally. This has allowed me the time to educate myself on creating streams of passive income online, in addition to building blogs and websites. I've built two websites in the past year, one is my blog ( and the other is a niche website on Buriram (, which is a test site for passive income. Consulting will be added to my blog as I attract a number of questions regarding training muay thai in Thailand, support for women living and training here and how to live a nomadic life, which I have been doing since 2009 and intend to indefinately. I plan to build more niche websites (as passive streams of income) in the near future and have currently secured a contract to build a personal website for someone else. In addition, I'm in discussion with a few people in others countries regarding me writing copy for them and I have been approached to act as a part time assistant to a coordinator at a school here in Buriram on a project the school is investigating. So... I'm all over the place, but it has been working. Most importantly, I enjoy it.



    Shopping in Bangkok, not in Buriram ;)

    I do most of my shopping in Bangkok. I like going to Platinum Fashion Mall (near Panthip Plaza/Pratunam) and my favourite store in there is 4 Fore, which I believe is a local Bangkok designer. Platinum is totally hit or miss as is 4 Fore. I can go on one trip and drop a large sum of money and on another trip leave with a full stomach.



    Restaurants and Food in Buriram

    I have a dramatic msg allergy and have to watch people cook my food (as asking for them to not put it in, has proven to be useless more often than not). As a result, I frequent the same restaurants where I trust the staff. Often these restaurants are Isaan restaurants and as I can't read Thai, I can't offer any of their names unfortunately. In general, I'd say, if you haven't tried Isaan food, find a small, privately owned Isaan restaurant and go for it. The best Isaan food I have eaten has been here in Buriram.



    Recommended Thailand Websites and Blogs

    I'd really like to mention my blog, as I focus on what I consider important issues facing foreign women living in Thailand. This includes but isn't limited to issues of safety, sex and value, which in my opinon are all intertwined. As I mentioned earlier, I've had somewhat of an unusal path here, and this includes facing a number of situations I wasn't anticpating having (i.e. sexual bullying in gyms, attempted sexual assault, violence, racism, etc). I came into Thailand naive to what I could potentially face here and as certain situation began to unfold and be repeated, I began to ask a lot of questions and delved into finding the answers. On Milk.Blitz.Street.Bomb I discuss my experiences and attempt to offer the reader what I wish I had known stepping off the plane. I've created a resource page with links to content I think foreign women living in Thailand may interested in. I hope people find it beneficial. If any of you are Thai boxers, I'm in the process of creating a female centred forum which should be realeased by end of April. It's called Muay Ying Forum.


    Chicky Net: Also check out our Women Bloggers in Thailand list!



    Advice for Expat Women living in Thailand

    My advice is to use your intuition. If something doesn't feel right, listen to it. Travel books on Thailand discuss one of the many realities here, not reality.



    Last but not Least

    I want to thank Chicky Net for this opportunity - Thank you for the interview! And to all the foreign women in Thailand reading this, I hope you're having a great time here!





    Living in Thailand, so what is that like? The Chicky Net interviews tell the stories of expat women who have decided that Thailand is their home (for now). How did they end up here, what's it like to live and work in Thailand and what challenges and amazing experiences have they have come across?


    Do you want to do an interview too? Contact the admin or send a message via the Contact page.