Monday, March 31, 2014

Living the Dream in Thailand #2

Kristie Kellahan talks to ex-pats living the dream in Thailand. Today, it's a Queensland boy who now hangs out with elephants as part of his work.

Who: Mark Thomson, 41

Where: Bangkok

What’s he doing: Mark is the Director of Public Relations and Communications for Minor Hotel Group, which includes Anantara, Oaks, AVANI, Per Aquum and Elewana. “Not only do I get to promote, and stay in, some of the most stunning resorts in the world, but I also get to do what I love the most and that is travel to some of the most exotic places in the world.”

When: “Doing what all antipodeans do I went and worked in London for a few years,” he says. “When my working visa ran out I headed back to Australia where I should have been responsible and settled down. Instead I booked a one-way ticket to Bangkok, intending to use Thailand as a starting point for a few more months’ travel. I’m still here 10 years later.”

Life Before Thailand: Mark graduated from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia with a Journalism degree. “I joined Optus Vision Cable TV when they first launched in Queensland,” he says. “That experience made me want to get out and explore the world.”

Biggest culture shock: Mark says he gets bigger culture shock going back to Australia now than he gets in Thailand.

One of Mark's jobs is to do PR for the annual King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament

Biggest challenge: Mark says the challenges in living in Bangkok – things like the traffic, the heat and the language barrier – can get some people frustrated, but it gets you nowhere to give in to that frustration. “After living here a while you learn to just enjoy the buzz of the city,” he says. “It’s organised chaos at its best; you see something different every single day.”

Favourite Bangkok hangouts: Mark gives the thumbs up to three bars in the city: WTF Bar, Viva & Aviv, and Iron Fairies. For dinner he enjoys Soul Food Mahanakorn, Eat Me, or low-key street eats in Sukhumvit 38.

Favourite downtime activities: “It’s fun to take longtail boat rides in the canals or have your palm read at Wat Pho,” Mark says. “For those who like weirder things, check out the forensic science museum at Siriraj Hospital. Or just hang out and people-watch at the makeshift Kombi bars set up along Sukhumvit 11.”

Favourite Thai expression: Mark says “Jai Yen Yen” means to keep a cool heart, take it easy and chill. How very Thai!

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