Thailand and Bangkok
Last year over 21 million people came to Bangkok to see the sights, making it the most visited city in the world. The Thai capital is home to hundreds of beautiful temples, several palaces, and thousands of restaurants and food stalls selling everything from traditional spicy salads to fried scorpions! People come for the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the capital and travel to the white sand beaches, tranquil islands and majestic mountains of Thailand’s 77 provinces.
Thailand is rich with treasures, but the most valuable things we have are our people, cultures, history, and languages. Learning and sharing these things helps us not only to understand what we see when we travel, but understand more about ourselves.
Salaya and Mahidol University
Salaya is a suburb of Nakon Phatom, just outside the city limits of Bangkok. The location of the Mahidol University campus in Salaya allows more space for the educational and recreational facilities, whilst still allowing students to travel easily to and from central Bangkok.
Mahidol University has 6 campuses, 3 are in provinces in the north, northeast and northwest, 2 in downtown Bangkok and the main campus in Salaya. The Salaya Campus covers 520 acres and houses 10 faculties, 8 institutes, 5 colleges and 3 centers. Mahidol University has worked tirelessly to make our campuses not only great places to study, with all of the resources our students, faculty and researchers need, but great places to socialize, exercise and relax. We have been recognized as the number 1 Green Campus in Thailand. The Salaya campus has widened paths to encourage people to cycle (with bikes available to borrow!) and large natural spaces including a botanical garden which grows over 600 species of plants used in Thai traditional medicine, several lakes (with bird-hides for watching the wildlife) and many lawns to sit and relax.
In recent years Mahidol University has been developing spaces for students to work together on projects, such as the Mahidol Learning Center, which has open spaces and private rooms available for working on projects, and improving and upgrading our libraries and computer rooms.
Our campus also has the Prince Mahidol Hall, one of the most prestigious concert halls in Asia. The hall seats over 2,000 people and is used for graduation ceremonies, open lectures and concerts. The Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra performs almost every week in the Prince Mahidol Hall, and we host visiting orchestras and musicians.
If you like to exercise then you can visit our Sports Science Center, which has a gym, several swimming pools and sauna and steam, or you can use one of our many facilities for football, basketball, badminton, and many other sports. The student clubs at Mahidol University include sporting clubs where you can learn Muay Thai (Thai boxing), Taekwondo or Fencing!
Cost of Living
Compared to Western countries, it is incredibly cheap to live in Bangkok, whatever your lifestyle. A middle class income in Thailand is approximately (something). On this income people can comfortably buy homes, raise their families, own a car and save money. Of course as a student your needs will be different, so have a look at our range of expenses you could expect. These prices come from our students who we asked about what they would normally spend on things.
“I spent around 7,500 Baht per month for my accommodation; which was an apartment with a kitchen, including dining area, and a huge balcony with a nice view. Although there were cheaper places I chose to live in a place which gave me a home-like feeling. Food is also cheap, not more than 100 Baht per day. I did not spend more than 2,000 Baht per week for social things like visiting new places, eating at expensive restaurants and social gatherings. This usually happens when I get long weekends with few assignments ahead.”
– Laiza, MHRD student from Maldives
“My accommodation was approximately 100 euros, and then my Muay Thai classes were expensive too. Beside that, life in Salaya is cheap when compared to Europe!”
– Anais, MHRD student from France
“I spent around 19,000 B per month on average, in which 25% was on rent, 30% on food, 10% on transportation and about 15% on socializing.”
– Huong, MHRD student from Vietnam
Mahidol University has accommodation for students and staff available on campus, and there are many apartment buildings off campus, just a 5 or 10 minute walk from IHRP. Most apartment buildings will have access to wi-fi, hot water and air conditioning, and will be fully furnished.
In Bangkok you are never far from a convenience store, a market, and many restaurants, so it is always easy to find the things you need.
Mahidol Salaya campus has several canteens and many cafes where you can eat during your studies and it’s easy to find food off campus any time of day. Street food is always cheap and served with a smile, and there are several shopping malls with larger restaurants and a range of international food close by. Salaya also has its own China Town with a lot of things to try.
Thai food is popular around the world and well known for its use of chili, lime, garlic and a range of local herbs and spices. Most food is eaten with rice or noodles and Thai people will often share several dishes between people in an evening meal. Thai food is often stir-fried or barbecued, and tropical fruit is always a healthy way to get through the day.
If you have any dietary needs you can see what our students have to say below:
Add quotes from students
Travelling from the Salaya campus to downtown Bangkok is easy. Busses run from the front of campus to Victory Monument, where you can catch the BTS sky-train around the center to avoid traffic. Taxis are cheap in Bangkok and there are so many that you never have to wait long. There are also busses going to 3 major shopping malls close to Salaya.
Salaya campus is close to the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) from where you can catch busses to the beaches in the southern provinces of Thailand. From Victory Monument minibuses take travellers to many of the provinces in the central planes where you can visit the ancient temples in Ayudthaya or Sukothai and the national parks in Kanchanaburi or Korat. Transport around Thailand is cheap, with a long distance bus costing around 800B.
Bangkok’s Suvarnibhumi International Airport has regular flights around the world, and is easy to get to and from using the Airport Rail Link train downtown. If you want to travel around Asia there are now many budget airlines which offer cheap flights from Don Muang airport.
Religion in Thailand
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, with approximately 90% of Thai people identifying as Theravada Buddhists. Thailand also has significant Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities and access to a variety of places of worship. The Thai constitution protects religious freedom, so whatever your faith you can find a community here. Thai food has a wide variety of foods which can meet any religious diets, you can look at our food section for more info.
“Christians are a minority group in Thailand. I read all about religion in Thailand before I came to study at Mahidol. At first, I found it very hard to locate a Christian (Catholic) church, especially near the university. I spent some time on the internet to locate a church closer by. I eventually found one just 10 km away. I also noticed that few of my course mates were Catholic as well. We had a group of 5 members, and we frequently attended church together on Sundays.
It’s interesting that there are a number of international people who went to church as well. The prayers (Mass) are said in English. I was able to meet many new friends from all over the world who came for Mass on Sunday. I would say that the Thai people respect other religions. I found it safe and I was free to practice my faith.”
– Joseph, MHRD student from Papua New Guinea
Thailand is well known around the world as an LGBT friendly country, if you have any concerns about being an LGBT visitor to Thailand, you can read these articles on World Nomad and Lonely Planet.
“I find Thailand to be friendly to the LGBT community compared to some other countries in Asia. I am able to express my thoughts and present myself in public in any way that I want, and I am able to access health services catered to the LGBT community.”
– Joel, MA Human Rights alumni from the Philippines