Bangkok stays the top posting
In theory, Merryl Rouchon could have spun a globe and stuck a pin at random. Having married a foreign correspondent, she is expert at setting up home in any location.
In the event, she and her husband followed the path taken by reporters in Asia since the Vietnam War by setting up their base in the Thai capital.
Like the journalists who congregate at Bangkok’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, they were attracted both by the city’s access to the region and by an unbeatable quality of life.
‘As we have children, the important thing is that people who have been living here for four, five or seven years still say “of course” when we ask if they are happy here,’ she says.
‘They still smile when they talk about living in Bangkok.’
This was crucial for Merryl. She and her husband were keen to live in Asia but only narrowed their interest to Bangkok after carefully researching the city
‘We mainly wanted the experience of living abroad again. We have lived all around the world. Bangkok was one of the places we looked at because I have an uncle here and we had been here three years ago,’ she says.
Merryl’s children have now shifted smoothly from a French school in Madrid to following the same curriculum at a French school in Bangkok. Meanwhile, though, the entire family’s lifestyle has been upgraded.
‘In Madrid, you have to live on the outskirts of the city to get a pool or a garden. In Bangkok you can find the same thing with the advantage of being downtown,’ she says.
Their apartment, just down the road from the home of Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, offers the ideal layout and furnishings along with a tranquil setting in a sub-soi (sideroad) from Sukhumvit Road.
‘One of the main topics when I talk to relatives and friends in Spain by Skype is the apartment and the swimming pool – the bedroom is bigger than the living room we had in Madrid,’ she says.
For Cyrille Hareux of Company Vauban, which helped Merryl and her husband find their home, Bangkok still richly deserves its reputation for exceptional lifestyles.
‘People are still amazed by the quality of life it offers. The cost of living is actually cheaper than in neighbouring countries while Bangkok also offers the sophistication of a modern international city,’ he says.