A Day in Agoda — Hitchhiker guide for Expats :D

A few weeks ago, after I publish a blog “A day in Agoda — Full Stack Software Engineer” (… Sorry guys, it’s in Thai LOL), I got a request from my friends about writing another version of it but for Expat. Because they found out that it’s not very easy for them to find very useful information on the internet before moving to Thailand……Except few of them that flying to Thailand even without job offer !!!

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Agoda office on 22th floor, the place where i attend my orientation
Orientation day & Travels:

“Agoda development office” located in central of Bangkok at “The Offices @ Central World” building which is connected to BTS skywalk few meters away from Erawan Shrine. Recommended commute to there is via BTS, the building is between “Siam station” and “Chidlom station” (I’m personally preferred “Siam station”).

When you arrived, they might ask you to go to “Orientation Session” which most likely happen in floor 22/27/44. You will need to exchange your ID at information counter on the 3rd floor to get the access card.

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Information counter on 3rd floor : Get your visitor’s access card here

Access Card:

All elevators in CTW office will require you to use access card. How to use the card? It’s very simple, you have to input floor number and tap access card to its receiver and then you will see the elevator ID shown, You will have to go to that one and wait for it :D

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Elevator : Your access card will required

What will you need to do on very first week in Bangkok ?

  • Work Permit — Don’t worry, our people team will provide you an information supporting you but this might take up to a whole day to process (don’t underestimate Thai government :D)
  • Notification of Residence in Thailand— Another thing to remember is that if you stay in Thailand for 90 consecutive days. you will need to provide Thailand immigration department a notice. Otherwise, you can go for a holiday and fly out of Thailand. The 90 day period will restart when you come back to Thailand and no need to provide the notice !!!
  • Bank Account — In Thailand, you might need more than 3 hours to open a bank account, don’t forget to bring all document together with you e.g. Passport/Work Permit. You’ll need to write and sign a lot of documents. Don’t book any slot behind this one.
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Accepted Bank for Payments

  • Place to stay — This is one of the very challenging tasks for you. Agoda will give you up to 30 days for a temporary place of living. So you will need to find another place within a month. There’re few areas popular for expat ,for example, Asoke/Sukhumvit/Nana zone, Ratchathewi/Phyathai zone. I’d recommend you to pick a place not too far from BTS. Another recommendation is to reach out expat in your team to find out a good agency to help you on that.

More information

Good news is that we have internal slack channel #who_do_i_ask, it’s a good place to start finding information about everything :) Please feel free to ask there !!!

Shopping Center

There’re many Shopping Center in Thailand, but here we would like to mention about Top 3 and what good are they?

  • Central Plaza — Good for buy electronics device, have a lots of choices for restaurant/fast food.
  • Big C — Best to buy household/goods
  • Tesco Lotus — Best to buy food ingredient/household similar to Big C
  • Fortune Tower/Pantip/Palladium — Gadgets/Phones Accessories/IoT devices/Computers & Accessories

Convenience Store

Difference that many country, convenience store in Thailand is a place you can find most of the things you need in daily life there’re 2 biggest chains in Bangkok as following:

  • 7–11 (Seven Eleven) — you can find most of thing you need e.g. food, drinks, milks, beverage, fruit, coffee and you can even pay your electricity/flight bills here
  • Family Mart — similar to 7–11 just less choices of things here

Food !!!

Agoda office reside in “CTW: Central World Plaza” one of biggest shopping center in Bangkok. So you can find plenty of restaurant in CTW serving your favorite food. One of my favorite perk is 10% off for food and drinks !!! You’d better check before pay the bill that is the place give Agodan an discount ?

If you’re looking for cheap local food, this is some list of places you can find it around CTW:

  • Food court on 7th floor: Mostly are Thai food, average price is around 100 THB ($3.15)
  • Small restaurant on B1 floor (Office Zone): Thai style fast food, average price is around 75 THB ($2.36)
  • Amarin Plaza Food court (walk 5 mins to Amarin Plaza by BTS sky walk): Thai and Chinese food, average price 100 THB ($3.15)
  • Police Food Court (opposite to CTW office), average price 75 THB ($2.36)
    Hidden Food Court @ Siam Paragon (5th Floor), price is incredible 25 THB ( < $1)
  • Groove: A place you can find good beers, just right down the office (1st floor). Most favorite place for 1-on-1 for me.

After 2/3 month, most of Agodan end up with this kind of dishes:

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TooHungryException Thrown

We love our pantry !!!

We have wonderful coffee machine that you can get as much as you can drinks.

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There’re also free apple and banana in the pantry :D

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An apple a day keep the doctor away

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Banana also good for your health !!
Working Environment / Team / Culture

On the first day, you’ll equipped with “Welcome kit x 1 ea” including your laptop, 2x monitors, 1x docking station. Agoda IT department organization is very flat. You’re two level away from your director and you will sit side-by-side to your manager/director disregarding your position (My director sit five feet away from me) because we believe that communication is our most important tools here. The management team is flexible enough to allow you to design your own goal based on Team/Department KPIs and they not (always) forcing you to be a code monkey. More than two years of working here, we switch from project to project and we use various of technique we use to manage our project. Two most frequent approach we use is Scrum and Kanban and we consider from context and situation.

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What about diversity? There’re a lots of Thai staff here (of course, we are in Thailand) but in Agoda, we currently have more than 60+ nationalities in our tech team !!! You’ll have great time a learning from each others on both techs and culture here.

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Benefits & Perks

Agoda provide good benefit to their employee, You can choose to have Aetna health insurance that will give you a service from best hospital with physicians that familiar with Expat. They will provide you a best option to relief your sickness.

You’ll also get plenty of day-off balance to spends e.g. 12 paid-vacation, 30 days of sick leaves, 2 days for family take cares, mathernity leave(but i’m not sure for paternity). There’re also flex benefits available for you to reimburse.

Agoda staff also get special discount on booking from Agoda website, We’re also encourage you to use this benefit. Live your life !!!

There’re also a lots of activities e.g. AC/DC or QDR: Quaterly Drink Reviews with free flow of beer until it run out LOL.

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AC/DC

Agoda new year party also one of the best party i ever join too.

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Agoda 2018 new year party :D
You can also checkout how fun it is from below YouTube links

Agoda party 2018 :D Agoda party 2016 Agoda party 2015

If you’re looking for an adventure in your IT career and Asean is right place for you, Checkout Agoda Career site for your very own opportunity (https://careersatagoda.com/)

Cheers !!!