From executive style luxury penthouse suites to mosquito infested studios, Bangkok has a full range of accommodation to suit any budget. Prices will vary anywhere from THB5000 for a Thai style room to over THB50,000 per month for an executive style luxury suite.
One of the challenges with finding an apartment is the vast differences in quality and size, depending on the location. A THB15,000 apartment close to the main tourist areas on Sukhumvit Road will be completely different from a similarly priced apartment further away from the tourist areas. The first step in finding an apartment is deciding on the location you want. Many expats initially plan on staying along Sukhumvit Road due to the proximity to the many Western-oriented businesses but there are some drawbacks to that location, such as heavy traffic and a noisy nightlife.
Traffic is a major concern in Bangkok and during peak rush hour or when it rains a 30 min commute to work can easily become a 2-hour trip. If you plan on commuting to work by car then the traffic has to be taken into account when searching for a place to stay. If you are not planning on using a car then some proximity to either the BTS Skytrain or the MRT Subway is a must. However, keep in mind that the closer you are to a metro station the higher the prices will be.
Once you have found your ideal location, the next step is to determine a price range and to decide whether you want a house or a condo. Before you decide on a place I would suggest visiting it a number of times at different times during the day. It may be nice and quiet in the morning when all your neighbours have gone to work, but how loud is it when they all return home? The Thais are not known for their peace and quiet!
The easiest and quickest way to find an apartment is to hire a property agent. Tell them the size, services and price you are looking for and let them do all the work. There is no cost to you as their fee is paid by the landlord. Occasionally the use of a property agent will result in a higher rent as the landlord tries to recoup the cost of the service. To counter this find a property agent that is fluent in Thai and is willing to negotiate on your behalf.
I’ve used the service of Gerwin van de Velde of Amazing Properties. Gerwin specializes in finding unique buildings at reasonable costs. Living in Bangkok can be challenging and coming home to a nice modern building with all the westernized facilities that I am used to cannot be over emphasized.
Craigslist and the thaivisa.com forum are a good place to look for accommodation. Many expats earn a side income from rental properties and as a first timer to Bangkok it will be much easier for you if you are dealing with someone from your native country.
Another option for those who don’t mind walking is to ride the BTS line from end to end and look for “For Rent” signs on the outside of buildings. Many landlords will hang banners on the exterior of their buildings advertising rooms for rent that are visible from the BTS Sky train. If you do see such a sign and visit the building, take a walk around the neighbourhood, as you will usually find more apartments clustered together in the same area.
For those adventurous enough to navigate the maze of streets in Bangkok, the following are two excellent Thai-only accommodation websites. Typically the places advertised on Thai sites will be cheaper than those advertised on English sites but if you can read Thai (or get someone to translate) there are some great deals to be found on these sites.
For the budget conscious, Khao San Road offers plenty of cheap hostels and guesthouses suitable for typical backpackers. Prices on Khao San Road range from THB150 per night to over THB2000 per night for a Western style hotel. Khao San Road is quite a distance from any of the main tourist areas and is not on any rapid transit lines, which means that you will be paying for a taxi anytime you wish to leave the area. However, with the abundance of cheap restaurants, bars and gift stores in the area, many backpackers never feel the need to leave Khao San Road. My personal recommendation for a LIP is to avoid Khan San Road as there is a very good reason why it is called the “backpacker ghetto”. There are much nicer guesthouses at similar prices to be found in other areas of Bangkok.
Finding an apartment in Bangkok is a matter of trial and error. You will visit many places before you find your ideal home and it can be a frustrating experience but one that every expat has gone through. It is a good lesson in how things are done in Thailand.
Check out Bangkok Podcast for our special show on finding an apartment in Bangkok.
Finding a comfortable home in a new city can be far from easy. Amazing Properties provides fast and easy solutions to locating new homes in Bangkok. Whether for long or short term rental, we assist our clients in securing quality apartments, houses and office space at affordable prices. We are fluent in Thai and are strong negotiators on your behalf to try and get the best deal for you.