Are you looking for an apartment in Bangkok?

View from my kitchen for sunrise.

Now I'm back in the city of Angels. Bangkok, the one I have a three years lasting love-hate-relationship.

The full name of Thailand's capital Bangkok in Thai:

กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุทธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์

It's a the world longest name of a capital and for this reason a world record and in the Guiness Book.

The full name of Thailand's capital Bangkok in English:
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit

"Krung" means capital and "Krung Thep" is roughly translated similar to "City of Angels", but it is originally more like "village of the wild plums". This means the original side, west of 
Chao Praya River (today this area is called Thonburi). 

The new built city on the other side of the river was called "Krung Thep", but never really realized by foreigners.

Back to present age: This time, my intention was to calm down, get new inspirations (looking for the philosopher's stone), thinking about the next steps and finally to write down my travel experiences and process the collected impressions.

After an exhausting search for an apartment, I am used to be an expert now. :D

So, if anybody needs some advices or help, write me  an e-mail (varekai (et) arcor (dot) de) and I will offer you my assistance.

By the way, there is no need to pay a lot of money for a property agent. Ask friends, look at the  newspaper or follow my steps and you will find your object of desire.

Why not looking at the Internet? Well, this is a good entry, but mostly the pictures are not up to date and they ask for six or month contracts or longer.

I don't want to tell you how much time I spent searching at the Internet for apartments, but finally I worked out, there is only one way to get the best apartment and best offer. You want to know how to find your apartment in Bangkok? Let's follow this posting.

Basically it is very easy. There is one way how it worked best in my case. Let me show you:

  1. Decide which area you want to stay. If you are open for different areas, then it is a bit more complex and time intensive work neccessary.
  2. Walk around the selected area and take a look about the the different possibilites (categories, serviced apartment, condominium......)
  3. In case you find a building you are interested, just walk in and ask at the office for details. In every building is an office or telephone number where you can ask for available rooms. Sometimes they don't speak English or not as well, so it could be good to have a comapnion able to speak thai with you. I was on my own and translated a few words before and wrote them down and it worked fine when we sucked up with English.
  4. Ask for taking a look at the apartment. If you are interested in more apartments, take a snapshot with your smartphone for remember which one you saw. It helps a lot in case you have a bigger choice after looking around. Write down the details like: The rent, water, electricity, housekeeping (serviced apartments), additinal costs, Internet, costs of other facilities like gym and pool, costs of transport till the next bts/mrt/mainroad, duration of the contract, deposit.If you like the building but not the room, ask for a different one. They have in every building different kinds of rooms.

This is very simple, isn't it?

Ok, in detail there are a few more things to be aware, before signing the contract.

Basically the price of your object depends on some options and details you have to answer about your demands.

Let's start with the first point:
I talked about the area. Where do you like to live, where do you work, or where are your favorite places?

Very important is the question about your neighbourhood. Of course, you are in Thailand, but do you want to stay in a Thai-community? This means not there is no conversation possible, but it is limited and the behaviour of the neighbours could be also different. Would you like to smell your neighbours cooking-activities on his balcony next to yours, every day? I granted, but I had this already on Koh Samui. You just be back at your room and it starts smelling from outside and you have nothing to eat at home.......The advantage for such an area is the delicious street food. In such areas are plenty of food stalls with a big variety.

Once you made the decision for the area, it is time to take a look at the transport possibilities. Is your area easy connected to BTS-/MRT-/BRT-Station (Skytrain/Metro/Special bus line in addition to the Skytrain)?

There is an easy rule. As closer you want to live at a BTS-/MRT-/BRT-Station as higher are the rents. Calculate how often you have to pass this way per month and then you will see a difference. Either it is cheaper to stay a bit away from the Mass Rapid Transport-System or not. It's up to you. Something is all but certain, as closer you stay to this stations, as more time you will save daily.

In addition to the above named transport systems you have to take often a taxi, bus, songthaeo or motocycle, depending where you place is located.

Taxi is cheap in Bangkok, but not for a short distance. There is a basic fare of 35THB and you will get around a few blocks with this rate. Best if you can share a taxi, or if you have to go for a longer way. Interesting espacially at night time. This is probably the only time without traffic jam in Bangkok. Have this in mind. To need a taxi for going somewhere between lunch-time or from 4pm-8pm is a big challenge and mostly not recommended.

Bus is the cheapest options and mostly reliable and also every time a new experience. Nearly all the ticket sellers are able to communicate in english or will get help of other passengers. No worry, use this adventoures way of transport. The only thing is, there is no fixed timetable. That means you have to wait sometimes a bit longer and next time there are three buses reaching the bus-stop at the same time. This can be annoying, espacially if it is around 10pm and you not really know when the last bus will arrive or has already left.

Motocycles are cheap and operating normally from the mainroads till the small streets, called soi in Thailand. They don't speak too much and mostly no English. Just tell them the name of the apartment and that's it. For this short distances are fixed fares. Similar for locals and That's fine as long as there is no rain. The drivers are well experienced with the traffic in Bangkok and took often shortcuts to reach the aim. Sometimes on the wrong side of the street, but not as often and ruthless like in Vietnam. They are driving carefully and it is a often seen scene women riding sidesaddle on it.
The only victims could be pedestrians, because these drivers are using sometimes the non-crowded  pedestrian way.

Bangkok's road map is so designed that you have to use u-turns for reaching soi's on the other side of the main roads sometimes. In practise could it be a short or long way to reach your final destination. An alternative is drop off the bus for example, using the pedestrian bridges and look for another transport on the other side of the street to reach your aim. I prefer to have my accommodation on the side where I arrive most of the times. That means heading back to the apartment, I drop off on the left side of the street (remember we are in Thailand now), so I figured out this is the best side to continue directly to the apartment without any hassle. In case it is further away from the main road I can take a  motocycle without crossing the road or looking for the next u-turn.

How about your spare-time activities? What are your interests, what do you like to do? You like doing sport? What kind of sport? Where can you follow this ambitions? do you like a work-out at the gym, or do you like to make sport in a park?

Also of interest is the way of living. Do you like to eat at the food-stalls on the street. It is cheap, good  and takes not too much time. You can do it on the way back to your apartment, or you can take it away. Do you like to eat at a restaurant? What possibilities are around your favorite area? If you are not sure then go there twice. Once at daytime and the other time at the evening and have a second look. Some streets are difficult to recognize again between day and nighttime, because one time they are crowded and full of food stalls and street hawkers and at night they are lonely or quite converse.

What kind of accommodation do you need? Is a kitchen neccessary? Is a studio with a sink enough? Do you need an extra bedroom? Do you like to have a balcony or windows in a special direction, i. e. sunset or sunrise?

What kind of furniture do you want and need? This point is also a very pricey detail. In case you want  to work at home, ask for a desk and a good chair or you will have less fun to work there.
Basic Thai-style is cheap. Mostly you get a room with 20 m² and a doublebed, sometimes a fridge, or TV. Sometimes you have to pay extra for that. Those things are often paid in addition with 500THB per option.

If you like to have TV, get informed about the proposed channels. There are very big differences in the number of channels and the quality of the signal. Try it!

Hot shower is nice, but isn't going without saying, espacially in Thai-communities. Usually the water supply/tanks are located on the roof of the buildings, which means the water is already a bit heated up during the day. It can be more cold at the morning, but it feels bracing after a hot night. ;) 

Internet is mostly a payable option as well. They offer various options, mostly unlimited volume with a speed between 4 and 20Mbit. Usually you get a 4 or 6 Mbit speed for round about 500THB. It is ok, but be aware you have to share this in some buildings with other users. Practically you have a slower speed after they finished work. Test it before you make a decision.

Which floor do you prefer? There are advantages for living on a higher floor, but also some disadvantages.
Firstly, is there an elevator in the building? How many rooms/apartments are in this building? Is there only one elevator? In big buildings takes it a lot of time to get down to the street. Don't underestimate this time. You have to wait for the lift. In the morning time it could be very crowded and sometimes you have to wait for the next one.

Do they offer house keeping? Is it included in the price? If not how much do they ask extra? When it is a serviced apartment they will offer everything you need for bedroom and kitchen, means bed-sheets,  pillows, blanket and crockery.

Other facilities like laundry and ironing are often offered in larger buildings with additional costs.

Further costs are water and electricity. Water is around 18THB (minimum sum or flat sum are possible as well)´. Electricity is around 7THB per unit (kWh). The best rates are from the supplier directly. Then you can pay the bills at each 7/11 store. Otherwise you have to pay to the property management company.

If you follow this hints I am quite sure you will find "your" apartment in a short time.

I don't want to tell you any suggestions for living in a special area. I realized that my view is different to others, but I will tell you why I choosed this area where I am now.

I had a few demands on the location:

  • Want to live in the center of Bangkok
  • close to BTS or MRT
  • bigger super market in walking distance
  • I want to have food stalls close to my apartment
  • Want a park close to my place for doing sport, I prefer Lumpini Park
I realized a three year old dream. When I saw Lumpini Park first time, it was home of the Red-shirts in 2010. They advanced backwards during the riots in the streets of Bangkok and barricaded themself at the park. 

Skyscrapers around Lumpini Park.

During my next visit of Bangkok I returned to this park again and I was spellbound of the green and lush nature environment under this pall of smog. I thought it will be great to live here for a while, doing sport and enjoying this anazing oasis in the center of Bangkok.

Sometimes amazing architecture in Bangkok.

The park opens at 4.30am and it is unbelieveable how crowded it is in the morning hours. There are mostly Thais and Chinese at this time in the park, while in the evening hours are more white aliens, so called long noses on the track. 

How small the skyline looks like.

I love this place for getting inspirations, doing sport, or just for relaxing.....a green island in the stuffy city.

Lush nature environment. Would you think this is stuffy Bangkok?

And sometimes it rains in paradise island.

First I had a studio on the second floor to the street side. It was starting to get noisy from 4am when the street hawkers start building there stalls on the market in opposite and the stalls on the street until 5pm. And it was very hot inside the studio and I wasn't able to use the balcony, because of so many mosquitos, even in the studio.
So I decided to change after a week to a one bedroom apartment at the six floor with windows to different sides of the building. I have an living room with a sink and fridge. A bathroom and a sleeping room, all with windows and so I get a cool breeze through the apartment in the evening. No need to use the air-con and there is much more daylight in the rooms. Most important, the air is definitely better in the higher floors.

Next door is the Abdul Rahin Building. There are innumerable companies and the working people want to eat something over the day. Thailand's dealer brings the products to the customer. They can buy  everything you can imagine, plenty of food, dvd's, clothes, parfumes, shoes, yoghurt in a special created food-stall.

Here are some photos of my apartment:

View from the kitchen.

Surely I could get this apartment or others cheaper then 20.000THB, but not if you rent this only for one month and not in this area, close to BTS and MRT in Silom. I have housekeeping twice a week.
They offered a water cooker and I there is no need to buy water bottles and carry them to the apartment. I can get a large 18 liter water tank for 80THB. Not the cheapest, but very convenient and much cheaper than to buy at the supermarket.

I have a very cheap supermarket on the other side of the silom road, in the middle of the famous patpong soi's. They promote themself with 366 open days a year, 24 hours and its really cheap there, with bakery and butchery. In the direct neighbourhood of my apartment is a 7/11 for small shoppings.

I found "my" place in this convenient city in the center of South-East-Asia and hope you will find your place too.

You see, everything is around my place and it is so easy to get to another location from here.

The article ended up longer than expected, but I will be happy if you can find your place more easier.

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