Finding your first Bangkok Apartment Part 1: Research and prep work
So you’re looking for your first Bangkok apartment, perhaps you are living abroad or elsewhere in Thailand and frantically scouring the Bangkok property market. Or maybe you’re already in the city in temporary accommodation and looking for somewhere permanent, either way you are most likely suffering from mixed emotions, full of excitement and anxiety, looking forward to finally having a place you can call home but somewhat stressed by all the obstacles and challenges that come along with apartment hunting and moving home.
Finding your first Bangkok apartment doesn’t need to be a long and painful experience. With the right research and preparation, and a solid game plan in place, you can find your ideal apartment within as little as a week of starting your search, if not within the first few days.
Research and preparation
Before finding your permanent Bangkok home you need to find a temporary one. Its ill-advised to book or secure long term accommodation without seeing it in person and inspecting it fully, so you’re going to need somewhere to stay in Bangkok while you start your ground search.
There are thousands of hotels and hostels in Bangkok to suit every budget imaginable. While you may be tempted to book somewhere cheap and cheerful consider booking somewhere a little more comfortable and in the area you are looking to call home. Having a good night’s rest and being able to experience and explore your potential new neighbourhood (during the day and night), will pay off in the long run and help speed up your apartment hunt.
Work out your budget
Before you start looking at Bangkok apartments you need to have a clear idea of what your budget is. Go over the figures conservatively, you may have a rough idea of how much you will be earning but do you really understand how much your outgoings will be?
Here’s an idea of the bills you could be paying on a one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok:
- Water bill – 100 to 300 baht per month.
This can vary depending on whether you have and use a bath tub or just a shower)
- Electric bill (at government rate) – 1000 to 2500 baht per month
This is likely to be your biggest bill by far and is largely down to how much air-conditioning you use. It’s possibly to get this bill under 1000 if you use your air-con very sparingly or avoid using it altogether.
- Internet / WIFI – 300-1000 baht per month
If you are very lucky you will have free WIFI in your new apartment, but it’s likely that you wont and you’ll need to set up your own connection. The cost is highly dependent on the speed you choose.
Other basic bills you need to consider:
Food and drink: Whether you are eating out or cooking at home you will need to pencil in a hefty food budget to start with. 200 to 500 Baht per day is a good estimate, vastly depending on what and where you are eating.
Travel: How much travel will you need to do? Will you be using the sky train every day? Taxis in the evening? Transport in Bangkok is relatively cheap, but if you are relying on taxis and trains every day the costs can soon add up over the period of a month.
Entertainment and socializing: How often will you be going out? Bangkok might be cheaper than your home country but alcohol and cigarette bills can soon mount up. During your first months you may also want to play the role of tourist at the weekends, which comes with obvious extra costs.
Cleaning and laundry: Will you need to use a maid or will you clean your home yourself? Some contracts stipulate that tenants must use a maid 1 time per week or month, which can cost as much as 400 Baht per clean. You may also need to use a laundry service which could cost you an additional 300 to 500 Baht per month.
Which area do you want to live in?
Once you ‘ve worked out your budget it’s time to think about what area of Bangkok you wish to live in. Do you need to be close to work? Do you need to be based centrally? Maybe you want to be in a quiet suburb? Or a youthful neighbourhood? Or surrounded by fellow expats?
If you want to live in downtown Bangkok, in a cosmopolitan areas such as Sukhumvit, Silom, or Sathorn then you are going to be paying premium rate. The same goes for living close to a BTS or MRT station, or even being next to a large park.
Alternatively, living out of downtown Bangkok, within walkable distance of public transport can leave you affording a much nicer apartment, especially in areas such as Ratchada, Lad Prao, Chatuchak, which are still very lively and vibrant inner city communities.
NEXT WEEK: Finding your first Bangkok Apartment Part 2: Starting searching