It’s no secret that Thailand’s capital is not just a place to start and end your island-hopping tour but a great place to stay long term, for studying, for working, for being retired, for whatever reason it brings more and more foreigners living in Bangkok.
So the first step when moving to Bangkok is how to find an apartment. I have been living in a typical apartment building full of Thai people in Bangkok for one year now so I have had the same challenge when first moving here. Here is how you can find an apartment in Bangkok based on my experience.
Of course you can do your research for a good location online. Bangkok is a huge city and the decision where to look for an apartment is not always an easy one. The most expensive areas are Sukhumvit, Siam and Silom which are connected to each other and form Bangkok’s city center. The further you go away from these areas the cheaper the room rates get.
A very important factor when choosing the location for your apartment is the proximity to the public train network. There are three different public train networks in Bangkok: BTS Skytrain (Sukhumvit line and Silom line) MRT Underground (one line from Hua Lamphong to Bang Sue) and the Airport Link Train (Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi Airport).
Make sure your apartment is not too far from a station of any of these train lines – it makes getting around BKK so much easier. And you want to get around, don’t you? Now what means not too far away from a station? Well of course the ideal case is an apartment right at or five to ten minutes walk to a train station but of course you will note that on the price as well. Let’s say it’s a bit too far to walk to the station then there is always a motorbike service to and from your apartment. From my apartment in Huai Kwang the service was from around 6am to 10pm. I had the option to take the bike for 15 Baht one way or walk 15 minutes. That’s roughly the average fare for motorbike taxi in Bangkok – 1 Baht per 1 minute walking. And don’t worry you are not getting overcharged as a Farang if you do a standard trip from the apartment to the train station.
Google recently added the lines for all the different train services on their map function so here you can see which area has good access to the various stations:
So once you have decided about an area that you like the next step is to find potential apartments. Of course you can do research again on the internet and even make fixed reservation for one of them but I wouldn’t advise that. Often pictures on the website just look different than what you will find in reality and you might want to get a feel for the neighborhood first in person before you make the decision. And least that’s what I did and so I booked a cheap hotel room in Khaosan for the first few nights.
As I knew I was going to work in Fortune Town right at Phra Ram9 MRT station of course I wanted a room that is somewhere near the MRT line and after talking to a few local Thais I learned that the Huai Kwang area is a great deal for its proximity to the city center (and just two stops to Phra Ram9) as well as its quite fair room rates.
So I went to Huai Kwang MRT station and just walked around, looking at different apartments. When I found something interesting I just asked them for the rate per month, the deposit and if I can have a look at the apartment. Very important to keep in mind is that most of the apartments require a minimum stay from new tenants most of them between 6 months and one year. Some even give cheaper rates if you commit for a longer term (but most don’t).
There are generally not many requirements for signing a contract for renting an apartment in Bangkok, most important you don’t need a work permit, a Thai bank account and most of them don’t even check for your visa. Here is what you need to provide:
- Copy of your passport
- Deposit (most commonly 2 months rent)
- One month rent payment in advance
So I ended up finding this quite nice apartment right opposite a temple in Huai Kwang, 4,800 Baht per month for a 25 sqm room with attached toilet, including internet and cable TV (and excluding water and electricity, I paid another 1,000-1,500 Baht per month for that while having my air-con running every night). But probably the best thing about this apartment next to its fair price was the great view – and there I was a bit lucky as I got the corner room on the highest 7th floor.
Be warned that many apartments don’t have any furniture in the rooms, not even a table and chair! Same for mine, the only thing they provided was a mattress and that was hard like a stone so I had to buy a softener at Big C (2,000 Baht).
Hope that helps finding your apartment in Bangkok!