Karisa Blake

Welcome to Bang Sue

Life on the outskirts of Bangkok

"You live where??"

I usually receive looks of concern from my students when I tell them that I live in the neighborhood of Bang Sue, about an hour away from our school. From my friends, I receive childish giggles. Yes, I get it. Ha Ha. Many people wonder why I would live so far away from my job and my friends. They wonder what it's like all the way out in Bang Sue! Well, I'd like to tell you a little bit about my life in Bang Sue and my thoughts about living in Bangkok's outskirts.

Let me introduce you to Bang Sue. Take the MRT north the whole way to the end of the line. You'll be joined with many commuters who live even further afield but work in the city. Exit the station and you'll notice the Bang Sue Train Station and hear an announcement for the next train to Ayutthaya or Surat Thani. The open air train station is a lively scene with a mess of food stands, travelers with multi-colored bags piled up and stray dogs nosing around. Turn the opposite way and flag down a motorcycle taxi from the group of men clad in orange vests or wander around by foot.

Cross under the new MRT train construction site that is quickly being completed. Pass the large Tesco Lotus, outside of which is a booming clothing and food market. Zoom past manicured sidewalks lined with leafy potted plants and stately portraits of the King. Take in the placid canals and garden walks complete with picturesque bridges. Have a smile at active Thais working out on the free exercise stations.

You'll surely pass gaggles of school kids decked in blue and white with strawberry Fanta in their hands. You may even notice a few large and imposing government buildings, brand new condo high rises alongside old colonial-looking homes and a few 711's. This is Bang Sue. It's not fancy or glitzy or trying to impress you. Bang Sue showcases regular life in Bangkok and for that I love it.

Reasons Why Bang Sue is a Good Place to Live

• Easy Access to Public Transportation - Bang Sue is just a quick moto taxi ride away from the Bang Sue MRT or Mo Chit BTS. These stops are the ends of the lines and they connect me with the rest of Bangkok! While my MRT ride to work is generally half an hour, because I'm the first one on the train I always get a seat! I'm also close to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal and Bang Sue Train Station, which makes it very easy to leave the city on day trips. If you're interested in using the Chao Phraya River boats, Bang Sue is not far from Kiak Kai Pier.

• It's Quiet - Unlike living in the busy city center, I'm not bombarded with the roar of highway traffic or other noisy city sounds. The worst thing I hear from my window is the fruit vendor calling out, "Ou sapporot mai krap?"

• Lovely Canals - I enjoy taking walks around Prachacheun Street along the many canals. They are lined with beautiful gardens, benches and exercise stations.

• Proximity to Nature - Beyond the above mentioned canal gardens Bang Sue is also quite close to Chatuchak Park and Rot Fai Park.

• Proximity to Great Shopping - My main bragging point in living in Bang Sue is that I can shop at JJ Market any time I want! It's also easy to grab a quick beer at the antique Rot Fai Market. There are also little clothing markets nearby.

• Street Food - My soi has a nice mix of Thai street food. My favorites are the fried chicken, Thai custard, Khao Man Gai and of course the friendly fruit vendor. There is also a huge food market near our Lotus shop where you can get any Thai dish you like.

Positives about Living Away from the City Center

• Cheaper Rent - I pay a third of what I would pay in most apartments in more central areas. This isn't true in every case, of course, but generally you pay for that prime location downtown!

• Less Air Pollution - Obviously, the air isn't as clear as it is in the countryside, but compared to SiLom you'll breathe deeper in the outskirts.

• Less Noisy - Unless you're unfortunate enough to live beside the highway, neighborhoods on the outskirts are considerably quieter than centrally located ones. It feels great to escape the chaos of the city.

• ‘Local' Atmosphere - Living on the outskirts of Bangkok means living far away from tourist Bangkok. This is Bangkok as it is, not as it is while catering to visitors. There are no drunk backpackers out here!

Negatives about Living Away from the City Center

• Long Commute - If you work in the city center like I do, spending an extra hour on the train every day can be draining and expensive.

• All Your Friends Live Far Away - My best friends live in Sathron, which means an hour and fifteen minute journey with 3 train transfers to visit them. Meeting for a quick drink in Thong Lor can feel like a real chore.

• You'll Have to Take Taxis - If you're out later than the BTS runs then you'll be spending at least 100 baht getting home. My friends further out spend double that to get home from the center of Bangkok.

• You're Far From the Night Life - Other than a few karaoke stands, there's not a lot of bars or clubs out where I live. My friends' and my favorite places are all downtown, anyway which inevitably means a long taxi ride home at the end of the night.

• Few English Speakers - Because your neighborhood will have mostly local Thais, you could find fewer people who speak English. This could also mean that your apartment manager, food vendors and taxi drivers speak only Thai. This can be a good way to practice your Thai, but it may leave you frustrated.

• Few Expats - Far away from the popular expat scenes like Sukhumvit, you may feel less connected to other people like yourself. This could lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation-or it could help you make more Thai friends!

So, is it better to live on the outskirts or in Bangkok's city center? Well, it's all about personal preference. Do you value nightlife over peace and quiet? Do you prefer an all English or and all Thai environment? Is a short commute important to you? I think there are good and bad things about living far away. Find what suits you best and enjoy!

Personally, I've enjoyed the peace and quiet of Bang Sue, but after my lease ends I'm hoping to move closer to my friends and work. I'd love to hear your opinions! Do you live near the center or outskirts of Bangkok? Which do you prefer?

Note: Before you jump to the comments to complain that Bang Sue isn't the outskirts of Bangkok, hear me out. Obviously, Bang Sue isn't as far away as Fashion Island or Rangsit but it's not centrally located like Silom or Sukhumvit . By ‘outskirts' I simply mean not the city center.

Don't forget to pay a visit to my own personal on-line blog as well - see you there!


Hi Karisa, are you still here? Just moved into the Bang Sue area. I live right next to the Tao Poon MRT station with my husband. Please join: https://m.facebook.com/groups/489915611379954 and
http://meetu.ps/c/3xMbc/BTPX3/a Kind regards, Merle

By Merle , Bangkok, Bang Sue (13th October 2017)

Actually from the Bangsue MRT it is only 10 or 15 minute to Victory monument and another 5 minutes ro MBK and Siam. I have a motorbike. I really feel bad that some people don't have transportation. I don't know how you o it. Like you said go to Thonglor is a full journey even BTS. Bangkok seems so big when you have no transportation but once you do have transportation you realize it is a small city. Actually many peopl refer to Bangkok as the smallest big city in Asia.

By Doug Joy, Saphan Khwai (8th April 2017)

Sure, I still live there. You can drop me an email at - jamieiankirk@gmail.com
and I'll try and give you some details of the area.

By Jamie Kirk, Bang Sue (16th March 2017)

Anyone still living in Bang Sue and could give me a few neighbourhood tips? I'm heading there this April with the intention of scoping it out to move there permanently ☺

By Molly , New Zealand (14th March 2017)

I also live around BangSue, I've been there for 3 years. I do enjoy the area and nearly everything that you said is true. It is close (ish) to a lot of cool places. I live on a busy road though (10 points if you can guess the road) and that kind if spoils it for me. Every cloud has a silver lining, I love being part of the Thai community in my area and having the choice to travel around so easily to different places... traffic sucks though.
Anyone else in BangSuuuue, hit me up :D Jamie jik Kirk

By Jamie, BangSue (24th September 2015)

These days I am living in Bangsue area. All facts and figures about Bangsue are correct and wrote very well. What we need, we need suggestions from author of blog especially negatives about living away from the City Center . As an expat who are living in Bangsue want to overcome these negatives. Frankly, feeling very lonely and alone as mentioned by author.

By Nizamani, Bangsue (28th July 2014)

"One man's meat is another man's poison"

By philip, (27th August 2013)

The writer is giving off the vibe that Bang Sue is something of an oasis in metro Bangkok. It's not. I've lived in Bang Sue (western outskirts), Lat Krabang (eastern outskirts) and Suk/On Nut. They are all part of the clusterf***.

I lived on Prachacheun in Bang Sue for a year. The road is a nightmare during commuting hours. Taxi drivers don't like going out that way from center city. Best part about living in the area is proximity to Chatujak Park and Suan Rot Fai. Real parks where you can really get away. You'll also get more chance to speak Thai and less foreigners. All pluses.

By Johnny, Bangkok (27th August 2013)

hi karis, i love the idea of living in bang sue, what sort of accomodation are you in and how much a month? im trying to work out where i want to be based when i arrive in thailand. i dont mind the 30 minute commute but would want to be close to the train to get into work so i could relax and watch the world go by every morning and arvo! do you feel safe living in this area? thats another thing im concerend about being mid 30's and single and wanting to live by myself.

By michelle, gold coast australia - soon to be thailand! (4th August 2013)

You mention the Rod Fai market; it has moved from the Chatuchak area. It's now over behind Seacon Square, which is at Srinakarin Road, Nongbon Prawet Bangkok 10250 - - and near Paradise Park shopping complex. If you make your way to Seacon Square, just ask and someone will point you to walk behind that complex to a night bazaar. They've moved some of the train station facades there and are building new structures following a similar architectural theme. The night market, with all the usual clothing and food stalls is far larger than the outdoor antiques section; every interesting Thai food and a lot of new creations on offer. You got to keep walking to the left rear of the night market to reach the antiques/collectible Rod Fai part. There's a great restaurant across the street (forgotten name) where you can have what I think is the best steamed sea bass (for 350 Baht, a pretty large fish) in Bangkok, as they haul the fish out of their own pond, which you can sit next to if you choose to sit outdoor (toss some bread crumbs in and see 'em swarm!) There are some established antique shops along the way from the walk from Seacon Square to the Rod Fai market area.

Rod Fai had to move apparently because the rail authority wanted their property back to build a new station and such.

By will, Sathorn (1st August 2013)

I've been staying in Bang Sue for a week now and I like it here. Prices are low, people tend to be nicer and more helpful than in downtown, in my opinion. Walks along the canals are really relaxing.I agree with all you wrote here!

By Andrew, (1st August 2013)

I hate downtown Bangkok. I would hate to live in close proximity to somewhere like Sathorn or Silom or Lower Sukhumwit. I can get everything I need in the 'burbs' now that I have three major shopping malls just a short drive away. It also makes a day out in central Bangkok a bit more of a treat or an adventure (although I would hardly call it that)

I don't particularly like the suburb I live in and I do miss going out for a nice walk now and again, but I will still take it over central Bangkok any day. It's just too hectic for me.

By philip, (31st July 2013)

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