Of course many expats move to Bangkok with their spouse or family. In those cases they are looking for a 2-bedroom, 3-bedroom or even 4-bedroom accommodation. Perhaps they are even looking for a house.
However, many teachers arrive in Bangkok on their own. Perhaps they have been teaching in another part of Thailand and fancy giving the big mango a try. Or perhaps they are serial expats, and have been teaching in Korea, China or elsewhere and Thailand had just been chosen to be part of their latest adventure. Whatever the background is, it is unusual for a single teacher to look for a property larger than a one-bedroom.
I have avoided referring to studios here as a way to demonstrate what great value is available whilst still having the luxury of a separate living area, kitchen and bedroom. The expansion of the metro system between the BTS and MRT has meant that getting around town is so much easier and faster than it once was. Now locations such as Bang Na, Lat Prao and even Thonburi do not feel that far away, where once they appeared to be unreachable for those living in areas like central Sukhumvit. This expansion has also led to the growth of modern, practical an well designed condos an apartments and the focus has been on producing studio and one-bedroom units.
Not that long ago - 6-7 years in fact - it was actually hard to find a quality, luxurious, but well priced one-bedroom condo within walking distance, or even reasonable motorbike ride of a BTS or MRT station. The city did of course have plenty of accommodation, but in the city center it fell into one of two categories.
It was either very cheap or very small and quite unappealing for most westerners.
I am of course talking about the Thai-style apartment blocks which offer 16-20sqm studio rooms, very few facilities and often quite a bit of noise, and even creepy crawlies - not overpleasant for the newly arrived English teacher.
The second type was large, almost palatial with 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms. With huge rooms, often a lot of built-in wooden furniture (not modern) and the building would offer a swimming pool, car-parking, a gym etc. However with all that room and access to the BTS etc the costs were high. This type of accommodation was mainly the reserve of well-paid expats on contracts from their respective countries. There just seemed to be no middle-ground.
There were of course plenty of westerners out there who did not want to live in Thai style accommodation, that would perhaps not even pass building standards back in their own countries. They had more than THB 2-5 000/month to spend and were willing to spend it if the right accommodation existed. However they did not need a 150sqm 2-bedroom condo or an apartment in town costing THB 30-40 000/month.
It's quite amazing really that it took Thai developers so long to realize this market was out there. And when one looks around town now and sees so many fantastic, well-designed, well-located and excellently appointed condominiums and apartments brimming with happy residents mostly housing studio and one-bedroom units, it is hard to imagine how the city functioned without them. I mean it begs the question - 'Where did all these tens of thousands of expats live before?'
So what are some of the best ones on the market today? Well the choice is excellent and if I was to list all the excellent one-bedroom properties out there, it would never end. So here are just a few to whet the appetite. The only factor that has guided me in my choice is to try and cover East, South and North of Bangkok's city center.
The Wyne in Phrakanong some would refer to this as a partitioned studio and not a true one-bedroom, given its size. However this offers excellent value, is brand new and the structure of the building gives it a quirky character. Just a few minute's walk from the BTS.
The Kensington in Bearing one of the most up and coming areas in Bangkok. A great place to invest and to live, especially if you are a teacher. Loads of international and local schools near-by. Yes the units are only 32sqm, but feel 5-10sqm bigger than that. The design and use of space has to be seen to be believed.
The Pulse Lat Phrao great value condos within walking distance of the MRT station. You can really get value for money in Lat Phrao.
One of our favourites over the River. Villa Sathorn great quality, huge condos and could not be closer to the BTS. With 40 storeys too, there is a chance you'll get an excellent river view.
Neil McDonough is a Director of EasyHomes Property Services Co., Ltd. which specializes in renting and selling Bangkok residential and commercial property to expats. You can contact him directly with any questions or queries relating to Thai real estate