From jail cell to resort
Since November, I have been living in a Thai university student dormitory near Sripitum University. I've had my own small (maybe 12 square meter) studio with whitewashed walls, a tiny balcony, and a basic bathroom. The place certainly wasn't bad for the price; thumbprint security, laundromat downstairs, cheap street food and a 7/11 downstairs, and a ten minute walk from my school... all for 4,500 baht plus utilities per month. But, after six months in it, I decided it's time for me to grow up and be a real boy... and get a real boy pad.
I looked around for a few weeks prior to finally settling on a spot. I checked out several Thai and foreigner-geared places around Mo Chit BTS and Phohon Yothin MRT stop (near my school). My criteria was thus: a separate bedroom, hot water (yes, hot water), proximity to the MRT or BTS (fifteen minute walk or less), and a pool. That last item booted out a lot of options.
My price range was 10,000 baht per month to 14,000 baht per month, but including utilities I really didn't (and don't) want to exceed 15,000 baht per month. Granted, in Bangkok, that is a small fortune; it's literally half of many teachers' salaries. But, life is what you want out of it, and at this point in my life, I want to have somewhere I actually enjoy coming home to. To each his own, right?
I looked online at sites such as ddproperty.com and easyhomes.tv (formerly mrroomfinder.com) just to get an idea of what I could get for my money, and called and set up appointments to visit several. As with most things in Thailand, it pays to bring a Thai person with you. This helps with the almost always present language barrier, but you also will get a better deal with a Thai present. That's just the way it is here, and since I'm allowed to live in this beautiful country, it's something I can deal with.
I eventually looked (by myself, mostly) at about ten different apartments/condos. I've done my fair share of moving - I counted 7 times in the last two years alone - and I've found that you're best off with any place you go to that you get "a good feeling" about as soon as you open the door. That's what I ended up doing.
I chose one of the Lumpini Place properties that fit all of my criteria (although a bit farther from the MRT/BTS than I wanted, but still walkable), but I mainly chose it because it "felt right." Don't ask.
The rent is 12,000 baht per month plus utilities, but luckily electricity is billed according to the government rate, so it is far cheaper than I was paying before. My first month's bill was 980 baht, which included using a LOT of electricity (a friend stayed for three weeks). I paid more than that for my little jail cell room using almost no electricity! My first two months' water bill was 45 baht. Not too shabby!
I could probably have gotten the same style apartment for about 1,000 baht less per month if I went directly through an owner rather than the little leasing agency in the property management office, but I like that if I need anything (such as losing building entry card keys as I've already done), they are there every day.
My condo is only about 30 square meters, and it's not much... but it's new, furnished, has two air conditioners and hot water, a flat screen TV, has plenty of light, a wonderful pool/gym/sauna that not many people seem to use, laundry (and laundry service) and water dispensers downstairs, full-time security, mailboxes (unlike my last place)... AND, it's right across the street from a cinema and countless restaurants and shopping. For me, especially considering I moved from what I can only call a jail cell, it is amazing.
I love that I have an actual living room now, which allows me to have guests over. And, if friends come to visit, they have a place to stay! Best of all: I can cook again! I haven't had cooking abilities nor a refrigerator for over six months. It's the little things, eh?
I've been there about a month, and I'm still happy. It's nice to have a place that you actually WANT to come home to. Having a pool to jump in directly after school helps too. Granted, where I was staying before was perfect for what I wanted at the time. But I didn't want to live like a college kid forever.
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It's great that you are happy with your place, as it is also great that Sam is happy with his. But do you really equate self respect with one's price of accommodation? I mean seriously, I've known plenty of wonderful people who have lived in cheap one-room studios. Perhaps they would have been more comfortable in a larger place, but never would I have considered housing costs a criterion for a lack of self respect. Maybe if they never cleaned the place or something...
When I first came to Thailand, I stayed in a studio for about six months myself, I then moved to a much more expensive condo because it was more comfortable. Did I somehow gain more self respect by doing so? Give me a break!
By Dougie, Bangkok (9th June 2013)
I pay 25 000 per month for a 125 sqm apartment in the heart of Asoke. I know its a lot but man ive got an awesome little place. 2 BIG bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and huge living room.
Location is perfect. Im never more than 5 minutes walk away from Asoke BTS, MRT, Makkhasan Airport link or "the klong" which is super convenient.
Terminal 21 is only a pitch and a putt away from my doorstep
I see more farangs than thais when I walk the street which is great.
It blows my mind how foreigners come here and then simply don't care about the way they live. Accommodation should be your main expense since that is where you will be spending most of your time.
#get some self respect, get a descent place.
By HadEnoughThai, Bangkok (4th June 2013)
Hi Sam. Firstly, congratulations on your new place!
Even though the rent is taking a fair chunk of your teacher salary, I think you've made a great move. Here are some reasons why.
1) Your quality of life has gone up tenfold.
2) Gym? Sauna? Swimming pool? Healthier? Nuff said.
3) As you rightly say, it's worth spending as much as you can afford on a place that you actually look forward to coming home to in the evening and spending time in at weekends. Live in a crap place in a crap neighborhood, and even though your rent may be lower, you'll be out walking the streets looking for entertainment because you don't particularly like being at home. And going in search of entertainment and ways to pass the time can be a very costly business.
4) Now if I were in your shoes - a nice apartment in a nice building with a seperate living room, not to mention being a guy who's young and enthusiastic - I would be racking my brains on how to get private students and put another 15-20,000 baht a month on my income. But you'd thought of that already right? You're slap bang in the business district. Get your marketing head on and get your name out there kid
By philip, (4th June 2013)