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Bangkok - Accommodation & Property
The traditional concentration of expatriates in Bangkok is found along Sukhumvit Road and its sois (soi 1 and 63). The main advantage for newcomers to live in an area with more foreigners is to familiarize oneself with the city there are many shops and services in this area that cater to expatriates, and the staff working at the establishments found in this area can speak some English.
There is a growing trend around the world for expatriates to live close to their workplace, especially so in densely populated cities. Expatriates looking for accommodation in various areas would want to factor in the infamous Bangkok traffic and their daily commuting route. There are many reports about Bangkok's traffic and most of them would hold true: traveling around Bangkok city during peak hours can be extremely stressful. The other important factor many expatriates take into consideration is the relative ease or distance to Bangkok's public transportation system (usually a Skytrain station).
The business districts in Bangkok are Bangrak, Chatuchak, Phra Nakhon, Phra Ram 2 and 3, Pathumwan,Sathon and Silom. There are many shopping areas in Bangkok, but leading the shopping scenes are located around the Ratchaprasong intersection (Central World, Siam Paragon and Siam Square). Siam Square is occasionally referenced to Tokyo's Shinjuku.
The north and eastern parts of Bangkok city are resided by Bangkok's middle class. Townhouses are popular among expatriate families, and houses can be found in Lat Phrao and Si Nakharin, and in other suburbs. Townhouses are usually unfurnished, and many are built in gated communities ("mu barn"), and have security guards patrolling the estate.
Most apartments in Bangkok will come furnished, with cleaning services and cable included in the rent. In some apartments, hot water may not be part of the basic rent - check with the landlord before signing the lease, if having access to hot water is important to you.
Engaging a real estate agent is the best way to find suitable accommodation for expatriates who are new to the city, and/or have an immediate need to find a place to live in. An agent will do the legwork for you, and will take you around the city in their car to view apartments. For expatriates who have lived in Bangkok for a while, most would prefer to find an apartment without engaging the help of a real estate agent. Although newspapers such as The Bangkok Post will advertise vacant apartments available for rent, another way to search for suitable accommodation is to walk around the neighborhoods of your choice, and ask directly at the front desk of the office managing the apartment if there are vacancies.
For most leases, a deposit of one month is usually required, and one to two months' rent is paid in advance. Most leases are for 12 months, but this is negotiable, given the transient nature of expatriates.
Expatriates who wish to consider directly buying property in Bangkok should note that foreigners (non-Thai nationals) cannot own the land on which the property is built on. Only the house or property can be owned. There are also restrictions as to the type of condominiums available for foreigners, in addition to regulations regarding the sale transaction itself to take note. Engage a real estate agent, and ask a trusted friend who can understand and speak Thai along to help you with the paperwork. Another point about the property market in Thailand is that property prices do not necessarily increase over time, unlike property prices in other major cities. Part of the reason being that culturally, Thais are not keen to purchase used / second-hand properties.
As with many other Asian cities, many expatriates, especially those with families, employ domestic help to assist in cleaning and running household chores. You can choose from having a live-in help to having someone come and clean your apartment on an ad-hoc or daily basis.
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