What are the best areas of Bangkok to rent? What facilities and services can I expect from a Bangkok serviced apartment? What are the best and worst serviced apartments in Bangkok? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and much more in my simple and easy guide to renting a serviced apartment in Bangkok for expats and travelers.
Bangkok is the Center of Southeast Asia
As the commercial center of Thailand and the hub of business and leisure travel within Southeast Asia, Bangkok has exceptional hotels of all kinds catering to the business elite and casual traveler.
Recently, a new kind of accommodation has gained favor with business executives on short stays in Bangkok–the luxury serviced apartment. With increased commercial expansion over the past several years, serviced apartments are quickly becoming the favorite choice of living style for their affordable luxury.
What is a Serviced Apartment?
The serviced part of the equation usually refers to the daily or twice weekly cleaning of your room, the furniture, kitchen amenities and so on that normal apartments do not include. Some service apartments also function as hotels, and these are called Aparthotels.
What’s So Special About Bangkok Serviced Apartments?
Real estate and relocation agents believe Bangkok has the most number of sophisticated apartments the world has to offer. There are not just one or two luxurious apartments, but close to 50. This is because skilled labor is cheap in thailand, and the city itself is a major business hub for the southeast asia region.
Renting a serviced apartment in bangkok can be a daunting task for several reasons–the primary one being there are so many ‘fine print’ and extra costs involved when signing a weekly, monthly or yearly contract.
I have been living in Bangkok for a few years now, and have gone through several serviced apartments, learning on the way which ‘services’ are included and what to expect from your stay in Bangkok.
Bangkok’s City Plan
The Bangkok Jungle has several meanings, one of them being that the city was never built with a city plan or urban design in mind. The city is a sprawling landscape, a montage of residential and commercial buildings juxtaposing one another. It is home to 10 to 15 million people, depending on who is arriving from the rural country and abroad. The people as well, from poor to affluent, live side by side.
The city itself is lopsided; if you look down any major road in bangkok, you will see that both sides of the road arent balanced, building heights are different, and there is an overall lack of symmetry. This is what makes Bangkok unique and charming. And what makes it a jungle.
The Best Areas To Live In Bangkok
Bangkok contains inexpensive to exclusive apartments, but the best ones are found in the following regions of Bangkok:
- Sukhumvit, the main road or artery of Bangkok
- Asok, one of the most exclusive and expensive areas to live
- Thong Lo, the chic and fashionable street,
- Sathorn, the business district of Bangkok
- Silom, another business and red light district
- Ploenchit, business district
- Chit Lom, business district
The areas listed above are all within easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, trains, skytrains, and expressways. If you choose to live in one of these areas, you will experience life in the center of Bangkok’s thriving business and shopping centres while indulging in an ultra private serviced apartment in Bangkok. I personally recommend Asok and Chit Lom, as they are the classiest areas of Bangkok, but if you are looking to be close to the night markets Silom is perfect, and Sukhumvit is always a colorful experience.
Facilities and Services of Typical Bangkok Serviced Apartments
These vary between the different types of apartments and condos, but a standard of excellence has been establlished from the increasing competition among serviced apartments. Facilities and services are upgraded regularly to keep up with rival residences. However, before investing in a serviced apartment, be sure to check if these services and facilities are available.
5 Services That Should Be Included Free of Charge:
- Room Cleaning
- Internet Usage
- 24 Hour Security
- Room Service/Errand Boy
4 Facilities That Should Be Included
- Convenience Store
The Loopholes: Length of Stay, Deposits and Electricity
If you are staying for a month or year, the serviced apartment may charge you for electricity. Make sure that you negotiate this price to 6.5 Baht/Unit. A lot of times the apartment owners will charge 8 Baht/Unit for more profit. They only pay 3 or 4 Baht/Unit.
Be careful when signing leases; most require a 2 month deposit, and if you move out before your contract is finished you forfeit this deposit.
Make sure the serviced apartment has a laundry service, either in house or out of house. Most serviced apartments have coin operated laundry rooms as well as pick up services. More deluxe suites will have washing machine in the room. Note that most places do not have dryers.
How much Should I Pay?
This is a difficult question to answer, but the more facilities a serviced apartment has, the more it will cost. If a serviced apartment has a pool, gym and also functions as a 24 hour hotel, then the monthly price will be above 30,000 Baht.
Location also has a large part to do with cost of a bangkok serviced apartment. If you are staying in an area not close to skytrain or subway access, your price will be much lower. Conversely, staying in the business districts of Silom or trendy spots like Ekkamai or Thonglor will raise your monthly rent.
Which Serviced Apartment Should I Choose?
The serviced apartment market in Bangkok is lead by three groups, The President Group, The Ascott Group, and Centre Point. Most of them offer first class accomodation and have a decent system of serving their customers. However, there are numerous independent serviced apartments to choose from.
The 2 Worst Serviced Apartments in Bangkok
- Ascott Bangkok Sathorn
There have been several articles written in trade journals about the decline in service at the once famous and most prestigious serviced apartment in Bangkok. Once known for attention to customer relations, their lack of it is now glaringly obvious to everyone who stays there. This place is an example of a chain serviced apartment becoming too much like a corporation with no human touch of service.
Rumor is their staff is very untrustworthy. Read the trade journals and ‘google’ the residence for reviews.
Top 2 Most Luxurious Bangkok Serviced Apartments
- Siri Sathorn Apartments
Siri Sathorn is a five-star luxury `boutique` property which epitomises private and elegant living in a residential setting. It is a concept of the perfect home which appeals to international traveller. This place caters to Japanese clientelle but of course is open to everyone.
- Fraser Place Urbana Langusan
They have an exclusive 45-metre driveway leading from the main road to the serviced residence for great privacy. They also have some of the best services and customer relations I have ever experienced, pampered is the only word that comes to mind
Best Value Bangkok Serviced Apartments
- Silom Convent Garden
Newly built in November 2006, this chic serviced apartment is located in the Silom-Sathorn area but has some of the cheapest rates for this business and night market district. For 36,000 Baht/$1000 a month you can have a 38 square meter, 1 bedroom, fully furnished luxurious apartment complete with full kitchen, washer machine, flat screen tv, and rain shower. The only drawback is the place doesn’t have a pool or gym, but thats the reason the price is so low and why its one of the best values in Bangkok.
If you are still undecided whether to have a stay in Bangkok on your next trip, it was just recently announced that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to make Bangkok a “paradise” city. The article from the Bangkok Post states the BMA will establish a fund to address trash, pollution and traffic problems. Now is the time to take your next vacation or business trip to Bangkok, as life couldn’t get any better in the City of Angels!