Tips to select your condo
Some of our tips to help you in your condo hunting.
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Bangkok is well known for traffic jams... Therefore if you select to be in the center of the city and more generally anywhere you should be looking to have some public transportation near your condo. By public transportation I do exclude buses that are subject to traffic conditions same as cars (some busses are also quite old and often breakdown during trip), instead you can see to have your condo near BTS, MRT, Airport Express or BRT lines.
If you are driving try to be near some express way if possible or investigate on peak traffic times in your area before investing. You can choose to have your building next to your work place (prefer the same side of the road to avoid crossing footpaths as cars do not really care of it), or next to some transportation that will bring you there (you can see for taxi or motorbike as well if your office is not directly next to a transportation line). Note as well that canals (also called khlongs) are a transportation system in most cases as you can find taxi boats there.
There are plenty of shopping malls in Bangkok so this may not be your main priority. However you may not want to commute or drive every time you need to buy some groceries. If you like cooking, you could see what are the hypermarkets / supermarkets near your condo. If you are looking for import products see for Villa Market or Foodland, you also have Big C, Tesco Lotus, Max Value among popular places for shopping. You can visit them to see which one would be the best fit for you, they usually open from 10am to 10pm.
However for daily needs you won't have to get much far as 7 eleven / family mart are to be found everywhere in town, open 24/7 and will get what you need for drinks, basic food (bread, ham, eggs, sausages... but not the most healthy), tissue, shampoo... Major shopping malls are located near transportation routes with a concentration of them around BTS Siam station, so it won't be a problem to commute to get there from time to time.
Someday you will have to face it... Even in the best physical conditions everyone get sick! So you will be looking for some doctor or hospital in your area. In Thailand you can either go to a pharmacy (Boots, Watsons...) for general symptoms or get advices but when it starts to get serious or if you feel unwell any hospital will welcome you. If you are working in Thailand (holding a work permit), the social insurance cover some basic expenses but you need to claim it yourself. Some companies also provide additional healthcare through health insurance companies. You may want to get one yourself as even health is usually quite cheap compared to most countries it is still quite an expense when you will need some surgery! There are two categories of hospitals that are public and private. Public hospital are usually cheaper but you may have to wait longer to get served. Private hospital are quick but more expensive and sometimes more focus on making profits for some of them. Here again I do suggest trying them for your basic needs and then potentially you can rotate between hospitals in your area. Mostly you won't need to have a hospital near your condo, a taxi can bring you there. Now if you are often sick or get some recurrent disease do not forget that between your home and hospital you will likely find traffic jams!
If you have children or study yourself, again see to be near some transportation lines. However you will notice that plenty of universities are not located in convenient places... For those cases I would really recommend you to get the university near your condo or check carefully on best ways to get there. Some vans or busses can also help you to commute between your condo and university but then again check out if this is safe and will get you there on time.
Regarding younger children you may find kindergarten everywhere in Bangkok. They do often open / close (use the list on this website only for a first search, confirm the place actually exist and you can let me know if it does not anymore). Check the quality of the kindergarten and that teachers are qualified as sometimes you may find out this is not always the case...
Bangkok is made of steel and concrete... There are however a few parks that can be found around the city. As the weather is usually quite hot, they are not among the most popular places but this is always nice for a jogging, a walk or letting the children having some fun out. Many activities usually happen in parks, mostly jogging and aerobics but also some tai chi in Lumpini Park, boat, music sometimes...
The biggest parks can be reached by BTS or MRT (Lumpini Park, Rotfai park), but there are also some smaller ones everywhere in town. The most popular remains Lumpini Park, also sometimes called the "Central Park" of Bangkok, but you will also see Benjakitti Park near Sukhumvit / Asoke, Benchasiri near the popular Emporium shopping mall or even Rotfai park which is a great place for a bicycle ride with your family on the week-end!
Have a walk around and if you can even try to get a view on a park from your condo, you will most likely enjoy it!
Rental / Purchase procedure
Checking the Condo
Before contracting you should check the quality of the condo: are wall strong, furniture not broken, hot water in the bathroom provided, good water pressure, air conditioning not noisy and efficient (no water leaking)? To avoid nuisance during your stay check there are no construction planned directly near your condo and that neighbor units and outdoor are quiet (walls are often not as soundproof as they would seem to be, especially at night). You can also see in the building they may sometimes have other units for sell / rent so you can compare the prices to see if this is reasonable or not.
Check also if possible for current maintenance contracts for lifts and common areas, if any construction is planned around (work can start very early in morning, and you may even get a blocked view by another condo built next to your window!). Do not hesitate to negotiate and check on internet for potential defects.
Rent a condo in Bangkok
There are serviced apartments (you check with the reception to get your room), agents or owner that rent rooms all over Bangkok. Always check if the room is furnished or not as it means you may have some investment there. You will usually have to pay a deposit from at least 1 month (you get it back at the end of your contract if you did respect the term of it), pay 1 month in advance, sometimes more (if you go through agent). You will have to pay electricity expense and water bills. For a 1 bedroom unit with normal usage of air conditioning you may have to pay about 1,000 per month, water is cheaper and you will have bills of 100 or 200 THB.
Buy a condo in Bangkok
If you do purchase from an agency check for everything they will ask you to pay and reputation of the agency itself. If you do buy from a owner, you may want to get advices from a lawyer to be sure everything is in order, beware also of potential scams (I heard stories where someone bought an unit from a fake owner). Again this can be quite a large sum here so you want to be sure you get exactly what you are expecting... Check on internet for the legal aspect, you will find a large number of websites advising on that.