Areas and Suburbs in Bangkok
While there are no areas in Bangkok solely reserved for expats, foreigners tend to congregate near the amenities that make life more convenient.
Areas and suburbs of Bangkok
Downtown Bangkok: Silom, Sathorn, Sukhumvit
Many expats favour living right within the guts of Bangkok. The centre of the city is in close proximity to the sleek and stylish Bangkok Sky Train (BTS), fancy shopping malls, hospitals, museums, good schools, numerous nightclubs, billions of bars, international restaurants, and even rare, green stuff called grass. The middle of town is also the primary place of business, so for many, being near work and having access to so many amenities is an attractive option.
Nevertheless, while the pros are obvious, so are the cons. The quality of air in the city centre is poor, playgrounds and parks are a rarity, and there are those not-so unsubtle red light areas which have been re-packaged for the sex tourist.
Such a brash showcase of the "pleasures of the night" can be a touch overwhelming in some areas, and while the adventurous singleton can easily brush the risqué aside, the expat family may not prefer to have to constantly dodge curious questions from little Johnny.
Generally though, people from all walks of life (expat retirees, engineers, journalists, teachers, UN workers, etc.) are all found living in these areas, either as a family or by themselves. However, these city privileges will add a premium zero or two to your monthly rent.
Generally, most expats (couples, families, singletons) will rent an apartment in the downtown areas. Costs can vary from very economical rates - 7,000 THB (approx. 200 USD) to astronomical ones - 70,000+ THB (approx. 2,000+ USD) per month. On average most expats end up finding what they want for between 12,000 THB to 18,000 THB (approx. 400 USD to 600 USD) per month.
Nevertheless, if you have the time and energy it is recommended to go by foot and see for yourself what kind of value there is out there, because many places, which are great value for money, don’t advertise.
For a very comprehensive guide (including maps) on what is hot and what is not, check out the following links:
Crawl into suburbia: Samut Prakan
The big, fat urban sprawl of Bangkok unfurls from the central downtown areas into many exclusive, private, enclosed housing estates. Since the BTS has extended its arms and legs towards the east and south of the city, this has presented an opportunity for expats to escape the suck of the city centre, set-up base in the fresh air of suburbs, and still commute to work using public transport.
Naturally, these estates favour relocating expat families rather than singletons. The area is generally a quiet and safe area to live, which for families is ideal. Also, excellent international schools are found in these areas, and obviously many nationalities, as well as locals will be found living there too, thus offering a multicultural environment. The downside is that you have to contend with a daily commute into and out of the city.