Bangkok Real Estate: Help a fellow reader..

As one of my readers (who is also a good friend) commented the other day, I seem  to be in a good mood. Yes I am.  It’s a good day, not because I was efficient  and got many things done, but because I have received and heard interesting  stories from my readers.  It is always a pleasure to hear comments or recieve emails.  It’s one of a writer’s little joys in life.  Tonight I write about an email I recieved from a reader (“S”) earlier this week with regard to where one should look to purchase a condominum in Bangkok.    Although this is not  directly my field, I will try my best to help her. 🙂

Of course the condominum one ultimately ends up purchasing,  depends upon your lifestyle, your needs and your budget.  It also depends on what purpose you are buying the condominium for.  Are you buying it for yourself?  Are you buying it for rental? or are you buying it for speculation in the hopes that the real estate price will go up?  What is your budget?   These are the questions you have to ask yourself.  Once you have the purpose, the goal of the purchase thought out, then comes the question of what area one should buy the condominium?   Bangkok is so diverse and each area has its own particular characteristics.  Even with the BTS (skytrain) and MRT (underground), one end differs day and night from the other.  Of course, this happens in many large cities where intercity life and life on the outskirts diverge.

Now where should “S” buy a condominium?  I went through the qualities she is interested in.  She and her husband enjoy travel, good food and the local cuisine.  They enjoy eating local authentic foods and even hawker shops.  That is the lifestyle, the desire to be within walking distance of a little part of authentic Bangkok.  Not the business nor the commercial side of Bangkok.

Having shared information with me that she enjoys eating local hawker foods, while at the same time would like a modern luxury condominium is indeed a difficult question to reply to.  I cannot say exactly which condominiums would be the best ones but I can give my opinions upon the location where quite a few luxury condominiums are located so here goes:

There are a lot of modern luxury condominiums along the sukhumvit road.  However, in my opinion, Sukhumvit is a great place to be if you are an expatriate and want to live the expatriate life.  There are lovely restaurants for brunches, more international cusines, boutique shops and spas that cater to the expatriate kind of lifestyle and budget.    It’s a wonderful place to be, and almost all the shops speak english.  However, it doesn’t get very “local local.”  It’s where Thais go when we want to enjoy the clubs, the  music, and the food.  It’s buzzling at night.  It’s great if you are young (or young at heart), enjoy the night life and the convenience of having lots of shops all around.  There’s everything from salsa clubs to local food.

Then there’s the Sathorn Area.  This place is in the heart of the business area.  Accessible by skytrain, it is adjacent to Silom Road and most of the major banks have offices in the area.  High rise office buildings rise up into the air amidst four to five lane roads.  Some major embassies also reside in this area.  It’s clean and has the air of a central business area, but I am not sure if it is some place I would want to live in.  On the weekends, it gets a little quiet and there are no local markets for me to walk to.  No stalls to where I can just hop over to buy fruits or other local snacks.  If that’s not something you do anyways, then that’s not a problem.  You could almost always dine out, or just buy food from supermarkets.   It’s a clean and safe area.

Lumpini Area.  This is not too far off from Sathorn Road, but it is near to Lumpini park which is one of the few parks in Bangkok.  This is where locals and expatriates alike go exercise, have a walk and enjoy being shaded underneath tall tall trees from the hot Bangkok air.    Local stalls and foods can be found lying along its outer edges.  It is indeed a place where locals also go have some good local cuisine.  However, the BTS (skytrain) doesn’t reach this area and the nearest station would be the MRT underground) station.  I think the MRT is a great thing for Bangkok especially since it links the
residential areas to the city centre.  However, if you want to go shopping at Siam and the main shopping malls, it still requires a connection to the BTS.   If you don’t go anywhere along the BTS that much anyways or always prefer the taxi, then I suppose it’s not that bad.

Another area is the Langsuan area.  It is in the middle between the local and the commerical areas.  On one  end of the road, you have the BTS and the major shopping malls. On the other end of the road, you have the park and the local food stalls.  It’s not too far off from the BTS station which means that it is easily accessible to the main shopping malls and financial districts.  It’s also walking distance to the Lumpini park which means that you can enjoy the park, the local stores as well as the convenience of supermarkets and other eateries along the skytrain station. However, Langsuan is a one way road which means that if you are going by car, depending upon the traffic, the ride by car could be a bit inconvenient during rush hour.

Other areas of Bangkok though also charming in its own way, still do not possess luxury modern condominiums.   They usually comprise of smaller units and target a different market.

If you ask me, (and I must first say I am no real estate guru here)  I would say that “S” should opt for a condominium along the BTS route.  It is still basically the main road that links the suburban local areas of Bangna to Sukhumvit, Siam and the weekend market which is a must for all tourists.   If you plan on having guests from out of town staying, these are the places that tourists are most likely to visit.  If  they go to visit temples, they can hop off the BTS station at Phyathai or Siam square for the Jim Thompson house.  It’s also connected to the Airport Raillink at Phyathai so that is a plus if you are traveling light and taking a weekend trip to Chiangmai or Phuket.

For me, the MRT seems to be more for locals. It’s the route that links the outskirts of Bangkok to the city centre.  For me, there are very few places that I have actually taken the MRT to.  I still mostly take the BTS.

If you can’t already tell, I think from all the above areas…I like Langsuan the most.  It’s not too densely populated, it’s not too full of clubs and night life, yet its not far from the main shopping areas and the Lumpini park.

What do you think?   Are any of you knowledgeable about real estate?  Where would you recommend our reader “S” to invest in? Please share you opinion.  Thank you!

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