What's the best Area to live in Bangkok ?
If you're looking for the best area to live in Bangkok, first you should ask yourself a few questions :
- 💼 Where's my office? Because traffic is the worst thing in Bangkok and if you don't want to lose hours every day on your commute, you might want to look for something as close as possible to your office.
- 🍸 What's my lifestyle like? Love to chill on a terrace and read? Or you're more of a party animal with an addiction to good cocktails and rooftop bars?
- 💵 What's my budget? Because some areas like Thonglor or Ekamai will cost you twice more than other parts of the city a few BTS stations away (On Nut, Bang Na...)
With that in mind, it should be pretty simple to determine what's the best place to live in Bangkok for you.
Things you need in your area
No matter what area you're living in (or will move in), as an expat, there's a few things you might want to keep in mind when you're looking at condos or houses :
- 🛒 Be minutes away from a 7/Eleven, or another convenient store. Because you never realize how important it is until you need to buy noodles at 3am.
- 🚝 Be close to the BTS, even if you drive a motorbike or a car. There's always a time in the day when it's more convenient to take the BTS. Of course, condos close to the BTS stations are more expensive. But this few extra thousand baht per months can change your life. Especially during rainy season and rush hour.
- 🌶 Good Street Food. It's one of the main reason to live in Bangkok. Having good options for street food around your home can make you save a lot of money on food. And no, it's not always that easy to find.
Again, keep in mind that you want a place that have as many of the things you need around your condo.
You workout everyday or love go to clubbing every weekend?
Then pick a place as close as possible to where you spend the most of your time. Otherwise, you will spend your time stuck in traffic and you will hate this city.
In Bangkok, location is everything. 📍
Sukhumvit (21 to 71) / On Nut / Silom-Sathorn
Are expats in Bangkok only living in this 3 areas?
Hell no. But most of the young and active people that I know do. Almost all of them.
When you've got families or maybe if you're a bit older, you might want to move outside of this areas to get more space or a more "Thai" lifestyle.
But if you want the right balance between what Thailand has to offer, a somewhat western lifestyle and being able to fully enjoy that special balance that life in Bangkok offer, that's the 3 areas I would recommend.
Sukhumvit 21 to 71
Sukhumvit 1 to 19 is one of the most crowded place in the city.
You could live there but you're gonna be always stuck in traffic and spend more money than in other parts of Bangkok every time you eat or go out.
And if you like to party, you're gonna be every nights in Bars and Clubs. We both know that's not good for you. 😂
Sukhumvit 21 to 71 is the sweet spot, with a lot of possibilities and options.
While Thonglor (soi 55) and Ekamai (soi 61) are the most trendy neighborhood, they are also the most busy and expensive.
It's good if you like spending a lot of time out and if you don't mind paying western prices for food and drinks.
But in other soi in that chunk of Sukhumvit, you can find some really good deals, in very quiet soi that will make you forget you're in a huge city with over 15 million people.
- 🥃Easy Access to clubs, bars, restaurant, rooftop, activities...
- ฿ You have both cheap and expensive food and drinks
- 🚦BTS, Taxi, Motorbike Taxi...
- 🕐You have everything you need within 10/20 minute drive
- 💵 One of the most expensive area in Bangkok
See what's going on in Sukhumvit :
It's the new popular area for expats in Bangkok.
It's located right after crossing the river between Prakanong and On Nut BTS Station.
For someone like me, it's not an option. It's too far from the nightlife and Thonglor (where my office is).
But if unlike me you don't mind being close to clubs and spending a bit more time in transports, you can save serious money on rent and still have access to western and Thai restaurants and shops.
You have less western places, more of a Thai vibe and this neighborhood is less busy than Sukhumvit. Even though that's changing rapidly after they developed a lot of new condos and seen a lot of people moving there in the last few years.
- 🇹🇭 The Thai vibe
- 💰 Lower prices (for food and rent)
- 🚝 Fast access with the BTS
- 📍 A bit far from popular clubs and bars
- 🚦 Traffic during rush hour can double the time you need to go home
Why On Nut is becoming so popular : https://coconuts.co/bangkok/lifestyle/3-reasons-nut-becoming-one-bangkoks-livable-neighborhoods/
Silom - Sathorn
Silom is seen as the CBD of Bangkok. It's also an extremely busy area with a lot of traffic, tourists, businesses, banks...
Like Sukhumvit there's a ton of great restaurants and bars but not that many options when it comes to clubs. Most of the time you will end up in Sukhumvit for late night parties.
But if you look around Sathorn, you can have really great deals on houses and large condos just minutes away from the BTS.
It might be worth the extra 5 minutes commute every day to find some peaceful and quiet area in Bangkok. Again, it depends on what you like.
- 🍷 Lots of Bars and Restaurants
- 🌳Close to Lumpini Park
- 🎉 Limited Nightlife
Places where I lived in Bangkok
Since I've moved to Bangkok in 2016, I lived in Silom, Thonglor soi 20, Sukhumvit soi 16 and now Sukhumvit soi 65.
Here's what I liked and didn't about each location.
Silom (ITF Tower)
I was staying with a friend for free at his place. Free is always good.
Other than that, Silom is great with a lot of things to do and great restaurants but just too quiet at night for someone like me. (Unless you like to go to Patpong every weekends)
👍 What I liked:
- 🍹 Lots of great Bars and Restaurants
- 🌙 Tends to be less crowded at night
- 🍚 Lots of street Food around Silom main street
- 🚝 Walking distance from the BTS
😕 What I didn't like:
- 🎉 Not many clubs in the area
- 📍 Most of the people I know are in Sukhumvit
- ฿ Prices mostly on the high side
Thonglor Soi 21
It was a room in a shared apartment for 10,000฿ + utilities.
The condo was old and I love sharing apartments, but not with students. 😂
So it wasn't too expensive for the area, but not great either. Just a good "in between" situation.
👍 What I liked:
- 🏍 5 minute drive from my office
- 😎 Lots of nice venues in the area
- 🎉 Walking distance from clubs
😕 What I didn't like:
- 🏠 Pricey old condo
- 🍜 Limited street food options
- 💸 Mostly expensive restaurants and bars around
Sukhumvit soi 16 (Soi Phai Singto)
I had one whole floor in a Town house in a Thai neighborhood.
The apartment was big (68sqm) and only cost 10,000฿ + utilities per month.
As in Thonglor, it's a great deal for that location, but this time it was better because I didn't have to share my apartment.
👍 What I liked
- 🌶 Great Street Food at my doorstep
- ฿ Low rent for the area
- 🚦 Easy access to Rama 4 and Sukhumvit (2 main roads in Bangkok)
- 🛵 5 minutes from the BTS with motorbike taxi
- 🚝 5 minutes walk from the MRT
😕 What I didn't like:
- 🍷 No nightlife or bars at walking distance
Sukhumvit soi 65
We moved into a condo on November 2019. And that really improved our quality of life.
This new apartment is a bit smaller than the previous one (56sqm) and cost 20,000฿ + utilities per month. (around 22,000THB all included).
We're spoiled because we have a corner apartment on the last floor. There's a lot of light, a lot of sun, and it's just meters away from the gym and the pool that are on the same floor.
It's also 10 minutes walk from Ekamai and Phrakanong BTS Stations so it's easy to get around the city. And it's 20 minutes walk from W District (a great outdoor foodcourt really popular with expats).
This soi is also super quiet, compared to the rest of the city.
👍 What I like :
- 🏢 It's a small condo (only 8 floors)
- 🏋️♂️ The quality of the amenities (pool and gym)
- 📦 Having a reception and security guards to receive packages and food delivery
- 🧘♂️ It's quiet (but still close to Sukhumvit)
😕 What I don't like :
- 🌶 Limited options for food under 200m
- 😑 Nearest 7/Eleven is a bit far (600m)
So, what is the best area to live in Bangkok ?
In my opinion, Silom-Sathorn and Sukhumvit (soi 21 to 71) will offer you the best experience of the city.
In both areas, you can find some really good deals on condos and houses if you spend some time looking for it and be patient.
You can even find quiet condos just a few minutes away from popular venues and the BTS.
It's probably where the rent tend to be the highest, but on the other hand you will save a lot of money (and time) on commute every day.
But if you want to live a more quiet life and want more of a Thai lifestyle, and don't mind having to take a taxi to go grab some drinks or get a fancy dinner, some neighborhood a bit further like On Nut or Ari will definitely get your attention.
If you made it until the end, thanks for reading.
And while you're here, if you're looking for a place to rent in Bangkok, check the post I wrote after we spend a month looking for our new condo.
I list all the websites, facebook groups and agents we used and share some tips for your research.
The real question is, what life do you want to live in Bangkok?