If you're looking for the best area to live in Bangkok, first you should ask yourself these 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? Do you 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 are 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 convenience store. Because you never realize how important it is until you need to buy noodles at 3 am.
- 🚝 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 month can change your life. Especially during the rainy season and rush hour.
- 🌶 Good Street Food. It's one of the main reasons to live in Bangkok. Having good options for street food around your home can make help you save a lot of money. And no, it's not always that easy to find.
Again, keep in mind that you want a place that has as many of the things you need around your condo.
You workout everyday or love to go to clubs every weekend?
Then pick a place as close as possible to where you spend 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 all expats in Bangkok only living in these 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, when you're a bit older, or on a tight budget, you might want to move outside of these 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 places 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 night 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 busiest 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.
- 🥃 Plenty of clubs, bars, restaurants, rooftops, and activities around
- ฿ The choice between cheap and expensive food and drinks
- 🚦 Easy access to the BTS, taxis, motorbike taxis...
- 🕐 Everything you need within 10/20 minute drive
- 💵 One of the most expensive areas in Bangkok
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.
I know 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 find 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 weekend)
👍 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
- 💸 Most expensive restaurants and bars around
Sukhumvit soi 16 (Soi Phai Singto)
I had one whole floor in a townhouse in a Thai neighborhood.
The apartment was big (68sqm) and only cost 10,000฿ + utilities per month.
As my previous place in Thonglor, it was a great deal for that location.
But this time it was better because I didn't have to share the 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 new condo in 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 22,000฿ all included).
We're spoiled because we have a corner apartment on the last floor. (8th floor)
There's a lot of light, and it's just meters away from the gym and the pool that is 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 (300m)
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 in 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 tends 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?
Want to move to Thailand or already living in Bangkok?
Check out more about my expat life in Bangkok here and the breakdown of my cost of living in the city.
And feel free to ask me questions in the comments.
I'll get to them when I sober up.
6 thoughts on “What’s the Best Area to Live in Bangkok for Expats ?”
I live in Bangchak and I love it here ,I’m an older guy in my 60s I still enjoy going out but I’m only ,6 BTS stops from Asok. I have a small one bed condo on Sukhimvit Soi 93 , I don’t wish to live where the majority of people are ex Pat’s ,tourists etc. I have long term much younger friends who live in Punnawithi , Udom Suk. I have many friends in BK, am learning Thai and love going to watch Port FC in Khlongtoei. I also had a 3 hour walk round the Wangwian Yai area ,hardly any foreigners there but would be an interesting place to live. Just my experiences here ,been in BKK for over 15 months. I don’t really like eating much Western food anymore although with lockdown my diet changed a little. I know most of the areas you mentioned.
Hey Balwant, thanks for sharing. I agree, Bangkok is huge and you’ve got plenty of areas to choose from. It really depends on your lifestyle, budget… One of my friends lives in Soi 93 too, really Thai area and not too far from Bangkok “center” with the BTS. I can definitely see the upside of living there, everything is cheaper and you’re really in Thailand where upper Sukhumvit is way more westernized and expensive. But to each their own. Good luck with Thai, I need to get back to it as well.😉
Appreciate all of the tips. In my 30’s and moving over solo. Pretty familiar with the city from previous trips. OK with a “western” condo but want local food (be it street or restaurant) easily accessible. And a few bars wouldn’t hurt
How’s Asoke for this? Any other recommendations?
You can find street food and bars in every area, but different types of options. My best advice is to take an Airbnb for a month in an area you like, go explore at night and find out if it suits you. If it doesn’t, try another one. Also, most rental deals here are 1 year contracts, and most expats change almost every year to negotiate new contracts and change area. The most important IMO is to find a place close to where you work, especially if you work during office hours, or the commute will take a lot of your time each day.
Hey, Mojo Matt, My husband and I are seniors. He’s Thai, I’m American (NY). Went to BKK a couple of years ago, and were able to rent a condo in an off the beaten trail soi. Not sure what the place was called, but clearly, outskirts of the city. Near Hathairat Rd., 39th St. We don’t drive, and no subway nearby, so we had to walk up to the ‘highway’ and wait for a bus, songtaew (?) or van. We actually lived on a soi on an ‘inner road,’ so it was a 10 min. hike to the highway, and we had to cross it, to get to the bus stop. Much of our time was spent ‘commuting’ into BKK as it was my first time there, and I wanted to do various things. Didn’t like the commuting, but a quiet soi / condo rental near enough to subway / transportation and stores/restaurants is important to me. We’re not rich. Can spend about 20k Baht monthly, or so. Please advise.
Hi Anna, for 20k a month you can pretty much live anywhere in Bangkok. Right now I paid 17k a month for 60 sqm (1 bedroom) in Sukhumvit Soi 65 (Ekamai) in a small condo with pool and gym. And believe it or not it’s quiet even though it’s 10 minutes walk or 2 minutes with a motorbike to the BTS. Off the main roads there’s a lot of quiet Soi where for that budget you’ll have a comfortable apartment. If you want to have access to western places too, I’ll recommend Sathorn, Sukhumvit 61 to 71, or On Nut. You can check the prices on websites and Facebook groups I’ve listed on this page or contact agents. Agents are awesome in Bangkok and you don’t pay for them, the owner does. 😉