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 which area is the best for you.
Features you need in your area
No matter what area you're living in (or will move in), as an expat, there's a few features 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 now 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 that's a few extra thousand bahts per months that will change your life, especially during rainy season and rush hour.
- Good Street Food. It's one of the main thing that is great 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.
And 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 on the road 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 young 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 live fully your Bangkok life, 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 than in other parts of Bangkok.
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're 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 city of 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 town
See what's going on in the area:
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 have a great lifestyle.
You have less western places, more of a Thai vibe and the area is less busy than Sukhumvit still, even though it's getting more developed as everybody move there.
- 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, 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 what you like.
- Lots of Bars and Restaurants
- Close to Lumpini Park
- Limited Nightlife
Areas in Bangkok I've been living in
Since I've moved to Bangkok in 2016, I lived in Silom, Thonglor soi 20 and Sukhumvit soi 16.
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 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 drives 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
- Expensive Restaurants and Bars around
Sukhumvit soi 16 (Soi Phai Singto)
I have one whole floor in a Town house in a Thai area.
The apartment is 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's better because I don't have to share my apartment.
What I like
- 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 BTS with motorbike taxi
- 5 minutes walk from MRT
What I don't like:
- No nightlife or bars at walking distance
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 good deal on accommodation if you spend some time looking for it and be patient.
You can even find quiet condos just a few minutes away from trending 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 drink or get a fancy dinner, areas a bit further like On Nut will definitely get your attention.
The real question is, what life do you want to live in Bangkok?