So far in my experience, being an expat moving in a foreign country is annoying at best and downright disappointing, dread-inducing, and tear-causing at worst.
It’s no different as an expat in Bangkok. Learn from my mistakes, and move across the city in peace!
In Bangkok, Thailand
I moved across the city three times. Each time, I completed the move mostly alone (maybe with a friend helping here and there), and
a few many taxis, over several days weeks.
I hate moving and tend to put it off.
It sucked going apartment searching, with widely varying prices (a disgusting apartment for 15000THB, and an apartment across the street in a nicer building and all around better but for a much lower price) and the full knowledge that most of the time, I was paying at least 30% extra just because I am a foreigner. Many apartment agents were super late, sometimes by hours, as is typical in Thailand. Some of the agents would meet me at a coffee shop, and then we would need to find the complex together (they had never even visited it!!).
(I can recommend Will Hare of www.rentinbangkok.com as being one of the few trustworthy, organized, and together agents in Bangkok. The website is also very easy to search for suitable places in advance. I booked my first apartment through RentInBangkok,, the ease made my future problems seem even more ridiculous and nightmarish)
It was a pain to find boxes or containers to pack in, and to carry the stuff through hallways/lobbies/sometimes up or down flights or stairs.
It was a frustration to find taxi drivers willing to take me (and my things) across the city, after work and on weekends, even for exorbitant fees.
I moved out of my second apartment in Bangkok due to a change in life circumstance and moved to Brazil, and was advised by my (awful) agent to get a subleasor after my request for a cancellation of lease was denied. So, I did. It turns out, the owner took advantage of me being gone to coerce the subleasor for further payments and eventually took over the apartment even though it was paid for (and full of my furnishings).. and sarcastically jeered at me to try to do something from Brazil. The agent was zero help and stopped returning calls and emails and told me not to involve him in any police proceedings because he wasn’t legal in Thailand.
I lost over a thousand dollars in the deposit.
What 17000THB (560USD) gets you in Silom, Bangkok via a totally shady agent
The upsides of apartment living in Bangkok include the sheer spoils of vast choices, and the amazing amenities. If you’re willing to spend 400USD or more per month, you can get a modern 1 bedroom in a central area near the skytrain, and a building with pool, gym, and 24 hour security. EASILY.
It’s important to consider whats most important to you.
If you can set up three “Must-Haves”, and the rest as negotiables, you will have a much better time.
For me, these were
1. Three BTS stops away or walking distance from Chong Nonsi BTS (my office)
3. At least one bedroom
How I would move in Bangkok if I were to do it again (learn from my mistakes):
1. Use a reputable agent, or deal directly with the owner who has previous positive references
2. Make sure you choose a location that is not too far out from central/your job/transport/favorite places. There is nothing worse than living in a foreign country and feeling disconnected, confused, or scared to get where you want to go.
3. Sign a legal contract (in both Thai and English), and read every single clause. Ask about subleasers and any other possible issues in advance
4. Have a “Moving Out” party with friends and give away everything you don’t want or need to bring with you, instead of toting it
4. Rent a taxi for the day (either on the weekend or take a day off from work), or arrange taxis in advance using EasyTaxi or Uber
5. Try to do it all in one day, and don’t let it drag on
**Personally, I think being near a central location/public transport (especially the BTS) is soooo key to enjoying and experiencing Bangkok (unless you are one of those really awesome people brave enough to have a motorbike)
My most important realization, which pushed my foray into minimalism – BUY LESS STUFF SO THERE IS LESS STUFF TO MOVE!!!!
If you want to compare the Thailand moving experience to Brazil, check it out here.
For the Nomadic Notes guide on Bangkok, click here