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An Expat Talks about Moving to Bangkok, Thailand

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Bangkok

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

As I have transitioned here over a 6 year period of time, I think I have what I need. I did go to Australia a few weeks back and picked up olive oil, peanut butter, and pepperoni. You can find them here at Villa and actually at Tesco, but they are expensive. I really do not need long-sleeve shirts, the 6 pairs of shoes that I brought over in the past few years, and the need for sport jackets.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

If you need to be around other expats, this may not be the place for you. If you are OK with living in a Thai building, which on the outside does not look that great, this may not be for you. We have a pool, gym and plenty of resturants and bars to choose from, but most do not speak English. As for transportation this is a great neighborhood for cabs and soon the BTS line to the airport and back to the city. We did live in Tong Lor for awhile, which has plenty of expat's around but the rent is going to set you back about 18,000-as high as you want to go. Villa Market is close by, which has just about everything you may want from the west. For me I prefer a bit away from the center of the city, where the people are really friendly, and if you have the need, grab a cab or in our case soon the BTS. If you have kids, be concerned with the schools and you find the best closer into the city center. If you are just a couple, have some adventure and get outside the city center and you will also save a lot of precious resources.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

We lived in a condo, which is actually 2 condo's. I'm from the US and my partner is Thai. It looks like a typical Thai condo building, but when you walk inside you would swear you were in Europe. Not my choice, but my partner "Martha Stewart" (Thai version) decorated and I left him to it. There are only a few expats in the neighborhood. Rarely do I ever run into them.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

My Thai partner found the condo that we purchased 4 years ago. It's away from the city center on Pattanakarn Road. The new BTS line to the airport is about 1/2 km from the condo and hopefully it will open sometime (Tahi-time) means it will get done. Lot's of vendor's on the street which is good when we are lazy, which is often. Plenty of cabs on the road, which was a factor.

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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Costs are much lower. We purchased our place 4 years ago for about $35,000 USD. We did some renovation to the unit, like new lighting, put a stove top in and painted. A guy from Singapore owned it before, so we already had German marble floors. In Chicago where I am from you could get a garage with no heat for that price??? You can rent some of the units here for around 5,000 to 6,000 TB per month, plus utilities, which could be another 2,000-3,000 bhat per month if you have AC, cable, internet etc.

I think that with electric, water, cable, internet, telephone, and condo fee, we probably pay about 4,000-5,000 for both units. So for about $150-$200 you get all the comforts of home. We do have upgraded cable with internationl programming, broadband internet for faster access, but we run the AC only at night, as you get use to the heat.

Food is cheap on the street, but there are markets within 1-2km, which are reasonable as compared to western costs, except if you want western things. Then you pay! Go Thai and save a bundle and don't buy prepared foods from the west.

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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