A Simple and Easy Guide to Renting a Service Apartment in Bangkok, Thailand

What are the best areas of Bangkok to rent? What facilities and services can I expect from a Bangkok serviced apartment? What are the best and worst serviced apartments in Bangkok? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and much more in my simple and easy guide to renting a serviced apartment in Bangkok for both expats and travelers.

Bangkok is the Center of Southeast Asia

As the commercial center of Thailand and the hub of business and leisure travel within Southeast Asia, Bangkok has exceptional hotels of all kinds catering to the business elite and casual traveler.

Recently, a new kind of accommodation has gained favor with business executives on short stays in Bangkok–the luxury serviced apartment. With increased commercial expansion over the past several years, serviced apartments are quickly becoming the favorite choice of living style for their affordable luxury.

What is a Serviced Apartment?

The serviced part of the equation usually refers to the daily or twice weekly cleaning of your room, the furniture, kitchen amenities and so on that normal apartments do not include. Some service apartments also function as hotels, and these are called Aparthotels.

What’s So Special About Bangkok Serviced Apartments?

Real estate and relocation agents believe Bangkok has the most number of sophisticated apartments the world has to offer. There are not just one or two luxurious apartments, but close to 50. This is because skilled labor is cheap in thailand, and the city itself is a major business hub for the southeast asia region.

Renting a serviced apartment in bangkok can be a daunting task for several reasons–the primary one being there are so many ‘fine print’ and extra costs involved when signing a weekly, monthly or yearly contract.

I have been living in Bangkok for a few years now, and have gone through several serviced apartments, learning on the way which ‘services’ are included and what to expect from your stay in Bangkok.

Bangkok’s City Plan

The Bangkok Jungle has several meanings, one of them being that the city was never built with a city plan or urban design in mind. The city is a sprawling landscape, a montage of residential and commercial buildings juxtaposing one another. It is home to 10 to 15 million people, depending on who is arriving from the rural country and abroad. The people as well, from poor to affluent, live side by side.

The city itself is lopsided; if you look down any major road in bangkok, you will see that both sides of the road arent balanced, building heights are different, and there is an overall lack of symmetry. This is what makes Bangkok unique and charming. And what makes it a jungle.

The Best Areas To Live In Bangkok

Bangkok contains inexpensive to exclusive apartments, but the best ones are found in the following regions of Bangkok:

  • Sukhumvit, the main road or artery of Bangkok
  • Asok, one of the most exclusive and expensive areas to live
  • Thong Lo, the chic and fashionable street,
  • Sathorn, the business district of Bangkok
  • Silom, another business and red light district
  • Ploenchit, business district
  • Chit Lom, business district

The areas listed above are all within easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, trains, skytrains, and expressways. If you choose to live in one of these areas, you will experience life in the center of Bangkok’s thriving business and shopping centres while indulging in an ultra private serviced apartment in Bangkok. I personally recommend Asok and Chit Lom, as they are the classiest areas of Bangkok, but if you are looking to be close to the night markets Silom is perfect, and Sukhumvit is always a colorful experience.

Facilities and Services of Typical Bangkok Serviced Apartments

These vary between the different types of apartments and condos, but a standard of excellence has been establlished from the increasing competition among serviced apartments. Facilities and services are upgraded regularly to keep up with rival residences. However, before investing in a serviced apartment, be sure to check if these services and facilities are available.

5 Services That Should Be Included Free of Charge:

  • Room Cleaning
  • Water/Utilities
  • Internet Usage
  • 24 Hour Security
  • Room Service/Errand Boy

4 Facilities That Should Be Included

  • Restaurant
  • Gym
  • Pool
  • Convenience Store

The Loopholes: Length of Stay, Deposits and Electricity

If you are staying for a month or year, the serviced apartment may charge you for electricity. Make sure that you negotiate this price to 6.5 Baht/Unit. A lot of times the apartment owners will charge 8 Baht/Unit for more profit. They only pay 3 or 4 Baht/Unit.

Be careful when signing leases; most require a 2 month deposit, and if you move out before your contract is finished you forfeit this deposit.

Make sure the serviced apartment has a laundry service, either in house or out of house. Most serviced apartments have coin operated laundry rooms as well as pick up services. More deluxe suites will have washing machine in the room. Note that most places do not have dryers.

How much Should I Pay?

This is a difficult question to answer, but the more facilities a serviced apartment has, the more it will cost. If a serviced apartment has a pool, gym and also functions as a 24 hour hotel, then the monthly price will be above 30,000 Baht.

Location also has a large part to do with cost of a bangkok serviced apartment. If you are staying in an area not close to skytrain or subway access, your price will be much lower. Conversely, staying in the business districts of Silom or trendy spots like Ekkamai or Thonglor will raise your monthly rent.

Which Serviced Apartment Should I Choose?

The serviced apartment market in Bangkok is lead by three groups, The President Group, The Ascott Group, and Centre Point. Most of them offer first class accommodation and have a decent system of serving their customers. However, there are numerous independent serviced apartments to choose from.

The 2 Worst Serviced Apartments in Bangkok

  • Ascott Bangkok Sathorn

There have been several articles written in trade journals about the decline in service at the once famous and most prestigious serviced apartment in Bangkok. Once known for attention to customer relations, their lack of it is now glaringly obvious to everyone who stays there. This place is an example of a chain serviced apartment becoming too much like a corporation with no human touch of service.

  • Lebua

Rumor is their staff is very untrustworthy. Read the trade journals and ‘google’ the residence for reviews.

Top 2 Most Luxurious Bangkok Serviced Apartments

  • Siri Sathorn Apartments

Siri Sathorn is a five-star luxury `boutique` property which epitomises private and elegant living in a residential setting. It is a concept of the perfect home which appeals to international traveller. This place caters to Japanese clientelle but of course is open to everyone.

  • Fraser Place Urbana Langusan

They have an exclusive 45-metre driveway leading from the main road to the serviced residence for great privacy. They also have some of the best services and customer relations I have ever experienced, pampered is the only word that comes to mind

Best Value Bangkok Serviced Apartments

  • Silom Convent Garden

Newly built in November 2006, this chic serviced apartment is located in the Silom-Sathorn area but has some of the cheapest rates for this business and night market district. For 36,000 Baht/$1000 a month you can have a 38 square meter, 1 bedroom, fully furnished luxurious apartment complete with full kitchen, washer machine, flat screen tv, and rain shower. The only drawback is the place doesn’t have a pool or gym, but thats the reason the price is so low and why its one of the best values in Bangkok.

If you are still undecided whether to have a stay in Bangkok on your next trip, it was just recently announced that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to make Bangkok a “paradise” city. The article from the Bangkok Post states the BMA will establish a fund to address trash, pollution and traffic problems. Now is the time to take your next vacation or business trip to Bangkok, as life couldn’t get any better in the City of Angels!

Top 10 Travel Destinations in Asia

Asia is not only the largest continent in the world. It also has the most admirable natural treasures and the richest and most diverse culture in the world. From its mystical temples and landmarks of antiquity, soothing beaches and enchanting landscapes to the astonishing skyscrapers and infrastructure of modernity, Asia is definitely a place to go in anyone’s bucket list.

Here is a glimpse of the top travel destinations in Asia.

1. Jerusalem, Israel.

Asia is the origin of the world’s biggest religions. Jerusalem is the holy land for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Notable places to visit included Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, the Dome of the Rock and the Cenacle.

2. Beijing, China.

The second biggest economy in the world, China is also a contender as the oldest civilization in the world. This capital is host to the most momentous cultural sites namely, the Great Wall of China, the only man made structure visible from space and the Forbidden City, the imperial palace of China’s ancient dynasties.

3. Angra, India.

India is one of the most diversely exotic cultures in the world. Angra is the host to the glamorous civilization of the Mughal Empire, which is once as progressive as the Roman Empire. Notable places included the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

4. Palawan, Philippines.

The Philippines is a heavenly paradise on earth that is rich in exquisite natural beauties and the most hospitable people in the world. Palawan is the home to the famed underground river, a new seven wonder of the world; the Tubbataha reef which boasts of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world; and numerous pristine tropical beaches.

5. Tokyo, Japan.

The home of the samurai, anime, and the most high tech in the world, Japan is the reflection of the futuristic modern consumer society. Tokyo is the center of all high tech.

6. Phuket, Thailand.

Thailand is a country that has never been colonized and infected by western culture. The purity of its preserved culture and traditions makes the country an absolute wonder. Phuket boasts of many sandy beaches and immaculate waters like Surin Beach, Bangtao and the Westin Siray Bay.

7. Mount Everest, Nepal.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world which will literally take visitors on the topmost of the world.

8. Dubai, UAE.

Dubai is the gateway of tourists to the furtive and conservative world of Arabs through which one can enjoy leisure travel and activities while simultaneously learning the Arabian culture and enjoying Middle Eastern topography.

9. Bali, Indonesia.

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago comprised of over 17,000 islands, thus the most number of primeval coastlines and beaches. Bali is one of its most visited resorts, which is also rich with other tourist spots such as Ubud, Kuta and Sanur.

10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Travel in Asia entails a visit to Malaysia. Apart from its beautiful beaches, it has many other must-see places such as the Mulu Caves, the largest cave chamber in the world and the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin buildings in the world.

Public Relations in Asia

Over the past 20 years, the continent of Asia has achieved more than its fair share of economic success and any business, international or regional, would do well to expand its roots across Asia. Yet, even in Asian companies, expanding across the territory remains an exciting challenge.

The reasons for this are almost immediately apparent to anybody: every territory of Asia comes with a different language and a unique culture – which is something hoping to do business in Asia has to take note of.

These differences in culture between different regions of Asia can seem daunting, but this is where effective public relations has to come in. Good PR is an important keystone to any business anywhere around the world, but it becomes especially important when a business is expanded to an area as heterogeneous as Asia.

Let us take Malaysia and Singapore as an example. The two nations are literally a small bridge apart, but the differences in managing perceptions in both countries may surprise you. Here are 3 things to take note of when expanding to Asia, with a closer look into Singapore and Malaysia:

1. Language Diversity

Let us tackle the most readily obvious issue at hand first: diversity in language.

In Singapore, English is readily accepted. A PR agency in Singapore can have a press release delivered to almost all members of the media in the language without many problems. The same is true, to a certain extent, for Malaysia, although it would be prudent to take note that Malay is the de facto official language of Malaysia. Submitting a press release only in English to a Malay newspaper or magazine may be considered culturally insensitive.

For PR agencies in Singapore sending press releases to members of the Malaysian media, it is crucial to translate the release in English, Bahasa Malaysia, and Chinese. Paying attention to the audience you are attempting to communicate with is also key, and it is best to send press releases in the respective audience’s spoken language for increased exposure. For example, if you were to send a press release to a member of the Chinese media, have it translated into Chinese before sending it out.

2. Social/Religious Practices

Aside from language, one should also be wary of differences in culture. This is, again, an observable factor in both Singapore and Malaysia. As a whole, the Malaysian media tends to be much more conservative than the Singaporean media. To use an example, the Singaporean editions of women’s lifestyle magazines such as Cosmopolitan frequently address and make references to sex in their content, whereas such content is hardly seen in the Malaysian editions. This is attributed, in part, to the fact that around 60% of the population in Malaysia practices Islam, and many things in Malaysia cater to that majority demographic.

Such an example is especially applicable for PR firms in Singapore dealing with Fashion PR and Lifestyle PR to be cautious about when reaching out to the Malaysian media and readers. In short, observing the religious demographics of the region you are doing business in is essential to avoid embarrassment or fracas of any sort.

It also pays to take note of important religious practices in the region. For example, in both Singapore and Malaysia, it is customary for Muslims to go to a mosque for prayers every Friday. Hence, avoiding scheduling meetings on Friday afternoons when dealing with a Muslim client shows attentiveness on to their needs on your part.

3. Political Backdrop

Last, but definitely not least, pay attention to the news and conduct research for insights into the political backdrops of each Asian region.

Of course, there may be certain topics best not to breach regarding the governing bodies of each region. A notable example would be the sensitivity regarding Taiwan’s independence from China.

Sensitive issues regarding bi-lateral relations are not the only issues to look out for. Singapore and Malaysia have been ranked 150 and 147 on the 2015 World Press Freedom index respectively, as both nations practice heavy censorship.

To use an example, healthcare PR and advertising in Singapore is heavily regulated. Health-care institutions can state only factual information in ads – hence phrases such as ‘Best Clinic in Singapore’, ‘Asia’s No. 1 provider of Healthcare’ are banned from healthcare advertisements. These ads also cannot provide information in ways that amount to ‘soliciting or encouraging the use of services’.