The first thing which you need to do when you come to live in Thailand is to find a good place to stay. It’s a stressful process for those, who want to settle here for the first time, but despite what you might think, finding an apartment, or a house in the Land of Smiles is fairly easy. But how do you do this? How to find a place in Thailand in a few days, which will fulfill all your demands?
There are lots of apartments for rent in Thailand. At the moment the streets in the most popular cities are full of apartment buildings and new places are being built constantly. I know from my own experience that renting a place for a few months or longer is not as difficult as it is in Europe. In this article, I will tell you how to look for an apartment in Thailand.
When is the best time to look for a place in Thailand?
You can find a place to stay in Thailand at any time. However, tourists, nomads, and expats come to the Land of Smiles to escape the winter. November is the trickiest time and in December it might take you a week, or more to find something decent. In February there are fewer people and more free rooms. The easiest time to find something is from June to September, in the rainy season.
Before you go
Before you leave you should decide where you want to stay. There are plenty of places to live in Thailand. If you have more time and you’re flexible then you can spend a few weeks moving from one place to another and you can decide where to stop a bit later. But if you’re in a hurry and you want to find an apartment as soon as possible, then go straight to your chosen place, get to know the city and decide which area is the best for you.
Personally, I don’t know every single place in Thailand (yet), but earlier I wrote a post about how to find an apartment in Chiang Mai. If you’re thinking of moving there, then this post might be for you. You can find out more about other cities, like Phuket or Bangkok from the internet. The best practice is to put phrases such as ‘the best places to live in….’ You can also ask around on Facebook groups. The best places to live in Thailand for a foreigner are those with good public transport, a nearby supermarket, and some local restaurants. Make a list of areas you think would be good for you and go there after you arrive.
Rental costs vary depending on the standard of apartments and location. Every city has cheaper and more expensive regions. If you need to check prices, then go to my post about costs of living in Thailand.
When signing a rental contract you will be asked to pay a deposit, which is normally 2 months of rent, plus one month of rent upfront. Always ask for a contract in English and check if all amounts, including water and electricity rates, are included.
What to expect from apartments in Thailand
Modern accommodation in Thailand is equipped with air con, which is crucial to surviving in the tropical heat. Using it is expensive, so it’s best to buy a fan.
Apartments, especially studios, don’t have functional kitchens. In Thailand, it’s not worth to cook. You need to pay a bit more for a kitchen annex.
There are no carpets in the apartments and hoovers are little luxuries. If you really want to invest in such appliances then you can easily buy them in big stores, such as Tesco Lotus and Big C, or buy them online on Lazada.
A washing machine is another luxury. Very often washing machines stand in hallways and you have to pay to use them. One wash costs 20-30 Baht. You can also use one of the laundry services. It costs about 60 Baht to wash 1 kg of clothes.
How to find an apartment in Thailand?
I always say that the best thing to do is to look for a place on your own. I know that making a booking before we arrive in Thailand is not affordable. Below you will find all I know about finding an apartment in Thailand.
Never rent before you arrive
Internet offers are very tempting. It’s easier to rent online and then arrive straight to your own place. You can find many nice places on Airbnb. What’s the catch? First of all, you don’t know the area nor the city and you don’t know if you’re going to like it there. Second of all, prices on the internet are usually higher. Owners of the apartments, who advertise on such websites are just waiting for inexperienced visitors to take their hard-earned cash.
I know that it’s tempting to book something online, but if you want to spend quite a bit of time in Thailand then it’s really not worth rushing. Remember that accommodation prices in the Land of Smiles are lower than those in Europe and if you really want to spend $500 then make sure that you get your money’s worth.
Rent a hostel for a week
It’s usually enough to find a permanent place to stay. Rent a room in a hostel, or a hotel, in a central point of the city. This way you will be able to easily catch a taxi and get to those parts you want to visit. There are plenty of accommodation option in places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Puket. You can look for them on Booking.com.
Rent a taxi and visit the city
Have a list ready of the places you’re considering. You have searched the internet and it’s time to visit the areas you would like to live in.
Renting a taxi in Thailand for a whole day is easy. You can ask for help in your hostel, or you can catch a car on the street. Grab and Uber works very well in Thailand and you can use these apps without any worries. You can also ask the driver to give you a lift to the apartments he knows. Be aware that not many taxi drivers speak English, so communicating will be quite tough. That’s why it’s best to use Grab or ask your hostel to book you a driver for a whole day.
When you get to your chosen area, get out and explore it on foot. You can also ask your driver to stop at certain addresses if you have them. Every apartment building has a reception and someone, who looks after the building. They are always willing to show you a room and give you the rental price. The receptions are open from around 9 until 6. They are usually closed on Sundays.
Make some friends
Try to meet people before you arrive in Thailand. Facebook groups are perfect for that. Not everywhere people are nice to each other and some groups should be avoided, but join as many as you can first and observe what’s going on in them.
Expats know where to find a place to stay and which condos are the best. If you can’t meet anyone before you leave for Thailand, then you can find new friends in bars, restaurants and coffee shops.
Use estate agents
You can make your search a little easier by using an estate agency. I only know those in Chiang Mai – you can find them in my previous article – but it’s quite easy to find agencies in other cities, too. A big plus is that in Thailand you don’t pay any fees to the agency. You can go to a few of them and just ask them to help you. However, be aware that their prices are usually a bit higher.
My last advice – chill out. It’s really easy to find a place to stay in Thailand, even for a shorter amount of time. It should take you a few days, up to a week. Don’t stress, don’t get nervous and don’t panic. I am sure that you will be settling in to your new place in no time.