The kind of housing you’re looking for is the first decision to make when moving to Bangkok. If you ask about, you’ll find expats in Bangkok can be split on the choice. Sure, it’s fun to write home about the topical paradise your home is, but wait until you hear for yourself how loudly the termites are eating into the wall between the downstairs bathroom and the living room.
The water cocks may drip, drip all night, but in the daytime produce only sad sighs when you turn them on for your shower.
Will earth-fill trucks churn your lane into impassable mud, or will buses passing behind your bedroom produce explosive backfires and plaintive squeals that leave you sleepless? Which of your neighbours keeps dogs, or do they just gather at your gate for their bark and howl fests ?
Does another neighbour have a pet gibbon chained up outside so you can get its amusing whoops at the crack of dawn? Or is there a love-staved kawoo bird that starts up with alarming shrieks of ‘ka-wao, ka-waaaao!’ at any time from 10:00 at night until 6:00 the next morning. If you need an example of untiring animal persistence, these are two.
Parks of Bangkok are sinking. Who takes care of the pipes connecting your house to the street mains as they snap from subsidence? Be sure that you and your landlord agree on maintenance responsibilities. Some landlords do not raise the rent for tenants who do some of their own upkeep of the property. House rents may be cheaper than apartments for this reason. However, suitable houses may also be more different to find than apartments.
If you do find an attractive house with its fully grown garden, and you don’t mind hiring staff that includes a gardener. You may find this meets you admirably. There is a place for the children to play that is – except for the occasional snakes – safer than the street. Your pet dog can romp happily. You can host a large dinner party – having sprayed for mosquitos beforehand – and live like a tropical lord and lady.
An apartment in Bangkok, even with its higher rents, loss of privacy, and lack of a play space, may have a swimming pool. You won’t have to hire your own gardener and guard and pay for the major repairs.