Generally, there are two ways. Either you are patient and wait until you arrive at your university, or you book an apartment in advance over the Internet. We want to give you an overview.
First, what do we call an 'apartment' here in Bangkok?
There are other terms used, such as studio (1-room), 1-bedroom (2 rooms of which one is a bedroom), and so on. In Bangkok, the vast majority are 1-room apartments of 25 to 40 m2 with a bathroom and balcony. The bathroom may have Asian (in Germany called 'French') toilets where you squat, or western toilets where you can sit. The balcony is multi-functional in Thailand. It's used for cooking (to avoid smell in the room) and for drying your laundry (within short time, even at high humidity).
Another way to find an apartment close to your campus: Use our Map of International Campuses. By clicking on the link below the map, you come to Google Maps. Choose your university and use the 'search nearby' option.
Quality differences is something you can hardly see at the prices. It seems to depend more on the age of the apartment building. Almost any new apartment building (not older than 10 years) is modern western design and well maintained.
A modern and well-maintained apartment complex will be important for another reason: These apartments offer ADSL access, usually per wireless network (certainly, with the usual traffic jams at peak time).
Electronic access security is standard, and so are security guards around the building. They seem to sleep all time (especially on the night shift), but don't underestimate the level of security against petty theft they cause. Additionally, they are very helpful people what you will enjoy when returning from the super market with all your plastic bags.
In any case, be prepared to buy a new mattress. In many apartments, mattresses looks like one but they are as hard as stone. TV and fridge is often offered for rent. Air-conditions were installed when the building was opened (and never got any maintenance, of course). They can drive your electrical power bill to surprising heights, if used frequently.
You sometimes read the term 'serviced apartment'. That's basically a hotel room with all the services (change of
bed ware, room cleaning) with the difference that linen is not changed every day. If you think you can manage it yourself, you will save a lot of money. Serviced apartments are usually rent by foreign companies for their employees. For them, the rent does not play the most important role - for you it means, such apartments are very expensive.
The golden rule: Be patient. Your fellow students will introduce you.
Since it's easy to rent an apartment far away from your campus (take size of Bangkok and traffic jams of a 10-million metropolis into account), and very easy to pay much more than your local neighbour pays, some say it's stupid to rent an apartment over the Internet. After arrival in Bangkok, take a hotel room for the first two nights, visit your university, and ask your fellow students for advice. You will easily find an apartment within a day without getting cheated and close to your university.
This way is especially recommended for those who come on budget.
These photographs show a
4,500 Baht apartment in Bangkapi
(furniture and curtains included,
without TV, fridge,
and decoration). Water is 16 Baht per unit, electricity 6 Baht, telephone 5 Baht, and ADSL one month unlimited is 700 baht (as of Juli 2011). Additional charges depend largely on how much you use the air-condition. Used excessively, they quickly exceed 6,000 baht per month.
There's a lot of fluctuation in any apartment building, and Thais are very mobile. Long-term contracts are an exception, and getting out is as easy as getting in. Forget about the market in your country, this is Thailand. Better apartments will expect you to rent for at
least 6 months. You will have to pay a deposit of 3 months plus the first rent when moving in.
By the way, be careful with using the air-con. Sure, it's hot in Thailand. A light dress and a fan make life much easier. Air-cons are often old and power-consuming devices. We know several stories where the electricity bill exceeded the monthly rent largely. If you insist on sleeping with a feather bed or duvet, calculate the expenditure for electricity accordingly.
If you decide to study outside Bangkok, you definitely should prefer this way. Renting a nice house in a good neighbourhood may well be cheaper than renting a 1-room apartment in Bangkok.
Second way: Book an apartment on the Internet.
Many foreign students did so since they wanted to avoid the
uncertainty of not having a place to stay. Even if you do so, you should take a hotel room for the first two or three nights, at least. Empty apartments tend to look very unfriendly, even when furnished. Don't forget, you come to a foreign country and culture that might appear very strange at the beginning. It's helpful to have a cosy place that you can call 'temporary home', but you will need a bit of time to build it.
This way is recommended for students whose budget is not too limited. You can be lucky and find a very nice and cheap apartment. Be aware, however, that apartments are rented over the Internet then when people are not in Thailand and have no chance to compare. Landlords are not stupid. The difference may be as little as 20 Euros or Dollars a month, but for those coming on budget, that might well make a difference.
You may want to have look at the Google Ads in the left and right columns of this page. We also asked our students in the Web board for recommendations. They named the following Web sites:
Please note that we cannot take any responsibility for the correctness of the data shown on this Web site. We try our very best, but we depend on universities, their Web sites, and fellow students and lecturers, to get updates when ever programs, conditions, or tuition fees change.