To own a house in central Bangkok is not only crazy expensive but also unattainable as foreigners who cannot legally own land in Thailand. While there are loopholes in legislation these loopholes always bring unnecessary risk. Owning Bangkok Condominiums is by far the smarter option. So why can you own Bangkok condominiums but not houses or land? In short when buying a condominium you only have joint ownership of the building complex. While you fully own the condominium unit you are only part owner of the land where it is situated. This is why you can own “freehold condominiums”. Bangkok Condominiums were the route I followed when moving to Bangkok buying a one bedroom condo in Bangkok’s City Centre. While a traditional teak house is more desirable few can ever consider it. Here are the reasons why Bangkok condominiums are the better choice for living in Bangkok. (Here for cost of living in Bangkok).
Easily the single most important decision when buying Bangkok condominiums. If not located near a Skytrain or public transport you can expect hours of traffic on commutes to the city centre. Fortunately Bangkok condominiums are affordable even in the most central of locations. The two main transport lines to consider are the Subway (MRT) and Skytrain (BTS). I chose both and located next to the main Sukhumvit Interchange. With free Tuk-Tuk shuttle service or a 10 Baht motorbike taxi I am on the rail networks and have the city centre at my fingertips in no time.
An obvious limitation of owning ground level homes is the views. From ground up they struggle to see over surrounding buildings and skylines. With Bangkok condominiums the units often start on higher floors with car parking, reception etc on the lower floors. Even with lower condominium units you will likely have impressive skyline views of the city. Units at my Bangkok Condominium start from the 5th floor where even the infinity pool views are hard to beat. If living in an urban setting such as Bangkok I feel city views are a necessity.
At one time I considered renting a ground level bungalow but was put off by lack of security. Probably paranoia on my part but on lower levels, with no security guards there is always the risk of robbing. In Bangkok condominiums, or at least mine, the security is almost over the top, 24/7 security guards, CCTV on all entrance points, security streamed on internal TVs, elevator key cards ensure only people living on each floor can access that floor. It is hard to feel more secure.
The main difference between Bangkok condominiums and apartments is that co-owners of condominiums are partly responsible for upkeep of shared facilities. This does mean monthly maintenance fees / CAM fees (Common Area Maintenance). The money goes into a big pot to be used for upkeep of current facilities and in buying nice new things to share. This makes luxury living more affordable. When choosing my Bangkok Condominium I went with a smaller / boutique condo building which generally means higher maintenance fees but fewer people to wrestle with for use of facilities. In fact the shared facilities of my condo go relatively untouched and at times feel like my own as surrounding neighbours run the rat race. The pool is my preferred office.
My main concern with buying Bangkok Condominiums is noise from neighbouring condos. Hard to predict and in truth we probably got lucky as for the first years we barely knew neighbors existed (not sure if this was the same opposite). Other than a rare passing at the bins or elevator we never heard from them. No music, talking, walking, or sounds whatsoever. Maybe a quick open, close and latch of their front door. With security key cards no-one ever comes to our floor and only 4 other units share our elevator. Therefore rooms are very private. Again to make things quieter I bought a condo unit with a detached wall system meaning we don’t actually share walls with neighbours (as below).