Krung Thep or Bangkok City Guide 2009

by Jose Marc Castro on August 19, 2008

thailandFLAG200Krung Thep–or Bangkok, as it is more commonly known–is the capital and primate city of Thailand. It is the 22nd most densely populated city in the world, with a population of almost 9 million people at the last official count. In addition to this native population, Krung Thep is also home to a large number of immigrants both from the neighboring countries and from around the world.

Long having a reputation as being one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, Krung Thep boasts of several historical districts with majestic displays of the country’s architecture and stunning natural attractions, which include gorgeous beaches and lush green zones.

Residential Places in Krung Thep

The prices for residential real estate in Thailand are generally very affordable and this is the case in Krung Thep as well. The healthy growth and development that has swept across the country in recent years has made even the older areas of the city quite attractive places to live in, and a number of residential properties here have been listed in the market as a result. Bangkok has grown over the years from scattered residences along the river to become metro area that expands over six provinces. The growth has been fueled by the influx of expatriates in the area as well as immigrants from neighboring countries.

Some of the better places to look for a house or apartment are Vibhavadi, Rangsit, Ramintra Road, and the fairly new housing development project Bann Klang Muang. Prices will of course tend to be cheaper in the outlying areas and the suburbs than in the center of the city, but you will give up some of the convenience of being closer to the business and entertainment establishments. The best way to go about it is by visiting the different districts of Bangkok namely Sukhumvit, Silom, Rattanakosin, Khao San Road, Yaowarat and Pahurat, Thonburi, Phahonyothin, Ratchadaphisek and Lat Phrao.

Prices vary widely depending on how new the house is and what they have to offer, but to give you an idea, you can expect to pay about BWP 80,000,000 for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house situated on a property with a swimming pool included. Further out of the city, a 3-storey townhouse with 3 bedrooms and a single bathroom will probably cost you around BWP 4,400,000.

An expat reminded all of the nuances of property ownership in Thailand in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last August 14. 2008:

There is lots of bad advice on forums, sorry to say.

In Thailand you CAN own a house, you just can’t own the land that it sits on. You can own the building.

Some people attempt to circumvent the law by doing 30+30+30 year leases. But the law says the maximum lease is 30 years – so if you try to enforce the renewal with an owner who doesn’t wish to, well all they have to say is that you were attempting to circumvent the law, no?

Any other fancy convoluted form of company, on-shore or off-shore, that attempts to accomplish your ownership and control of the land, is subject to the same invalidation – that you are attempting to circumvent the law.

You CAN buy a condo freehold.

You’ll do far better asking about this on the real estate section of ThaiVisa.com or asking a lawyer. But, remember that lawyers make their money by complicating things, no different in Thailand from anywhere else.

Don’t count on permanent residency on bailing you out. There is a limited number of them on offer – and don’t forget you still only have a lease. You don’t own the property so you don’t have the right to transfer it to yourself. You could attempt to buy the property at that time, but the leaseholder has no need to sell it to you if they don’t want to.

I “own” an apartment here with a 30+30 year lease, but I will be 86 when the first lease expires and I haven’t based my finances on it happening. Nor will I be surprised if it doesn’t happen. If it does happen, cause for a nice dinner out and an expensive bottle of champagne . . .

Hospitals and Universities of Krung Thep

Krung Thep is home to some of the best hospitals, not only in the country, but also in the entire Asian region. Having established itself as a world center for medical tourism in recent years, many of the city’s doctors have been trained in the best schools and medical facilities in the world.

Some of the hospitals that you can find in the city are Siriraj Hospital, which is the oldest public hospital in the country, Ramathibodi Hospital, Bangkok Christian Hospital, Bumrungrad International, Nonthavej Hospital, and Samitivej-Srinakarin Hospital.

The level of medical care in Bangkok was praised in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last August 27,  2009:

I can’t answer the questions about bangkok except that the level of medical care is good here. There are two very nice private hospitals in bangkok.

Commercial Places in Krung Thep

Shopping is another reason why people come to Thailand, and at the center of this buying frenzy is Krung Thep. A wide range of options are available for this particular activity, ranging from ultra chic and modern department stores that carry a host of international designer brands, to smaller shops and markets where you can buy anything from street food to local handicrafts and even gold jewelry.

Some of the areas where you can test your talent for haggling are Khao San Road, Chinatown, and the Chatuchak weekend market. Don’t worry: it’s all in good fun and the local vendors expect it as a normal part of the transaction!

Service Establishments of Krung Thep

There are three English language newspapers published in Thailand: The Nation, The Bangkok Post, and The Thailand Times. Any of these can be delivered to your door every morning. Many English language newspapers and magazines published abroad can also be bought from hotels, department stores, supermarkets, and bookstores all over the city. You can also get subscription for many of your favorite publications from back home.

Cable and satellite TV services are available from IBC and Star. IBC is primarily responsible for airing programs from the United States, while Star is responsible for providing United Kingdom based programs.

While telephone lines are available all over the city, the waiting list for connections is quite long and it might take a while before you are hooked up. In case you are looking around for a new house or an apartment, it would be a good idea to check for the availability of a telephone connection with International access first. Mobile telephones are much more expensive than landline telephones, and the quality of the service can vary quite a lot between different companies.

Embassies in Krung Thep

For all your diplomatic concerns and any consular assistance that you may need while you are in Krung Thep, you can contact the office of the British Embassy which is conveniently located right in the city. You can find them at 14 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, and you can reach them by telephone at the following numbers: +66 (0) 2 305 8333 for the main embassy line, (66) (2) 305 8229 for consular information, and (66) (2) 305 8333 (press 2) for Visa related information. You can also fax them at (66) (2) 305 8372 for chancery, (66) (2) 255 8619 for commercial and information, (66) (2) 255 9278 for management, (66) (2) 255 6051 for consular, and at (66) (2) 254 9579 for Visa assistance.

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