Many Expats build their daily existence around bitching and moaning. Pitch the idea that life in Bangkok is cheap and fun and you’ll get barraged with a hail of complaints ranging from all Thai’s are stupid, all Thai girls are prostitutes, all Thai’s don’t read enough, Thai culture stinks, customer service sucks, beer prices are too high, there’s too much traffic, air quality sucks, police ignore Thai on farang crime, getting a visa is a hassle, blah, blah, blah, blah. Push the idea that living in Bangkok, especially for those with modest incomes, is far superior to life back in the home country, whether that is the USA, England, Australia, Germany etc., and that those living here should switch from the daily bitch and moan to waking up everyday with a big smile and you’ll be given the same short shrift as birthers, truthers, Scientologists, and people who believe vaccinations don’t work. Many Expats poison their daily lives with the incessant bitching and moaning. They just fail to face reality. Life in Bangkok is cheap and fun —doubly so when compared to the alternatives.
One overwhelmingly positive aspect of Bangkok life is the cost of real estate and I don’t mean prices out in the rice paddies of rural bumfuck. I mean prime residential real estate and, indirectly, rental prices, in the heart of the most desirable areas. Areas such as Thonglo, Ekkamai, Silom, Sathorn, Wireless, and Upper Sukhumvit. The table shows the cost per sq. meter of prime residential real estate in the most desirable cities in the world. Bangkok is 52nd out of 63 with a cost per sq meter of $6500 USD — about 200,000 THB per sq. meter. Only Cape Town, Brussles, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur, Umbria, Christchuch, Jakart, Bali, the Kenyan Coast and Nairobi are cheaper. Buying or renting in prime upscale Bangkok neighborhoods is waaaaay cheaper in Bangkok compared to the vast majority of desirable cities throughout the world.
This isn’t an article for a refereed journal so I’ll skip the descent into the nitty gritty of how “prime residential real estate” was defined by the table’s author but his definition overstates prices relevant to most expats. Most expats don’t buy penthouses in the most expensive Bangkok show buildings but buy in the ubiquitous, run of the mill, cookie cutter condos springing up everywhere. The real estate prices relevant to most middle income Expats are substantially lower than the table indicates.
How much lower? New condo construction in Upper Sukhumvit and similar farang areas costs about 100,000 THB per sq. meter — half the amount indicated in the table. In older condos, the cost is about 60,000 THB per sq. meter. The older condos are typically larger, more spacious, and, in the better managed ones, very well maintained. Bangkok association fees average around 40 THB per sq meter. That’s about half the prices quoted in the table.
In addition, living in Bangkok allows one the great pleasure of immersing oneself in Thai culture, where people are polite to each other and tolerate difference, and reveling in Thai culture where you are liberated from the cloying web of rules and regulations imposing someone else’s values on everyone.
Cheap digs are just a bonus.
Cost of Prime Residential Real Estate
|Rank||Location||$ per sq m Q4 2011|
|17||New York (Manhattan)||23,300|
|16||British Virgin Islands||8,600|