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What to consider before moving to Bangkok

It’s no secret that we love Bangkok, and that’s one of the reasons we love helping people start their lives here. But there are definitely some things to bear in mind as you’re weighing up a move to this most distinctive of cities.

The heat
It hits you like an oven door swinging open and in the rainy season it can feel like you’re living in a bowl of tom yum soup. Unsurprisingly, the soaring mercury (and the three months of relentless monsoon) affects the Bangkok lifestyle in a big way. Most noticeably, the pace is much slower. Even in the big city bustle, people move, make decisions and do business at a much more leisurely pace than in cooler climes. Though it can be frustrating at first, this sabai sabai attitude is contagious and you find yourself relaxing and adapting soon enough. The upside is that seasonal affective disorder is out the window and you can leave your winter wardrobe behind. That being said, it’s worth packing a sweater for days spent shopping in the mall or for trips to the cinema; public places are big on AC, which may or may not stand for Arctic Conditions.

The food
Thais are deeply (and rightly) proud of their national cuisine. They of all the Asian nations have nailed the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and bitter and every dish is a taste sensation. Usually food is ordered for the table so everyone shares and tries a little of everything. Most Thai food is made to order so if you’re not built for the hot stuff, you can ask for fewer chilies. And while everyone has a story about someone getting sick from street food, cases are rarer than you’d expect; don’t rule it out. It’s fresh and quick and one of the remaining few ways you can save money in Bangkok – if you want to stick to western food, expect to pay near to the same prices as home.

The religion
Thailand is a Buddhist country and while Bangkok is fairly liberal, most of the general principles are observed in society. Thai people dress relatively conservatively, which can be baffling to westerners melting in the heat and gasping for a pair of shorts and a flimsy top. While drinking is welcome (to the point of encouragement) most of the year round, Buddhist holidays are dry. Generally speaking, the overriding concept of karma is respected, and though there are always a few exceptions, if you keep your wits about you, it’s a fairly safe city inhabited by trustworthy people.

The spectrum
With Bangkok developing at a breakneck rate, it’s easy to forget that Thailand is still a developing country. As such, some of its inhabitants aren’t as fortunate as others and the chasm between rich and poor is staggering and often shocking. While shiny malls and high rise offices pop up seemingly daily, there is still a slum community; and while the public transport system is clean and efficient, pollution is still a big problem.

The traffic
There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting at a red light, which turns green and then red again and never moving once. Traffic in Bangkok is terrible and there’s no getting round it. Actually, there is. There are two metro systems, one underground and one overhead, which cover almost all of downtown, and motorbike taxis weave through the jams to get you to your destination in no time.

Having mulled these things over, there are the more practical issues to consider, like visas, paperwork, finding schools, making contacts, getting all your stuff shipped and finding a place to live. Luckily, we’re here to help with all that.

So, what do you think?

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Choosing your perfect home in Bangkok

So you’ve decided to make the move to sunny Bangkok. First of all, congratulations – great decision. Second, you’re in the right place. Here at Sukhumvit Condos, we’ve got the lowdown on not only the best rental properties in the city, but also all the on-the-ground knowledge to help you choose your perfect home.

So what is there to consider? Beyond the obvious – how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’re after, and your realistic monthly budget – it’s a good idea to create a checklist of your priorities to tick off during the house hunt.

What kind of property are you dreaming of?
Property-wise, Bangkok is booming and there’s a good chance if you can conceive it, it’s out there. So, do you want a spacious ground floor flat with a garden, or a condo on the 40th floor with a view from the balcony? Do you want something with a little character and history, or a brand new shiny penthouse with a gleaming kitchen that’s never been used? Think about what sort of amenities are important to you. While a lot of properties in Bangkok have a gym and or a pool, size and conditions vary. Are you looking for somewhere with 24-hour security, or a laundry service?

What kind of neighbourhood do you want to call home?
For many, it all comes down to location, location, location. Bangkok’s got it all, so where do you want to be?

Victory monument and Phaya Thai are great for transport links and have a distinctly local feel with beer gardens, street markets and live music spots on every corner. Further north, in leafy Ari, find safe streets, more space and a suburban, small town feel with all the convenience of the centre of town just a BTS ride away.

Over towards the river, Charoenkrung and Chinatown are packed with characterful little gems like shophouses with high ceilings and wrought iron balconies; and on the other side, find a little peace and quiet, away from that big city chaos.

Perhaps the hustle and bustle is right up your street, in which case, nestle yourself amongst the big name hotels and palatial malls in Siam and its surroundings.

Off every BTS stop along Sukhumvit road, from Phloen Chit to On Nut is a neighbourhood with its own, distinct character, from the restaurants and clubs near Nana, to the trendy bars of Thong Lo, to the hidden hipster spots of Ekkamai and Phra Kanong.

And then there’s Silom where night markets, street food and a burgeoning bar scene stand side by side with the central business district. Meanwhile, just a block away, south of Sathorn road, the quiet, labyrinthine leafy streets have a family friendly, residential feel.

Draw up that list and hit our database of more than 2,000 great properties across town, and start narrowing down to find your dream pad. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch; our brains are yours for the picking.

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Moving to Bangkok? Here’s what to pack

Moving is stressful, moving to another country is even worse and moving to a country in the midst of developing Southeast Asia may seem downright daunting. Preparing to live in an entirely different climate, culture and environment is a huge task and it’s hard to know where to start. Luckily, with Sukhumvit Condos, you’ve got an on-the-ground team to help out.

First of all: breathe. It’s important to reassure you that while Thailand is undoubtedly a developing country, Bangkok is leaps and bounds ahead of many of the outlying provinces. And while things aren’t perfect, there’s more on offer here than you might think and in many ways, life is actually objectively easier here than in many western cities. For example, you can use any number of apps to deliver food from your favourite restaurants around town, directly to your door, 24 hours a day. Not so very third-world, eh?

Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city that prides itself on convenience and service. So, aside from a very few items you may want the moment you step off the plane, and those irreplaceable items with sentimental value that you can’t live without, there’s very little you might need that you can’t buy here.

From the pharmacy
Medicines for which you would need a prescription at home can usually be obtained easily, over the counter from reputable pharmacies. However, the preference for and availability of antibiotics makes it harder to get the multivitamins or cold and flu sachets you might usually reach for before you head to the doctor. As for cosmetics, the department stores stock a huge range of international brands; though when it comes to toiletries, things can be a little trickier. Thanks to the Asian preference for pale skin, many skin care products and even deodorants have whitening agents. For the same reason, sun bathing is not a popular activity among locals and sunblock is more expensive than you might expect; as for fake tan? Forget it!

Stock the fridge
Basic groceries are a cinch and getting your fresh fruit and veggies from the market can be a real adventure, but if you’re pressed for time, the supermarkets are convenient and comprehensive. Many stock imported brands, which, although more expensive, will generally satisfy your homesick cravings. Having said that, some familiar brands have been altered for local tastes. Ketchup and baked beans, for example, are often much sweeter than you might be used to. As for chocolate, even Snickers and Kit Kats are modified so as not to melt so quickly in the heat, so they taste a little different.

Keep yourself entertained
Bookworms, relax; there are a number of chain and independent bookstores with a great range of English language books. But it can be handy to invest in a Kindle or similar if you’re after specific titles. On that note, most gadgets will convert easily with a standard adaptor plug, available at the airport or in many 7-Elevens, though it’s always worth checking the voltage, to be sure.

Outfits and ensembles
When it comes to packing your wardrobe, obviously be aware that your outfits for city living will be different from your island holiday get-up. Thailand is hot but in the city, you’ll find yourself in arctic air conditioning a lot of the time. Bring a capsule wardrobe to cover all occasions and remember, most of your favourite high street and designer brands are here, not to mention countless street, night and weekend markets where you can pick up bits and pieces to refresh your look. It should be noted that it is harder (but not impossible) for gents to find shoes bigger than a UK size 10 and for ladies to find bras larger than a D cup.

To sum up, when organising your suitcases or container shipments for the move to Bangkok: bring just your essentials and favourites and be prepared for some minor adjustments.

For more tips, stay tuned to the blog and if you have any questions about our comprehensive shipping and moving service, get in touch.