House Hunting

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Moving to a new country can be difficult.
Choosing where to live in that country, is even harder.
Especially when you’ve never spent more than a few days there.
 
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When S and I first moved to Thailand, S was the only one with a job.
We had heard about Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams, so when we began our apartment search we wanted to ensure that S was close enough to work to avoid a long commute everyday.
S’ boss was helping us with the house-hunt and introduced us to an area called Pinklao.
 
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Pinklao is a relatively quiet area when you compare it to the likes of Sukhumvit.
There are a handful of expats dotted around, however most of them work long teaching hours so socialising with thy English speaking neighbours doesn’t really happen.
The majority of people living here are Thai (duh – it’s Thailand after all), but what I mean is when you visit other area’s sometimes the biggest nationality population in that area is of the home country. Such as Pattaya, and Russians.
 
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The area itself seems lovely.
It has a large shopping centre, two cinema’s and plenty of food stalls all within walking distance, but most importantly, it’s a mere ten minute (traffic free!) commute for S to get to work. We managed to find two apartments that we liked, but unfortunately – the one that had a bath (major selling point for me as I’m a total water baby) also had a rather large construction site which was going to be around for two years or so whilst they built another high-rise next door. So in the end we settled for option two. No bath – but no noise!
 
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But it’s not until you live somewhere that you realise the pro’s and con’s that an area has. Pinklao had a pretty equal balance of pro’s and con’s, in the sense that neither swayed the way we enjoyed life until one happened. For instance – every time we wanted to venture into the city Pinklao was a major con because we would need to hail a cab, catch a boat (or MRT) and then a BTS just to get there. Getting a cab the whole way there was also an option, but it was an option that required two hours and for you to have the patience of a saint.
So that option was regularly skipped. Unless we were returning home at 3am because YAY no traffic!
 
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To be fair, that was our only real negative, it was just inconvenient because that one negative, was the one that affected our plans. Especially when most of the socialising is done in central Bangkok. But it wasnt all that bad because it meant S was home within minutes of finishing work, and we weren’t constantly surrounded by people.
Plus living slightly out of the city, made me appreciate it more because even if we were just popping out for lunch, it felt like a day trip.
 
Living in a less busy area has also helped a lot in making me feel more settled.
Whilst culture shock can be a positive thing when constantly travelling, it has a much more negative effect when you move to a new place to live. Living away from most of the English speaking people in Bangkok wasn’t ideal in terms of making friends etc, but it did help me get through the shock of culture change, and settle into appreciating it more.
And whilst a lot of the people I encounter on a daily basis don’t speak English, the fact that they smile and wave excitedly when they see me coming is very sweet. Especially since the motorcycle taxi’s know me enough to stop overcharging me now!
 
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Bangkok is an extremely large place so if you’re thinking of moving over here there’s a few questions I recommend you ask yourself before committing to an apartment.

  • How far away from your job is it?
  • Is it near a BTS / MRT?
  • Is there more than one way in/out?
  • Is there a supermarket nearby?

Asking yourself these questions can really help in finding the right place for you, and when you’re sitting at home or in a nice little cafe, instead of sitting in traffic, you’ll be glad that you did!