My frequent visits to Thailand to see my son have made me realise the great variety of apartments
that are available. Obviously, if you are just going for a holiday, like me, you would be looking for
different things than if you were planning on staying long term in the country. Whichever you are
considering you will need to consider your price range but, as a visitor from the UK, it appears to me
that you would get good value for your money in comparison to what you could expect at home.
It’s important to make a checklist of what you want out of your apartment and what’s important to
you. For a start if you are way off the beaten track and there are no restaurants or stores around
you will need to consider transport. If you have a car, is there a secure parking space available?
If not, are you on a route where there are frequent tuk tuk’s or taxis to take you around? Many
people in Thailand get about on scooters but these are notoriously dangerous.
Is the property clean and is it serviced regularly? Are the bins emptied and does the surrounding
area look well-maintained? Of course, in addition to the rental charge, you will need to ask about
utility bills and make sure that you know what the charges may be. If these are not clarified at the
start it can come as a nasty surprise. Air conditioning is not really a luxury in Thailand – certainly for
me – it is a necessity.
Other things you should look out for include making sure that there are enough plug sockets for
your appliances. If you are staying long term, you’ll probably accumulate your own possessions
such as TV, fridge, cooking appliances and so on. If you are going to hire these separately from the
landlord they can all add to the expense of living in the accommodation. If you have a PC and use
the Internet, then you need to check that there is a good WiFi connection. This is always one of the
most important priorities for my son and has sometimes proved to be a bit unreliable.
A washing machine is good to have but there are an abundance of laundry services in Thailand which
are very cheap and quick. The quality can vary but in the main we have always found them to be
reasonably good. If you are staying for longer periods you will probably want to do some cooking.
It is very unusual to find an oven in a Thai apartment, because it is not used much in Thai cooking.
Street food is inexpensive and good and there are many wonderful restaurants serving all nationality
of dishes, not just Thai, but nevertheless often all you want is to have a meal at home which you’ve
cooked yourself. You may need to purchase additional equipment to cater for your requirements
such as a microwave or a toaster. Consider the layout of the kitchen and how it will work for you.
One apartment which my son rented had a cooker hob and electrical appliances on one floor and
the sink with the water supply on a lower floor. We had to introduce a system of rotating buckets to
cope with the dirty dishes and washing up!
And finally, don’t forget security. Make sure that the property is safe and that the locks are all
secure. Fortunately most apartments in Thailand have a full-time security guard and the country is
quite a safe place to be, but you can’t be too careful.