When you first decide to move to Bangkok, one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is where you want to live.

This is where the hundreds of great cheap hotels in Bangkok come in.

As well as providing you with low-cost, easy accommodation when you first get here, staying in one of these establishments will give you a real feel for the area, hopefully helping you decide which neighbourhood you want to settle in.

Each Bangkok neighbourhood is different. The easiest way to find out about any pros and cons of a neighbourhood is to actually spend some time there. With this in mind, it’s always best to stay in a local hotel for at least a few days to get a real feel for your potential new district. After all, it makes sense to find your feet in the city before signing a contract and making a commitment to pay rent for a property.

It’s no secret that there are hundreds of cheap hotels in Bangkok. With so much accommodation to suit all budgets, you don’t have to spend much money to do a bit of investigating.

Here are our favourite cheap Bangkok hotels in a handful of different areas.

Cheap hotels in Sukhumvit

As one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Bangkok, Sukhumvit is always a great place to stay and explore. It’s particularly well liked by foreigners and is the area where most expats choose to live. Not only is Sukumvit well connected to the MRT underground and BTS Skytrain, but it’s also the place to go to find great shopping, restaurants and night spots.

There are also plenty of cheap hotels in Sukhumvit that provide easy access to essential amenities in Bangkok. Let’s take a look at some of our top budget-friendly picks.

The Mix Bangkok

cheap hotels near BTS

Located in Phrom Phong on Soi 22, this is a popular yet cheap hotel in Sukhumvit.

It’s very close to the shopping district of EmQuartier and Emporium malls, as well as within easy reach of both a BTS and MRT station. Soi 22 in particular is home to a wide array of restaurants, bars and massage shops.

  • 3* rating
  • 0.6 miles from Emporium Shopping Mall
  • 1.1 miles from Soi Cowboy
  • 750 yards from Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre
  • Features air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi
  • All rooms have a private bathroom, flat-screen TV and cable channels
  • 24-hour front desk

cheap hotels in sukhumvit

Hotel Nantra de Comfort

cheap hotels in sukhumvit

Found in the vibrant and cosmopolitan area of Thonglor, Hotel Nantra de Comfort is a surprisingly cheap hotel near the BTS.

There are a huge number of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops in this area, as well as a stylish Thai and foreign population.

Rooms here are themed, with all mod cons like WiFi and air-con.

  • 3* rating
  • 29 flower themed hotel rooms with air-con and WiFi
  • 750 yards from Thonglor BTS Station
  • Room amenities include flat-screen satellite TV, feather duvets and custom bathrooms
  • Computer terminals available within the hotel
  • Lift, luggage storage and safety deposit box available
  • 24-hour front desk

cheap hotels in sukhumvit

Cheap hotels near BTS

If you’ve got your heart set on moving to Bangkok, it’s likely that you’ll want to live near to public transport links. There are a huge number of cheap hotels near BTS so you’ll have no problem finding short-term accommodation here.

With trains running almost continuously across the city, with two lines running through Sukhumvit, Siam and Silom, the BTS is a major transport hub that makes getting around a whole lot easier.

Luckily for you, there are various cheap hotels near BTS at budget rates – and we’ve handpicked a couple of great contenders for your consideration.

Been Hostel Ratchathewi

cheap hotel near the bts

Situated in the heart of the Phaya Thai district of Bangkok, not too far from the central hub of Siam, you get a lot more for your money with Been Hostel Ratchathewi compared with many other properties in the area.

It’s one of the best rated hostels in Bangkok, popular with expats, backpackers and anyone travelling Thailand on a budget.

  • Sun terrace with city views
  • 350 yards from The Jim Thompson House
  • 750 yards from Siam Paragon Mall
  • 0.1 miles from BTS-Ratchathewi Skytrain Station
  • 0.3 miles from BTS National Stadium
  • Features air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi
  • A mix of mixed dormitories, female dorms and double rooms (all with shared bathrooms)
  • Laundry facilities available

cheap hotel near the bts


cheap hotels in sukhumvit

Again to be found in the Phaya Thai area of the city, Movylodge is a hip hostel well within walking distance of both BTS Ratchathewi and Phaya Thai.

The interior decor boasts a white and natural wood theme and is designed and owned by a trendy interior design studio.

  • 2-star rating
  • Bright and cosy rooms
  • Spacious common area and TV lounge
  • On-site café
  • 0.1 miles from BTS-Ratchathewi Skytrain Station
  • 0.3 miles from BTS Phaya Thai
  • Dormitory rooms come with locker, reading light, air-con, WiFi and privacy curtains
  • All rooms come with a shared bathroom and toilet on each floor
  • Laundry and luggage storage facilities available
  • 24-hour front desk

cheap hotel near the bts

Cheap hotels near Suvarnabhumi Airport

As Thailand’s major airport servicing both domestic and international flights, it’s always a smart move to stay near to Suvarnabhumi Airport. When you do decide to move to Bangkok for the long-term, it’s handy to have the airport on your doorstep to make flying home or going away on business that much easier.

With so many cheap hotels near Suvarnabhumi Airport, we’ve rounded up 2 of our favourites that are also reasonably priced.

Wanderlust Bangkok Hostel

cheap hotels near bangkok airport

Found in the Lat Krabang neighbourhood, Wanderlust Bangkok Hostel offers budget accommodation, as well as friendly and helpful staff to make your stay more pleasurable.

  • Shared lounge and billiards
  • Airport shuttle service available
  • 1.9 miles from Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • 2.4 miles from The Paseo Mall
  • Rooms equipped with bathrooms, flat-screen TV with cable channels, air-con and free WiFi
  • Choice of mixed dorms, female dorms, or queen rooms

cheap hotels near bangkok airport

Ploy Khum Thong Boutique Resort

cheap hotels near suvarnabhumi airport

While still top of the class of cheap hotels near Suvarnabhumi airport, this sophisticated boutique resort offers a little taste of luxury without the fancy price tag.

It’s a great find for anyone looking for quality airport accommodation without having to share a room at a hostel, or pay a premium for a hotel.

  • 4* rating
  • Outdoor pool, spa and wellness centre, restaurant
  • Airport shuttle service available
  • 10-minute drive to Suvarnabhumi Airport
  • 15-minute drive to Mahanakorn Floating Market
  • 1.3 miles from Lat Krabang Airport Rail Link Station
  • 2.5 miles from The Paseo Mall
  • Room amenities include an en-suite bathroom, refrigerator, flat screen TV with cable, air-con and free WiFi
  • Laundry service and currency exchange available
  • 24-hour front desk

cheap hotels near bangkok airport

Cheap Hotels near the Grand Palace

Home to the Emerald Buddha, a variety of temples and royal buildings, the Grand Palace complex is one of Bangkok’s major tourist attractions. It’s undoubtedly the city’s most spectacular area and a must-see location for anyone thinking of moving to Thailand. Famous for its history and breath-taking architecture, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to consider the district for your new home.

Before you make any final decisions, check out the sights and properties on offer by staying in one of these cheap hotels near Grand Palace.

The Royal ThaThien Village

cheap hotel near the grand palace

With the Grand Palace, Temple of the Golden Mount and Bangkok City Pillar within walking distance from The Royal ThaThien Village, you’re only ever footsteps away from all the popular local landmarks and attractions.

It’s one of the most popular cheap hotels near the Grand Palace, thanks to its great location, helpful staff and general budget luxury ambiance.

  • 2* rating
  • Thai restaurants located around the property
  • 5-minute drive from Grand Palace and Wat Pho Temple
  • 10-minute boat ride from Wat Arun and Temple of Dawn
  • Rooms equipped with en-suite bathrooms, air-con, WiFi, a telephone and flat-screen TV with cable

cheap hotels near grand palace

The Warehouse Bangkok

cheap hotels near grand palace

When you book a stay at The Warehouse Bangkok, you can explore all the sights of old town Bangkok and discover what it’s like to be part of this unique community.

Just a ten minute walk from the notorious Khao San Road, this part of Bangkok is seriously popular with young travellers and those after budget accommodation. It’s definitely on of our favourite cheap hotels near the Grand Palace.

  • 3* rating
  • On-site bar and the Forklift cafe serving international cuisine
  • 0.3 miles from Khao San Road
  • 15-minute drive to Grand Palace
  • All rooms come with en-suite facilities
  • Features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi
  • Lift and safety deposit boxes available
  • 24-hour front desk

cheap hotels near grand palace

When moving to Thailand for the first time, you’re presented with a huge amount of houses and condos to both buy and rent all across the city of Bangkok. However, it’s crucial to get to know an area better to ensure you get the most from your experience abroad.

When you stay in one of these recommended cheap hotels in Bangkok, you can take the time to find somewhere that exactly meets your needs and expectations, as well as makes your transition easier. Have a safe trip!


Featured image includes photo by Mighty Travels (CC BY 2.0 licence)

best hotels near bangkok aiport

Bangkok is a transit point for many travellers as they begin and end their Southeast Asian adventures.

It’s likely that you’ve wondered about the best hotels near Bangkok airport at some point, whether you’re looking for a place to stay in between flights or just need to stay close to the airport for a night or two.

There are actually two airports that serve as the gateway to the bustling city, both of which are located out of town.

Suvarnabhumi Airport mostly handles long haul international flights whilst most of the domestic and short haul international flights land at the smaller Don Mueang Airport. Thankfully, there is a small selection of good hotels nearby both.

We’ve put together a guide to the best Bangkok airport hotels, picked to suit any taste and budget to help take the stress out of your stopover.

Best Hotel near Suvarnabhumi Reviews

Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

best hotels near Bangkok airport

This 4 star hotel is within 10 minutes walking distance or a free shuttle ride of Suvarnabhumi Airport. The lobby is set within an impressive glass atrium which is a great place to unwind after your flight.

No set check-in/check-out time means guests can arrive anytime without having to worry about flight delays and check-out 24 hours later. Business and fitness facilities are open 24 hours and with an outdoor garden pool, massage spa, 5 restaurants and 2 bars to choose from there is everything you need to enjoy a relaxing and luxurious stay without stepping foot outside the hotel.

Rooms are spacious and contemporary in design, with marble en-suite bathrooms, ergonomic work areas, internet access with free WiFi and satellite television.

For guests who would like to explore Bangkok, the city centre is a quick and easy 15-minute train ride away via the Airport Rail Link.

  • 4* hotel
  • 0.4km from Suvarnabhumi
  • Free shuttle to airport
  • Pool, spa, onsite restaurants and bars
  • Check-in available 24 hours

best bangkok airport hotel

Boxtel @ Suvarnabhumi Airport

best hotel near suvarnabhumi

Ideal for travellers wishing to stay in the best hotel near Suvarnabhumi but who do not have the time to properly check into a hotel, Boxtel @ Suvarnabhumi Airport is based within the basement level of the airport itself.

Small air-conditioned private rooms for single persons are available for a maximum of 4 hours, making this a practical, wallet friendly option for those needing a brief rest between flights. Free WiFi access is provided, however guests must make use of the airport toilet to freshen up. Restaurants and a 24 hour convenience store are nearby.

Rooms are decorated in a simple, calming style and check-in is available 24-hours a day. The Airport Rail Link Station providing train connections with the city centre is only a short walk away.

  • Capsule hotel
  • Within Suvarnabhumi airport
  • Check-in available 24 hours

best bangkok airport hotel

Crystal Suites Suvarnabhumi Airport

best hotels near bangkok airport

Located just under 4 km from Suvarnabhumi Airport, this recently constructed 3 star hotel boasts 75 beautifully decorated rooms and suites offering guests maximum comfort and modern amenities.

Crystal Suites is an easy hop from the airport via the free airport shuttle, and has a convenient 24-hour reception check-in service. Rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, LED screen TV, comfy beds, en-suite shower, coffee and tea making facilities and safety deposit box.

On site there is a small cafe which sells a selection of hot and cold beverages and snacks, and the Crystal Restaurant serves Thai, Japanese and Western cuisines. The Paseo Shopping Mall is a 5 minute walk from the hotel where guests can find facilities including a bank, grocery store, pharmacy and fast food restaurants.

  • 3* hotel
  • 3.8km from Suvarnabhumi
  • Free shuttle to airport
  • Check-in available 24 hours
  • Swimming pool

best bangkok airport hotel

Best Hotel Near Don Mueang Reviews

Amari Don Mueang Airport

best bangkok airport hotel

This hotel is often regarded as the best hotel near Don Mueang and is directly connected to the Airport via a handy walkway.

There are 347 generously sized rooms and suites decorated in a contemporary Thai style and fitted with sound-proofed windows to ensure a good nights’ sleep. Wifi is free, and rooms come with 32″ LCD TV, personal safe and en-suite bathrooms.

Tasty international cuisine is available in the hotel’s Zeppelin restaurant, including a gourmet buffet breakfast. Alternatively guests can experience live music, retro decor and an extensive list of cocktails at the American themed Henry J. Bean’s Bar & Grill.

An event planning team handles corporate meetings and events in the well equipped function rooms here, making it a popular choice for business travellers.

For guests who would like to venture into the centre of Bangkok, the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle bus to BTS Mo Chit (the nearest Skytrain station) and on weekends to Chatuchak Market for an incredible shopping experience.

  • 4* hotel
  • Connected directly to Don Mueang via a walkway
  • Swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurants and cocktail lounge on site

best bangkok airport hotel

Don Mueang Airport Modern Bangkok

best hotel near don muang

Guests at Don Mueang Airport Modern Bangkok can expect clean, comfortable 3 star boutique style accommodation only a 10 minute walk from the airport. Air-conditioned rooms are well proportioned with balcony, en-suite shower, free WiFi internet access and satellite TV.

The atmosphere is welcoming and there is a hotel restaurant where English breakfasts are served each morning (surcharge applies). The hotel also provides a free one way taxi transfer for guests returning to Don Mueang Airport after their stay.

This reasonably priced hotel is also nearby to IMPACT Arena, making it the perfect base for travellers attending trade fairs, exhibitions and concerts.

  • 2* aparthotel
  • 0.6km from Don Mueang
  • Apartments with balconies

best bangkok airport hotel

Dhub Hostel Don Mueang

best bangkok airport hotel

Also only a 10 minute walk from the airport, Dhub Hostel Don Mueang is an excellent choice for those travelling on a budget.

The cosy and clean air conditioned dormitories are a great place to meet fellow travellers. There is also a communal lounge which provides tea and coffee making facilities and a snack bar, and a simple breakfast is included as part of the price. The pleasant staff are very welcoming and there is free WiFi available in both the dorm and lounge areas.

Restaurants can be found nearby as well as a 7-11 where you can pick up supplies.

  • Hostel with mixed dormitory and shared lounge
  • 0.5km from Don Mueang
  • Air-Con and free WiFi throughout

best bangkok airport hotel


Our top choice for Suvarnabhumi is the 4 star Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport as it has everything you need on-site with a touch of luxe thrown in. For Don Mueang the friendly, convivial atmosphere of the budget option Dhub Hotel makes it our favourite. But whatever your requirements, there is suitable short stay accommodation to be found only a short hop away from both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

What’s your pick for the best Bangkok airport hotel?

where to live in bangkok

When you first decide to move to Bangkok as an expat, your first question is probably, ‘Where should I live?’

Expats tend to prefer either Sukhumvit or Silom — but which is the best for your wants and needs?

Let’s find out…

Where To Live In Bangkok

There’s a fantastic fusion of traditional Thai culture and futuristic modernity in Thailand’s capital city. All over Bangkok conflicting elements combine to create a wondrous and eccentric metropolis, and Western expats find it irresistible. The nightlife is notorious here, the weather warm, and there are also a wealth of excellent restaurants, shiny new shopping centres and charming traditional markets, mysterious Buddhist temples, and art and cultural events to enjoy.

The two most appealing neighbourhoods for Western expats living in Bangkok are Sukhumvit and Silom. Both areas are served by the Skytrain (BTS), have plenty of great accommodation available, excellent bars and restaurants and a vibrant expat social scene.

So what’s the difference between these two popular locations?

Sukhumvit vs Silom

General Ambiance

Known as the ‘expat ghetto’ Sukhumvit is generally the more popular of the two zones. Tourist attractions are few here, but there is an abundant choice of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs — as well as some fantastic shopping to be had at malls like Terminal 21, EmQuartier and Emporium.

sukhumvit or silom

Sukhumvit and the Terminal 21 mall

There is an air of modern luxury here, which lends a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Silom may be slightly less popular with expats, but that doesn’t mean it has less on offer.

This area is the city’s business hub and part of the central banking district. During the week this place is buzzing, as businessmen and bankers socialising during and after work to make the most of the entertainments on offer. Weekends are generally a little calmer. There are some fabulous restaurants here, as well as lots of fine hotels and the legendary nightlife scene of Patpong.

Nightlife and Restaurants

The nightlife in the Sukhumvit neighbourhood is famously vibrant. Here you will find some of the finest clubs, restaurants and bars in Bangkok. The hip hang outs of the Thonglor and Ekkamai areas are where the most stylish locals and foreigners like to schmooze and party the night away.

For lovers of the Go-Go bargirl scene, on the other hand, Nana Plaza in Sukhumvit’s red-light district offers an ‘adults only’ experience, whereas the neon vision of the 20 or so bars at Soi Cowboy has a slightly more relaxed vibe for those seeking red light thrills.

The world famous red light district of Patpong at Silom is where Thailand’s Go-Go culture was born. For those seeking adult entertainment there are over 100 strip bars here offering sexy shows. With its fun and friendly vibe and flair for the dramatic, Silom Soi 4 is Bangkok’s hub for gay nightlife.

sukhumvit vs silom

Silom Soi 4 is a gay hotspot (image by Ryan Lackey: CC BY 2.0 licence)

If you’re choosing either Sukhumvit or Silom, don’t think that the restaurants stop at Sukhumvit. There are also a host of quality eateries in the Silom area, where you can choose from a variety of international cuisines including French and Japanese, as well as traditional Thai.


In the battle of Sukhumvit vs Silom, both are well connected for commuting or exploring the rest of Bangkok.

Sukhumvit is served by the Sukhumvit line of the BTS Skytrain which runs over Sukhumvit Road from west to east with stations in all the key areas including Nana, Thong Lo and Ekkamai. There is also an MRT (metro) station right in the middle of the district which connects with the Skytrain at Asok.

Silom also has its own BTS line, with BTS station Sala Daeng being centrally placed to easily access most of the action. The Silom area can also be reached via the MRT – the most central station being MRT Si Lom at the entrance of Lumphini Park. The proximity of Silom to the nearby Chao Phraya river also means that it can be accessed by riverboat with express ferries running every 15 minutes or so.


Some of the best shopping in Bangkok can be found in Sukhumvit with large, luxurious malls and shopping centres offering practically everything you could want.

where to live in Bangkok

Nana in Sukhumvit (Image by Mark Fischer: CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

Terminal 21 Shopping Mall is themed like a trip around the world, and has over 600 shops and a food court. Emporium is full of glamorous upscale boutiques selling both Thai and international designer fashions, homewares and electrical goods. The newly built EmQuartier in Phrom Phong has a glittering futuristic design and is filled with designer brands as well of dozens of restaurants and a refreshing atrium garden when you need to take a break from shopping.

In comparison Silom has rather fewer opportunities for shopping. The Silom Complex is the only really shopping mall here, but despite being smaller than its counterparts in Sukhumvit it nevertheless offers a good all-round shopping experience focused on affordability rather than designer goods.

As well as local boutiques you’ll find familiar brands here selling electrical goods, fashions, books and jewellery.

Both neighbourhoods have plenty of market action by way of street food stalls and small night markets.

Rental Prices

One of the most important things to consider when choosing to live in Sukhumvit or Silom is comparative rental prices.

Compared to the rest of the city, the convenience and popularity of the Sukhumvit and Silom areas makes them two of the more expensive locations in Bangkok to rent property. However, prices are still much cheaper compared to back in the West, and it’s possible to find something to suit your taste and budget – whether it’s a condo, villa or townhouse – from anything between 5,000 – 150,000 Thai Baht per month.

Due to its proximity to Bangkok’s Central Business District and the availability of more prestigious developments, Silom is marginally more expensive than Sukhumvit. Be aware that in both neighbourhoods being closer to shopping malls and BTS or MRT stops will bump up the rental costs.

where to live in bangkok

The BTS Silom line (Photo by Mike Behnken: CC BY-ND 2.0 licence)


The decision of where to live in Bangkok really depends on individual needs, tastes and preferences.

Whether you choose to settle in Sukhumvit or Silom, you’ll find plenty of adventure and advantages. We guarantee both neighbourhoods will be an exhilarating experience.

Sukhumvit vs Silom: which is your favourite?


Featured image contains photo by Terence Ong (CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

Bangkok vs Pattaya: Where Should I Live?

“Should I move to Bangkok or Pattaya?”

This is a dilemma faced by many expats who can’t decide between the chaos of Thailand’s capital city, or the chance to live closer to the sea in a resort town.

Both Bangkok and Pattaya have advantages and disadvantages.

In this article we will go over some of the major differences in living in each of these cities.

Bangkok vs. Pattaya

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and the most visited city in the world. This title does not come without a premium in terms of pace of living.

The streets are crowded, the traffic is terrible, pollution is high, but there is a ton of things to do and diversity on every corner. It’s a popular place to live.

Pattaya is a resort town, nowhere near as big as Bangkok. It is pitched on Thailand’s eastern seaboard and draws millions of tourists, mostly for its crazy nightlife scene.

While Pattaya is quieter than Bangkok, we are not referring to its bars and clubs. In fact, a stroll down the infamous Walking Street marks Pattaya as one of the ‘loudest’ night spots in all of Thailand. However, beyond the noise and commotion from the bars and clubs, there is a much slower pace of life outside of Bangkok.

This could be said for the whole of Thailand.

We saw this description of the two cities:

  • Bangkok is a city with nightlife.
  • Pattaya is nightlife with a city.

This is rather accurate.

The Bangkok and Pattaya Expat Communities Compared

Bangkok attracts an international mix of expats from every corner of the globe. It is popular with Europeans, Americans, Australians, Japanese, Chinese and all other Asian countries.

It also attracts a much younger crowd than Pattaya.

That’s because Bangkok has access to considerably more jobs and opportunity, being one of the world’s great trading posts. It is a melting pot of aspiration; which is something you should definitely know before you move here.

Young Thais move to Bangkok, ‘the big city’, to make the most of their skills.

They do not move to Pattaya.

Younger expats also favour Bangkok; a group that is rapidly catching up with the retirement crowd in numbers.

By comparison, Pattaya is a semi-retirement playground full of expats who would rather embrace a slower pace of life than get back in the thick of it in sweltering Bangkok.

Pattaya attracts a smaller demographic of expats, even if it does lure tourists from all over the world.

Most expats who live here are British, American or Eastern European. There is a very strong Russian presence.

Cost of Living

It is difficult to compare cost of living in Bangkok vs. cost of living in Pattaya.

Mainly because Bangkok is such a sprawling metropolis where you can live a life of extravagance, or one of relatively cheap kicks.

What we will say is that living in the prime spots of Pattaya will cost you less than living in the prime spots of Bangkok.

Pattaya’s nightlife is, as you would expect, considerably cheaper than Bangkok’s.

Numbeo has a very interesting Cost of Living comparison between the two cities:

  • Consumer Prices in Bangkok are 17.27% higher than in Pattaya
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bangkok are 24.07% higher than in Pattaya
  • Rent Prices in Bangkok are 42.91% higher than in Pattaya
  • Restaurant Prices in Bangkok are 11.45% higher than in Pattaya
  • Groceries Prices in Bangkok are 18.10% higher than in Pattaya
  • Local Purchasing Power in Bangkok is 98.19% higher than in Pattaya

And yes, for those of you wondering, the cost of ‘night time thrills’ is considerably higher in Bangkok than in Pattaya.

(…Obviously we’re talking about beer — 15.46% more expensive in Bangkok.)

Getting Around

Bangkok has a greater diversity of transport options; from subways, to skytrains, to taxis, to trams, to buses, to motorcycles, to tuk tuks and with many odd vehicles in-between.

Pattaya is stacked to the eyeballs with buses and cheap rides around town.

While Bangkok has more options, it is undoubtedly less fun to try ‘getting around’.

The traffic in Bangkok renders some of the most popular routes completely out-of-action in rush hour. And rush hour doesn’t have to stipulate the start or end of a work day. It could simply mean that it’s raining so the whole of Bangkok decided to drive.

Traffic in Pattaya can be pretty bad, but it’s not a scratch on BKK.

For those seeking a quieter day-to-day life, Pattaya wins this battle. Hands down.

Best of Both Worlds?

It won’t have escaped many readers that Bangkok and Pattaya are a mere 148 km apart.

Bangkok to Pattaya in 2 hours

Bangkok to Pattaya in 2 hours

Note: While Pattaya is situated on the beach, this is not one of the beautiful Thai beaches you have dreamed about. Enter the waters at your peril.

Given the close proximity, the entire argument of Bangkok vs Pattaya is somewhat flawed.

You can have the best of both worlds by living in one city and regularly visiting the other.

Many Bangkok expats see Pattaya as their weekend ‘beach break’; a short 2 hour drive away from the big city.

Likewise, many Pattaya expats see Bangkok as a monstrous sprawl looming on the horizon, worth visiting, but only with a good reason.

You can live in either Bangkok or Pattaya and still enjoy what the other has to offer. This is one of the great advantages of the Bangkok/Pattaya setup, as opposed to say… Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which are 700 km apart.

Both Bangkok and Pattaya have a lot to offer the expat crowd.

Which city you decide to settle in will probably depend on your ability (or willingness) to keep up with Bangkok’s furious pace of life.

For everybody else, there’s Patts.

Bangkok or Pattaya?

Where would you rather live and why?

So, you’ve decided to move to Bangkok?

Great decision!

But just before you pack up those bags and hop on the next flight over, there’s a few things worth knowing and preparing yourself with beforehand.

Bangkok is one of the greatest cities in the world — but we wouldn’t recommend simply turning up and seeing what happens with no forward thinking.

Here’s a checklist of the things you need to be prepared with before your move to Bangkok.

1. Get your Thai visa in advance

Unless you want to be running around Southeast Asia like a headless chicken within a month of your arrival, it’s best to arrange your visa in advance – especially if you want to stay in Thailand on a long-term basis.

If you’ve already arranged a job for yourself in Bangkok, the company administration should help you procure a three month Non-B Visa. They can send you all the necessary paperwork and you can apply for the visa at the Thai embassy in your home country.


By BreakdownDiode (Creative Commons)

If you’re planning on staying as a tourist in Thailand, you can choose to come in on a Visa Exemption stamp or a Visa on Arrival at your arrival into Suvarnabhumi International, depending on your nationality. Visa Exempt stamps allow for a 30-day stay, while Visa on Arrival allows for 14 days.

Check which one you’re entitled to here.

If you want to stay for longer than that, however, you will need to arrange a Tourist Visa in advance – and ideally in your home country.

There are two types of tourist visa: a single entry visa, allowing for a 60 day stay (which can be extended by another 30 days once you’re in Thailand); and a multi-entry visa, which is valid for 6 months from the date of issue (and again, can be extended).

2. Bring enough money

Don’t count on having immediate income when you move to Bangkok – unless you plan to live off savings or a pension, or have a job already lined up here, it’s always best to bring as much money as you can so you don’t run out.

Most long-term apartment rentals will require two months of rent as a deposit and one month of rent paid upfront too. Remember, you’ll also need enough cash to feed and entertain yourself, as well as pay your bills.

It’s possible to live very cheaply or very lavishly in Bangkok – just make sure you haven’t plundered your savings in the first week.

3.You can buy (almost) everything over here

Don’t waste your money on shipping all your belongings from home, or paying for extra cabin baggage.

Clothes, furniture, books, stationery, kitchen equipment, gadgets – you name it, practically everything can be bought over here (although they may have an import tax attached if you’re buying foreign-made products).

Products that may be harder to buy are particularly large sized clothes and shoes – you’ll likely need to shop at more expensive, foreign stores to find these specialist products.

move to bangkok

Chatuchak Market. By Mr.Peerapong Prasutr (Creative Commons)

4. Many Thais are fatalistic

If you’re moving from a developed Western country, you may be surprised at just how ambivalent many Thais are towards the dangerous driving culture – only a minority of passengers wear helmets on motorbikes, while speeding and dangerously weaving in and out of traffic is a common occurence.

The Buddhist religion believes in reincarnation, and many Thais subscribe to the notion that if they or others die, they will simply be reborn again.

Consequently, it sometimes seems as though there is less value placed on individual life.

Thais are also very superstitious – thanks to a combination of Buddhist, Hindu and Animist beliefs – and will often ‘make merit’ (give donations and offerings) to temples, monks and spirit houses. This is meant to ensure that they reach the heavenly afterlife.

5. Watch your tongue

It’s likely that you already know about Thailand’s strict Lèse Majesté law, which allows for heavy punishments for anyone found guilty of insulting the Thai royal family in any way.

This law is enacted often; it is best to simply not discuss the royal family – including past monarchs and dynasties – or their work at all.

Suing for libel and slander is also a relatively common practice in Thailand so be very careful about how you speak of people in person and online.

The current ruling government of Thailand is the NCPO, borne of a 2014 military coup. In various bids to stabilise the country and enact reform, they are active in tackling political activism and opposition.

move to bangkok

HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej and HM Queen Sirikit. Via YouTube/True Visions Official (Creative Commons)

6. You need travel insurance

Just like anywhere, it’s easy to get yourself in a scrape while you’re in Bangkok.

Road accidents are common – particularly on motorbikes – and you’ll quickly find out that ‘health and safety’ standards aren’t quite up to the expectations of the Western world.

If you buy travel insurance while you’re still at home, you’ll be able to take advantage of the cheapest prices.

Just buy it, and then hopefully you’ll be able to forget about it and never need it – it’s worth it for the peace of mind alone.

7. Bangkok isn’t just ladyboys and red light districts

Some people are under the impression that Bangkok is little more than a hedonistic paradise, populated with enigmatic transgenders and mysterious bar girls, all searching for a Western man to sweep them off their feet and ‘save’ them.

Certainly, this is a part of Bangkok – and all some foreigners see when they jet here on a two-week holiday – but it’s hardly all there is to the city.

The red light districts of the city are very clearly demarcated, and are generally very self-contained across a few small streets.

If you arrive in Bangkok with the Miss Saigon fantasy of saving a young and beautiful girl from a life of prostitution, you’ll likely quickly find yourself wrapped around the finger of a girl who’s seen and heard it all before, and who knows how to turn that to her advantage.

move to bangkok

Soi Cowboy. By Eustaquio Santimano (Creative Commons)

8. Age matters

In an almost direct reversal of life in the West, you’ll find that age commands respect in Thailand and that the young will generally defer to their elders.

You’ll be expected to give up your seat on the BTS or MRT for an older person, and you’ll frequently see them push to the front of queues while in shops or waiting for public transport.

Many Thais respectfully refer to older people as “Auntie” or “Uncle”, even if they’re not related.

9. Locals will think you’re rich

There is an association that a white person equals a rich person, and many Thais will assume you have wealth based entirely on the colour of your skin.

This is particularly prevalent when it comes to white men dating Thai women — in some cases, you will be expected to routinely pick up the cheque. You may need to re-educate them on this early if you don’t want this to set the tone for the relationship.

Sometimes this can extend further than just your girlfriend and partner to the rest of their family – some Western men find themselves having to send money to their girlfriend’s family for the care of sick grandparents, or even farm animals!

10. Phones are the centre of the universe

Thais love their smartphones and it’s a common sight to see people, regardless of age, buried into their screens while on the BTS, walking the streets, in shops, and even on dates!

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By Killer Turnip (Creative Commons)

If you want to assimilate in Bangkok and make Thai friends quickly, get yourself a smartphone and download the LINE app. This is the Asian equivalent to WhatsApp, and you’ll find most Thais spending a lot of time chatting to their friends and family on it.

Before you know it, you’ll be part of a huge LINE group with all your new friends!