Not so many years ago, where you chose to live was largely determined by where you worked. Before the Skytrain (BTS) and Subway systems (MRT) were built, going anywhere in Bangkok meant spending considerable time in traffic in your car, taxi or bus. Bangkok, like many other cities that grew too fast for infrastructure to keep up, suffers from very dense traffic, particularly around rush hours. If you are on the road at these times, you risk being stuck in traffic, literally, for hours.
Today, the BTS and MRT serve as the main choice of transportation for many people. Together they connect most of the city and business districts, and they are a fast, comfortable way to get around Bangkok. It also means you can be more flexible as to where you choose to live. As long as your apartment or condo is within 10 minutes of walking distance to either system, you won’t have to suffer from traffic congestion at all.
Bangkok has many different districts with different unique qualities. From the upscale and expensive Thong Lor area to more traditional Thai neighborhoods on the outskirts. Where you choose to live will make a big difference in your day to day life. Most expats will probably want to stay close to the city center for convenient access to shopping, business and entertainment. The “Areas to Live In” section that follows will get you acquainted with the neighborhoods of Bangkok that are especially popular with expats. Always, though, the best way to decide where to live is simply to go a neighborhood and get out on your feet. Who lives there? What kind of shopping, restaurants and entertainment is nearby? Is there an international school? Get a feel for the surroundings and make your decision.