Several times a week people email me askingng, “If I rent a Thai apartment, what’s included and what isn’t?” Westerners who move to Thailand often don’t know what to expect when they rent their first apartment and are surprised when they get one with what comes with it. If you’re planning on renting an apartment (or flat as the British call it) in Thailand, here’s what you can expect to get.
Thai Apartments Are Furnished – The first thing many westerners, especially Americans, are surprised about when they rent an apartment in Thailand is that most rental apartments come fully furnished. Particularly when you consider the cheap price you pay for renting many apartments in Thailand (average price $100-$350 a month), it’s astonishing to new arrivals in the country that their apartment will be furnished.
Most apartments or flats will come with a bed, one or two side tables, a dresser, some type of wardrobe or closet, a coffee table or dining room table, and a couple of chairs. That’s for the cheap rooms. I pay $325 a month for my apartment, which is at the high-end of the scale for one-bedrooms in the area of the city I live in. For that, I get a large one-bedroom apartment with a coffee table, sofa, dining room table and two chairs, an enormous King-size bed, two large dressers, a huge mirror, two bedside tables, a TV and a closet. I did actually buy my own furniture for the living room eventually, but I didn’t have to.
Cable TV and Televisions – At least 50% of the Thai apartments I’ve visited come with a TV. If they don’t, they’re inexpensive to buy. Almost all apartments or flats will come with some type of cable though. Often illegal, which is probably 75% of the cable in Thailand, you’ll still end up with at least four or five channels, usually an English channel, a couple of Thai ones, an Indian channel and something from Australia. If you want real cable, you can pay for it from True Cable, and that will get you a western-style package with everything but few people bother as it’s too expensive.
Kitchen Items – Some Thai apartments or flats will come with a couple of cups and saucers, two plates and two sets of knives and forks. This will keep you going until you have time to buy your own. Average apartments
do not usually come with hot water in the kitchen so any water will need to be heated. That’s why a lot of apartments also come with a hot water heater or kettle, that plugs into the wall and heats what you need.
Almost all apartments also come with a refrigerator and some will even have a microwave. My apartment, because it’s serviced came with a hot water heater, a refrigerator and a microwave oven.
Water Heater in the Bathroom – Don’t be surprised, if your apartment is on the lower end of the scale, if you don’t have hot water in the bathroom. Many lower-end Thai apartments don’t have water heaters but, as the weather is so hot, you really don’t need them or hot water. Plus, if you do want one, it’s inexpensive to buy a wall hot water heater, and pay a Thai handiman a few dollars to install it for you.
Again, because it’s on the higher-end of the scale, my bathroom does have a hot water heater, which heats the water as I’m taking a shower. Love it.
24-Hour Security Guards – I have yet to see a Thai apartment that doesn’t have 24-hour security guards. I’m sure they must exist, but every apartment I’ve looked at and every one my friends live in has one or two security guards that sit outside the apartment all hours of the day and night. Either that, or they’ll patrol a couple of apartment buildings next to each other. This makes living in most apartments very safe, as the security guards stop people coming into the building to find out where they’re going and don’t allow random strangers to wander around. The security guard’s services are included in the rent.
Amenities – The vast majority of apartments in Thailand will have some type of convenience store or counter to buy basic items somewhere in the building. Many of them also have restaurants making inexpensive Thai food that you can eat there or take back to your apartment.
My building has a small convenience store and a hairdresser, with a restaurant and a lady who takes in laundry right next door. Higher-end apartments may also have gyms and swimming pools, the use of which is usually included in the rent.
Thai apartments, even the basic $100 a month types, are usually clean, well taken care of and safe. Many now are also installing CCTV in the hallways, to make it even safer to live there.
Photo copyright – Motoyen, Creative Commons License