Because the Jewelry Trade Center is located in the very heart of what is both the business and jewelry epicenter of Bangkok - not to mention that the building is also close to one of its primary entertainment hubs, Patpong - the area is perhaps not the cheapest in the city in terms of hotels and apartments. However, with both the BTS monorail and MRT metro having a presence in the Silom/Sathorn area, AIGS can be accessed fairly easily from any other part of the city that is serviced by these two well-known public transport networks.
While hotels are as abundant as you would expect from one of the world's most visited tourist destinations, those who are planning to study at AIGS for an extended period of time will be looking for more affordable options for the medium-term or long-term:
- Apartments in Bangkok are usually single-occupancy, so flat-sharing is almost never necessary.
- Due to the short-term nature of many people’s visits to the city, Bangkok rooms tend to include “heavy” furnishings such as bed frames, mattresses, cupboards, tables, chairs and air-conditioning systems. Television sets, sofas and bedding may or may not be included, while some places will offer these items for an optional extra monthly fee.
- While most Bangkok apartments possess parking spaces for all tenants, the somewhat congested nature of the city’s roads means that MRT and BTS travel is usually the best way to get around. In addition, on the occasions when the time or location necessitates road travel, taxis tend to be extremely plentiful and cheap anyway, with a 30-minute journey unlikely to cost much more than $5.
- The more affordable (i.e. up to $300/month) units tend to be in the so-called "studio" setup, with a bedroom and attached small bathroom. These are not true studio apartments, as food preparation facilities are almost never included beyond a basic fridge and/or microwave. However, eating out tends to be more affordable than cooking at home anyway, so many visitors do not think of this as being a major issue.
- Apartments towards the higher-end of the price-range are likely to contain a separate bedroom and living room. In addition, some of the larger units will also include cooking facilities within a kitchenette or separate kitchen.
- Compared with renting in other major Asian cities such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, Bangkok tends to be far more relaxed in terms of legal paperwork and long-term commitments. If you shop around it may be possible to find a room for a single month, as owners tend to prefer having a short-term occupant in place rather than having a room go empty for an extended period of time. In addition, there is very little in the way of background or credit checks for prospective tenants, and apartments can often be obtained when in possession of nothing more than a tourist visa.
- Large residential complexes tend to be slightly less flexible in terms of contract lengths and stipulations, while small family-owned apartment buildings may be more open to negotiation during less busy periods of the year.
- Large complexes are obviously far more likely to include communal facilities such as gyms and swimming pools, but residential buildings of any size are likely to include some kind of laundry facility.
- Deposits rarely amount to more than a single month's-worth of rent, but the lack of regulation within Thailand's letting industry means you are somewhat at the mercy of the building's owner when the occupancy period is complete. While seemingly excessive costs for "cleaning" and "re-painting" may be encountered, cases where the majority of the deposit is kept for spurious reasons are thankfully quite rare.
- While water bills tend to be almost negligible, the cost of electricity can sometimes exceed that of the basic rent. The main culprit for this is air-conditioning, which many visitors to the sub-tropical and somewhat smoggy city of Bangkok will view as being an absolute necessity. Wi-Fi access is sometimes included in the rent, but rarely exceeds $25 per month anyway.
While prospective AIGS students can obviously contact any of Bangkok’s numerous hotels and apartment buildings via internet search engines, we highly recommend the following places that are within walking-distance of the JTC building:
Jewelry Trade Center (JTC)
As well as retail and office space, the JTC building also contains a residential wing that is, needless to say, the most convenient location for AIGS students. Monthly rental for a 40 square-meter room is usually in the region of $500 per month, and the utility bills are unlikely to exceed $100 per month if the air-conditioning is only in-use during the night-time hours.
Rooms are fully-furnished and include a television set, DVD player, microwave, air-conditioning system, bedsheet/blanket and a refrigerator. There are no washing machines inside the rooms, but communal laundry facilities are located on the 9th, 12th and 15th floors.
These rooms date back to the founding of the building in 1997, and are therefore obviously not brand new. However, they have generally been well-maintained over the years and are far larger in size than most units within their price range. The old-fashioned “European” design would be ideal for some, while others may instead prefer something more contemporary.
Purita Serviced Apartment: http://www.puritabangkok.com/index.html (long-term)
Saphaipae Hostel: http://www.saphaipae.com (short-term)
Amana Sathorn Serviced Apartment: http://www.amanasathorn.com (long-term)