We might have mentioned that we much prefer apartment rentals to staying in hotels. We don’t have our own house any more so each apartment we rent becomes a temporary home and there is something about having a couch to lounge on and a kitchen to cook in that makes us feel at ease wherever we happen to be (even if that ‘wherever’ happens to be hectic Bangkok…).
After a challenging few weeks travelling around Burma (more about our time there coming soon), we needed a space to catch up on work, so when Roomorama offered us an opportunity to try out their apartment rental site, it seemed like the perfect solution.
Roomorama lists short term apartment rentals where you can choose from a room in someone’s house to whole apartments. There are rooms and apartments all over the world, and we found plenty to choose from in Bangkok.
Unlike Simon’s stick-a-pin-in-a-list approach to decision making, I tend to drive myself crazy going through all the options but the site makes researching easy—you can choose your dates, price range, neighbourhood and, most importantly, amenities.
We decided to prioritise a separate bedroom, WiFi, kitchen, and swimming pool and came up with a short list. Our first choice didn’t get back to us so it’s a good idea to send inquiries to a number of properties.
We ended up choosing a one bedroom apartment in the MetroPark complex in Thonburi on the outskirts of the city. As we have visited Bangkok a number of times and were looking for a base to work we prioritised facilities over location, but there are plenty of more central options too.
We did feel quite isolated as the location off a large highway meant we had to get taxis everywhere but it was only a 10 minute taxi ride to the Skytrain which is the quickest way to get around Bangkok. During the day we made it to the central Silom area of the city in 30 minutes but it was a different story at rush hour when we had a long wait for a taxi on our way home. It’s best to stay in the city later and avoid the busy 5-7pm period.
The apartment itself was great and just what we expected from the photos and description. It was bright, clean and modern with WiFi, a small kitchen, washing machine, big comfortable couch and plenty of storage space. Everything was provided – towels, bedding, kitchen equipment, soap, shampoo, and even a toothbrush and paste.
What struck us the most – in contrast to many big hotels – was the personal and friendly service from the apartment owner Denis. He went out of his way to get any problems sorted quickly and was happy to provide anything we found lacking. When I mentioned there was no sharp knife he went out and bought one for us. He was also very flexible on check in and check out times, which we really appreciated as we were catching a night bus on the day we left.
The resort-like facilities of the residential development were what attracted us initially and we weren’t disappointed—there are four swimming pools, although we managed just fine with the huge infinity pool opposite our apartment that overlooked a small lake. We always had it to ourselves. There is also a modern gym, rooftop putting green, trendy coffee shop (Thais love their coffee) and a 7 Eleven.
Outside the apartment complex there are a few street food stalls on the highway but not much else. Until a few years ago the area was all rice paddy fields and behind the apartment is nothing but palm trees and jungle.
We were happy to eat in most of the time though—we always love having our own kitchen—and we stocked up on fruit and vegetables at the large local market. The vendors were obviously surprised to see tourists in this part of Bangkok and my Thai was put to the test, but prices were very low. One of the advantages of renting an apartment is escaping the more touristy parts of a city and that was certainly true here – we saw a couple of foreigners (they are the only ones who use the pool!) but it is a predominantly Thai area.
We spent the week catching up on work, enjoying the pool, and making a few trips into the city for our favourite Bangkok activity – seeing a film at the cinema. Cinemas here are modern, comfortable and very affordable with the super deluxe double couch seats at the back only costing us $6.
We may not have had a typical Bangkok experience but we were happy to be far away from the chaotic centre and the drunken tourists of Khao San Rd. We loved having a comfortable temporary home and renting an apartment is surprisingly good value. For $40 a night we had triple the space and far more facilities than the average hotel in Bangkok.
Thanks to Roomorama for providing our apartment in Bangkok—we’d certainly recommend them and we’ll be using them again in future.
Do you prefer apartments to hotels when travelling? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences.