Signing the Lease on the Bangkok Apartment

Bangkok, my new home.  I arrived on Monday evening after a very long 24-hour journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Bangkok.  The LAX-NRT leg was not upgraded so I was squeezed into Economy class.  Not so bad as it could have been but I was unable to sleep and arrived in Bangkok very tired.

On Tuesday Tawn and I went to our new apartment to sign the lease and pay the deposit plus the first month’s rent.  The apartment that was decided upon is at Asoke Place tower, about a 5-minute walk north of the Sukhumvit / Soi 21 (aka Asoke) intersection.  At the intersection is both a Skytrain station and an MRTA (Subway) station, so it is quite convenient to everywhere.  Also, traffic is not too bad along Asoke and we’re on the side of the road that heads into the city.

The apartment is quite large (about 700 square feet) and is a 1-bedroom with an additional small storage room.  Tawn was able to choose paint before the handyman repainted, so the walls are a light yellow in the living area and a light khaki in the bedroom.

We spent most of Tuesday shopping for furniture and have so far made absolutely no decisions.  The big question is, how much do we want to spend?  Furniture of decent quality is cheaper in Thailand than the US, but that doesn’t mean it is inexpensive.  At the same time, we don’t necessarily need to buy permanent stuff right now.  So we are going through the joint priority-setting process.

There’s also a few odds and ends that need to be ironed out.  Anyone with any expertise in these areas is welcome to provide advice:

  • The refrigerator (about 2/3s of full size) sits more than 10 feet away from the nearest power outlet, which it would share with the TV, stereo, etc.  I get the impression that there wasn’t a refrigerator there before and it was placed there as a selling point rather than a practical consideration.  Can you put all that equipment on one outlet without a problem?
  • Similarly, the plugs in the kitchen (which are all under the counter, no idea how you run a cord under the counter as there are no openings!) all feed into one circuit, if I’m not mistaken.  So that would be a 2-burner stove, microwave oven, rice maker, and coffee maker (or combination thereof) on one circuit.  Problem?
  • Our clothes washer was originally in the bathroom, but it takes up a lot of space and was on a wall that have no drain, no power, nor a water supply.  The next logical place is on the balcony (makes more sense that it might sound) but there is no water supply and the power is just a closed junction box.  Landlord seems to think it is an easy problem to overcome.  I’m curious to see how.
  • There’s no hot water heater in the bathroom.  Cold showers, anyone?  We’ll ask the landlord on Friday whether we can pay for installation of a water heater, which will run about 5,000 baht plus another 800 for installation.

Truly, none of these are challenges we cannot tackle, but they are interesting “oh, I hadn’t considered that” situations.

Another lesson I’ve learned.  If you want to pay your credit card at one bank with money in a bank account at another, the only way you can do this is to withdrawl the cash from the first bank and then take it to the other bank and deposit it.  So we went to the bank to withdrawl our deposit, first month’s rent, and money for paying some billes.  110,000 baht total.  It is worth noting that the 1,000 baht bill is the largest denomination available.  Yes, we were carrying 110 bills in a wad in my pocket.  That’s pretty crazy.

Well, the adventure is just starting, I’m sure.  I’m extending the hotel stay by a few days because we won’t have all of the necessary arrangements made by tomorrow morning.  Plus, other than a bed and an armoire, we have no furniture.