How People House themselves Today



Conversations with Bangkok Residents Working in Sukhivit,

15 – 18 May 2011

(It was difficult to converse because of language problems. What is given below is my understanding of the conversation and parts of it are unclear but they give some idea of the situation).


He is Chinese and 22 years old. His father was a taxi driver and they lived in a house where they had rented land. The house was pulled down six years ago and as a result, the family got scattered. He lives in Sukhivit in a room that he shares with two other people. The toilet and bathroom is shared with other rooms. He pays 2,500 Baht per month. He is now trying to shift to rental accommodation in a new building. This accommodation is being built by developers and consists of one and a half rooms with toilet and space for cooking. The rent is 3,400 Baht. This is no problem but paying a down payment is very difficult for it is over 40,000 Baht. The building complex he is trying to negotiate a place in is near Hua Mak Station and so is a good place. He takes me to it. I think the space is about 20 square metres. However, he feels it is affordable and he can now get married and have a family. He says many such complexes are being built. Lim is a motorcycle taxi driver.

2. PUI

Pui is a bar-maid. She is 38 years old and lives in one room with two kids aged 8 and 15. The space is very cramped. She can afford to buy a small room with a bathroom but that is very far from her place of work. Down payment would be 150,000 Baht and then 3,000 Baht instalments. Developer arranges loan but the interest rate at 18 per cent is too high. Such accommodation is available all over Bangkok but not in the areas where she works. She is a migrant from Essan.

3. SAM

He is a vendor of peanuts. He is 68 years old. His family migrated from the south. He now lives in Sukhivit. Before he and his family used to live in row houses which have now been demolished. After that he moved to the room in which he now lives. Before he lived alone but now he shares it with two other people. Other people are necessary because it makes the rent affordable. He earns more now but the cost of living has gone up so one has to share accommodation. He says that before you could rent land and build a house on it. That is what his parents did. Now it is not possible to do this. His children also have rented rooms for living in. So the family is no longer together. Rent is no problem, nor are instalments for purchasing a house. It is the down payment that is the problem and for that there are no low interest loans.


Lucky is a tuk tuk driver and is 26 years old. He is called Lucky because he brought good luck to his family’s American friend who was a good man with a “good heart”. He sleeps wherever he can in his tuk tuk. He uses a toilet that his friend shares in the housing where he lives. He also occasionally shares the room for “private matters”. For this he pays 1,000 Baht a month. He is looking for a place to rent but the down payment or advance is far too much for him to afford. He has arranged to sell his land in Essan with which he will make the down payment and purchase a place. Then he will call his family over. His parents are not happy with the idea of selling the land. But for getting a place of his own he will have to pay at least 350,000 Baht. He also wants to purchase a tuk tuk on instalments.


Piya is a taxi driver and is 45 years old. He drove me to the ACHR office. He lives in one room with his wife and two grown-up children. Due to this he has many problems but the accommodation is cheap at 2,000 Baht per month with shared toilets. He has been looking for a place with two rooms for a long time. However, the only accommodation affordable to him is on the fringes of the city. Living there means problems of schooling for his children, work for his wife and additional transport costs. He says the option is to purchase a place but affordable places are far too small and usually consist of one room, which one can always divide, but dividing it makes one very cramped and leaves no space for family interaction. Before he lived in a house on land that his parents had rented. But that settlement is no more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

site design by iMedia
Mobile Menu
Responsive Menu Image Responsive Menu Clicked Image