I just spent three weeks in Southeast Asia with my family, which involved lots of hotel hopping. In Bangkok though we split our time between a hotel near KSR and an apartment in a real Thai neighborhood off Sukhumvit.
We rented it through an ad partner of mine on another site: Wimdu. You may not have heard of them, but they’re similar to AirBnB here in the U.S., with a wider range of inventory in Europe and Asia. (See their short back story here.) When I pulled up the Bangkok apartment listings for the dates we were looking at, there were 49 places to choose from. If were had been looking further out, we could have seen potentially 100+ for rent. These range from a spare room in someone’s condo for $10 to a 3BR 1,500 square foot apartment in a prime location for $164 a night. In between are a lot of fantastic deals—half list for $50 a night or less.
Of course you can get a hotel room for that in Bangkok too, so why go the apartment route? For us, the space difference was dramatic. We rented a 2BR apartment with a big kitchen/living room and full fridge. For about what we paid for a regular hotel room before, we got literally four times the space. The two photos here are of the apartment we had, which is listed here.
Our neighbors in the high-rise were professional Thais and families, which was a far cry from the tourist zone we had been in before, plus we were right off the modern, air-conditioned Sky Train, which took us to the city’s crazy shopping malls (Terminal 21 and CentralWorld) and points beyond.
How Wimdu Works
The reservation part is easy. You pick a place, reserve it, then the host gets back to you to confirm. You can pay by Paypal or credit card, but the host doesn’t actually get the money until 24 hours after you’ve checked in. So they’ve got a strong incentive to make sure you get the keys okay and you’re happy. If something goes wrong, Wimdu insures you automatically. Here’s how it works, in text and video.
The owner’s dad met us at the agreed time and got us hooked up with fingerprint access for the building’s front door (a first for me and got an exclamation of “cooool” from the daughter). He showed us how things worked, handed us the keys, and we were set. Towels and basic toiletries were provided and the A/C cranked. My wife and I enjoyed having a full bedroom to ourselves—a rarity on this trip—and it was nice to have a table where we could eat.
I would definitely use Wimdu again, especially if I were going to their most popular destinations, where the apartment prices are an even better bargain compared to hotels, like Amsterdam, London, or New York City. With the latter you also have the advantage that you could get a place in Brooklyn, where hotels are pretty scarce.
Just be advised there are two versions of this site: one with “.com” on the end and one with “.co.uk” on the end. They’re identical, but the first shows prices in dollars, the second in pounds or euros depending on where you logged in. To switch the currency, look for the teeny tiny text links at the top right and make the switch. (You can change languages too if English is not your first.) Then you can sort by several methods, including price and distance from the center.