A service apartment in Bangkok is an apartment that has a service like hotel rooms do, that is, your bed linen is supplied and cleaned and your apartment comes with maid service. To a foreigner, Bangkok is mysterious, ancient and different and a service apartment in Bangkok is no different. For some this is great and for others this is not so great.
Some say that a serviced apartment is like having a maid or living in a hotel, whist others might think that living in a hotel permanently is horrible. There are both good points and bad points to this. Having a maid can be great if they are professional and not expensive.
In Bangkok, an overwhelming percentage of locals live in single rooms, usually small and inexpensive. From a foreign perspective this might seem odd and unpleasant to live in a small single room. In Bangkok, many of the locals will live in these rooms with two or three people. Most westerners have been raised to appreciate and expect a certain amount of privacy so this can be a bit of a shock to realize that you don’t have any privacy.
On the other hand, living in the west can be lonely and always having someone around you is one of the many different social and cultural aspects of Thailand that filters off into the social make-up of families. In families in Thailand, the oldest males usually stay at home even after being married and dowries are paid for females to leave households.
Even though a service apartment in Bangkok is common, it goes against the majority of locals’ lifestyle that only live in a single room which has no need for a maid service. Families that live in serviced apartments are usually from out of town or country and are foreigners. Sometimes it’s difficult to get a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment in Bangkok and when you do, they come with a maid service whether you want it or not.
Serviced apartments, like most services in Thailand, do not come about by need or desire, but because they create employment and can increase profits. Oddly, some services that are offered in Thailand don’t have the person who is receiving the service’s interest in mind, but the person earning income’s interest in mind. This takes a bit of getting used to from a western perspective and is one of the reasons that westerners feel that things are ‘backwards’ in Thailand.
A service apartment in Bangkok is normal. As additional income is generated by adding this service, it doesn’t appear like this practice is going to go away anytime soon. You can find either an apartment or a service apartment in Bangkok if you search through apartment websites like Bangkok Condominiums.