Outside of Thailand, not many people know that the traditional name for Bangkok is in fact the longest name in the world for a capital city. Translated into English, this archaic moniker is essentially a long string of superlatives that includes phrases like “the eternal jewel city”, “the impregnable city” and “the happy city”.
Today, it is also a fast-paced city. Indeed, visitors who flock to this vibrant metropolis may not have time to savour the lyricism of Bangkok’s longer name. In particular, speed is the name of the game for the international investors flocking to the Thai capital’s luxury property sector—to get in before the already rising prices heat up even more, so as to enjoy the relatively high rental yields, which average about 5 per cent, according to a recent report in The Financial Times.
There’s also the matter of making haste at this opportune moment of relative calm that has arrived after a recent period of political volatility in Thailand. As a property consultant quipped to The Edge Property: “In Thailand, we do not have any penalties for foreigners, but we have coups, which are automatic property cooling systems.”
Most crucially, the speed at which connectivity is being built up in Bangkok augurs well for the future of its property market. In another recent article, The Financial Times pointed to the city’s growing regional and localised connectivity to explain its growing allure for buyers. In addition to the launch of the Asean Economic Community common market in 2015, “Bangkok is increasing its mass transit routes and there are plans for a 867km China-to-Thailand railway, potentially adding more than two million Chinese tourists each year,” the newspaper reported.
Thailand’s leading property developer Sansiri has even used connectivity as a major selling point for its properties. Its freehold condominium The Line Sukhumvit 101 is a joint venture with the BTS Group (Bangkok Mass Transit System), Thailand’s top mass transit service provider, and an easy 5min walk from the BTS Punnawithi station. Its desirable Sukhumvit Road address also means easy access via nearby expressways to established restaurants, speciality shops and international schools. The project’s design displays nifty personalised connectivity as well—there’s a shape-shifting LED Multi‑Sports court with a patented glass floor that transforms itself to suit the sport you wish to play.
Due for completion in 2020, sales for The Line Sukhumvit 101 were launched last November in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong and Bangkok, simultaneously. The South China Morning Post also reported recently that developers are increasingly focused on attracting buyers from China.
Those keen to make a home in the Thai capital will have no lack of options. Luxury developments include The Residences at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and the Four Seasons Private Residences Bangkok (both riverside properties), the Ritz-Carlton Residences in MahaNakhon tower (Thailand’s tallest building) and the Metropole Bangkok, which features colonial architecture and neoclassical design.
Sansiri’s upcoming 98 Wireless development also draws inspiration from the past, with a classic beaux arts style and luxurious materials such as beautifully veined statuario, carrara and calacatta marbles from Italy, solid white-oak herringbone floors and rare mahogany door panels from the US, and fine Portuguese moleanos limestone.
When it comes to property, location is everything, and this project has an address that is hard to beat. It is situated along Wireless Road in what is arguably Bangkok’s most affluent neighbourhood. While close to prestigious lifestyle and entertainment establishments, the development is also surrounded by the lush, hushed grounds of Lumpini Park, the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and numerous embassies. In a frenetic city where everyone’s rushing to keep up, the privilege of slowing down is the ultimate luxury. If you live here, taking your own sweet time to savour the long, lovely original name of “the happy city” might just come naturally after all.
This story first appeared in Singapore Tatler's February 2017 issue.