Student Life

Living in Bangkok and the Metropolitan Areas

Living in Bangkok and the Metropolitan Area

Accommodation, Food & Transportation

Part of living well as an international student at Chula means having a comfortable and safe place to live, being able to find the types of foods you need and want, and being able to move to and from your classes as quickly and conveniently as possible. The BALAC Program and the University would like to help you in these areas as much as possible. This webpage provides some online information and contacts to help you live well.

Accommodation options in dormitories and other housing are available from the University for both men and women. Housing information can be obtained by contacting CU iHouse or the BALAC Program .

On-Campus Housing Opportunities

CU iHouse is a new hi-rise residence designed for international students and faculty, and it is conveniently located for those who are active on campus. It provides comfortable, pleasant accommodations for university affiliates. All rooms include a telephone and television offering Thai and international programs, as well as Wi Fi connections. Laundry services are conveniently located at additional charge.

The CU iHouse is conveniently located near campus, and within easy walking distance of major shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants, as well as to the BTS Skytrain at both the nearby National Stadium and Siam Square stations, and the MRT San Yan station. For those driving, the entrance to the expressway leading to the airport is minutes away.

For information on this residence, see the link below and the contacts. International students interested in this as your living option may contact the residence directly or contact BALAC staff for assistance.


CU iHouse 268 Chulalongkorn soi 9, Charasmuang Road Wangmai, Pathumwan Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66(0)2 217 3188 Fax: +66(0)2 217 3111 Email:

The CU iHouse charges a posted monthly rent, but also requires a cash deposit, and charges for water and electricity use in each room. Off-Campus Housing

Other living options are available off-campus as well, and the Office of International Affairs can provide more information at (Tel: +66[0]2 218 3334-5). You may also want to check the following off-campus housing options:
Nonsi Residence:
Thada Court Apartment:
The Blooms Residence:
Reno Hotel: [was not working on 9/28]
The Narathiwas:

Many kinds of food are widely available at a wide range of costs in and around Chulalongkorn University, so many things that you may need or want are easy to obtain. Finding the food that you need, are used to, or want is a concern of many students before coming to Thailand, but Bangkok has one of the most diverse cuisinesavailable, and it is not hard to find and enjoy various foods from all over the world.

Transportation to and from the University vary depending on where you live. Students can take public buses, the BTS Skytrain (Siam Station) or the MRT subway (Samyan Station) or, for shorter distances, walk. The University provides shuttle bus service which begins at 7:00 and runs until 19:00 from on each day but Sunday.

Life in Bangkok and Thailand

The BALAC Program is located at a prestigious university in the heart of one of the world’s most exciting and dynamic cities. A big part of the BALAC experience, especially for international students, happens outside the classroom. The parts of this Life in Bangkok and Thailand section aim to help you get the most out of your time while you are here.

Money Matters

The Thai currency is called the baht. Excluding some small sub-baht coins, the baht comes in the following denominations: coins of 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht, and 10 baht; and banknotes of 20 baht, 50 baht, 100 baht, 500 baht, and 1000 baht.

Current exchange rates may be found here

Forms of Payment
Although cash is the most common form of payment in Thailand, debit/cash cards and credit cards are increasingly common. Cheques are not accepted forms of payment. It is easy to withdraw cash from Bank ATM Machines, which are available on campus and at many places around the city, such as banks, post offices, shopping malls, and convenience stores, with various bank cash cards. You can open a bank or postal office deposit account at the university at one of many branches around the university. Credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, etc.) can be used at department stores and major shops, but it may be difficult at some retailers, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Cost of Living
Living expenses in Bangkok range widely, but for ordinary life, things are relatively inexpensive in comparison to many big cities around the world. Many well- equipped accommodations are available on-campus or nearby for 5,000-10,000 baht per month or less (plus a month or two deposit) and additional costs for electricity and water (perhaps 1000-1500 baht per month). Food and other costs vary considerably, but eating ordinary food may cost 3000-5000 baht per month, and other costs may total up to 3000-5000 more. It may be a good idea to have around 20,000-30,000 baht in cash available when you first come to Thailand to allow you to set up your life before your bank account is arranged.

So living expenses may run 10,000-20,000 Baht a month, including rent, 3 meals eating, transportation costs, and personal expenses. These expenses will be outside of extra travel and luxury items. The regular academic year is 10 months (August to May). Foreign students who plan to remain in Bangkok during the summer months should plan their finances accordingly.

Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise, and you will be able to find most things you may need or want to purchase in the city. There are many shopping venues at all price ranges for clothing, books, materials for class, and sundries in and around Chulalongkorn University (some are listed on mobile apps referred to above and below, or at the link in the Chulalongkorn University Services section). This means that many things that you may need or want are easy to obtain. Finding the things that you need, are used to, or want is a concern of many students before coming to Thailand, but Bangkok has a wide variety of shopping available. In the city, you can find things at a vast number of stores and shops.

Getting To and from Chula, Getting Around the City, Moving Further

International students who live at the CU iHouse can walk anywhere on the campus in less than 15 minutes. But they may also take the free shuttle buses which run through the campus (on each day except Sunday, live schedule available on a mobile app) and move people to and from the nearest underground (MRT) and Skytrain (BTS) stations.

Chulalongkorn University is located near the Sam Yan MRT station and near the Siam station on the BTS line, for which there are monthly passes and multi-pass discounts available for traveling around the city. Many public buses can bring you to other parts of the city, and you may travel to the suburbs and beyond Bangkok from the city’s main train station, called Hua Lamphong.

Getting to and from the city’s international airports is convenient. The largest airport, Suvarnabhumi, is connected to center of Bangkok via the Airport Link train (with a terminus at the Phayathai BTS station, close to Chula). Metered taxis can take you to Suvarnabhumi as well as to Don Muang, which is Bangkok’s other international airport. Taxis can bring you to both of those airports and to almost anywhere else in the city, and can even bring you to places beyond Bangkok, often for a flat fee.

Life in and beyond Bangkok

Bangkok is the dynamic and cosmopolitan capital city of the Kingdom of Thailand. Its five million people are a diverse part of Thailand’s 67 million citizens. Bangkok is located in central Thailand on the Chao Phraya River, near the northern tip of the Gulf of Thailand. Its urban vitality comes from its unique blend of many cultures and traditions, including many areas with a contemporary cosmopolitan feel, yet Bangkok also retains many traditions and modes of life from across Asia. As a lively mixture of old and new, East and West, tradition and contemporaneity, Bangkok is a major global hub that serves as gateway to Southeast Asia.

There are many online sources of information for living well in Bangkok. Some large websites have sources on a wide range of things to consider for your transit to Thailand such as the Angloinfo site for Thailand
The InterNations site for Thailand can be useful, too

Many people now find mobile apps as useful resources to find out options and ways to arrange their lives in Bangkok. Although the specific apps for a particular situation change quickly, these few sites should continue to provide information on useful mobile apps for living in Bangkok into the foreseeable future

There is also a wide range of online resources that provide information on current news, events, and activities in Bangkok and in Thailand.

The two major English language daily newspapers based in Bangkok are the Bangkok Post
and the Nation

Bangkok Magazine provides lists and information on many types of activities, events and other things that may be of interest.
Richard Barrow runs the Thai Travel News blog with many new and interesting events and activities to consider doing.
Time Out magazine is another useful resource
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) likewise has links to many different types of activities and events
Travelfish Thailand is a good site with much information on traveling in the Kingdom
and a separate Travelfish page for Bangkok
The global tour book company Lonely Planet also has useful information on Bangkok

There are of course many other online resources with useful sites, blogs, Facebook pages, and twitter feeds for news, information, and for living and traveling around Bangkok and Thailand. The above webpages and apps can provide some good starting points for you.

If you find anything on this website that is out of date or in need of corrections, or if you find anything missing that would be useful to you, please contact the BALAC Office at or so that changes can be made to the site to make it more accurate and more useful.

On Campus

Life on Campus

BALAC is an innovative humanities program that teaches cultural studies to prepare students for success in the 21st world. The program offers students many opportunities for rich learning experiences, whether in the classroom, in its many resource centers, or beyond them. Information provided below aims to help you navigate your life on campus as a BALAC student.

Uniforms for Classes at Chulalongkorn University

International students who are registered at undergraduate level (in both regular and international programs) are asked to wear University uniforms (pictures found at the link below). Wearing sandals and slippers in class is prohibited.

University uniforms and accessories may be purchased at the CU Cooperative Store on campus at the Sala Phra Kieo branch or at nearby shopping areas, such as MBK, Siam Center, etc. Prices for uniforms are negotiable. IT Services

WiFi connectivity is available throughout campus. There are also hundreds of network (and Internet) access points throughout university buildings - classrooms, library, student centers, CU iHouse, etc.

Computer Lab and Internet Center
University students can access to the latest computing equipment and internet access in study centers, including IBM Desktop Computers and IBM Laptops (running Windows software); and both laser and inkjet printers.

Technology is basic to academic and personal life in our world, and the Office of Information Technology, located on the 3rd floor of the Chamchuri #3 Building, is available to address issues of technology on campus. The office is open each day except Sunday to meet the IT needs of Chulalongkorn students. The HELP desk is available at and the Office’s website is found below Study Rooms

There are numerous study rooms in the main classroom building, in the library and in the new campus student living center CU iHouse. Many of these can be reserved in advance by students via the BALAC intranet.

BALAC Events and Activities

The BALAC Program also engages in various events, workshops, and services which aim enhance the learning experience and to foster a sense of community among students.

New Student Orientation

The annual BALAC Trip, held in early August each year just before first semester starts, is a three-day trip filled with activities aiming to give students the opportunity to meet their partners in learning, including faculty and staff in the BALAC Program and Chulalongkorn University in a friendly and informal atmosphere outside Bangkok. Experiences from the trip help students to better prepare for their studies and lives in Chulalongkorn University as well as enhance their place in the BALAC Program. The basic schedule of orientation events may be found in the BALAC Office.

Educational Trips

The BALAC Program also organizes educational trips in and around Bangkok each semester, all of which aim to enhance and reinforce the understanding and aspects of classroom learning. Local trips give BALAC students an ability to access local life and to gain hands-on experiences unavailable in the classroom. Other trips enhance students’ vision and awareness, and improve their understanding of Thai ways of living beyond Bangkok. Participating in educational trips offered by the BALAC program gives students first-hand experiences and opportunities for learning and knowing outside the classroom which are useful for their future careers.

Other Activities

BALAC students organize many events on their own each year, both for themselves and for others, and they welcome international students' participation. A buddy is assigned for each international student to help him or her to navigate life at Chula and beyond. In addition, the University and the Faculty have regular educational, theatrical, sports and artistic events each semester, in addition to hosting special conferences, lectures, film series, and festivals.