Guenmai's Trip Report-August 2007

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Aug 28th, 2007, 05:14 AM
  #21
 
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Hi Guenmai,Great report so far. We leave for Bkk tomorrow, just wondering how the weather is?
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Aug 28th, 2007, 05:33 AM
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Many thanks for all of the info, Guen. I'm excited to hear about another condo project on the river! I'll be interested to hear about any condos you look at.
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Aug 28th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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interesting about the name change for emporium....will the shopping change its name also?? and the skytrain stop?? i personally think of them as 'Guenmai' not as emporium....
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Aug 29th, 2007, 02:32 AM
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Gloria...When I went by Cotton House to drop off my ton of fabric, I took one of my old tops that they've copied many, many times. I just kind of told them to copy it again and throw in a skirt. So, they measured a skirt that I was wearing and sketched it out to copy. I'm not going in for any fittings. I told them that when they finished to drop the whole load off at my apartment building to the concierge. I paid them in advance....8100 baht for many,many pieces. So, I won't be making the trip back across town before I leave. I had to go back to OP yesterday to pick up some jewelry in another shop in that arcade. I really didn't want to have to go way back over there yesterday, but had forgotten my credit card to pay for the jewelry. So, I won't see the Cotton House folks until December/January when I bring in the next ton of fabric. Smiles. Happy Travels!
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Aug 29th, 2007, 02:38 AM
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Kathie...I'm going to try to call the realtor tomorrow about the new building on the river. I think they just broke ground not too long ago. Maybe I can go over and see the plan for you. As for La Raffine, the office is right here in the office building attached to my apartment building. One has to make an appointment. I'll try to do that,too. And today I passed by Emporio Place...1 soi over from me midway down Sukumvit, soi 24...same side of the street as Lemongrass. The place is being built and coming along. The price is really high. There's a realtor who's listed a 74.5 square meter 1 bedroom/2 bath for 9.9 million baht. I'll keep you posted. Got to go. Out of computer time. Happy Travel!
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Aug 30th, 2007, 01:27 AM
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Kathie...This morning, I called the office that's selling the new condos on the river. So, I went in to get the info for you. I didn't realize that their office was in the shopping mall of the Shangri La hotel. I was just at Saphan Taksin day before yesterday when I decided, out of curiousity, to go to check out the Centre Point Silom since there's so much talk about the place in this forum. Today, I decided to just go back over to Saphan Taksin to the condo office this morning. I went when the skytrain wasn't so crowded. I called first to set up an appointment.

So I think this is the condo building for you....yes, the one. They haven't started buiding it yet, but you know how things work here. If you don't buy from the plan then you can end up with a not-so-good condo. I've seen a lot of buildings of unsold condos after the project has been completed and they haven't been the best picks to say the least.

Anyhow, I was at the condo office for about an hour talking to the sales person. Her English was quite clear as she lived a year in Canada to study English. She was great to talk to. So, I had my list of questions to ask.

So, the condo building is going up next to the Penn. So all of the Penn folks can kiss their lovely east views goodbye as of 2011. She showed me the construction site. I commented that the Penn must be fit to be tied.

The building will have 432 units total. And although it's on the so-called "wrong" side of the river, it's best to have a condo on that side and one that faces north and with a river view, then you also have a view of Bangkok facing north. If the building were on the so-called "right" side of the river, there wouldn't be much view if you had a river view...but then wouldn't also have a city view...on the other side you can have both.

The new skytrain station called Charoennakorn BTS is to be completed 3 months from now. It will be right across the river from Saphan Taksin on the "wrong" side of the river. The walk to the new skytrain station from the condo building will be 10-15 minutes. So no need to take a boat to cross the river.

The building will also have its own private pier to taxi residents across the river to Saphan Taksin if they desire to go by boat.

The whole building will be 71 stories high. I was told that it's best to have a unit in the South Tower, but facing north.

I, of course asked about the height of the ceilings as I don't know how many places I've walked into and felt like I was walking into a doll house. Well, they'll be 2.8 meters from the floor to the ceiling and 2.6 from the floor to the air conditioning vent unit in some parts of the condo.

The condo will come fully appliance furnished. I've been to luxury buildings where the condos were just shells and then you had to put in everything from kitchen to bathroom to floors, etc...which is fine if you want to choose your own stuff, but what a headache for not only the owner, but also the neighbors to have to listen to constant construction going on all around them. So,these units will be move-in ready and have washer/dryer/fridge/oven/stove and a finished bathroom.

Prices start at 5.5 million Baht for a one bedroom. I think they also have studios, but they must all be sold out since they aren't on the list that I was given. The price range for a 1 bedroom is 5.5-9.3 million baht. There is 1, 1-bedroom unit left at 9.3 million baht. The other 1 bedroom units are priced at less. The total price range for all units tops out at 66.9 million baht for a 378 square meter loft unit on the 42nd and 44th floors.

So, I just mailed you out a portfolio of the building and all of the necessary info. The post office is right here inside the Prom Phong skytrain station so it's easier to do it now than when I get home and have to drive to the post office and stand in horrendous lines. Smiles. So, if it doesn't arrive let me know. It should get there within 10 days. I have another portfolio as a backup in case the first one gets lost in the mail or something. Oh, and since this is a raimonland project, it's a freehold building.

Day before yesterday, while on the skytrain, I noticed an empty lot right down from the Four Seasons. I was wondering what would be going up on that lot. So when I got back to Emporium Mall I went into Kinokuniya and bought up my stash of magazines. I read a lot while I'm here. Well, there was an article on the St. Regis moving in and building a hotel/serviced apartments/ and 21 condos. Rajadamri Rd. has always been my first choice in Bangkok with Sukumvit sois 22 and 24 next. But, the sales person at the River condo project said that the majority of the buildings in the Rajadamri area are leasehold. She said that her company will have a new project, in that area, in the future that will be freehold and that there are just a small handfull of other freehold buildings in that area. There will be have to be unobstructed views for the front condos at the St. Regis since across the street is the sport center/race track. I was asking the salesperson at the river condo office how much condos ran over there as I know they are a lot. Well, she said now around 180,000 baht per square meter. And to think there will be only 21 units in the St. Regis building which will really hike the price up even more.

I was reading in one of my magazines yesterday, that the average price per square meter of a condo in Central Bangkok is around 81,000 baht.

As I was doing my condo research, I read that there's a great concern about the bottom falling out of the market since there are so many condos being built. There's construction everywhere. But supposedly the market for new buildings is still strong. But for how long one does not know. However a large percentage of the condos in the CBD are purchased for investment reasons. Investors buy them with the intent to rent them out.

According to the Jones Lang LaSalle report, there are now over 54,000 units in the CBD including over 3,500 units completed over the past 6 months. Presently there are more than 20,000 units under construction with 20 new projects with over 5,000 units that were launched in the first half of 2007 and almost 100% of the units in completed projects have been sold.

There are reported factors that signal that the building is near a peak. It has been reported that the largest rise in price of condos was in 2003 and 2004 when there was a 30% increase in the price. In 2005 and 2006 there was an annual jump of about 10%, but in 2007 the jump was less than 1.5%. So, the best time to have bought a condo obviously would have been prior to 2003.

For those folks who bought and thought they'd just rent the places out, well, there's so much competition now that that's not so easy. Plus, it's been reported that rents are being pushed down due to the number of condos flooding the market. Most investors bought the studio and 1 bedroom units. The rents in Bangkok have seen an incredible drop in price due to the overflooding of units. So, it seems that if a condo is purchased it's best to live in it and not to depend on being able to rent it out and have a steady tenant flow.

The condo situation in Chiangmai sounds like a mess from what I've read. That's a whole other story and report...lots of vacant condo units and owners suing left and right for various reasons. The article on that situation was quite interesting. But I don't have time to get into that right now. It's nearly 4:30PM and I've been typing for nearly an hour and a half.I might go back out into the city now that I've had time to come home for lunch and do my internet typing. Take care. Happy Travels!





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Aug 30th, 2007, 01:31 AM
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Aug 30th, 2007, 04:50 AM
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thanks for the facts.....kathie and i would be pleased if you would treat us each to one 2 bedroom condo....unrestricted views only...
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Aug 30th, 2007, 04:55 AM
  #29
 
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guenmai
What about your shopping???

Anything new at JT stores? I like the anniversary plaid bag I bought, but I still haven't carried it. It's still in the JT plastic packaging. I note that they no longer have these in their stores.

Bob's wife Karen carried a really cute JT backpack while in LA for your GTG. I've tried to find one for myself, but no luck. If you see one, I'd sure buy it from you!

See you in HNL.

Carol

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Aug 30th, 2007, 05:40 AM
  #30
 
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Wow, Guen, thanks for all the information! I'll look forward to the packet on the new condos next to the Pen.

Do you know if the unfinished Emporium buildings by the river are sold out? I'm thinking they may be just about finished when we are there in November.
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Aug 30th, 2007, 11:05 PM
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I just spent an HOUR typing my report and hit the Post button when the computer went out. I'm Furious! OK. I'll start again, but the brief version.
So yesterday after typing my report, I decided to run into town to Gaysorn Mall to pick up some gift boxes of soap at Thann Harnn(sp). It was a short trip into town. Well when I came out of Gaysorn, it was pouring rain. I've been in some bad rainstorms in Singapore, but this was beyond awful...lightening, wind, etc.

So, then I went to the skytrain station from the walkway connected to Gaysorn and got on there without getting wet. When I got home it wasn't a problem since the skytrain station is attached to Emporium Mall which is attached to my apartment building.

Well, as I was walking into the mall, a large part of the electricity suddenly went out and I could hear the gasps from folks. Some people started turning around to leave the mall, but I wasn't about to leave and have to go down the outside stairs and the 2 minutes to get to my building. I would have been drenching wet.

So, I continued through the mall and went throught the passage way that leads into the Emporium Towers office building. When I got in there it was pitch black and security was walking around with flashlights. I walked past them and then down the escalator and entered through the inside side door to my building.

I went to the elevator area and there was an English-speaking woman standing there. I commented that I hoped that the elevator wouldn't get stuck. She said that someone earlier had gotten stuck while coming down. We got in though and hoped for the best.

She looked nervous. I tried to assure her that everything would be fine and that this was typical Bangkok. I think it was her first time here. She asked how long the electricity would be out and if it would affect the food in the fridge. I told her that I didn't know and that I never buy a lot of food at one time. The electricity goes out in different parts of the complex from time to time....apartments, office building, mall....not all in one area. But I told her that there's supposedly some kind of emergency backup system.

So in we went and up we went and she got off on the 29th floor. Then I was the only one left in the elevator and had several more floors to go as there are, I think 42 floors, and I'm almost to the top. Now you all know how I don't like to be in ANY building higher than 8 floors. When I used to stay at the old Siam Intercontinental,the main part of the hotel was only 2 stories high...no elevator. Then when they tore it down to build Paragon Mall, I moved to the Four Seasons another low rise with about 10 floors I think. I was on around the 8th. Then I moved to the apartment building where I've been some years now. The apartments start at around floor 30 so it's out of my hands.

Anyhow, she got out on floor 29 and I was left in the elevator alone. The elevator moved a bit and stopped and I was stuck. I wasn't a happy camper to say the least. Now 99% of the time, I have my head flashlight in my purse in case of an emergency when I go out...like getting stuck in a dark elevator somewhere. Remember I'm used to earthquakes and all of the other disasters we have in California and have for years been on the emergency rescue team at work if anything happens....but then I forgot and left my head flashlight in my apartment! I wanted to kick myself 2 times.

So then I pushed the emergency bell button, but nothing. I was trying to stay anger free as to not use up oxygen as I didn't know how long I would be stuck in there. I pushed the button again and again no sound. I thought to myself..."OK, my voice can be louder than any bell so I preceded to "announce" that I was stuck on the 29th and where I needed to go to. I waited and waited and then a voice came over an intercom system in Thai. I wonder if they heard my voice 29 floors down to the reception area? Anyhow,I asked the person over the intercom system if he spoke English. I couldn't understand him.
Some time went by and then the elevator door opened. The elevator however, wasn't level to the floor so I had to kind of jump out and you know the knee situation. I haven't had pain for months due to being exceptionally careful with it, but I kind of jumped out. Now, I have some pain again although not as bad as previous pain.

Anyhow, so after I jumped out, I was on the 29th floor again. I still needed to get to my apartment. So, I went to the emergency exit and thought I'd attempt to walk the many, many flights. Then it hit me that what if the light goes out and I can't see where I'm going and since I didn't have my head flashlight what would be worse...getting stuck in an emergency exit or in an elevator? So, I left the emergency exit stairwell and went back to the 29th floor. I waited for a while and then noticed that the elevator looked like it was working although I didn't notice movement of the other two. So, I took my chance and got back in and up I went and made it to my floor. I called downstairs to report the situation and was not in the best of moods to say the least, but I was calm, but stern. The manager called me to get information about the situation.

This trip has been a weird karma trip. Things just haven't been in sinc. And especially after just spending an hour to type my report and then the computer going off when I hit "post" and it not posting. I hope this one posts.
Carol...There's nothing too exciting at Jim Thompson right now. I went in and bought upholstery fabric from the new collection and a few other things. Dec/Jan are the best times at JT. New stuff pops up around then I've noticed. Now, I've got to go again and pray that this time it posts. Happy Travels!
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Aug 30th, 2007, 11:06 PM
  #32
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Aug 30th, 2007, 11:12 PM
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Oh, I don't know if the new Emporium River condos are sold out or not. I'll ask them. But, they will be VERY expensive...much more expensive than the other river project I'm quite sure. Happy Travels!
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Aug 31st, 2007, 05:11 AM
  #34
 
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What a nightmare! Yikes! I recall one time at Omni Tower that one of the 5 elevators had "fallen" from a few floors. Lucky for me, I was not on it at the time. They are always checking the elevators there, in any case.

Glad you survived the ordeal, anyway. Sounds like you had a rainstorm like I experienced in July. I called it a "monsoonal" kind of rain. Maeng and I got stuck in a mall... not bad, huh? No power outages there. We did not mind being stuck for an hour.

Are you about to head home? Another fodorite (mag385) is also in BKK right now, coming home next Tuesday. He's one of our local guys here in west central Illinois He hasn't posted on fodors in quite a while, so I doubt that he would be ready for any sort of GTG. He and Maeng have had dinner and he is bringing home some items for me that Maeng picked up at one of the markets.

Enjoy your last couple of days in BKK. Stay dry, and stay out of elevators that are going to get stuck!

Carol
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Aug 31st, 2007, 05:26 AM
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if you had not fired your assistant you would have been protected from all this negetivity!!!
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Aug 31st, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Guen, I'm glad you are ok despite some weird karma stuff. Thanks for your report.

I told Cheryl about the condos you recommended and her response was "2011 is a long time away." We'd love to be in Bangkok sooner, but realistically, it may be 2011.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 08:24 AM
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With all this talk of condo prices - are you guys planning on retiring in BKK?
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Aug 31st, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Bill, yes, that's a definite possibility. We may buy a condo and spend half the year there, or may make the leap and move there. We'll see - that's a few years away.
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Aug 31st, 2007, 11:36 PM
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I've got to type fast.I have 10 minutes left.Anyhow, sent 4 of my Ex-Officio shirts out to the laundry service with a note to use a medium iron. Well,one came back with the zipper totally melted together so I couldn't unzip it. The bad karma just seems to keep flowing. So, they had to take the whole zipper out in the hidden pocket area and take the shirt apart and put in a new zipper. I'm very protective of those shirts as they are the original ones from way back in the beginnings of the company when it was Seattle based. You know what I'm talking about Kathie.You can't get them anymore. I don't even pack them in my checked luggage, but only in my carry-on bag. I pack at least 4 a trip and call them part of my travel uniform. Easy packing.Easy coordinating....shirt...skirt...

So, I got up early this morning and went to the Living in Bangkok exhibit at Bumrungrad which was interesting.There was an elevator with an attendant that was driving the elevator for only people going to the 12th floor where it is being held. I'm glad I went early because when I left, it was a madhouse.Anyhow, there were a lot of international schools, some churches, health organizations, clubs...like the American Womne's club etc...,vendors selling things, etc. I finally got to meet Nima Chandler and one of her employee whom I've also done business with by way of e-mail. When I told her employee my name, she was surprised and said, Oh,it's the party woman!". I was also surprised because in my mind I pictured her to be around 50, but she's a young, Thai woman.
The "party woman" has kind of become my name in their office. When they hadn't heard from me for a while they were wondering what had happened to the "party woman". She said she likes reading my writings on this forum. The employee is Thai, but lived in the U.S. and speaks excellent English. I thought she might have been U.S. born. And Nima was really great to chat with,too. She's a very interesting person. We'll keep in touch. She'll e-mail me some info on a women's group that can help out with real estate situations here.

Down in the lobby of Bumrungrad there was the Thai Handcrafts Fair so there was hardly walking room.It was SO crowded. Folks everywhere.Mostly Thai shoppers. It was a madhouse.

Kathie...early this morning I went downstairs and then switched to a different set of elevators to access the 24th floor where the La Raffine office is. Well,their hours are M-F 9-5:30PM.I should have gone yesterday.Here they are right under my nose. I fly home Monday morning via Singapore.

I asked downstairs if the Emporium condos were up for sale yet and they said that they were.I've seen no newspaper ads. Someone is supposed to get in touch with me. But there's been no message on my machine as of yet. Maybe they're also closed during the weekend.
Oh, the land that I thought was the land the St.Regis is going to be built on is actually land that the Rajadamri condos will be built on.I happened to run into an ad in the paper yesterday announcing it and there was a map of the site which is almost next to the Four Seasons. So, unless the condos/hotel/serviced apartments that the St.Regis is building are called The Rajadamri, then I guess the St.Regis is going to be on another part of Rajadamri Rd.I'm going to go over there tomorrow as their sales office is open 7 days a week. Plus, it'll give me an excuse to drop by the Four Seasons for a bite to eat.

Well,so much for typing in 10 minutes. I'm 25 minutes over time so I can expect to pay the extra 40 baht. Anyhow, take care and I'll try posting tomorrow. My Thai friend is dropping by early tomorrow and we'll be running around all day and then I'll need to pack tomorrow evening although I'm going to start packing tonight. Happy Travels!
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Aug 31st, 2007, 11:39 PM
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Oh, I forgot to add that Nima mentioned that there's a condo building going up that's connected to the Plaza Athennee group. She says it looks nice as that's her neighborhood and she knows the area. Maybe I can check it out tomorrow. Happy Travels!
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