I feel like I speak good enough Thai at this point to get away from the farang ghetto or Sukhumvit or Silom and I would like your help in researching some cool places in Bangkok where rent is more affordable and prices (restaurants, etc) are cheaper. These days Sukhumvit is getting very expensive.
So far I have checked out the area of Bangkapi which can access downtown/skytrain easily by getting a canal taxi close to the Mall Bangkapi. This area is ok. It is close to a large university and it has a lot of students around so there are many cheap apartments. It has a lot of cheap food options but it is also has a lot of traffic and I have heard that there are flooding issues. I witnessed a mini-flood on my visit. I think I would like something a bit less noisy and a bit slower ( I know that is hard in Bangkok).