Survival Guide: How much does it cost to live in Thailand?
Thailand gets a lot of attention as a fantastic travel destination in Southeast Asia; it’s also a great place to call home. The most common questions before moving to a new country include, “How much is it going to cost me?” and, “Is X amount enough each month?” While there are no fixed amounts, we are here to help paint the picture. There are many factors to consider and we’ll cover the basics in this post. So without further ado, here’s a shortlist of common expenses for life in Thailand.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. This one gets tricky since there are many options to choose from. And this also depends on where you’re going to live in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. You can find apartments around 10,000 baht, and this is as basic as it gets. This is your standard, modern studio or 1-bedroom unit with air conditioning. This tends to be on the outskirts of the city, but you’ll be surprised by how good it is. If you live alone and don’t need anything too fancy, we’d say this is a great option. The only downside to this is the lack of public transportation, specifically the BTS sky train or the MTR subway. You can find places for cheaper, but we don’t recommend it. At 20,000 baht, this is probably your best option. But if you need more space or a good location, then consider paying 30,000 baht per month. You can spend more on rent if you wish. You can live happily ever after at 50,000 baht or more per month. This has everything you need, from location to size to view. We want to note that either the MRT or BTS should be available at this price point. If you need help or want a head start then look no further than Fazwaz.
There are three carriers: DTAC, True, and AIS. The cheapest post-paid package you can get starts at around 300-400 baht. This is enough for everyday use if you’re not a heavy user. Free talk time is about 100 minutes while the internet is a limited amount. The average bill every month is 500-700 baht, and most people tend to go for this option. The cost depends on the data and the call time. If you want the best of the best, packages can cost more than 1,000. This gives you unlimited internet/data, hundreds of minutes’ worth of talk time and 5G.
Now, the cost of food is similar to rent and it’s very subjective. This will vary depending on how you want to spend your money. Eating like a local will be much cheaper than eating out at Western restaurants, and cooking at home will save you a ton of money. Meals at food courts or at street vendors costs no more than 60 baht a dish. Imagine a bowl of noodles or a meat and rice combo (more carbs than protein, of course). There is nothing special about it, but it gets the job done. Mind you, it’ll also be tasty in all it’s Thai cuisine freshness. For restaurants inside an office building or a shopping mall, expect to pay at least 300 baht per meal. At least. Of course, there are fancier options available, to the tune of 1,000 baht per meal. It just depends on your budget.
If you don’t have a car and plan to live in Bangkok, your primary methods of transportation will be standard taxis, motorbike taxis, the BTS and the MRT. The trains can be expensive if you rely on them every day: it can cost more than 50 baht per trip. But it’s still much cheaper than grabbing a cab. We don’t recommend taking taxis often, as they’ll chew up your expenses. Taxi drivers are notorious for meter rigging and usually expect a tip. Driving a car in Thailand is a good alternative to public transportation, offering more privacy, comfort and convenience. But there are a lot of expenses that come with it, including fuel, tolls, insurance, parking, repairs and tolls. The price of fuel is unpredictable, but it’s around 40 baht per litre on average. Click here for current “oil” prices from PTT.
For men, the local barber will cost no more than 200. If you’re lucky enough, you can find places cheaper than 100 baht. At nicer places, they will cost between 300-400 baht. Want to go all out? At popular or fancy barbers, it can be at least 500 baht. But you get what you pay for. Anything under 200 baht is going to be your standard buzz cut. Probably the barber will use an unsanitised electric trimmer and you’ll leave the shop looking like you’re ready for boot camp. If you want a more skilled and sanitary hair cut, then you’ll have to seek out one of the few barbers who can actually use a pair of scissors. That will cost you more, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your hair of any length.
Healthcare in Thailand is big business. Many people come here just for the cheap medications and relatively OTP treatments. But it’s difficult to tell you how much something will cost; it depends on many factors. Annual checkups, for example, only cost a few thousand baht. If you happen to have any accidents, which we hope you don’t, it can cost you a lot. For example, if you have to stay overnight in a private hospital, expect to pay at least 10,000 baht. If you don’t mind the long lines, then a public or government hospitals offer options at a much lower prices. The downside, no pun intended, is it’s good to have someone who can speak Thai with you.
There are many exercise options in Thailand. Most apartments will have a private gym, so you might not have to spend extra money. If you wish to do so, there are quite a lot of choices. The price varies depending on the quality and quantity of the gym itself. A local place is affordable, only a few thousand baht, but it can be more expensive at a more serious gym. Personal trainers aren’t included. To read more about the top gyms in Bangkok, click here.
What’s your take?
So there you have it, a shortlist of approximate prices for common expenses in Thailand. How much does it cost to live in Thailand? Honestly, that is up to you and your lifestyle. If you decide to live in popular destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Phuket, this will be on the expensive end. If you want to save money, rural cities are an option. So what’s your take? Are there some other expenses you think should be on the list? Let us know your thoughts in the ThaigerTalk comments section down below!
Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.
Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.
Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.