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How much does it cost to live well in Thailand?

There are lots of articles out there that go over a budget in Thailand where you can get by for 20,000-30,000 Baht per month. Since many Thai’s don’t even make half that as a salary it’s certainly possible to live on that amount. But who cares? OK so it would cost 20,000 Baht not to be homeless or starve, but who wants to come to Thailand just for that? I think the more important amount is how much would it cost to actually LIVE WELL in Thailand. Obviously it’s a very broad and general topic because Thailand is a large country and there are different prices throughout. Everyone also has their own opinions on what would be considered living well, and some people have more baggage than others. I will go over a budget that I personally feel is enough to live very well on. I’m not including any prior financial burdens you may have such as children or previous medical conditions. And I’m also not including any monthly savings in the picture. This is a budget that is specifically just for one man to live on in Thailand.

There is no room for waste within this budget. I know people who spend double this amount and live like crap because they don’t spend with any caution. Chris and I are constantly updating this site with effective money saving techniques in Thailand so there is no excuse for waste. And just because you have more disposable income available than is required in this budget does not mean you need to waste it. You have no business spending a single Baht more than it takes you to live well. Save and invest any extra money rather than blow it; you’ll be glad you did with the massive global inflation coming over the next two decades

The budget:

Entertainment/Going out – 20,000
Rent - 15,000
Traveling- 12,000
Electric - 900
Water- 200
Groceries- 4,100
Gas- 250
Haircuts – 250
Bank fees- 700
Cleaning - 1200
Toiletries – 600
Internet – 1,000
Electronics – 2,000
Household- 700
Medical- 1,400
Cable TV- 300
Phone- 500
Clothing- 900
Visa- 2,000
Misc.- 6,000
Bike- 1,400
Gym- 600

72,000 Baht per month

The Explanation:

After living in Thailand for 6 months, your need to splurge on boos and girls every night should subside somewhat. By then you’re probably shacked up with a girlfriend, so as long as she’s not taking you to the cleaners you shouldn’t need anymore than 20,000 Baht per month for your entertainment and going out budget. It’s enough to have one or two big nights per month (Gogo’s, disco’s) plus plenty of chances for dining out, massages, movies, bowling, drinking with friends, and a couple of bar fines here and there. 15,000 on rent should guarantee you a spacious and comfortable spread pretty much regardless of the city you live in. This is not to say that you should waste 15,000 on a place a Thai would get for 8,000. If you search long enough, 15,000 will get you a really comfortable place to live in. I know many people who rent spacious houses or impressive apartments in good locations for that amount. I also know people who spend 40,000 for nothing special, but as I said we’re not including any waste into the budget. Prices are different in Bangkok and in Phuket, but generally speaking 15,000 is enough to live in a great place in Thailand.

I’ve set a sizable travel budget that comes out to nearly 150,000 Baht per year. As long as you put the time into finding good deals on flights and hotels, this is enough for a trip home every year and a few exceptional trips within Thailand. Setting aside 2,000 Baht per month for electronics should be enough for you to get a good phone, a decent TV, a tablet, and a laptop whenever yours craps out, provided that you aren’t addicted to Apple and you order your tablets and/or laptops from outside of Thailand. TV’s, laptops, and tablets should last you for years so I think it’s a reasonable budget. The rest of the expenses are self-explanatory and include a once per week cleaning lady, a gym membership, a motorbike, and all the little things.

Could easily cut:

Gym – Cut 600 leaves 0
phone- Cut 200 leaves 300
internet –Cut 300 leaves 700
medical- Cut 1,000 leaves 400
traveling- Cut 3,000 leaves 9000
Ent./going out- Cut 3,000 leaves 17,000
Electronics- Cut 500 leaves 1.500
Misc.- Cut 1,500 leaves 4,500
Rent- Cut 4,000 leaves 11,000
Total cuts- 14,100
Budget after cuts- 57,300

The Explanation:

All it would take is a onetime investment on some home gym equipment and you could cut the gym right out of the budget. As long as you’re using True Mobile, you really can get away with spending 300 baht per month on your phone calls not including mobile internet. And speaking of internet, affordable Wifi plans are becoming accessible in more and more places, so you can get by with spending less on your mobile and home internet as long as you don’t work online. If you’re relatively healthy you could cut out a large chunk of medical expenses. A Medical checkup and a trip to the dentist aren’t going to cost you very much and neither is getting what you need at a pharmacy. A budget of 9,000 per month on travel still affords you the option of going home for a visit once per year plus a couple of small Thailand trips. As you settle in and you get to know the best deals for restaurants, bars, and girls, shaving a little off the top on our going out and entertainment budget won’t be noticeable. 150 Baht per day should be enough for the Misc. category. There are decent enough places available for rent at 6,000, so at 11,000 you’ll still be perfectly comfortable as long as you put enough time into your search.

Bottom line:

There will be people who think these budgets are too low to live well and there will be people who think they’re excessive; it’s too broad and general a topic for me to win with everyone. I know a smart guy who spends about 5X the budget and he’s not just living well, he’s living like a King. He has the money and his quality of life is through the roof so good for him. I also know some younger guys who live well for about half of my budget; men in their twenties or early 30’s don’t necessary need any luxuries to live well, so more power to them. But all in all I think the budgets above are a good starting point for a man who is thinking of moving to Thailand, or a man who is currently living in Thailand inefficiently.

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About ParadiseCity

M. Schwartz is an expert in all things Thailand. Having seen and done it all, there is nobody more equipped to teach about a successful ex-pat transition to Thailand. He wrote the cult classic guide book for men in Thailand called, How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck in Thailand

57 Responses to How much does it cost to live well in Thailand?

  1. Derek October 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    “15,000 will get you a really comfortable place to live in.”

    What planet are you on? I have huge room at a guest house for 7,000 bhats a month (Sunday walking street, Chiang Mai Soi 1) includes cleaning and all bills, internet also. I chose this over a flat at 1,800 bhats as I like to live well and prefer to live in guest houses.

    72K a month is like nearly 2000€…

    Have you ever been to Thailand?. Your Article is written like you have never been here nor can´t even place Thailand on the map!!

    I live very well on 20K a month and like a king on

    • Chris October 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      My dads guest house is in Soi one, it’s the most comfortable place there if not of all Chiang mai and you won’t be living there for less than 15,000 baht! The article is about living well and on 20,000 baht a month you could say your living but living well? Depends on how you live right like he says 20,000 baht for entertainment I know guys that spend 120,000 on entertainment and party like rockstars it’s all relative. In the end if you were spending 70,000 baht a month would you be living better than you do now? Sure, and I think that’s why Marc titled it How much it costs to live Well in Thailand. He should probably follow up with an article about how much you can survive on on Thailand or something I dunno I just know noone is living like a king on 20,000 baht a month.

      • Derek October 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

        look mate 72k month is something like 2,300$ and I live good real good, real good life. In soi 1 I can have Japanese style apartment real stylish for 7.5K top place real good. I´m young but I am retired..I do not need to work ever..I have money from my government from an accident that left me disabled…(Im good I walk around ok, sometimes with crutches, but I am good I am ok) so I am not talking about surviving…I am living and I am living well, very well, on a n expensive month I spend 30K maybe hire car, do many excursions or touristy things or just party a lot.

        BTW what place your father have? the name?

        • Chris October 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

          Mini Cost Guest House
          Perhaps you could reply with the list of your expenses would be helpful. You can live on 20,000 like Marc said Thai’s do it on less.

        • Derek October 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

          Not Something I think about..make detalied bills…or accounting but yes I can do and try to do. I live free and easy enjoing life and not thinking about money (this is what I mean by live like a king..freedom.. do what you want to do..when you want to). I understand the article…but you can live well on less tha 2,300$ month..many people in US or Europe do not earn this amount…so to say you need 2,300 a month to live in Thailand…is like crazy…perhaps the writer means for a months vegas style holidays….then yes, bar fines here, bar fines there, pay the girl your place..free if not fine her…get room short time or long time…impossible to spend 72k a month!! Khun Ting Tong!!!

      • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 5:02 am #

        Chris I’ll surely do an article on how to get by “well” for 30k a month, but this guy is taking the article personally, taking it to mean that if you don’t spend 70,000 baht per month that you can’t live well. If he would have read the entire article instead of getting defensive he wouldn’t have had an issue with it. I specifically said some people will see it as excessive, while everyone knows people who will see it as being “not enough.”

        • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 5:09 am #

          Lastly, Derek, some of us don’t want to live in a room. Some of us want a house or need a house. You live well and I’m happy for you, but others couldn’t on the same amount.

        • Derek October 8, 2012 at 5:51 am #

          I like the article and no I am not defensive.. yes..you have put it well “some people don´t want to live in a room they want a house” not everyone that comes to like in Thailand wants to have that crazy lifestyle of a rock star, but a more chillaxed one and that is what you can have on 30K. Scrimp, save suffer? no way..your own words say it “I’ve set a sizable travel budget that comes out to nearly 150,000 Baht per year” thats 12,500 a month……

          but to say you need more thak 2,000$ month to live in Thailand is crazy when you are living on 12,500 (about 500$)

        • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 6:24 am #

          Derek you misunderstood. In the budget you’ll see travel is a part of the 72k, set at 12,500. This is purely for taking trips, not for living expenses. In my opinion, spending an average of 12,500 per month ONLY for vacationing or for visiting your home country is a part of living well. Your opinion is different. That’s fine. This is an opinion piece.

    • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 4:58 am #

      you live in one city bud; probably the cheapest city in Thailand. There are many cities; Thailand is big. There are people who have lived here for decades that would rather kill themselves than live on 20k per month. There are people like yourself who “live well on that” which I mentioned. Everyone has different tastes. I spend double your entire budget just on traveling. I spend double your entire budget just on going out. People have different tastes, needs, and desires. All of this was mentioned in the article.

    • J October 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Good article, I live in Bangkok and the prices are little inflated here compared to Chiang Mai but i still Live very comfortable on 40k a month…the secret is to eat street food and not shop for food

    • TravelingFirefighter October 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Hi Derek,

      Getting ready to book accomodations in Chiangmai soon for my first ever visit to Thailand and Chaingmai. Would you be so kind as to tell me the name of the guesthouse you recommend there on Soi 1? Thank you. [email protected]

      • Chris October 16, 2012 at 4:29 am #

        I recommend http://www.minicostcm.com it’s my dads guest house one of the most knowledgeable guys in Chiang Mai and how I learned to know the city so well I garauntee you won’t be disappointed.

    • san July 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      Dear sir, How are you,
      I am getting an opportunity in bankok in 1000$ salary, my company is saying the will deduct 100$ for rent & 100$ for acommodatin.after tax deduction I will receive cash I hand Rs.750$
      Sir I am India 750$ X 59.59=Rupees 44693.
      Now 44693/1.93 thai baht=23157 Thai Bahth.
      Is this amout is sufficient to survive in bankok ?
      I am pure vegetarian , I don’t drink(wine,rum), kindly tell me how much other misc. expenses have to be beared by me.loke electric bill/water/ I want to ask how much I can save after this amout 23157 thai bahth is sufficient ?

    • Mark June 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

      Everything is relative: If Derek feels like he’s living like a king on only 20k a month, then that’s great for him. But I wonder if he was living at a trailer park at home, and that’s why “a huge room” (only 1 room?!) makes him feel like a king.

      20K for entertainment per month?! That’s what I usually spend in one night in Pattaya when I’m on holiday. But as you already mentioned: Living in Thailand is different than just visiting Thailand for a holiday.

      Well I think the bottom line would be that everyone calculates their own cost of living, and multiply it with the comparison of general cost of living by country. For example: I live in Switzerland and need roughly 4000 € per month. The cost of living factor between Thailand and Switzerland is around 50%. So that means if I want the same life style (4-BR apartment, mid-sized car, insurance, holiday, etc…) when living in Thailand, then I would require 50% x 3000€ = 2000€ or 80K Thai Baht.

      …and of course I would not be allowed to go out bar-hopping every night. 😉

  2. Andy October 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    Can’t survive with 20K a month in Bkk. Speaking about Sukhumvit area where most foreigners stay and work decent apartment costs 15K up,
    plus the bills, you are easy on 17k for a small apartment.
    Of course you can stay in some other parts of the city but you will
    spend every day money on taxes or overcrowded bts.
    Bangkok isn’t cheap anymore, the article is correct, for a comfortable life you need about 60-80K a month (speaking about BKK).

    • Derek October 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      True, same same but different. I know quality places where you can rent for 2k/month in Bangkok (and very central) and other places at victory monument for 7K/month..I even know guest houses you can stay for 12k/month..me..just one year here & never lived in Bangkok…but done my research…

      • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 5:05 am #

        Derek, some of us are entitled to live in nicer places than those. Some of us can afford to. We’re not looking down on those who can’t and the article was very neutral in this way. You’re being incredibly defensive.

  3. mamborobert October 8, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    A couple of things. Quoting what a Thai gets is not really that . Most live in families so the combined income is more (but rent for example does not go up for having more people in a house). Thais often have larger communal meals and then graze throughout the day on what was not consumed the night before (safely protected by gauze netting of course). Thais also have family that visit and always seem to bring cheap and favourite food with them from villages.

    The article itself is pretty consistent with one Chris wrote a while back. Chris’s was higher but from memory he was making provisions for savings in retirement.

    Lastly… (as the resident Galah) where do you get the idea of massive inflation over the next few decades. What we have now is very low interest rates, substantial underemployment, people be scared and carrying less debt, less spending of disposable income, unimpressive unemployment figures in USA and some of continental Europe, China construction slowing down, the Euro zone debt fiasco’s, low bank deposit interest rates etc etc. All these are not going to go away in the next 5 to ten years (Ireland was forecasting 40 years, a generation to recover) and all lead to lower inflation. So how do you get high?

    An if you did have hyper inflation (perhaps another article?) what would you consider a good investment in Thailand (or elsewhere) that could be quickly liquidated (so kill of property, especially property in Thailand).

    • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Interest rates have been low and unemployment has been high in the U.S. for years, and yet inflation has been significant. Not according to the gov’t.’s #’s which are a joke, but go into a super market, buy a movie ticket, fill up a tank of gas, go out to eat….it’s bad over there. If all things were fair, there would be no inflation in times like these, but unfortunately the crunch just gets bigger. So many countries have taken on so much uncontrollable debt; this will eventually lead to devalued currencies as they have to print more into circulation. It’s a small enough world so everyone gets hit. The best protection against inflation is the stock market.

      • Farang ngong nguay October 8, 2012 at 8:59 am #

        Credit acts as money. With the amount of bad debt that needs to be written off, the amount of “printing” needed just to offset the debt write-offs would be exceedingly high. I doubt we will see high inflation for a couple reasons.

        1. Insurance companies are cash rich companies and would be badly hurt if their piles of cash were to be devalued. (My father was the CFO of a major (top 3) U.S. insurance company so I’m pretty well versed with regards to the insurance “racket”.)

        2. Banks wouldn’t be writing mortgages at 3.xx% if they anticipated high inflation.

        All the “look out for upcoming inflation” articles that I read are usually just scare tactics by the REIC (Real Estate Industrial Complex) co-opted MSM (main stream media) to get people to either (a.) go out and buy a house so that the banks can slowly offload the homes that they own onto another bag holder or (b.) buy stocks, which at this time I feel are overvalued.

        In my opinion, there aren’t many places to “park” your money these days so my recommendation to people is to live modestly and take care of your health so that you will spend less on Dr’s visits.

        With regards to how much might be needed to live well…I am living pretty nicely on about 45,000 per month and could easily shave 5,000 off that amount.

        • Andy January 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

          Though I can’t speak specifically to the insurance companies motives, Farang ngong nguay pretty much hit it on the head.

          Inflation is different to everyone. If you own you home outright, then little of the mortgage/rent inflation will be of concern to you, however if you have high medical expenditures the double digit rise in health care (which is lower now that the ACA is starting to take effect) will cause your personal inflation rate to be higher.

          Of course now the US dollar is at all time highs against many currencies so that is good for US expats that still have their investments paying in dollars.

          I wish everyone the life they want to live. Us westerners are so fortunate.

  4. mamborobert October 8, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    Sorry, one other thing to consider, especially if all or part of your income is from overseas (pension or investment or online work) is the ability of the exchange rate to change. The Thai baht remains strong but if you look at the Euro or USD to the baht they both have dropped almost 40% in the last five years….so whatever you do to get what figure suits you in Thailand, make sure its set at a seriously low exchange rate.

    • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      you’re right, it’s a monthly concern for any of us who make $ outside of Thailand. The horrible conversion rates and bank fees are an additional part of many people’s budgets.

  5. Farang ngong nguay October 8, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    OK…I decided to try a similar breakdown using your expenses as a guideline. I am assuming that eating out (food not included in groceries) is included in your “entertainment/going out” budget and traveling includes travel expenses for going home. For medical, I am just hypothesizing an amortized amount to include the future.

    Entertainment/Going out – 20,000 (9,000)
    Rent – 15,000 (14,000) for new 52sqm 1BR
    Traveling- 12,000 (8,000)
    Electric – 900 (1,000) trying to pare that down
    Water- 200 (300) including drinking water
    Groceries- 4,100 (4,000) I could shave 2,000 off
    Gas- 250 (250)
    Haircuts – 250 (250)
    Bank fees- 700 (700)
    Cleaning – 1200 (300) I clean my own place mostly
    Toiletries – 600 (600)
    Internet – 1,000 (600)
    Electronics – 2,000 (1,000) New phone/laptop every 3-5 years.
    Household- 700 (600)
    Medical- 1,400 (1,400) Haven’t had much of a need for it.
    Cable TV- 300 (0)
    Phone- 500 (500)
    Clothing- 900 (900)
    Visa- 2,000 (2,000)
    Misc.- 6,000 (4,000)
    Bike- 1,400 (2,500) Rent Honda Scoopy
    Gym- 600 (0) Use gym/pool in condo.

    Total for me…51,900.

    WRT going out, I’m probably lower than 9,000 I eat a lot of 30 baht meals with 2-300 baht meals 3-4 times a week. I rarely drink (4 drinks a month maybe) and don’t do the P4P/Go-Go/soapy/etc. Misc includes Thai massages and laundry.

    How much could I easily shave off?
    Rent 5000
    Going out 2,000 (probably already there)
    Groceries 2,000 (snack less)

    This would bring me down to 42,900

    YMMV (Your mileage may vary).

    • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      nice work; You’re in with a large group of people living comfortably here spending somewhere around $2,000 USD per month (little more or a little less). You’re a little below it, the budgets I mentioned were a little above it. I think this is the easiest way to say it to someone who asks the ?; Somewhere around 2k USD per month. Sure people live on 5X that or on 30% of it; but most folks I know enjoying their lifestyle seem to be in that range. And another point is that the budget and income are two totally different issues. Some people can supplement their income with savings, some people have to put money into their savings. So the question, “how much do you have to make to live well in Thailand” is a different question all together. This isn’t related your post, I’m just throwing in here.

      • Farang ngong nguay October 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

        Yeah…I think that $2000 a month affords a pretty nice lifestyle although I’m probably closer to $1500. I overestimated a few things just to be on the safe side and am probably closer to 45k than 50k.

        I challenged an author of a blog who claimed that she could live comfortably here in Chiang Mai for $485 per month including rent (shared house, no A/C), internet, utilities, transportation (scooter + gas), eating (including daily dark chocolate lattes and weekly ice cream at iBerry), and going out (including karaoke, dance clubs, rooftop bars and bowling).

        (LINK REMOVED)

        I have also seen posts on Stickman that claim that you can’t live for less than 100k/month.

        I think internet posters that state $500/month is ok are just trying to brag about how “in touch” with Thailand that they are where the 100k baht/month posters are just trying to brag about how well off they are. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    • song August 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      I lived well $2000 to $2500. I’m Thai and new house with good life style. It’s up to the person to choose their life style. It is cheaper than live in USA. $5000 a month live in ok life style and not fancy.

  6. The Horse October 8, 2012 at 11:38 am #


    I can’t believe with all your disclaimers and explanations that this article is ‘just a guide’ you still get a bunch of whingers arguing with you.

    Your numbers all seem to add up pretty well to me. I did some calculations and came up with a pretty close match myself.

    I live in the heart of Patong and as sush pay out the ass for tings i could easily get cheaper if i tried a bit harder.

    Expenses i seem to over do are below for anyone who cares…

    27,500 (85sqm 1 bed apartment , 1 block from the beach, roof top pool, modern western style everything furnished with cable tv and personal internet)

    200-500 a day; This is a big one, I like my farang food and would wither away the thais diet of 30bht noodles and the like. gotta have some pizza and pasta and sushi in there.

    20,000 is very easy to blow based on your description of whats included. If you’re keeping a gf and she eats with you at your fancy farang food places and then drink at the bars that are actually worth going to you could double this by being frivolous just a few times a month.

    • ParadiseCity October 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      thanks for reading; it was more or less just one guy who didn’t read the entire article and who made it personal because his spending power is at a different level; but I believe him when he says he’s living well for far less money.

      I agree with you about the 20k; it can go quickly for sure. There are plenty of people who spend that amount or more who are not wasteful and are just actively going out and seeing women or treating their gf’s.

  7. Fluke October 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    My expenses in CM:
    3000 B rent , central aircon condo with fridge and TV.
    15000 B gfs allowance.
    20000 B My food and drink
    2000B Visa run .
    600B internet shop
    1000 B tuk tuks .
    15 B soap .

  8. Jay October 9, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    My house, truck and bike is paid for. Thus, my monthly expense is about 20,000 baht a month and I feel i live very comfortable. I don’t drink or smoke however.

  9. kennyn October 9, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Hey, first post here, super noob question….
    What is this “visa 2,000” fee? Is this because you guys are not working and dont have a permit? So you guys are going to Laos every 30 days? Thanks…

    • Farang ngong nguay October 10, 2012 at 3:56 am #

      I just copied the OP’s figure for the sake of simplicity. I did however come on a tourist visa originally, and then decided to stay and take Thai language lessons. I had to fly to Kuala Lumpur and stay in a hotel for a few days in order to sort out a non-immigrant ED visa. This trip wasn’t accounted for under my travel expenses.

      • kennyn October 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

        So, with an education visa, we can eliminate this 2000 baht a month fee, correct?

        Is an education visa really as easy as signing up for a Thai class? How long is the process?

        • Chris October 14, 2012 at 9:50 am #

          An ED visa costs from 13-45000 baht, plus you have to leave the country every 3 years it works out roughly 2000 baht a month but can vary 2000 is a good estimate. Anyway takes up to a month to do the paperwork.

    • ParadiseCity October 10, 2012 at 6:47 am #

      There are all sorts of ways to secure a visa; and a work permit is not an option for most ex-pats. So regardless of what other route you take to have one, there are always fees involved.

    • Fluke October 10, 2012 at 9:23 am #

      The 2000 Baht is for the 15 day visa . 500 B for bus to Myanmar + 500 B for Myanmar Visa, thats 1000 B , twice a month is 2000 Baht .
      Although you can get a bus for 450 Baht and sometimes they accept 10 US$ for the myanmar Visa (which is 310 B) , but usually they dont .

  10. Barry October 9, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I see a great problem here in providing advice on what may be considered reasonable living costs in Thailand for a foreigner, just as it would be difficult to provide advice on what are reasonable living costs for any person in his own country, and just as it would be difficult to provide advice on what is a reasonable cost for an automobile.

    Such costs will vary enormously, not only with regard to personal living standards, but with regard to location in Thailand and whether or not one is paying a ‘farang’ price or a local Thai price for services, and whether or not one is frugal in one’s choice of goods and services to buy and whether or not one has a good sense for a bargain.

    I remember sitting in a cafe/bar in the centre of Mae Hong Son some months ago where I ordered a Green Chicken Curry, my favourite Thai dish, and a bottle of Chang beer. The total bill, including an appropriate tip, was the equivalent of A$2.50. I remember thinking at the time that in an equivalent place in Australia I’d be charged at least $3 for a cup of coffee and $5 for a bottle of beer. A similar meal with a bottle of beer would be at least $15 and maybe $20.

    However, certain items will be more expensive than in Australia. A bottle of Jacob’s Creek wine may cost $12-$15, as opposed to $7 or $8 in Australia.

  11. american October 10, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    Definitions may vary but the article is about living well, probably somewhat close to a western lifestye with some corners cut. I throw in the mix:
    Entertainment/Going out – 20,000 (20,000) massage, beer, eat out.
    Rent – 15,000 (12,000) 48sqmtr jomtien beach. nice building
    Traveling- 12,000 (5,000) This still seems high to me. take bus to bangkok, use public transport, rarely a taxi or let alone a flight. Does include flight home every year.
    Electric – 900 (1,700) 8hr of ac, game, tv, computers.
    Water- 200 (200)
    Groceries/eat out- 4,100 (3,500)
    Gas- 250 (360) scooter gas for about 360km a month
    Haircuts – 250 (100)
    Bank fees- 700 (600) cash advance in banks. 1% International fee.
    Cleaning – 1200 (300) I normally clean. cleaner once a month
    Toiletries – 600 (400)
    Internet – 1,000 (1490) I need the speed
    Electronics – 2,000 (3,000) Hoping to avg. this. including cables etc. fixing cell, etc.
    Household- 700 (500) Cleaners, soap, etc.
    Medical- 1,400 (1,200) insurance and the occational bandaid
    Cable TV- 300 (0) free in my building
    Phone- 500 (400) inclduing data 3g 150mb, then 2g unlimited
    Clothing- 900 (1000) buying a little but also includes cleaner
    Visa- 2,000 (2000)
    Misc.- 6,000 (5,000) misc on what? this usually goes into the entertainment bin or taking some girl out for food, etc.
    Bike- 1,400 (100) Own a new Nouvo. maint.
    Gym- 600 (0) Use gym/pool in condo.

    My goal every month is under 60k and I’d like to get to the point of under 50k which I think is doable with some discipline, so far that hasn’t been the case.

    I live in comfort in a studio on the beach. I live similarly as I did in the west except no car, smaller place but it is overall a better lifestyle here (weather etc). I don’t dress expensively nor drink much (6 beers a month probably). My vices are girls and electronics (phone, tv, etc). Electronics are better investments. 😉

  12. Barry October 11, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    It’s understood if your vices are girls the cost of living will be skewed enrmously, so it would be better not to include such expenditure.

    The comparison that would be the most useful would be the cost compared with the equivalent goods and services one might use in one’s home country, whether America, Europe or Australia.

    For example, how much would it cost to rent a similar size studio apartment in your home country, including water, electricity, internet and cleaning services?

    If you eat out in restaurants frequently, how much would it cost to do that in your home country?

    Then there are alternative expenses. In your home country you might need to have your own car, as I do, whereas in Thailand taking taxis everywhere, or buses and trains for long trips, could be less expensive on an annual basis. I imagine most people don’t bother to calculate how much owning a car costs them per kilometre driven. There’s the initial cost of the car, the ongoing costs of maintenance, repairs, insurance and road tax etc, plus the cost of fuel, plus a certain amount of bank interest you would have gained if you had not bought the car. All that accummulated cost over the life of the car, say 10 years, has to be divided by the number of kilometres driven during that period to get an idea of the true cost per kilometre of driving your own car.

    I bet that’s much more expensive, per kilometre, than taking a taxi everywhere in Bangkok.

    • ParadiseCity October 12, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Barry, this is Thailand, people don’t come here just for the weather bud. Most people want to see a real budget that factors in entertainment. Women are not a vice! The budget would be useless as it pertains to this site without people getting an idea of how people who live here permanently fit women into their budget. There’s a reason I didn’t include the cost of make up and tampons in the budget -this is a blog for men who spend time in Thailand…figure out the implications. A budget in Thailand without girls is telling a half empty story.

      • TheHorse October 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        LOL, Thai women ARE a vice in a funny way. think about it; a little addictive, can be costly, bad for your health if you over do it…

        from: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vice
        1. an immoral, wicked, or evil habit, action, or trait
        2. habitual or frequent indulgence in pernicious, immoral, or degrading practices
        3. a specific form of pernicious conduct, esp prostitution or sexual perversion
        4. a failing or imperfection in character, conduct, etc. smoking is his only vice (or -women are my only vice)


        • Chris October 15, 2012 at 10:40 am #

          LOL that’s so funny!

  13. MagicMax October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Wow what an angry guy Derek is!

    For me Thailand is about living very well and yes Phuket is expensive although you can find cheap places.

    Personally I decided to pay up what I consider to be cheap for a fantastic 2 bed, 2 bathroom, completely detached, enclosed and new house tucked away in the jungle but with easy access to everything. This costs me 18k per month. I can’t work out the budget figures for the article’s phone and electric as on average I pay around 1-1.5k for ADSL and landline phone (which we use) and up to 2k for electric however we do have AC which gets used and the water is pumped electrically from a well.

    I think that people here live how they wish and personally I would hate living in a guesthouse.

    Side note, after renting a car for nearly a year (big mistake as I could have bought one) as I wasn’t sure I would stay, I bought two bikes which hugely reduced my outgoings.

    I also lived like a rock star until recently which is easy to do here.

    Being a diver doesn’t help as, although I am certified to a high level I cannot earn money from it and it is a very expensive hobby.

    What I will say is that I choose this lifestyle because I have worked long and hard in Europe and it’s my money. By the way I know many people who live far more cheaply than this budget and many who are way in excess of it and earning “loads a money here”!

    Question of choice as to how to live.

  14. ChiangMaiGuy October 12, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I think 60/70 is more than enough as I find I often spend around 50k whilst paying no rent (own a condo). Some live on 15,000 in a fan room some i know can’t make do with less than 150k (house, maid, gardener, kids etc.) it all depends on circumstance.

    single guy should be 40/50k plus rent

  15. MagicMax October 14, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Ed visa is not the best way, schools are crying out for English speakers here right now due to a lack of pro teachers. They will give you accomodation, free food, free wifi and a bike plus a Business visa and work permit. All in return for working a few hours a day just speaking English to students!

    • Chris October 15, 2012 at 10:38 am #

      lol ok so it’s a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening meanwhile your waiting around all day at school I don’t think it’s a good deal and you don’t learn any English! ED Visa is the best way for those who don’t want to be a teacher!

  16. MagicMax October 14, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Oh and pay you too. I am being pestered to do this and actually might.

  17. Chris February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Hi, well I have just got back from a 4 month spell in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, there are many different opinions on how you would describe “living well”. My living costs and experiences are below, I hope it’s helpful…..

    I live a simple life, eat street food, have a nice room in a small block in the city, with a balcony and air, tv, wet shower room, fridge, communal gardens, parking and it comes semi furnished. I get my washing done and have a motorbike that I hire, I go out 2 times a week for a drink and dance in the evenings, I eat out 3 times a day, I cook once or twice a week, while it’s a simple life it’s also very good and relaxing, I do what I want when I want, have a little extra for clothes or medical things and budget a little for the usual visa runs, so here’s what I spend.

    Rent per month 3700
    Bills elec and water 980
    Street food three times a day 11500 eating well inc drinks
    Going out 4000
    Motor bike rental and gas one month 3000
    Visa runs 3000
    Odds and ends 5000

    This equals approx 31000 bht a month. This equals approx 1000 bht a day £19 per day. Less than £600 a month. This is based on two people, me and my Laos girlfriend. We do have a great quality of life, so that’s my costs. Worth noting that if you want to go and travel, well for us to travel to Laos, 12 hrs on a bus then into Laos cost us 3000 bht return including visa fees, that’s under 60 pounds, 30 pounds each for a 3000km trip and boarder crossing.

    • Ling Hincks April 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      I thought you were going to marry a Thai girl. Now Laos gf? I am confused….anyway…

  18. Alan Hunter May 4, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    The trouble with places like Thailand is that it is similar to India.

    I stated in India for a month at a time (3 times) – last visit 2005. I was told a professional could earn only £15 per week (about $23 US). I didn’t believe that until I checked in a local paper where they were advertising for a qualified DENTIST for the equivalent of £15 per week – the same figure as an engineer!

    Clearly, a professional like a dentist, on only £15 a week, must be able to live to a relatively high standard, otherwise no one would study to be a dentist.

    But I contacted a health clinic some years back. The weekly cost was tiny in comparison to western standards – something like £20 a week. When I contacted recently (in 2011) the figure had shot up to European leavels – something like £500 a week!!

    Clearly they have cottoned on and are charging tourist rates, BUT, if you are local, you will receive the normal rates…

  19. Max August 2, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    Living of 50k baht is less than two grand. I pay 85k just for a 430 sq m penthouse. Never mind the prices of big screen televisions, iPads, laptops, eating in restaurants 3-4 times a week and keeping the wife happy. I would suggest a budget of at least 175k baht a month in Bangkok if you’re accustomed to the finer things in life you deserve.

  20. David March 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

    I think it would take no less than 150,000 B a month to live and eat for a decent life in Bangkok!

    Lived on soi Nilert 9 years past and I was doing close to 100K then. Broads about 4K a week. Only do western grub, home or out..

    Out with a guy once in a while from LA. He loaded up on booze the time I was paying the bill but when the bill came to booze was on a separate check and he got pissed. Tolkd him he could pick up the total bill next time. That next timbe nerver came!

    Stay home if you can’t afford itr!

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