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Most affordable city to live in Thailand

Thailand can be a very expensive place to live, or it can be one of the most affordable places to live. The disparity is usually comes from the city you live in Thailand. Of course if you live in the far east of Thailands isaan region the cost of living is extremely low, however living in the middle of Bangkok city you could find that Thailand is very expensive.

Most westerners don't want to live in the far reaches of the country just because it's a cheap place to live, you can still get good value for money while having all the benefits and attractions of a big city. Chiang Mai is Thailand's second largest city, and while Bangkok dwarfs Chiang Mai, it still has a huge expat community.

Most affordable city to live in Thailand

Most affordable city to live in Thailand is Chiang Mai


Why Chiang Mai is the cheapest and most affordable city to live in Thailand

Chiang Mai is located in the northern most part of Thailand, it has a huge vast regions of arable land so fruit and vegetables are a plenty and cheap too. Living in Chiang Mai is also extremely affordable, apartments you can rent from as little as $40 USD a month! Typical street side food you can buy from less than a $1 per meal and nearly half the cost of the same meal in Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is such an affordable place to live you can honestly live in Chiang Mai on $10 a day. That must be why there are 20,000 westerners retired and living in Chiang Mai because it's so cheap to live there.

Some things that are not affordable for this most affordable city in Thailand are clothing items. Decent clothes are only found in the major Central department store near the Chiang Mai Airport. The prices here are very expensive especially designer clothes and shoes. It's almost always cheaper to go to bangkok buy your clothes while on vacation there and bring them back to Chiang Mai more affordable that way too.

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About Chris

Chris founded LivingThai.org in 2011 and has received over 3 million visitors. He has lived here for over 10 years and speaks reads and writes very good Thai.

15 Responses to Most affordable city to live in Thailand

  1. Willem December 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    I wonder if there are not more places you could stay without paying Bangkok prices. What about Korat, i was there a few times and seemed reasonably priced there. also not so very remote, or near Rayong. But i am in no position to do proper research on this. Is there really only 20.000 farang expats in Chang Mai? Not so much for the next big city in LOS. Well opportunitiy to do more research :-).

    • Chris December 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      Hey Willem, The exact number of expats living in Chiang Mai is unknown and since Immigration in Chiang Mai don’t use computers to add them up (I asked) it would be hard for them to tell us. As for living in Korat, well it’s smaller than Khon Khaen and that place is pretty small and neither places have the weather or the mountains that Chiang Mai does. But there are many places other than CM and Bangkok that would be suitable to live, i’ve been to most but feal Chiang Mai has it all except for a beach!

      • Dannyboy6 November 20, 2013 at 9:19 am #

        Is Rachisima smaller than Khon Khaen I don’t think so, they have a Beautiful Mall in Rachisima , Now, I think u can find some Great Deals in Pattaya, the competition is Fierce…

    • Dannyboy666 February 28, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

      Udon is a lil more Exciting, Nightlife, CM not so much, Udon very. Heap and No g Khai

  2. Dannyboy6 November 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    I heard there are 50,000 Farang in Udon Thani, I like it there, Love, Nong Khai too.

    • Chris November 19, 2013 at 1:34 am #

      I don’t think there are 50,000 farang but i’m sure there is a lot!

  3. Dannyboy6 November 19, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    Maybe their talking about Isaan as a Whole…

  4. Jon May 19, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I think Chumphon town and surrounding areas would have Chiang Mai beat. No air problems and quick access clean beaches.

    The major downside is not a lot of air travel here. So you need to get here by Train or bus. Since it is central, this isn’t difficult from Bangkok, Hat Yai, or Phuket. Another downside is that certain electronics would be difficult to get fixed here, unless you only buy specific brands like Acer that are well serviced throughout thailand; in other words, you may have to go to Bangkok to get that Samsung smartphone fixed.

    Who knows? At the rate they are building things, I wouldn’t be surprised it there was a CentralWorld or movie theatre built here in the next 3-4 years. I guess that’s what I like about Chumphon; it’s not touristy by any means, yet it is still functional in that getting around is cheap, produce and fish is cheap, living arrangements can be found for cheap (that are not holes in the wall); Still have Big C/Tesco/Makro/HomePro nearby if needed to get most necessities.

    I meant to ask, what times of the year does the air pollution get bad in Chiang Mai? My gf always wanted to visit Chiang Mai to see some flower garden.

    • Chris May 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      I’ve been to Chumpon, lonely boring town with very few western comforts. It’s be like moving to the outback. Done that before, never again. But hey who am I to tell people how to live, some people are happy in the country some people are happy in the city, some people want to live in the suburbs. I your happy that’s the main thing, but understand what your getting yourself into.

      Chiang Mai is really only smoggy 1 maybe 2 months of the year depends when the rains come. Typically feb-april

      • Fred89 November 6, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

        Please stop to make CM a very good city, the city always have bad smoke about pollution, never can see the blue sky or the stars at night (i’m not joking) . Now CM have too much farang and make the city not true like before. It’s become a farang city with more and more china people. I really think stop to “promotion” CM or i move to CR or somewhere else 555

  5. Nok February 22, 2017 at 1:41 am #

    Its true flanges destroying our Culture and environment. The only like Boom BOOm and drink.

    • Dannyboy666 February 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm #

      Farang Bring Big Money, Economy not good, especially Isaan, be careful , Farang no come, Economy in Big Trouble

    • joe June 14, 2017 at 10:03 am #

      thai lady have sex with thai man for fun and make a baby. thai man run away after baby come. now thai lady want have sex with farang to pay for the baby….thai culture

      • fenram December 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

        joe you 100% nocked it mate ! 🙂

  6. Chari Fabian January 11, 2021 at 12:43 am #

    Would like to know if me and my son retired their how welcome would we be ? I’m Korean American and not sure if there is a problem with that and we love the country and or thinking about this.

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