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The most important thing you need to know before you come to Thailand

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I came to live in Thailand, and the steps that I've taken in order to do it. And when i look at other blogs and forums they like to tell you how to prepare for your journey here, how to put your stuff in long term storage, how to rent out your house or sell your bellongings where to get the best airfare here and where in Thailand you should live. But they all seem to be missing the most important information of all. Money! If you ain't got a thousand dollars to your name no point in knowing where the cheapest flight to Thailand is now is there?

So why do all the other bloggers miss this crucial piece of advice? Do they believe that only people with endless wads of cash and retirees on good pension plans come to Thailand? There's a big trend now for the late 20's early 30's to come and live in Thailand and one thing almost all these people have in common is their lack of funds. I'd say 90% of the people i meet around town at that age are teachers, and personally I couldn't imagine anything more boring or frustrating, do they still use the cane? OK if they had a cane I'd be ok. Seriously though you need an income.

I've seen sites where they give you a good idea about how much you need to live in Thailand, they break it down into little pieces so you can know how many cans of coke you can buy per month. A popular forum even suggests you can live in Thailand on 10,000 thousand baht a month. I even wrote an article about how to live in Thailand on $10 a day. Sure it can be done, I know teachers working here on 15,000 thousand a month, and sure they get by. But man your moving and living in paradise, it's like going to Vegas with a dollar in your pocket, what's the point man?

If your reading this and you live on less than 20,000 a month you might be saying "oh hogwash" I have plenty of good times Chris. Sure, but if you had 5 times as much money would you have a better time, and if your in your mid twenties you need to have more to build a savings and fund your 401k or pension plan right. You can only scrape by for so long, eventually you'll either need help or be like so many others (who even came here with loads of cash) asking the embassy for a free ticket back to your own country. That would have to be the worst and I don't want to see that happen to anyone.

So how much do you really need if you want to live in Thailand. I say you can live in Thailand comfortably and have a good time on 30,000 thousand baht a month, that's about $1000 USD dollars a month. That allows you a half decent place good meals and a few nights out a week plus visa and medical expenses. However, you won't get any change left out of that and you can't live in Bangkok for that either. The reason so many expats live in Chiang Mai is because that's where 30,000 thousand baht a month will stretch the furthest.

Again if you had $10,000 dollars stashed away, don't expect to last more than a year in Thailand. Especially if you don't speak Thai and have never been here before. If you do have an income of $1000 dollars a month don't expect to survive here more than 5 years. Seems contradictory seeing i just said you can live here comfortably on $1000 dollars a month doesn't it, why? You need savings! Things go up in price, inflation etc what you can do now is not what you can do in 10 years time (ten years ago it was 500 baht for a girl in Pattaya, now they ask 1000). Things go up in price.

So how much do you really need to live in Thailand? The answer would have to be about 80,000 - 100,000 thousand baht per month. If you want to live in a decent standard actually have a decent pair of sneakers, entertain a lady or two, go out frequently, have full medical coverage, enough to travel back home now and then, and still be saving a good amount of money for your future then this is what you need no if's and buts about it. If you're a retiree you need the same because of medical costs that will blow you out of the water even if you have coverage.

For many people from the US where minimum wages are ridiculous you'd be reading this right now and say that is more money than you get in the US! Yes I know! You need need about double that in the US too and I realise people don't make that kind of money not everyone anyway. But you'd like to wouldn't you? I wrote an article about how to make money in Thailand though there are no specifics about how to go about being successful at it.

So if your thinking about coming to Thailand forget about everything else, if you have the money you'll figure everything else out. If you don't have the money well stop thinking about moving to Thailand and start figuring out how you can cash up to move here. I can give you a little tip though about how I make enough money to live here, I do affiliate marketing mostly using clickbank products from a number of websites I own and run. It's a lot of work but I can make a modest living in Thailand.


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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.

21 Responses to The most important thing you need to know before you come to Thailand

  1. ray_man September 1, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Refreshing blog about Thailand. Did you build it yourself or is it powered through wordpress? Nice work!

    • Chris September 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks Ray,
      Yes I’m using wordpress still playing around with it but getting the hang of it slowly. So why’d you have to have a syphilis test for? I’ve never been asked for that.

  2. iPatW September 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    Hey there Chris,

    nice stuff you got posted here man, enjoying reading it. What surprised me very much is the link to Anik Singal’s link. I watched this video before too. I think affiliate marketing is about the only ‘job’ which pays enough if you do it properly and enables you to live just about anywhere in the world. For me that would also be Thailand, my wife-to-be is Thai. However, I’m still reading and reading and reading about AM before I’ll take the step and be brave enough to really get started.

    • Chris September 2, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks for the compliments mate, if you want to live in a foreign country comfortably and you don’t have a huge amount of money up your sleaves and don’t have the expereience or skills to get a high paying job then I think affiliate marketing is the only way to go. Something like Anik’s push button software is a great way to start and get you up and running making money straight away you can’t go wrong. I’ve used the samme principles i learned from him and his software that enabled me to make this blog the fastest growing blog in Thailand, it’s no accident. I don’t think you should wait, i say jump right into it make enough mistakes that you learn from them before you start making good money. Give yourself about 6-12 months to start making a good profit that you can live in Thailand. And that’s what it’s all about right, making western money living in Thailnad man you can have some fun, i know i do. need any ideas or help just email me happy to help.

  3. Brad February 21, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve visited Thailand 4 times already, I’d love to live in Thailand in a few years, but I’m sensible and real about money too. I’m married to a beautiful Thai girl and we are both working hard in Australia to make Thailand our future home. We are paying off a house in Korat, Thailand which will be ours completely within three years.

    In essence, within 3 years we can sell up everything in Australia put the money in high interest accounts, splitting the income to bring us below the taxable threshold and have something like 50,000 baht a month to live off – remembering that we own a house and car outright, so no rent or loans to pay off.

    I’ll be 40 at this point and my wife 38, so quite a nice age for retirement. Chris, as you say, you need to be spending less then you earn to keep pace with inflation.



  4. brian August 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    I am 42 and get direct deposit ssdi monthly of 1170$ I would like AN ADDITIONAL 3-5 hundred more a month OR MORE,I have my passport , LAPTOP, SOME 5 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO BUY HOUSEHOLD TV ETC.and single without children, any advice how to get started thanks, LIVED IN COSTA RICA 6 MONTHS TOURIST RIP OFF TOWN NOT AFFORDABLE ANY MORE WENT HUNGRY SOME NIGHTS, DRINK ALOT BRIAN

  5. garry October 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    moving to singburi thailand i have 1400 us a month to live on i have a house dnt have to pay rent is it enough to live comfortable ?

    • Chris October 12, 2012 at 6:10 am #

      That’s enough to live there and have a very comfortable lifestyle

  6. Digger May 14, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Your blog is a little confusing. I think 20/30s teachers no family to look after etc can live for a lot less, if you are moving to retire then yes, don’t base your money on holiday makers on a shoe string.

    • Chris May 15, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      I think I covered more than just living, if you’re in your 20’s or 30’s you should be making more so that you can save up to retire here, does that make sense?

  7. Mile June 3, 2013 at 6:38 am #

    The magic number is $3000 month or $100 day if your new to Thailand have extra in beginning. $1,000 ok $2000 better $3000 your living good.

    You can find month apartment $100-300 easy so figure how much you need after that. If you don’t eat Thai food good luck you need more!

  8. sandy June 17, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Sir I am getting an oppurtunity to go thai land (bankok) in 1000$ salary including the accomodation of company. is this sufficiant for me to survive there.in 1000$ Iam pure vegeterian.

    • Chris June 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

      you could survive sure, you might be able to save 5000-10000 baht a month as well, although I don’t recommend you do this.

  9. sandy June 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Dear sir, how you calculate I can save 5000-10000 baht only ? I am getting 1000$ , it means apx 31000 bahts. company is saying accomodation exp will apx 3000 baht. 28000 bahts in hand

    plz suggest me…

    • Chris June 19, 2013 at 5:45 am #

      You gotta eat right? Hey I don’t know how you live but the minimum amount i can see you spending is 10-15000 baht, you gotta buy clothes right, you gotta do stuff, get around, eat etc

  10. sandy June 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Dear chris,

    what should I ask to company about what they will provide me etc etc.in bankok city means what are the necessary questions to be asked from them

    plz guide

    • Chris June 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

      sounds like your going to be living really cheap, i honestly don’t recommend that and have no idea about getting a job in Thailand i work for myself, sorry if i’m not much help.

  11. Joe December 14, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    This article is beyond stupid.

    3k a month you can live in a western city

    Lived here for 5 years no problem on way less. Also minimum Thai salary is 300 a day.

    • Chris December 26, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      3k a month in a western city you’re pretty much just getting by, here on that you can save money or spend it all. I’ve lived here longer than you ive lived years on just 30,000 baht a month and years on 100,000 baht a month and a few years on 300,000 spending money a month. Can you live here on 10,000 baht a month, yeah sure i know people who do it! But to be the most comfortable position you need 100,000 baht a month. I know i’ve lived it.

  12. Jimy December 22, 2018 at 4:28 pm #

    I am getting a job in Phitsanulok and the Salary is 15,000 BHT (460$), accommodations are provided .is this amount enough in phitsanulok?

    • Chris June 20, 2019 at 3:56 am #

      I think it will be very hard to survive on 15,000 Baht a month anywhere in Thailand, unless you live like a Thai and have 0 luxuries and very limited social life.

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