Survival Guide: How much does it cost to live in Thailand?


Thailand is getting 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 will it cost me?” and “Is X amount enough each month?” Although there are no fixed amounts, we are here to help you paint the picture. There are many factors to consider and we will cover the basics in this article. So without further ado, here is a list of common expenses for living in Thailand.

To rent
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. This one gets tricky because there are so many options to choose from. And it also depends on where you are going to live in Thailand, especially in Bangkok. You can find apartments around 10,000 baht, and that’s as basic as it gets. This is your standard, modern studio or one bedroom unit with air conditioning. It tends to be on the outskirts of town, but you’ll be surprised 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 is the lack of public transportation, especially the BTS Skytrain or the MTR subway. You can find cheaper places, 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, consider paying 30,000 baht per month. You can spend more on rent if you want. You can live happily ever after on 50,000 baht or more per month. This has everything you need from location to size to view. We would like to note that the MRT or BTS should be available at this price. If you need help or want to get a head start, look no further than Fazwaz.

Call
There are three operators: DTAC, True and AIS. The cheapest post-paid package you can get starts at around 300-400 baht. It’s enough for daily use if you’re not a heavy user. Free talk time is around 100 minutes while internet is limited. The average monthly bill is 500-700 baht, and most people tend to opt for this option. Cost depends on data and call time. If you want the best of the best, plans can cost upwards of $1,000. This gives you unlimited internet/data access, hundreds of minutes of talk time, and 5G.

Food
Now the cost of food is similar to the cost of 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 at Western restaurants, and cooking at home will save you a ton of money. Meals in food courts or street vendors cost no more than 60 baht per dish. Imagine a bowl of noodles or a meat and rice combo (more carbs than protein, of course). There’s nothing special about it, but it does the job. Be careful, it will also be tasty in all the freshness of its Thai cuisine. For restaurants inside an office building or mall, expect to pay at least 300 baht per meal. At least. Of course, there are more sophisticated options, up to 1,000 baht per meal. It all depends on your budget.

Transport
If you don’t have a car and plan to live in Bangkok, your main means of transport will be standard taxis, motorbike taxis, the BTS and the MRT. Trains can be expensive if you rely on them every day: it can cost upwards of 50 baht each way. But it’s still much cheaper than taking a taxi. We do not recommend that you take taxis often, as they will eat into your expenses. Taxi drivers are notorious for rigging the meters and generally expecting a tip. Driving a car in Thailand is a good alternative to public transport, 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 averages around 40 baht per liter. Click here for current PTT “oil” prices.

Haircut
For men, the local barber will cost no more than 200 baht. If you are lucky, you can find places cheaper than 100 baht. In nicer places, they will cost 300-400 baht. Want to do it all? At popular or fancy barbers, it can be at least 500 baht. But you get what you pay for. Anything under 200 baht will be your standard cut. The barber will probably use an unsanitized electric clipper and you’ll leave the store looking like you’re ready for boot camp. If you want a more professional and hygienic haircut, you’ll have to seek out one of the few barbers who can actually use a pair of scissors. It will cost you more, but it’s worth it if you want to keep your hair at any length.

Health
Health in Thailand is big business. Many people come here just for the cheap drugs and relatively OTP treatments. But it’s hard to tell you how much something will cost; It depends on a lot of factors. Annual exams, for example, only cost a few thousand baht. If you happen to have accidents, which we hope you won’t, it can cost you dearly. For example, if you need to spend the night in a private hospital, expect to pay at least 10,000 baht. If you don’t mind long lines, a public or government hospital has options at much lower prices. The downside, no pun intended, is that it’s good to have someone who can speak Thai with you.

Gym
There are many exercise options in Thailand. Most apartments will have a private gym, so you may not have to spend extra money. If you wish to do so, there are plenty 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 are not included. To learn more about the best gyms in Bangkok, click here.

What is your point of view ?
So there you have it, a short list of approximate prices for everyday expenses in Thailand. How much does it cost to live in Thailand? Honestly, it depends on you and your lifestyle. If you decide to live in popular destinations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Phuket, it will be expensive. If you want to save money, rural towns are an option. So what’s your opinion? Are there any other expenses that you think should be on the list? Let us know your thoughts in the ThaigerTalk comments section below!

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