Cost of Living in Thailand

This seems to be a popular topic among expats living in Thailand.  I thought I’d throw in my two cents.  Living costs can vary widely.  Live simply and the cost of living is very cheap.  Live a Western lifestyle and things start to get more expensive.  Keep in mind that this list of expenses applies only to me living in Ao Nang, Krabi.  Live in a different part of Thailand and things might be cheaper or more expensive.

  1. Visa: I entered Thailand on a student visa to study the Thai language.  School tuition is 30,000 Baht per year.  The visa fee is 2000 Baht and 1900 Baht every 90 days or 7,700 Baht per year.  Travel to Laos is about 15,000 once a year which includes round trip airfare, hotel, food, taxi, etc… which comes to just under 4,400 per month.
  2. House / Apartment:  I’m currently paying 13,000 Baht per month for a small two story house with two bathrooms, hot water, air conditioning, kitchen, and living room / extra bedroom.  The location is pretty good within walking distance of the beach and many restaurants in Ao Nang.  Live outside of Ao Nang in a smaller room without air conditioning or hot water and rent could be as cheap as 3,000 Baht per month.  Live in a villa with modern appliances, pool, 24 hour security, maid/garden service, etc and rent can be 40,000 (or more) per month.
  3. Transportation: I drive a Honda Scoopy scooter.  It’s my girlfriends but I make the payment for her.  It’s around 1800 Baht per month.  These can also be rented from many places around Ao Nang for around 3000 Baht per month.  Used motorbikes can be bought for around 20,000 Baht.  Maintenance is very cheap.  Oil changes, flat tire fixes, etc…  Usually comes to 100 or 200 Baht per month.  Gas is about 300 Baht per month.  Total = 2,300 per month.
  4. Utilities: Water is around 200 Baht per month.  Electricity depends on how much the air conditioner runs.  Lately we’ve been paying around 1500 Baht per month.  Trash appears to be free.  Set the bag out on the street and somebody takes it away.  Total = 1,700 Baht per month.
  5. Internet: 700 Baht per month.
  6. Cell Phone: Many options are available.  I pay 400 Baht per month for 3GB of data.  Phone calls which I rarely make are charged at 1 or 2 Baht per minute.
  7. Food: Eating out in the local Thai restaurants, dishes are around 50 to 100 Baht.  Western style restaurants with Western food are usually more, around 300 to 400 Baht.  I also do a fair bit of cooking in my room which brings down the cost a lot.  I’d estimate I spend around 6,000 Baht per month on food for myself.
  8. Climbing: I usually go to Tonsai or Railay once a week.  Round trip longtail boat ticket is 200 Baht and I usually spend around 200 Baht for food and a beer when I am there.  1600 Baht per month.
  9. Entertainment: I don’t go out much and prefer to buy beer from 7-11 since it’s a lot cheaper.  But sometimes it’s nice to go out for a drink with friends and watch a local band play or play a game of pool.  Small beers are usually around 50 Baht per 12 oz bottle.  Big beers are usually around 100 Baht per 22oz bottle.  1000 Baht per month.
  10. Medical / Dental: Travelers insurance was around 1,000 USD per year.  A visit to the dentist for cleaning / checkup was around 2,000 Baht.  Luckily I have not needed any other medical care.  Total = 3,100 Baht per month.
  11. Misc: I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of little things.  There’s the ice cream lady who I buy coconut ice cream from when I see her drive down my street.  Various other snacks, haircuts, and other day to day minor expenses.  Call it 3,000 Baht per month.

Adding this all up is 37,200 Baht / 1,063 US Dollars per month to live in Thailand.  I have a pretty comfortable lifestyle so cost of living in Thailand could be done for much less.  It could also be done for much more.

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