How much is the cost of living for 1 month in Bangkok?
Before I actually moved to Thailand, I did a little bit of research, organised my savings and figured I could probably get by on a cost of living of £250 – £300 budget per month… This includes fitness classes, food, bills, rent and a little bit of spending money. So I figured saving £5000 for expenses will be enough to get me by living a year in Thailand.
Well, after my first month of living in Thailand I’ve managed to plough through roughly 27000 baht (£540), although I am sure it will take a little bit of experience and time before I can make bigger savings on my cost of living in Thailand…. but at the same time I will always have a weakness for spending money on pretty things, eating in decent eateries, buying fancy shakes and getting the BTS just about everywhere possible… I just don’t have it in me to live on that tight a budget.
In all fairness, we have spent a lot of money eating out at nice restaurants, sightseeing and doing a fair bit of drinking what with it being Christmas and new year. Everybody ends up splurging and spending loads more money than usual around Christmas time right? I do still stand by my earlier calculations though, and I believe it is actually possible to achieve a cost of living in Thailand of 15000 baht if you live very frugally...
Guide To Monthly Living Expenses In Thailand
Cost of food and drink in Bangkok: 8700 baht (£175) each
You can actually buy street food in Thailand very cheaply from about 25 baht for a meal… although the language barrier can prove off-putting with the lack of menus, as well as the fact that these vendors consist of an unrefrigerated cart with five hour old ingredients left in 40 degree heat. So there’s always the fear of food poisoning or any other dreaded parasites like tapeworm (shout out to the Siriat Forensic Museum for freaking us out about parasites in Thai street food… thanks for that). On top of that, although it tastes pretty good, the portions are really quite small and I personally can’t live on two or three of these meals in a day (and I am not exactly overweight either)…
So, although I’ve spent considerably more than this, I think maybe a more dedicated person could get by in Bangkok on 100 baht per day (£60 per month) for food expenses. Just as a rough idea, you can also eat out in a decent Bangkok restaurant for about 100-200 baht per person and you can eat at a really nice restaurant for 500 baht. Also, I tend to spend money on a lot of bubble teas, smoothies and shakes costing from about 30 – 90 baht, doughnuts or waffles between 12 and 26 baht, and fancy cakes for 90 – 125 baht… I’m gonna get so fat living in Thailand…
Cost of Transport in Bangkok: 1780 baht
As for transport in Thailand… I am a very sweaty, pig-like trogladite lady and so I have grown quite a distaste for walking too far or exerting myself even slightly in the hot weather of Thailand. Therefore over time I have used the BTS increasingly more and more for shorter and shorter distances. My body just isn’t built for this hot Bangkok weather. A journey on the BTS or MRT in Bangkok will cost you between 15 and 50 baht per journey, a ferry up the Chao Praya river – between 3 and 20 baht, and a taxi will typically cost between 35 and 150 baht to get around the city.
However, if you were on a really tight budget, you can easily buy a decent second hand bike for maybe 2000 baht and cycle most places. In Thailand, the pavement is actually also a cycle lane, so you could even use the path if you’re not too comfortable in the heavy Bangkok traffic – although I’ve personally not done this and am not really sure how easy it would be to weave in and out of the pedestrian traffic on the pavements in some areas!
Cost of Bills and Rent in Bangkok: 5525 baht each
It is possible to rent an apartment from 3000 baht per month in Bangkok; ours is a serviced studio in a central location and costs 10000 baht per month and that’s split between two of us. The bills in Thailand are very low, even though our apartment overcharges and profits from us for the utilities, the water bill is extremely cheap and only costs us 50 baht per month, so is pretty much negligable. Electricity bills cost us around 1000 baht per month, which runs our TV, fridgefreezer, microwave and air conditioner which we run half the day, everyday. So the cost of utility bills in Thailand work out very cheap.
Cost of Yoga classes in Bangkok: 2500 baht
Gyms aren’t cheap in Thailand, and most of them require you to sign a contract for 6 months or a year. Although I think the cheapest we’ve found so far in Bangkok worked out to about 1800 baht per month, but don’t quote me on that – we’re still looking into finding a decent gym. And of course there’s always the outdoor gym at lumpini park in Bangkok which costs something like 35 baht a go… if you’re not the type easily intimidated by super huge Thai dudes chest pressing tyres-on-a-bar then give it a go. Currently, I pay monthly for yoga classes instead which gave me 15 x 90-minute sessions of yoga for the month. Fair price I say.
Cost of recreation in Bangkok: 240 baht. This includes going to the cinema and museums.
Cost of shopping in Bangkok: 4700 baht. I wouldn’t normally spend this much in a month I don’t think. I had to spend a fair bit of money at the pharmacy and also bought myself a yoga mat for 1300 baht too. Then I guess I must have spent about 2000 baht on clothes :/ But in all fairness, I have bought a decent amount of new clothes for this amount!
Sneaky thieves: 3500 baht. Maybe I’m unlucky, or maybe (probably more likely) I am not too smart, but the amount I’ve been short changed, overcharged and stolen from has added up to about 3500 baht for my first month living in Thailand, so maybe the less street wise might need to account for this early learning curve too!
I will keep making records of my cost of living in Thailand every month, hopefully it will be less, and a more realistic figure for the expenses of an expat in Bangkok.. in all honesty, at the moment we are living as tourists in Thailand more than expats… easily distracted and lured in by Thai novelties and attractions and more vulnerable to being scammed and robbed!
Update: For more information on the cost of living in Thailand, you can check out Month 2 and Month 3 of my expenses in Bangkok.