Cost of living in Thailand
How much the cost of living in Thailand will be for anybody depends on the things in life that are most important to that individual person. For example, I spend the majority of my money in Thailand on sports and exercise, and then on the extra food to supplement this. I live in the centre of Bangkok and I don’t eat street food for every meal, I treat myself more than a couple of times a week to some variation of good food in a cafe or restaurant. I like to spend money in Thailand travelling, exploring and I also like to buy clothes, but on top of this, for some reason I feel drawn like a magnet whenever I go in a Boots or Watsons, I just want to spend my money on everything. What is it with women and pharmacies anyway?
Beer isn’t that cheap in bars and pubs; just as an idea, the cost of a beer in Thailand such as Chang and Singha is around 100 baht a pint (£2 or $3), but you can also buy a bottle of Thai whisky like Sangsom for about 290 baht (£6 or $9); just half of one of these will easily do for me. Beers like Guinness or Hoegaarden will cost from around 250 baht a pint (£5 0r $7).
Anyway this month, my cost of living in Bangkok totalled 24000 baht (£530 or $800). I also made 5000 baht (£100 or $150) from extra work, I didn’t earn much money from work at all this month – I worked about 3 days altogether… my movie career in Thailand seems to be dying a slow death after it has only just begun. Sad times.
Anyway, from what I’ve googled and seen online, a great deal of people seem to say you can’t live on this low amount of money in Thailand, especially Bangkok, but I guess I have proof otherwise. Although I eat out a lot and spend more money in Thailand than I really need to, I just don’t think anyone could live much cheaper than this anyway; everybody has their vices in life. To have an even lower cost of living in Thailand, you would have to live frugally and not have much of a life I think. But of course the cost of living is much cheaper outside of Bangkok.
*Update: Please note that I have since managed reduce my cost of living in Bangkok to around 18000 baht per month (£400 or $600) simply by not going shopping and by eating mostly street food. You can read more about eating on a budget here.
Cost of food in Thailand for one month: 7900 baht (£175 or $260)
Most days for lunch I will eat Thai street food, either to takeaway or sit in, at 30 – 35 baht ($1) for a meal. It’s actually pretty good too. On evenings, mainly out of convenience and laziness, I will often eat at our apartment restaurant or the restaurant next door for around 50 – 90 baht per meal. A couple of times a week or more, we tend to cave and spend money at more expensive, maybe western style restaurants for up to 350 baht (£8 or $12) each.
Most days I will also spend money on extra snacks such as chopped fruit bags, meat sticks, dumplings, steamed buns, fried chicken, soy milk and the odd bubble milk tea; all of which cost from 10 baht per serving. 1150 baht of my spendings this month was used at 7 11s and Top supermarkets mainly on toilet roll, cereal, milk and bread. Cereal is a luxury in Thailand, one box can cost up to 300 baht… Furthermore, water in Thailand is pretty much negligible as you can buy it purified from Reverse Osmosis machines for 1 baht per litre.
Bubble milk drinks from a street vendor
Cost of transport in Thailand for one month: 2738 baht (£60 or $90)
I spend money on the Bangkok BTS sky train on a daily basis. 900 baht (£20 or $30) of this total was spent on the MRT subway, the ferry and topping up my BTS carrot card. I spent 600 baht on taxis, mainly to get to work in Bangkok in the unsociable, early hours of the morning or basically whenever other times the BTS is closed at night. Getting around Bangkok city in a taxi shouldn’t cost any more than 200 baht a journey – taxis in Bangkok for me usually average around 100 baht per ride. A typical journey on the BTS can cost between 15 baht and 50 baht per journey depending on the distance (the MRT underground is also very similar in price). The ferry usually only costs 15 baht. I spent another 900 baht on a 460 km return train and bus journey when making a trip up north. The remaining 300 baht went on two days of moped rental (after splitting between the two of us).
Cost of rent & bills in Thailand for one month: 5500 baht, split between two (£120 or $180)
We pay 10,000 baht for a 40 sqm studio apartment which is situated 10 minutes walking distance from a BTS station in Bangkok. If you live alone, you can find a basic, smaller studio apartment from 4000 baht; for a couple you can find slightly bigger apartments from 8000 baht. It will obviously cost more money the closer you live to the centre or subway/ skytrain in Bangkok. You can find more information in my article renting in Bangkok.
Cost of clothing in Thailand for one month: 4000 baht (£90 or $130)
With this money, I practically bought about 8 new outfits from Platinum Mall and Siam for 1050 baht, at Boots and Watsons I spent about 900 baht (what the hell I spent that on other than sun cream I do not remember! Shameful), 200 baht on phone topup and 1300 baht on a ukulele. Anyway, for more information on average costs of clothing and souvenirs in Thailand you can check the prices here.
Total spent on recreation in Thailand for one month: 3400 baht (£75 or $115)
This includes 600 baht spent on booze, 2000 baht on hotels and 750 baht on a cycle tour (you can see more details on this by clicking here)
Cost of gyms and fitness classes in Thailand for one month: 1000 baht (£20 or $30)
This covers two pole dance classes costing 500 baht per class. I am also a member of a gym in Bangkok but paid for this upfront for 6 months. Technically, this would work out to cost about 2000 baht per month as well.
For more information on the cost of living and money in Thailand, you can check out more on my expenses here: Month 1 and Month 2