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Cost of Living in Thailand

 

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This post is an excerpt of a longer article.

 

Thailand has been a popular destination for those looking to move overseas for many years and for a variety of reasons. Not only is the Land of Smiles famous for its friendly welcome, but the weather is great, the food is fantastic, the culture is delightful and, perhaps most importantly, prices for most of your day-to-day essentials are consistently lower than they are in places like the US and Europe.

 

But how much lower? It’s hard to plan your budget for a life in Thailand without a clear idea of how much things cost. It’s not a simple calculation, either - some things are a fraction of the price they would be in the west while others can be more expensive. And that’s before you’ve factored in the differences from one province of Thailand to another.

 

To help you make those calculations and plan your future in the Land of Smiles, we’ve prepared a simple guide to the cost of living in Thailand.

 

How much does an apartment cost in Thailand?

The basic needs of life generally consist of food, shelter and clothing. We will start with shelter. As will become a trend throughout this guide, you will find that there is a lot of variation available in this category. The prices can vary depending first on which city or area of Thailand you want to live in and then on exactly where within that area you want to live and then in what kind of accommodation you want within that area of that city. For example, the same money that could pay for a small mansion out in the countryside may only afford a small studio apartment in the centre of Bangkok.

 

Other factors can also radically impact the price you will end up paying. For example, a property with no air conditioning, no kitchen and limited furniture will be significantly cheaper than one with a range of modern conveniences. As a further note, those modern conveniences add to the overall cost since regularly running the air-conditioning, even in a small apartment, will probably give you a monthly electricity bill measured in four figures. Finally, the age of the property also has an impact, particularly since Thailand’s humid climate is quite harsh on building materials and decorations.

 

This being the case, we will use average figures. Just bear in mind that there is a degree of flexibility available, if you shop around and are willing to trade convenience for affordability. You may also be able to reduce the cost by renting a small house or larger apartment and sharing the rental fee with others.

 

Bangkok:

1-bedroom apartment in city centre = around 20,000 baht per month

1-bedroom apartment outside city centre = around 10,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse in city centre = around 35,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse outside city centre = around 15,000 baht per month

 

Pattaya:

1-bedroom apartment in city centre = around 16,000 baht per month

1-bedroom apartment outside city centre = around 9,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse in city centre = around 18,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse outside city centre = around 15,000 baht per month

 

Phuket:

1-bedroom apartment in city centre = around 13,000 baht per month

1-bedroom apartment outside city centre = around 9,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse in city centre = around 35,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse outside city centre = around 50,000 baht per month

 

Chiang Mai:

1-bedroom apartment in city centre = around 12,000 baht per month

1-bedroom apartment outside city centre = around 8,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse in city centre = around 30,000 baht

2-bedroom townhouse outside city centre = around 20,000 baht per month

 

It’s worth noting that foreign nationals cannot own land in Thailand. You can own a condo, assuming that at least 51 per cent of the properties in the building are owned by Thais.

 

How much does it cost to eat in Thailand?

The next of our basic needs for life in Thailand, the cost of eating also comes with quite a lot of variety. If you are happy with eating local food (which, with Thai food being famously tasty, is not such an unattractive prospect) then your monthly costs will be quite low. However, if you want to eat just as you did in your country of origin, you might find your cost of living significantly increasing.

 

The reason for this is that agriculture in Thailand is a significant part of the nation’s economy. Nearly half of the workforce is employed in helping maintain Thailand’s place among the world’s largest exporters of rice and seafood, with coconuts, soybeans, sugarcane and tapioca also among the top exports. To help protect this valuable part of the economy, there are heavy import taxes on foodstuffs from overseas (along with almost everything else from overseas).

 

In order to give you as complete an idea of the cost of living in Thailand, we will provide three metrics - the cost per person each of a meal at a small local restaurant and of a meal at a more luxurious restaurant as well as the cost of a local beer to wash it all down. As a general rule, “luxurious restaurant” in Thailand usually translates to one specialising in foreign cuisines, though there are some exceptional Thai restaurants around.

 

Bangkok:

Local restaurant: around 60 baht

Luxurious restaurant: around around 800 baht

Beer: around 90 baht

 

Pattaya:

Local restaurant: around 100 baht

Luxurious restaurant: around 900 baht

Beer: around 80 baht

 

Phuket:

Local restaurant: around 120 baht

Luxurious restaurant: around 600 baht

Beer: around 100 baht

 

Chiang Mai:

Local restaurant: around 50 baht

Luxurious restaurant: around 550 baht

Beer: around 60 baht

 

How much does a visa for Thailand cost?

Your visa is arguably the most essential expense when calculating the cost of living in Thailand, since you can’t stay in the country long without one. However, the exact cost you will incur largely depends on your circumstances. If you get a job, your company will usually pay for your visa (though some English teachers working for low-end schools have found themselves having to deal with the cost themselves).

 

On the other hand, if you plan to live out your retirement in Thailand, the cost works out somewhat differently. It’s a complicated subject, and one that needs its own article to explain.

 

You could arguably live in Thailand on a tourist visa, which costs only 1,900 baht for a single-entry visa or 3,800 baht for multiple-entry. However, you would need to leave the country and get a new visa every two months (a process known as “doing a visa run”). The Thai government takes a dim view to people living in their country on tourist visas and are making moves to clamp down on this, including limiting the number of times people can leave and then immediately re-enter the country. Add the fact that Immigration officers have the right to deny you entry to the country even if you do have a valid tourist visa and building a life in this way is extremely risky.

 

This post is an excerpt of a longer article from DeeMoney, Thailand’s payment provider. Exchange and send money to 14 countries, register via our app, website or in store. 

 

DeeMoney serves as a hybrid solution that’s similar to both Transferwise and Western Union, yet distinguishable from both. Whilst TransferWise offers only digital transfers, and WesternUnion mainly cash transfers, DeeMoney is Thailand’s only service to provide both means of transferring money.

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Think the International school prices in the original article should be per year, not per month.

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8 hours ago, nickmondo said:

last time i was in Spain i did a price comparison.

Thailand rents, fuel, electric, water, cheaper

Eating in nice restaurants, about the same price

Supermarkets, Spain cheaper

Spain does not offer the choice of cheap eating joints as in Thailand however.

Toiletries, Spain much cheaper, by a long way.

All in all, I did a comprehensive comparison, and Spain worked out cheaper, except for the items listed in sentence 2 above.

Standard of living, healthy climate, pollution levels, driving abilities, etc......Spain wins by a landslide.

 

 

Portugal same. And if you dont go to Lisbon or Porto still can find attractive rentals (cheap ones i mean).

I compared my life in Leiria (center of Portugal) vs Sathorn/Bang Sue bkk and Chiang Mai (Thailand) and at the end get the same cost. Thailand cheaper for rental but much smaller condos/houses.
Portugal have a lot of supermarket brands cheap food and everything else and probably with better quality.

Portugal is more expensive:

Transportation (public and private)

Pets

Rentals (but they re bigger in average)

Restaurants (but in my opinion better food and not so much expensive, worth it)

 

Im from there and i dont like live there but is a great place to live 🙂 (safe, good food, weather ok part of the year, cheap for travel around europe)

 

I paid for elite visa here (so +500k for 5years cost of living) probably at portugal non of you need to worry so much about visa as here in thailand. (Have easy business visa and passive income/retired visa - D7 visa)

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What does a luxurious restaurant mean? I have been to many European restaurants 

in Pattaya (I can't name them here ) I paid 189 baht for a 2 course meal. Yes but if Thai

people go to the Hilton they will pay the same, what a lot of nonsense.

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16 hours ago, YT3k72Em said:

Think the International school prices in the original article should be per year, not per month.

Definitely not per month, but per year. Anyway also these vary so widely that any average ought to be taken carefully. 

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Where did you get food prices?

Local thai restaurants local foods 60-80thb depends what you eat....

Creamy curry soups with pork or chicken and rice around 120thb

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On 1/28/2020 at 10:31 AM, BritManToo said:

Hundreds of nice apartments in the centre of Chiang Mai for 5,000bht/month + utils.

I'm living in a 3 bedroom house outside the city centre for 10,000bht/month, again hundreds to choose from.

 

Where are you getting your housing prices from?

Are they all as wildly wrong as the CM prices?

Complete nonsense. Firstly you live in the jungle and that's not what they mean by outside the city center 

 

I would love to see a link to these lovely 1 bedroom condos for 5k in city center.. Over to you 

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In the end I spend roughly the same as back home. There are many differences in my lifestyle in different places but by and large it's pretty simple and comparable in both. Pros and cons to each but Thailand is not a great way to save money if that was what I would be looking for.

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On 1/28/2020 at 10:31 AM, BritManToo said:

I'm living in a 3 bedroom house outside the city centre for 10,000bht/month, again hundreds to choose from.

Show us photos of this 3 bed house, the Roadrunners would move in tomorrow at that price, if only it was not so polluted in CM...... Er, just how far outside the city are you? Like, will I need a machete to get to the front door up the jungle?

Edited by DaRoadrunner
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I live in a newer 3 bedroom three bedroom house nice furniture about 20 minutes outside the city the rent is 18,000 a month that includes free internet and tv 

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