Public Service

Cost of Living in Thailand

pinoythaiyo cost of living in thailand chinatown

pinoythaiyo cost of living in thailand chinatown

Public Service

Cost of Living in Thailand

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 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.

Share us what you think of this