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What is the cost of living in Thailand

What is the cost of living in Thailand?

With the global inflation rate we currently are experiencing, it’s quite challenging to live anywhere in the world. Thanks to the recently concluded pandemic and the crisis affecting oil prices, it’s no longer surprising to hear people wanting to live elsewhere.

Some foreigners (yourself included) may consider permanently living in Thailand. So in this guide, we look at how much it costs to live in Thailand and try to figure out if your budget will allow you to call this tropical paradise your home!

How much are the monthly living expenses in Thailand?

The cost of living in Thailand will vary depending on your needs and preferences. Food and utility bills are relatively more affordable in the country though, and can result in you spending just around 1,000 or even up to 5,000 USD per month.

Before we start looking in-depth at the cost of living in Thailand, please note that we did our best to adjust the prices reflected here due to the global inflation mentioned earlier. You should also keep in mind that the costs indicated here are averages. 

We’d also like to add that a number of factors can drastically affect the calculation of such costs. For example, a dish sold in the heart of Bangkok may cost around 100 THB while it may only cost around 50 THB when bought in Nan province.

With that being said, you can then use the prices we indicated in this article to figure out how much your estimated living expense would be once you decide to live here in Thailand. Below is the average cost of each living expense based on our research:

Expense TypeEstimated Cost per Month
Food10,000.00 THB
Rent15,000.00 THB
Electricity2,000.00 THB
Water100.00 THB
Internet Subscription550.00 THB
Coffee and Beverages500.00 THB
Transportation3,000.00 THB
Visa400.00 THB
Healthcare3,000.00 THB
Gym Membership2,000.00 THB
GRAND TOTAL40,550 THB or around 1,190.00 THB

We’ve broken down the details and the “whys” of each living expense item below to give you a much better idea of how we arrived at these average costs.

1. Food

In Thailand, food costs will depend on where you buy it and whether or not you buy imported or local goods. If you decide to eat at food courts and roadside stands, that’ll run you around 50.00 THB to 60.00 THB per meal.

Your food expenses each month will cost around 10,000.00 THB if you stick to eating at the said places. If you want to save even more and plan to limit your food cost to around 6,000 THB, you can buy food from the fresh markets here and cook your own.

On the other hand, eating at mid-range restaurants will cost you around 150.00 THB per meal. Fast-food joints here in Thailand like Taco Bell or Mcdonald’s will cost you around 100.00 THB to 200.00 THB per meal– pricier when compared to home-cooked meals.

If you have the cash to spend and decide to eat at high-end restaurants, then expect to pay around 1,500 per meal at a hotel seafood buffet. You also have to shell out 700 THB if you’d like some premium sushi set from a Japanese eatery located in Bangkok.

Local Tip:

You can save much more if you choose to buy from the local fresh market and cook your own food instead of always buying from a restaurant!

2. Rent

If you’re still single, then rent will take a significant chunk of your monthly paycheck here in Thailand, especially if you decide to rent in Pattaya, Phuket, or Bangkok. Based on our research, a lot of expats use up 30% of their income each month just for rent.

You’d be surprised that some expats may pay as little as 7,000.00 THB per month while some pay up to 50,000.00 THB monthly. This goes back to what we said earlier– the rent will vary depending on location, along with facilities and type of housing. 

To help you figure out how much your rent will be each month, you can answer the questions listed below:

  • Are you willing to live far from the main roads or public transportation?
  • Do you need your own gym or swimming pool?
  • Do you want to buy your own furniture or do you prefer a house that is fully furnished?
  • Do you prefer a four-bedroom, two-bedroom, one-bedroom, or just a studio-type home?
  • Do you want to rent a townhouse or a condo?
  • Do you want to live in rural Thailand or would you rather live on the outskirts or in the middle of the city?
  • Where do you want to live in (province or city) Thailand?

Your response to these questions will help you come up with an estimate of how much your monthly rent will be. 

You need to keep in mind though, that the three biggest cost drivers for rent are room size, the neighbourhood, and the location of your preferred property. 

To give you an idea of the costs, a studio apartment in Bangkok measuring around 30 square metres will cost around 13,000.00 THB per month. 

On the other hand, a similar unit will cost around 30,000.00 THB (more than double!) in Bangkok’s business districts such as Silom or Asok.

Prices are much cheaper if you decide to get the same studio apartment in Phuket and Chiang Mai as the same unit will cost only around 10,000.00 THB and 8,000.00 THB per month, respectively. 

If you prefer to rent a house with a backyard and a small front yard here in Bangkok, expect to shell out around 30,000 THB per month. You can get the same kind of house in Samut Karan Proving at just 16,000.00 THB per month.

However, if you prefer to live in a rural area like Northeast Thailand, then you can get a house with a front yard and backyard for only 5,000 THB monthly. 

Here’s something to consider though: If you want to save some money on rent, share the cost with someone to save 50% on the bills you have to pay. If you can find yourself a roommate, then you can split the rent along with the other costs like internet, water, and electricity. 

Remember that the figures we posted up top are just starting prices. If you want to live luxuriously here in Thailand, then we recommend getting ready to shell out around or over 100,000.00 THB per month!

Local Tip:

The rent prices offered that you will see online will often be negotiable. Talk to the agent and see if you can bring the price down.

Based on our experience, you can haggle the price of rent by as much as 40%!

3. Electricity

Here in Thailand, the tropical weather often brings about very hot temperatures. As such, most of us tend to use our air-conditioners a lot, leading to a significant increase in our electric bills.

To reduce your electricity costs, we recommend that you only turn on your air-conditioning unit during the hottest times of the day and just use a fan at night when the temperature’s much cooler.

If you absolutely need to have the air-conditioning on at all times, then expect to pay a monthly electric bill of around 2,000.00 THB for a small condo. 

On the other hand, a house with multiple rooms and air-conditioners running all day will probably have an electric bill of around and above 4,000 THB per month.

Your air-conditioning unit’s condition will also affect your monthly bill. If your unit isn’t properly maintained or isn’t an inverter type, then expect to pay higher electric bills each month.

4. Water

Here’s some good news! In Thailand, water is relatively inexpensive.

If you are a family of four, then your monthly bill should be around 300.00 THB to 400.00 THB per month. If you live alone, then your water bill should only be around 100.00 THB monthly.

5. Internet Subscription

We have some of the fastest internet speeds across the globe here in Thailand. In fact, a look at internet speed rankings places Thailand as the fourth (4th) country with the fastest internet connection compared to other countries.

You can get a high-speed internet package here for only 550.00 THB a month. This should be enough to handle your business and personal online needs.

The said basic internet subscription package can already give you download speeds of up to 55 Mbps and upload speeds of 30 Mbps. With such speeds, you can upload videos to Youtube with ease and even watch Netflix movies in 4k.

For faster internet speeds, you have to get the more expensive internet packages which can range from 1,099.00 THB to 1,399.00 THB.

6. Cell Phone Plans

A lot of expats here in Thailand pay around 500 THB each month. This postpaid phone plan package will usually give you 10 GB of mobile internet plan along with 300 minutes of call time.

There are mobile companies here that offer unlimited mobile internet if you are a heavy data user. Also, you can usually get a cheaper package if you get a bundle of home internet with a mobile phone package compared to getting these services separately.

Local Tip:

You should try and get a combo package of internet and mobile phone services. 

These services should be cheaper when bundled together compared to getting them separately.

7. Coffee

Our love for coffee can be seen in the numbers– 2.25 million cups of coffee consumed by people on a daily basis. It seems like a significant chunk of these coffee drinkers come from Thailand thanks to the ubiquitous cafes located across the country.

Coffee shops here are so common that you can find multiple ones within arm’s reach. The best part about this though, is you get to have options and choose which cup of coffee you want (latte, cappuccino, etc.) which will usually cost around 30 to 200 THB.

If you purchase your cup of coffee from a street vendor, then it’ll cost you only 30.00 THB. 

If you choose to buy from a cafe, then expect to pay around 60.00 THB to 80.00 THB per cup, and 100.00 THB and up if you buy your coffee from Starbucks and other similar establishments.

8. Beer, Liquor, and Wine

Similar to coffee, beer, liquor, and wine are enjoyed the world over by millions of people and it’s no different here in Thailand. In fact, local liquor and beer here are relatively cheap but it’s a different story when it comes to imported alcohol.

Overseas alcohol can be quite expensive due to import taxes. You can get a large bottle of local beer (Leo, Chang, or Singha) here for only 100.00 THB while imported beers from Germany or Japan can cost around and above 130.00 THB per bottle.

Thailand does not make a lot of grape wines but Chiang Mai produces its own version of fruit wines using mulberries, strawberries, and more. If you want to try out these fruit wines, it’ll cost you around 300.00 THB to 400.00 THB per 750 ml bottle.

9. Health

Our health should be our top priority regardless of where we are in the world. In Thailand, health costs can be quite unpredictable so we have a couple of recommendations for you in order to protect your and your family’s health and wellness.

First, it’s advisable that you get health insurance for yourself and your loved ones in Thailand. As mentioned earlier, the unpredictability of medical treatments here can be quite extreme and you may suddenly have to pay 100,000.00 THB for an emergency. 

With health insurance, you know exactly how much you have to pay each month (insurance premiums). In addition, these health plans will often have reduced costs for certain procedures such as annual medical exams.

Second, if you don’t plan on getting any health insurance, then be prepared to have emergency health funds just in case. An average doctor’s visit to one of the private hospitals in Thailand will cost you around 1,500.00 THB to 3,000.00 THB.

If you get admitted to a standard room, the cost will be around 8,000.00 THB. On the other hand, getting admitted to the ICU will set you back around 100,000.00 THB per day– highlighting the importance of getting health insurance in this scenario!

Lastly, if you don’t have enough funds to get health insurance or to pay for private hospital visits or admissions, you can tough it out and go to a public hospital. Just know that there are long queues here and it’s best navigated if you know how to speak Thai.

You can always bring someone who can speak Thai if ever you need help getting services from one of our government hospitals here.

Local Tip:

Get health insurance when living in Thailand to protect yourself from uncertain medical emergencies.

You can also rely on public hospitals here but be sure to bring someone who can speak Thai to help you navigate the hospital queues.

10. Gym Memberships

You can’t really offer any excuses or alibis for not working out when in Thailand thanks to the many gyms available here. In fact, there are even neighbourhoods or condos that can offer you free use of their gym depending on which area you live in.

If this free gym use isn’t available to you, then you can pay around 1,200.00 THB to 3,000.00 THB per month for a gym membership. The membership fee will depend on the quantity and quality of gym equipment offered by the facility.

A basic gym membership will commonly provide you with showers, exercise equipment, and some cardio stations. A more expensive one, however, may include exercise classes and spa treatments.

Levelling up your workout routine will entail additional costs. A personal trainer in Bangkok will cost around 1,000.00 THB to 2,000.00 THB for each session. You can also try training at a Muay Thai gym for around 7,000.00 THB per month.

Here’s something you may consider as well — you can still work out in Thailand without having to spend much by buying a good pair of sneakers and walking or running at the nearest park. Some even have outdoor exercise equipment you can use!

11. Transportation

You have a number of transportation options here in Thailand if you own a car. These include the subway train (MRT), the Skytrain (BTS), and motorcycle taxis.

A common daily commute will usually require you to take a motorcycle taxi from your residence to a train station, then take either the MRT or the BTS to your place of work. Motorcycle taxis will cost you around 30.00 THB for short distances.

Your fares for the MRT and BTS lines will vary depending on what stop you plan to get off of. On average, you’ll probably spend around 50.00 THB and above on these lines one way.

If you want to save more on transportation, you can also stick to the bus routes. A typical bus ride here will only cost you around 600.00 THB per month or around 20.00 THB per trip.

However, living outside Bangkok or in any other rural area will require you to purchase your own car to address the limited public transport options in these areas. Do note that you’ll have to spend around 2,000.00 THB to gas up each month.

Lastly, you can also opt to rent either a motorcycle or a car. Renting a motorcycle will cost you around 2,500.00 THB per month (plus 700.00 THB for gas) while renting a car costs 15,000.00 THB per month on average.

12. Vacations

Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia thanks to its beautiful beaches and world-famous party spots. Hence, if you live here, you can definitely enjoy what Thailand has to offer due to its inexpensive transportation and accommodations.

From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, if you decide to take a sleeper train, you’ll pay around 600.00 THB to 2,000.00 THB based on the type of ticket you got. Taking the bus will cost you less at only around 700.00 THB.

Going for the rental of an economical car to travel around Thailand will cost you 600.00 THB to 800.00 THB per day while a more expensive one will have you spend around 1,000.00 THB daily.

If you’re really budget conscious, you can even save even more by taking third-class seats on the train from Bangkok Ayutthaya. This will only cost you around 15.00 THB to 35.00 THB- highly cost-efficient if you ask us!

As you can see, Thailand has some very inexpensive transportation options but do note that this isn’t the case when in Phuket. Getting a taxi to get to Patong Beach from Phuket airport can cost you somewhere around 800.00 THB or even more.

In terms of accommodation, you’ll probably spend a couple of hundred THBs if you decide to stay in a hostel. On the other hand, a three-star hotel in Thailand will usually set you back by around 1,200.00 THB.

13. Cable TV Packages

Netflix is available here in Thailand and costs around 349.00 THB per month. We recommend also using a VPN as some Western shows aren’t available on the local Netflix version offered here.

If you prefer watching English TV shows, you can also opt to get a cable TV package for around 199.00 THB per month. This basic package gets you Nickelodeon, BBC, CNN, and more.

On the other hand, sports fans can get a sports cable TV package for around 999.00 THB a month. This kind of package will allow you to watch major sports league shows around the world right in the comfort of your own home.

14. Movies

If you love watching movies on the big screen, then Thailand is going to be a great place for you to live in! There are tons of theatres here with spacious areas, clear and huge screens, and comfortable seats offering different English, Thai, and foreign films.

On average, movie tickets will range from 280.00 THB to 300.00 THB. Other add-ons such as snacks, beverages, and candies are commonly overpriced though, as they mostly are anywhere in the world.

15. Maids and Nannies

If you work full-time, you’ll probably need to hire a part-time or full-time nanny or maid here in Thailand. Part-time maids here will cost around 600.00 THB per week to do some basic chores such as washing dishes, mopping, and sweeping.

On the other hand, getting a full-time maid here will cost you around 15,000.00 THB each month. Do note that your full-time maid will live with you in your house so that she can take care of your kids, do laundry, and also cook for your family.

Hiring a part-time nanny or maid is obviously cheaper (only around 2,400.00 THB per month) but they do much less housework compared to a full-time one. It’s really up to your budget and preferences on which option you want to go with.

16. Laundry

Here in Thailand, laundry is charged either per kilogram or per piece. Laundry per kilo is charged at around 49.00 THB while laundry per piece costs around 20.00 THB on average.

What we like about the laundry services here is that they offer you the complete package- from ironing, to pick up, and to the delivery of your items. You can also opt to get a monthly laundry package which costs around 700 THB to have 40 items cleaned. 

There are also coin-operated laundry machines here which cost around 30.00 THB for each spin. You’d have to bring your own fabric softener and detergent though, as these are not yet included in the price.

17. Education

Who says learning should stop once you stop attending school? If you plan to stay here in Thailand for good, you can enrol in a Thai language course to help you learn the language that locals speak— believe us, it’s going to make your life easier!

If you decide to learn online, then it will only cost you 500.00 THB per month. On the other hand, choosing the more traditional route of face-to-face learning will cost you roughly around 3,000.00 THB per month.

18. Haircuts

If you need a haircut in Thailand, you have a couple of options depending on your budget. Local barbershops will charge men around 100.00 THB per haircut while salons and other fancier establishments can charge around or above 200.00 THB per service.

Women’s haircut costs will usually depend on the service you were provided. A simple hair wash and dry will cost around 200.00 THB but if you add in some hair colouring and trimming it will cost twice or thrice the said amount.

19. Visas

You need to pay for and maintain the right kind of visa if you plan on staying in Thailand. We think the price of the most common visas is acceptable at 3,000.00 THB per year for a multiple-entry one and 1,900.00 THB annually for a single-entry visa.

Keep in mind, however, that if you are unable to get a long-term visa such as a retirement or a business visa, expenses can go drastically up. For example, an education visa will cost you around 1,900.00 THB for renewal every three months.

On the other hand, a tourist visa will have to be extended every two months for 1,900 THB. If you are unable to do so, you need to fly out of the country and get another one before re-entering Thailand.

If you plan on staying in Thailand for an extended period of time, it’s best to do so legally. Having a tourist visa and staying longer than you are legally entitled to is against the law and can get you banned from ever entering Thailand.

Local Tip:

Try to get visas that allow you to stay for extended periods of time if you plan to stay longer in Thailand.

Staying here illegally can get you banned from ever re-entering the country!

Average Cost of Living by Location

After looking at the average cost per living expense, you might be asking yourself, “But what is the average cost to live in a specific area in Thailand?”

We’ve got you covered with that too as we already listed down the average cost of living by location here in Thailand!

LocationEstimated Living Cost per Month
Bangkok70,000.00 THB to 100,000.00 THB per month
Chiang Mai30,000.00 THB to 60,000.00 THB per month
Phuket40,000.00 THB to 65,000 THB per month
Pattaya40,000.00 THB to 60,000 THB per month
Hua Hin30,000.00 THB to 60,000 THB per month
Koh Samui30,000.00 THB to 50,000 THB per month

What will you get based on your budget?

Living in Thailand on US $1,000 Per Month

USD 1,000.00 is equivalent to 35,000.00 THB. For that amount, you can cover the following expenses:

Expense TypeAmount
Rent (studio apartment or condo) and Utilities10,000.00 THB
Food and Drinks10,000.00 THB
Internet Subscription550.00 THB
Basic Cell Phone Plan300.00 THB
Health Insurance (Low-end)2,500.00 THB
Savings or Travel6,900.00 THB

Living in Thailand on US $2,000 Per Month

USD 2,000.00 is equivalent to 70,000.00 THB. For that amount, you can cover the following expenses:

Expense TypeAmount
Rent (one-bedroom condo) and utilities15,000.00 THB
Food and Drinks (local and Western)15,000.00 THB
Internet Subscription550.00 THB
Cell Phone Plan650.00 THB
Health Insurance (mid-range)3,500.00 THB
Savings, Travel, Gym Memberships, and Hobbies35,300.00 THB

Living in Thailand on US $3,000 Per Month

USD 3,000.00 is equivalent to 105,000.00 THB. For that amount, you can cover the following expenses:

Expense TypeAmount
Rent (multiple-bedroom condo) and utilities30,000.00 THB
Food and Drinks (local, Western, and fine dining)30,000.00 THB
Internet Subscription (highest speed available)1,200.00 THB
Cell Phone Plan (unlimited internet and talk time)1,200.00 THB
Health Insurance (premium)5,500.00 THB
Savings, Travel, Gym Memberships, and Hobbies35,300.00 THB

Living in Thailand on US $5,000 Per Month

USD 5,000.00 is equivalent to 175,000.00 THB. For that amount, you can cover the following expenses:

Expense TypeAmount
Rent (two-storey loft or a penthouse) and utilities90,000.00 THB
Food and Drinks (local, Western, and fine dining)40,000.00 THB
Internet Subscription (highest speed available)1,200.00 THB
Cell Phone Plan (unlimited internet and talk time)1,200.00 THB
Health Insurance (premium)7,500.00 THB
Savings, Travel, Gym Memberships, and Hobbies35,600.00 THB
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