Alright alright, I’ll get the BS statement out of the way first.
YES, your cost of living depends on your spending habits, your current debt and any credit card payments. It also depends on what you would find acceptable and what you would consider to be a sacrifice.
bla bla bla.
I have a unique perspective because I’ve lived in Chaing Mai Thailand, Ratchaburi Thailand and now Bangkok Thailand. All three are totally different and it allows me to give a pretty clear comparison.
With that out of the way I’m going to tell you that you’ll need 50,000 Baht per month to comfortably live in Bangkok Thailand. You’ll need 40,000 Baht to live in Chaing Mai and 33,000 baht to live in any random Thai town.
50,000 Baht is roughly 1,400-1,500$ depending on the exchange rate. Now this is to say COMFORTABLY. I normally spend 39,000 Baht a month living in Bangkok. What I specifically mean is that you can pay for rent, pay for the gym, have money to go out Saturday night and eat whatever you want without having to worry too much about costs.
Let’s break it down by major expenses:
- Nights out
You’ll have a few options for rent in Bangkok.
You can find rent for as low as 4,500 – 6,500 Baht, but these sorts of rooms are typically old and deep down the road. This will become annoying because you’ll need a motorbike taxi to get to and from your place every time you want leave. You’ll be surrounded by lower earning locals, not to say that there is anything wrong with this, but it’s nice being around people who are doing interesting things with their lives. You’ll also be living in a place that is literally just a room with a bathroom and a balcony. You won’t have any amenities like a pool or gym either.
For the value, I would pass on this as you can get a lot more for your money if you’re willing to pay just a bit more.
Ahhhhh, the sweet spot. I liken it to smartphones when I tell anyone about how much they should spend on rent. Sure, you can get a dirt cheap smartphone. But so what? Will it be nice? No. Will it be limiting? Yes. Can you do better if you’re willing to just pay a little bit more? Sure.
For 10,000- 13,000 Baht you can live in a lovely, modern condo or apartment building with amentities like security, a location right next to the sky train, a gym and a rooftop pool:
This is why I go back to the smartphone analogy. If you’re willing to pay 5-6 thousand Baht a month more you’ll get a huge upgrade in your quality of living. Granted, at this price point the rooms are still small at 30-33 square feet but that is the way if goes in most cities.
I genuinly enjoy where I live. The local area is nice and having this pool area is wonderful as a place to just escape to instead of being stuck in some shitty room far away from the BTS.
For 20,000+ Baht a month you can get some pretty amazing quality. For the price of what your rent would be in America, you can live in the lap of luxury in Bangkok Thailand. Want to shell out 60,000 Baht (2,000 USD) for a penthouse? Well in Bangkok you can! The jump in price also brings with it a much larger living space. Most people would be happy with a mid range apartment but if you got the cash flow to go big, why not?
Rent is one aspect, your other major expense will be electricity. Water is honestly negligible and internet will set you back 600 Baht. Electricity will cost you around 1,000 Baht if you’re in a condo because you’re paying the standard government rate. For apartments it’s not unheard of to pay double that. In my old apartment in Ratchaburi Thailand I was paying 4,500 Baht for rent and 2,200 for electric.
500-700 Baht per day you’ll need (15-20 USD)
Food is simply more expensive in Bangkok and it was a bit of a price shock for me coming from Ratchaburi Thailand where coffee is still 40 baht and you can get an amazing Thai dish for 35 baht. Not in Bangkok! Prices are about double. Still affordable, but you will need to pay a bit more. Your best bet would be to find a few local places you like, a food court (food courts are pretty nice in Thailand, don’t hate on it until you see it) and to cook your own food.
What I normally do is I’ll head over to a super market and load up on salads from the salad bar for a few days. Then I’ll have two to three meals a day. I’ll eat at a local place and I’ll have the salad and fruit I stocked up on. For cost you’ll need to budget 500 to 700 Baht a day for food roughly. I know, some people say you can get by on 300 Baht but this is nonsense. Unless you’re goal is to eat low quality processed food.
I’m also factoring in that you’ll eat out at a proper restaurant a few times a week, NOT everyday.
As for beer, well I’m not a big beer drinker and I prefer dark beer, stouts and ales. As such, Thailand pretty much sucks for me because beer here is expensive and it’s that piss yellow pale pilsner style I don’t enjoy.
2,400 Baht (70 USD)
In Ratchaburi I could pay 50 baht to go to the government gym or 100 Baht to go a more modern, fully equipped gym. I was spending about 1,200 Baht per month. In Bangkok, a gym membership will set you back 2,400 Baht. Yea, over 60 USD. I have no idea why something as simple as a gym is so damn expensive in Bangkok but this is an annoying reality. There seems to be no middle ground either. While my condo complex does have a small gym and it’s great if you’re looking to use the treadmill or do some pull ups, it simply lacks the big boy equipment a manly man like me needs (I’m joking).
If you’re in shape take pride in your body, you’ll need a gym membership.
1,000-3,000 Baht (30-90 USD)
Nothing surprising here. If you’re going to spend every weekend at bars and clubs you’re going to burn through a lot of cash. I typically go out two times a month for something big and fun like a night club or bar. The other weekends are spent doing something simple like a movie and some bowling or perhaps just staying home and not going out (I know shock! Wait you can just relax at home for a weekend? Why yes, yes you can).
50-100 Baht per day (2-3 USD)
Do you need a bike in Bangkok? Nope! You can get around easily with taxis, motorbike taxis and the BTS sky train system. Transportation is cheap, but it’s definetly an added cost when compared to living in a random Thai town like Ratchaburi Thailand where I was able to get around everywhere by my motorcycle.
Taxis start at 35 baht and increase in price depending on distance.
The BTS costs 15-60 baht per trip depending on distance.
So if you’re going to want to travel to work or just get out of your room and go somewhere, it’s going to cost you. To keep costs low, you can always live in a place that is a little nicer and you won’t feel the urge to always have to get out and go somewhere else. I know I’m happy to spend a few days out of the week in my local area.
Final Thoughts for How Much it Costs To Live in Bangkok Thailand
This is why everyone always says it depends. Yea if you eat out everyday, pay for an expensive place and are constantly traveling around the city, you’re going to spend a lot of cash. But if you simply live in the city and travel around casually you’ll find that 50,000 baht (1,500 USD) is enough to purchasing power to really enjoy the city.
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