Below is an explanation of how we come up with numbers for our Thailand cost of living calculator. It’s based on the average cost of living for one expat to live a middle-of-the-road lifestyle in Thailand. If you plan on moving here as a couple or family, your cost of living will be higher.
The accommodation cost depends on three factors:
- accommodation type
Please note that there are also other factors that affect the accommodation price, in addition to province, location, and type. But these three factors are the main defining factors for rental prices.
Despite being the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok doesn’t have the highest cost of accommodation. Instead, it’s Phuket, Koh Samui, and even Pattaya.
These three beach towns are popular with foreigners. And this results in the average rental price, and cost of living, to be around 20% higher than Bangkok.
The rental price in Bangkok in the suburbs isn’t that much different from other nearby provinces such as Nonthaburi and Chonburi.
The Southern provinces of Thailand, including Song Kla (Hat Yai) and Huahin, also have similar accommodation costs to Bangkok.
The rental cost in major provinces, including Chiang Mai and Khon Khaen, is around 10% cheaper than in Bangkok, while other smaller provinces tend to be 20% cheaper.
And even within the same province, the rental cost is different based on which area you want to rent in.
The business areas can be two times more expensive than suburbs, and one-and-a-half times more expensive for popular tourist areas.
But if you rent on the outskirts it’s going to be 20% cheaper than the suburbs.
The last major factor is the type and size of the accommodation.
Here’s how it works:
If you rent a thirty square-meter condominium in Bangkok in the suburbs (eg. On Nut), it’s going to cost you 12,000 baht a month. But it can cost you 24,000 baht a month in a business area like Silom.
For the same size condominium in a similar area, the price can go down to 10,000 baht a month in Chiang Mai or increase to 14,000 baht a month in Phuket.
You’ll pay 500 baht every time you hire a maid to clean your place for a thirty to fifty square-meter condo. For one time a week, four times a month, it’s going to be 2,000 baht. If it's once every two weeks, two times a month, it’s going to be 1,000 baht.
But if you want to have a full-time maid, the average salary is 12,000 baht a month.
You’ll pay 600 baht a month for a cable package that comes with sports channels, including Premier League, NBA, and NFL.
Note that a single cable package might not be enough to watch all the sports you want. It also depends on which cable provider can purchase the annual licenses from the official channels.
For Netflix, it’s going to be around 300 baht a month.
The starting home internet package is around 600 baht a month. It comes with thirty Mbps (megabits per second) speed which is enough for regular usage.
The cellphone package price depends on the amount of call and mobile internet data. If you need to call a lot for your business and have a maximum mobile internet speed and data, it’s going to cost you 1,000 baht a month.
If you don’t call that much but still need an internet connection every time you’re outside, then it’s going to be 500 baht a month.
If you want to keep your phone number active and rarely make calls or use the internet, you’ll pay around 200 baht a month.
This is another major expense while living in Thailand. The average cost of a normal meal in Thailand is 40 to 50 baht. After drinks, dessert, or fruit, you’ll pay around 80 baht per meal, or 240 baht per day.
However, it’s nearly impossible to spend your whole month eating street food alone. Once or twice per week, you’ll want to eat at either a Western, Japanese, or even Thai food restaurant.
And it’s going to cost you 300 baht a meal, on average.
If you cook everything yourself, your costs will be lower. You’ll pay around 200 baht a day or 6,000 baht a month.
Unless you plan to drink a lot, you’re likely to pay 500 baht every time you go out for a drink at an average bar. This amount should get you a few drinks and some snacks.
If you plan to take a bus or songthaew, which costs around 7 to 20 baht a trip, you shouldn’t spend more than 440 baht for your monthly cost of transportation.
If you take either the BTS or MRT for your daily commute, you’ll pay 30 baht a trip on average, or around 1,320 baht a month assuming that you purchase their monthly package.
If you take a taxi, you’ll pay around 300 baht a day for going back and forth between home and work. So it’ll be 6,600 baht a month (twenty-two working days).
If you rent a scooter, you’ll pay 3,000 baht a month for the rental and another 500 baht for fuel. Therefore, the total cost is 3,500 baht a month.
Traveling within Thailand
Including transportation costs, accommodations, and eating, you’ll pay 1,000 baht a day on average every time you travel in Thailand.
For a private tutor, you’ll pay 500 baht an hour on average. For two hours a week, eight hours a month, you’ll pay 4,000 a month for this option.
If you choose to study in a Thai class, the average cost per hour will be 180 baht, resulting in 1,440 baht a month.
If you teach yourself Thai, you’ll pay 400 baht a month for books and enrolling in online courses.
These numbers are averages for the cost of living in Thailand. If you use the advanced money-saving strategies found inside Thailand Starter Kit: Save Cash, Land a Job, Avoid Pitfalls, and More, you can save thousands of dollars each year.